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The P&O Oriana: A Huffington Post Travel Cruise Ship Guide

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PO ORIANA
Courtesy of P&O Cruises

P&O Cruises' Oriana is a popular floating resort. The waters are crowded with sea-worthy vessels, so to make planning easier, we've done all the prep work for a cruise vacation. As part of a Huffington Post Travel series on cruise ships, here is a tip sheet offering all the key information one could ever need to know about the Oriana.

Destination

The Oriana sails from Southampton, England, to such destinations as the Canary Islands, the Mediterranean, the Baltic, the Middle East, the Caribbean and Iceland on journeys spanning between seven and 58 nights. It also sails on a world cruise that lasts 97 nights and docks at 39 ports in 25 countries. Twelve-night Atlantic cruises stop in locales such as Lisbon, Casablanca, Tenerife and Madeira, while 16-night cruises to the central Mediterranean anchor at ports such as Dubrovnik, Venice, Gibraltar, Malaga and Corfu.

Luxury Ship

Though this art deco, medium-sized ship catered to kids and families in years past, the Oriana will be exclusively for adults from Nov. 30, 2011, onward to make up for the departure of the 1,196-passenger Artemis, the fleet's previous adults-only ship. The elegant ship can carry a maximum of 1,928 passengers, with signature tiered stern decks and 909 passenger cabins.

Special Features

The Oriana appeals to British tastes, with a teak promenade, decks for sunbathing and an atrium with a Tiffany glass ceiling. The ship also has a show lounge, casino and theater, where the Music Festivals at Sea program puts on operas, operettas and recitals by well-known performers. There are also three pools and five hot tubs.

Accommodations

The 909 cabins in the Oriana range from suites that have up to 497 square feet of living room, guest bathrooms and a walk-in dressing area to more standard outside and inside cabins that start at 150 square feet. Typical features include a TV, radio, telephone, hair dryers and refrigerators. While all the cabins have mineral water and "pamper packs" on arrival, suites come with the added touches of a bathrobe, slippers, atlas, binoculars, fruit basket, champagne, chocolates and daily canapes.

Cost

Seven-night cruises to Norway and the fjords on the Oriana begin at $1,372 and average $2,500 for intermediate cabins. Sixteen-night cruises to the Western Mediterranean start at $1,900, with suites averaging $6,555.

Excursions

A reviewer on CruiseCritic.com calls the Oriana shore excursion to Geirangerfjord his personal favorite. The Fjords and Mountains tour lasts more than eight hours, with the chance to see UNESCO World Heritage site Geirangerfjord and take in views of towering mountains and waterfalls.

Dining Experience

The Oriana has several restaurants, the most notable being its British fine-dining restaurant by celebrity chef Gary Rhodes. The two main dining rooms, Peninsula and Oriental, operate with set dinner seating times. There are 12 bars, including the Lord's Tavern sports pub and Tiffany's coffee and chocolate bar.

Maiden Voyage

According to Fodor's, the Oriana was the first contemporary ship to be built specifically for the British market. It first joined the P&O Cruises fleet in 1995, according to CruiseCritic.com, and bears the distinction of being named by Queen Elizabeth II.

In The News

The Oriana made the news in 2000, when the BBC reported that the vessel was damaged by a wave on a trans-Atlantic trip. Three passengers were injured, windows of six cabins were shattered and several other rooms were flooded. The BBC said the Oriana's propeller also broke down on its maiden voyage, and twice more within its first month of operation. Most recently, CruiseCritic.com reported that the vessel was damaged by a collision with a stone quay in Norway, but there were no injuries.

WATCH:

A quick look at the interior of the P&O Oriana.

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