Number of Cruises: 2
Cruise Line: P & O Cruises
Sailing Date: May 8th, 2004
Itinerary: Western Mediterranean
We cast off onboard Oriana for a family holiday in 2004.
We had been on a cruise the year before onboard Oceana and had a thoroughly good time. The cruising principle was perfect for us, as my mother had terminal cancer in the spine, hip, breast and liver, meaning that cruising was the only feasible way to see abroad for us. The specialists agreed that a cruise liner was probably the best way as it is fully equipped with a medical center etc and has very god disabled facilities as my mother was a wheelchair user, for longer distances.
The cruise started off well, the journey down was very good, only hitting traffic in South Hampton due to Aston villa playing South Hampton that day. Unfortunately myself and my brother were separated from my mother and father during embarkation as mother had to be helped on in the wheelchair. This did not mar the overall enjoyment of the boarding experience, which we had enjoyed so much on our first cruise the year before.
The staff could not have been more helpful, in fact we bumped into 2 staff members Of Oceana from the previous year!
One of the drawbacks of the ship was the positioning of the photo gallery on the way to our restaurant, this proved a difficult task with my mother in the wheelchair and me only being 11 at the start of the holiday, I felt threatened by all of the pushing and overcrowding of the area.
Our waiters Clyde and Bill, I think, were as helpful as you could ask for, and our wine waitress was very courteous and polite also.
While on the cruise my 12th birthday fell, meaning that I had a signed card off the captain in my cabin. The cake my mother had booked for me was pleasant and well priced. The whole restaurant sang happy birthday to me and I had balloons on my table etc. We were in Barcelona on my birthday and the tour guide sang happy birthday to me on the bus, along with all of the other passengers, I found this slightly embarrassing but a nice touch.
The conservatory was a pleasant restaurant, using crockery, not plastic and using linen napkins not paper.
The only problem was that some places on the boat were not that easily accessible by wheelchair, although these were not huge distances to walk, Just a matter of feet.
Some of the passengers were ignorant, and some saw my family coming to the lifts with my mother in the wheelchair and deliberately pressed the door close button on the control panel.
When tendering to St Tropez my father believed he had lost his cruise card, which meant he would not be able to re-embark the ship if he left, the staff were most helpful in helping him look, and held the tender for him to search. We eventually found it in his pocket, but we all laughed about it.
All in all a most enjoyable holiday and I would certainly recommend Oriana to anybody looking for a traditional British cruise with all the mod cons