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About PrincessPete

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    Cool Cruiser

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    Travel, theatre, football
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Princess Cruises, Cunard,
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  1. PrincessPete

    Live from the Oriana

    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
  2. PrincessPete

    Live from the Oriana

    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
  3. PrincessPete

    Live from the Oriana

    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
  4. PrincessPete

    Cabin safe

    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
  5. PrincessPete

    Live from the Oriana

    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
  6. PrincessPete

    Live from the Oriana

    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
  7. PrincessPete

    Live from the Oriana

    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
  8. PrincessPete

    Live from the Oriana

    Great day today, Thursday. Seas very choppy again overnight but have now settled down and it is much smoother. Plus the sun has been out all day and the sky blue 😀😀. Still quite windy but a big improvement! In answer to a question, the Captain is Sarah Breton who we have seen around the ship quite a lot and is very down to earth and approachable. The lectures/entertainment this week have been amazing. As well as Shaun Wallace (who takes part in all the quizzes, as I said) there has been a hugely interesting series of lectures from retired Detective Rod Renton. Very popular and an additional one tomorrow on our extra sea day heading to Bermuda. Going back to last Friday, embarkation was easy, stepped out of our taxi at 1230 and we were having lunch in The Conservatory at 1400 with all luggage in our cabin. Based on some previous reviews the big surpruse for us has been the outstanding food. Also, we have the best waiters in the history of cruising!! More anon, happy to answer questions. Kind regards. Peter
  9. PrincessPete

    Live from the Oriana

    Hi all, just a posting while sitting in Andersons on the lovely Oriana, 5 days into our 28 night cruise. We have had a great time so far, despite the heavy seas, a lot of rolling about and fierce winds. The Captain announced today that we could not reach Bermuda on schedule Friday despite the ship going flat out since leaving Southampton last Friday. So we now get there a day late but still have the scheduled day and a half there. We then sail on to The Bahamas as scheduled but miss out the port of Grand Turk. After the Bahamas we go straight to St Maarten and resume the original schedule. We have not heard any complaints at this as clearly something had to give. Everyone seems massively relieved we still have the overnight in Bermuda plus the call in The Bahamas. Even as the fastest ship in the fleet Oriana could not keep to schedule and I guess only the liner Queen Mary 2 could have kept up speed with these winds. Back to the cruise itself, weather apart it has been great, and the guest lecturers amazing. Shaun Wallace from ITV's "The Chase" has been the Celebrity Speaker and he has simply been brilliant. Standing room only at his talks and his "Audience With......" when interviewed by Hughie Taylor. He is such a nice man, a hugely interesting life story, has time to talk to everyone plus competing in the quizzes He takes in good spirits the banter when he gets one wrong! More anon on the other excellent lecturers. The food and service has been exceptionally good - more on that anon also and hope this is of some interest. Kind regards Peter
  10. PrincessPete

    Extremely disappointed!!

    We were extremely disappointed to receive an email this morning regarding our 28 night cruise on “Oriana” this Friday and to learn that we are no longer calling at Nassau in The Bahamas. We found out initially by an email where the subject read “Cancellation Oriana cruise” which for a few seconds until I opened the email had me thinking the whole cruise was cancelled. It transpired the email was about the cancellation of a shore excursion we had booked in Nassau. It invited us to ring P&O where a totally disinterested Customer Service person told me the ship was no longer calling at Nassau and letters had been sent to passengers yesterday. She said that a call was being made to Freeport on Grand Bahamas instead – a different island to where Nassau is located. I rang our Travel Agent who had received the letter this morning and forwarded it to us by Special Delivery (but had not thought to ring/email us!!). They did then email me a copy which stated that the call had been cancelled because the Port Authorities would not let the ship take on fuel in Nassau that day. As above, the cancellation is most disappointing as Nassau was one of the special places we wanted to see when we booked the cruise. Excursions at Freeport are now on the Cruise Personaliser but are of little or no interest – there appears to be nothing much to see and the tours are largely beach related. Notwithstanding the pleasure of beaches on a cruise such as this, the tour in Nassau included a lot of colonial buildings and other sights we were keen to see. Hey ho! These things happen, it is not the first time we have had a port changed and, of course, it is an occupational hazard with cruising which many others will have experienced over the years. I must add that had Freeport been the port originally, with no stop at Nassau, we would still have booked so this is not a claim “we only booked the cruise to go to Nassau”! There are plenty of other highlights on the cruise for us such as Bermuda and our favourite Caribbean island Antigua. I do feel that P&O could have worded the email better this morning as for a few seconds it appeared the whole cruise had been cancelled! I am sure we will still have a brilliant time and if anyone has anything positive to say about Freeport we would be most interested! Kind regards. Peter and Beverley
  11. PrincessPete

    Oriana comparison

    Hi David, just my thoughts in response to your question. Let me say at the outset that we have not sailed on either the Queen Victoria or Queen Elizabeth but, as I do some travel writing (and also as a ship enthusiast), I have been over both ships several times at Southampton. Our experience with Cunard is based on many cruises on the Queen Mary 2 in both Britannia class and Queens Grill class. (You did not mention which class you had sailed in on QE and QV). Britboys is spot on with his comparisons but I would add a further observation regarding food. Having cruised on several P&O ships I would say the food is reasonably comparable to what you get in the Britannia Restaurant on Queen Mary 2 (and I am confident QE and QV would be similar). Certainly P&O's food does not compare with that in the Queens Grill on Cunard (but, of course, nor does the price of the cruise!!) but my opinion is that it is similar to Britannia class. I am very confident you will love many things about Oriana, albeit at the end of the day may feel it is not as sophisticated as Cunard, as said by Britboys. Just to put my comments into perspective by the way - in 5 days time on Friday we embark on a 28 night cruise on Oriana so we must like the product as well as Cunard!! Have a great cruise and we will look after Oriana for you 😀😀. Kind regards. Peter
  12. PrincessPete

    Will they let us embark early?

    Thanks Andy, yes Southampton indeed, which I should have added
  13. PrincessPete

    Will they let us embark early?

    Hi, our eticket arrival time (Oriana) is 1500 - due to our journey we may well arrive by midday rather than risk motorway delays. (Would like to have stayed locally the night before the cruise but just not possible). Are we likely to be able to embark when the process starts - obviously not delaying others with earlier times than us or a higher Loyalty status? I did wonder whether some people with early embarkation times travel by coach and be later arriving. From those with coach travel experience what sort of time do they tend to arrive? Thank you for any advice. Kind regards Peter
  14. PrincessPete

    Laundrette Wars

    Hi, I was intrigued by the posting about the four people removed from Arcadia's World Cruise in Aruba, after "launderette rage" and a subsequent punch up in the bar. I have not seen any other reports on that here or elsewhere online. Has anyone else seen anything? (To the poster about it, please do not think I am doubting the accuracy of what you said, I am just surprised there has been nothing else online about it - unless I missed it). Kind regards Peter
  15. PrincessPete

    Drinks packages coming to P&O

    It was interesting to see Selbourne's comment about a trial with the waiters serving wine, as opposed to formal wine waiters. Unless it has changed in recent years since we last went on a Princess cruise, that has been the case for many years on that line. We always found it worked so much better as the waiter was always there near you - as opposed to a wine waiter covering numerous tables who it can be difficult to find. However, I take the point about them having enough to do. It would be interesting to hear if others on this Forum have experienced the Princess method and their views on how it worked.