Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community

PrincessPete

Members
  • Content Count

    201
  • Joined

About PrincessPete

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    London
  • Interests
    Travel, theatre, football
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Princess Cruises, Cunard,
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Caribbean

Recent Profile Visitors

291 profile views
  1. After our recent 28 nighter on Oriana our next P&O cruise is a 19 night Med trip in April next year. Would anyone who has sailed on both ships kindly comment on the main differences we will find, please. Some of my thoughts for starters: Arcadia is a little, but not significantly, bigger. There is only one show lounge on Arcadia - how does that work for a second evening show where Oriana has the Theatre and the Pacific Lounge? Arcadia only has one main restaurant but is on two levels. Do they "feel" like one restaurant or is the one on the higher deck essentially blocked from view making it "separate". Which level is Freedom Dining on? They are just my non-scientific thoughts looking at Arcadia's deck plans. Any comments from those who know much appreciated. Kind regards. Peter
  2. For what it's worth (which probably isn't much with auto gratuities ending soon!) I was told by a middle ranking Officer on our recent 28 nighter on Oriana that over 75% of passengers on our cruise had removed the gratuities. Certainly when I removed ours the pile of forms was VERY high! I can only agree about the service provided by the crew - our waiters and stewardess plus several bar staff were so incredibly helpful that we spent far more on giving them tips than if we had left the auto ones on. And we didn't begrudge a penny of it as the service was so outstanding. Kind regards Peter
  3. Indeed they were. Hughie Taylor, the Entertainment Manager, told me one evening he had "stolen" them from Aurora!! i have rarely seen a band instantly getting so many people on their feet. I think I said in a posting that "Sweet Caroline" was so popular they had to sing it every night unless they were doing one of their "Tribute to...." shows
  4. This is for Sharon 5682. Sharon, there is lots more to say about Praia Di Vitoria - I wonder if you would like to email me so I can relate it all to you. Will also be interested to hear more about your Constellation cruise, we were on her four years ago. Kind regards Peter peter.s.smith26@outlook.com
  5. The final posting (although I will do a “formal” review in a few days when I have time.) Well, we arrived safely home on Friday after a wonderful month on “Oriana”. The odd niggle was put firmly in its place the following day with the Viking Sky incident when a different perspective was given to everything – the videos of the waves and rescue are scary to put it mildly and it is a great relief that no lives were lost. Back to our cruise………….my last posting saw us a day before we arrived at The Azores and in lovely sunshine. The day in The Azores turned out to be the best port day of the cruise for us – we docked in Praia di Vitoria on Terceira Island. I believe most cruises that call at the Azores visit Ponta Delgada on Sao Miguel so this was a new port to most passengers, including us. We had a great day and fell in love with the beautiful island – we did a ship’s tour in the morning which went to the island’s original capital, Angra, and stopped at various viewing points on the journey. Angra was a lovely town to visit with gorgeous gardens, a cathedral and lots of shops on largely cobbled streets, plus a small Marina. We had over an hour’s free time there and the stroll round the town and coffee at an authentic Portuguese coffee shop was so enjoyable. As soon as we returned to the ship we went straight onto the shuttle bus into town – the harbour is a couple of miles by road from the town. We had an equally enjoyable time there with a walk along the sea front and then a horse carriage ride which showed us many of the delightful back streets of the town. All in all a lovely stop and one that everyone we spoke to were unanimous had been a cruise highlight. We all noted how incredibly cheap everything was on the island – at the coffee shop a cappuccino, black coffee and local delicacy (essentially a lemon curd tart) was 3 Euros 50 cents and the horse carriage ride was 15 euros per person for 25 minutes. Back onboard we had three more sea days before arriving at Southampton – the weather (overall, one of the disappointing features of the cruise despite days of sunshine in and upon leaving the Caribbean) turned, not surprisingly, colder and with little sun. Disembarkation was rather fraught to put it mildly. Shortly after general disembarkation had started the Captain announced that it had been stopped due to “an item being found in the Terminal”. We never found out the full story but clearly it was an unexplained package which was of concern. After about an hour disembarkation resumed and the inevitable chaos ensued when people were collecting their luggage – being such a long cruise there were so many bags and it took us ages to queue for a trolley and then even longer to get through customs (no officers were on duty). The lines were channelling down to go through one door and many people forgot the good manners that had generally been shown onboard and started pushing into the queue. Tempers became rather frayed but nothing untoward occurred. When we finally left the Terminal and located our taxi it took nearly an hour to get out of the port as two Dock Gates (including Dock Gate 10 where we were) were closed. It seemed to be an age before we got home (only 50 miles from the port) but obviously many people had far longer journeys. In any event, as above, the moans at the disembarkation delays (none of which were P&O’s fault, of course) can swiftly be put into perspective by the Viking Sky incident. MY CRUISE SUMMARY As per previous postings, we had a brilliant time and the cruise did exactly what we wanted – after some ill health for my wife over the past couple of years and moving house last year (followed by 6 months of builders renovating it) we wanted a serious rest! The many sea days were therefore what appealed to us about the cruise. Many people were disappointed with the itinerary where Freeport in the Bahamas replaced Nassau with the change only being notified a couple of days before the cruise (and some passengers were unaware of it) and then the call to Grand Turk being cancelled due to the extra day we took to get to Bermuda because of the choppy crossing. Although we had really wanted to go to Nassau the changes did not bother us that much but I do feel P&O could have handled things very much better. To change the port in the Bahamas shortly before the cruise as P&O were told they could not refuel in Nassau seems strange as surely they would have known in advance (it wasn’t a last minute technical problem just the fact that they could not offer the service). It is also clear that had they wanted to, another Caribbean port could easily have been added – or indeed the visit to Grand Turk maintained. We sailed so slowly between Bermuda and the Bahamas that a bit more speed (and using more fuel affecting Carnival’s bottom line!!) meant we could easily have kept to the itinerary but sadly that is not how P&O or other cruise lines work these days). Onboard though everything was excellent – the food throughout was outstanding as was the service, particularly from our brilliant waiters Willy and Redhill. The bar staff everywhere were really good and I must not forget Lilibett our Cabin Stewardess who looked after us so perfectly. The daytime entertainment was outstanding with so many guest speakers and lecturers as detailed previously, the highlights being Shaun Wallace and Sue Holderness, although the less famous lecturers were equally well received. In the evening the Headliners performed some of the usual shows on their last cruise before leaving the ship to be replaced by a new group. They also performed the show “Relatively Speaking” by Alan Ayckbourn, which was well received by a packed house. Musically the pianists and duos were of the usual high standard and I must mention the brilliant “Caravan” party band who had the Pacific Lounge rocking most nights! So there we have it – an excellent cruise. I do appreciate others may have a different view based on the weather, the choppy westbound Transatlantic crossing and changes to ports but I can only report on our thoughts. It was very sad leaving “Oriana” for the last time and although she is an old lady (with occasional plumbing difficulties, quickly resolved, and vibration) she is for us the perfect sized ship with the lovely promenade deck and lots of outdoor space. For poster Sharon – there were lots of gym classes in the morning…..morning stretch, pathway to yoga, stretch and release, guided meditation and fab abs to name some. They were at various times between 0700 and 0900 with about three per day. Hope this helps. Our next cruise is with Celebrity to Norway but unless we add anything else our next P&O trip is a 19 nighter on Arcadia next April when I will write a similar blog. Goodbye in the meantime! Kind regards. Peter
  6. Thanks Andy, I appreciate your comments. I will be posting a final "end of cruise" summary tomorrow morning. Kind regards Peter
  7. Just confirming that ALL the above were "always available" every night on our 28 night Oriana cruise which finished Friday. I always regard the sirloin steak as a "back up" if the other menu items don't appeal but the food and choice were so outstandingly good I only had it once in 28 nights. And it was cooked as ordered and a beautifully tender piece of meat! As an aside, one night my wife was unsure about a starter and our waiter offered melon as a further alternative. Kind regards Peter
  8. I would have to respectfully disagree with the earlier poster regarding the P&O Wi-Fi, purely based on my experiences on Oriana over 28 days ending last Friday. I had the Browse package for the whole cruise at £220ish (booked pre-cruise) and I was far happier with it than I anticipated. The Wi-Fi worked fine in our cabin and on the balcony as well as in public rooms. I generally sat in Anderson's late PM to catch up with emails and send WhatsApp messages - but it worked well throughout the ship. I fully appreciate that the previous poster's comments were based on his own experiences so perhaps I was just lucky with mine on the Oriana. I must add that the Wi-Fi worked perfectly throughout both our transatlantic crossings. We did have 19 sea days so were less able to use Wi-Fi ashore than on a more port intensive cruise. Having said that, it also saved spending time on emails etc when we were off the ship when we would rather be exploring. Obviously not as fast as at home with broadband but in all honesty nothing like as slow as I anticipated. I sent dozens of pictures via WhatsApp and received many as well. All my texts/emails were received straight away in the UK. Hope this may help. Kind regards Peter
  9. Further to..... Well, its Anderson's time yet again on the lovely "Oriana" as we approach The Azores on our 5th sea day since leaving Barbados. The last two day's weather has been gorgeous with pretty much non-stop sunshine. It was only today that we noticed the drop in temperature since leaving the Caribbean - although it has still been in the 70's and really lovely. The only problem with having good weather is how to fit in sunbathing with all the outstanding activities laid on during the day! The guest entertainers at night have mostly been very good as well, particularly Dean Stansby who performed a sensational show in the theatre last night - a singer-pianist finishing with "Sweet Caroline" that had the audience dancing in the aisles. A great show. A couple of the acts were not that great and I will refrain from naming them. (obviously a matter of opinion, anyway, although the muted audiences for them seemed to agree). Just focussing on a couple of matters I had seen on the Forum in the past... DRESS CODE: has been exemplary on formal nights. I have been surprised at the almost total lack of jackets/tie on Evening Casual nights when earlier postings had suggested men of the age group on this cruise may have been more inclined to wear jackets. I must, of course, stress I appreciate the dress code does not call for a jacket so this is absolutely just an observation, in no way a criticism! PASSENGER'S MANNERS: we had read of some rude passengers in the past, including to the crew. I have to say we have seen absolutely nothing at all like that, everyone has been polite and very friendly to each other and the wonderful crew. Anyway, more in a day or two including details for Sharon re gym classes. Back to my Peroni! Kind regards Peter
  10. Further to earlier postings..... we are continuing to have an excellent time on the lovely "Oriana". We are now heading home on the second sea day since leaving Barbados. The weather during our stay in the Caribbean was very hot and sunny although clouding over in Barbados. Everyone we spoke to seemed to enjoy the islands although visiting Antigua on Sunday did mean a lot of shops were shut. In St Maarten there were five other ships in port meaning 12,000 + passengers swamped the town and main beach in Phillipsburg, but we still enjoyed the day. Having been to all the islands before we largely did our own thing, apart from St Lucia where we opted for a private tour. That turned out to be very disappointing but I will refrain from mentioning the company name (but will write a review on TA about it). Since leaving Barbados we had a lovely sunny day yesterday but today is damp and overcast Fortunately P&O have laid on further top quality daytime entertainment and lectures (readers of my earlier posts will see the westbound crossing was great with Shaun Wallace and other excellent guests). On the return trip we now have Sue Holderness, Marlene from "Only Fools and Horses", whose first lecture yesterday was rapturously received by the audience. Malcolm McFarlane is doing a series of nostalgic lectures looking back at the 50's ands 60's music, TV and theatre, plus in the next few days talks on the classic Broadway musicals, Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley. Again, perfect for us and the other passengers on this cruise and massively well received. Just a few words now about things on the ship - written obviously from our perspective. FOOD - this continues to be absolutely excellent in the Peninsular Restaurant, wide choice of food and always served hot. SERVICE - our waiters remain the best ever! Although on Freedom Dining we have so far been allocated the same table every night, so have the same brilliant team nightly. The service in the bars is also outstandingly good. CONSERVATORY - we eat breakfast and lunch there, generally quite late and have never had any trouble getting a table. Food excellent there as well and the hot breakfast foods such as bacon, sausages etc are really good quality. SUMMARY TO DATE - an excellent cruise and the nearly three weeks so far has absolutely flashed by. Overall the weather has been rather disappointing in view of the turbulent westbound crossing. The effect of this has been drastically eased, however, by the high standard of entertainment on sea days. Boring sea days?? No way, not enough hours in the day to do everything! For Sharon who posted, there are lots of gym classes, will detail them next time. I will not forget! Three more sea days then The Azores. More anon - best regards Peter
  11. A further update..... Sadly today there was a death onboard. An urgent medical response announcement was made around 0630 calling staff to a cabin just a few along from us. We heard later that a passenger had passed away. We are in Antigua today and on returning to the ship at lunchtime saw a funeral car by a gangway - while boarding up a nearby gangway we saw a coffin being carried off the ship. It seemed to show a lack of respect doing so directly in front of dozens of passengers but perhaps local regulations dictated what had to be done and when. All very sad but it must happen from time to time, particularly on cruises with an older clientele. We can only pass on our thoughts to the spouse of the passenger concerned. For obvious reasons I will refrain from any updates on our cruise today and will post again in a few days. Kind regards Peter
  12. I don't know if the safes are bigger on newer ships but on Oriana, where we are now, the safe is really small, at the back of the wardrobe, under a shelf and just a few inches from the ground. You need to be a contortionist to open it. As an aside, part of the wardrobe is also quite difficult to access as it stretches behind a chest of drawers. However, those entirely trivial issues are the only "complaints" after two weeks on this lovely ship. A brilliant cruise (despite a choppy crossing to Bermuda) as per my occasional postings in the "Live from the Oriana" thread. Kind regards Peter
  13. A further update from the "Oriana".........well, after our turbulent and delayed crossing to Bermuda it has been delightfully calm seas en route to the Bahamas. Today is the second of two sea days before we get to Freeport tomorrow morning. Both sea days have been very hot with calm seas and non-stop sunshine. I can only comment on the cruise from our point of view but we are having a brilliant time and, walking around talking to people, there seem to be very few complaints. Some people are understandably disappointed at not going to Grand Turk and feel P&O could easily have slotted in a replacement port. They probably have a point as we have been cruising at a really low speed since leaving Hamilton. Anyway, personally we're not that bothered and are just having a great time on the sea days. The food and service remaining outstanding. Also, the shows have been excellent, especially the Headliners with "Stage Door" a couple of nights ago. I appreciate that many on this Forum complain at the shows not changing (again, they have a point). All I can comment about from here is that the full house at the show gave the Headliners a rapturous reception. There are so many options during the day it is difficult to choose. However, the sun won yesterday and today! It's onto the Bahamas tomorrow, then a couple more days at sea and after that the Caribbean. We are still three days away from being halfway through the cruise! Further updates in due course. Kind regards Peter
  14. Today's update.....lovely day in Bermuda, we are berthed at the Royal Naval Dockyard which has been massively redeveloped since our last visit in 2000 (on the Love Boat "Pacific Princess".) On that occasion we berthed in Hamilton right by Front Street - today we got a ferry from the Dockyard which afforded great views of the countryside en route. The ferry is $4.50 pp each way with tokens you buy at the Tourist Office - all extremely easy to do. We were somewhat disappointed with Hamilton compared to our last visit - lots of the smaller shops have closed, as did the famous Department store Triminghams many years ago. It is still a perfectly pleasant cruise stop but, for us, lacked the "Wow" factor of 20 years ago. On the other hand the Dockyard area is really interesting and we look forward to a few hours there tomorrow morning before we sail at 1400. All remains well on Oriana - we had the first Headliners show last night (other than the Welcome Aboard one.) It was very good - we haven't seen them for several years so it (tribute to the Palladium) was newish for us but we appreciate not for others! A few people complaining about staying two days in Bermuda (err, it was in the brochure when you booked folks!!). For us it was nice to come back, albeit with our slight disappointment at Hamilton - we look forward to the Dockyard tomorrow though. A fair amount of sun today but not all day, no rain fortunately. Oh well, it's Anderson's time yet again!! More anon. Kind regards Peter
  15. Today's update from the Oriana. The seas have continued to calm right down and there is very little movement now. Quite a cloudy day after yesterday's sun. Another very busy day onboard with quizzes and lectures for us and loads of other choices. The retired Detective did an additional talk called "Nostalgia", all about life in the 60's and 70's - the food of the time, the toys, wrestling, TV programmes, radio, eating out (Berni Inns where prawn cocktail, steak and Black Forest gateau were the norm 😂😂) etc etc with lots of pictures. Hugely well received by the audience. He is a larger than life person and it was great fun, much more so than my description suggests. Well, we are a quarter through this 28 day cruise. Where did the week go?! It has absolutely flashed by. We have had a great time despite the choppy seas and lack of sun. The "Oriana" is a lovely ship with almost a "Country House Hotel" feel to it. Such a shame she is leaving the fleet. The service and food have been outstanding. Pre dinner drinks in Anderson's (with no piped music) is a delight We arrive in Bermuda tomorrow morning for an overnight stay. Everyone is looking forward to touching dry land although it will seem strange after being cocooned on here for 8 days. In a way it feels like the end of a segment as the lecturers all leave tomorrow and we now start a spell of 7 port days out of 11. More anon! Kind regards Peter
×
×
  • Create New...