P&O Cruises

Star Travel Rating

3/5

Review type

Cruise

Location

Date of travel

December, 2017

Product name

Product country

Product city

Travelled with

Partner

Reasons for trip

Regular holiday

Looking forward to sixteen nights of relaxation we boarded the good ship Oriana for our seasonal get away to the Canaries. After some lovely snacks and drinks in hospitality off to our cabin C207. A large and refurbished inside.

As we settled in ,unpacking supplies of redbush tea bags,jars of hot chocolate and a tin of my favourite McVities digestives the first ‘Sorry to come into your cabin’ announcement arrived. The boilers have packed up and we will depart the following morning. £50 OBC later!. The sea was kind and we arrived at our first port Madeira,it is not my intention to dwell on the Ports. Suffice it to say that the weather was fine and I enjoyed them all just walking around independently. As we were about to sail from our third port, Fuereventura, an ambulance drove up and two passengers loaded in. I do not think there is a sadder sight than seeing this. Being offloaded in a foreign port without the support of family. This scene was replicated in Gran Canaria, La Gomera and Tenerife. I saw four ambulances and there were probably more.

I used Club Dining first sitting and had a lovely window table for two. I found the food excellent and the service outstanding. In particular the meal Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Tenerife brought in the New Year but by this time I had succumbed to illness and all thoughts of food or celebrations went out the window. After a few days of illness and 30 years of cruising I visited the ship’s infirmary for the first time. At this time the weather had changed and we were in a force 7. I sat bemused as medical staff interrupted their duties for yet another emergency and watched as they wheeled in another passenger who had fallen over. All rooms were full and yet more passengers wandered in supported by a partner or friend. Broken finger, broken arm, cuts and generally stunned elderly and bewildered passengers. My wait was lengthy as trauma trumps infection. No problem for me but one lady was sat in her nylon nightie in a wheelchair and was there when we arrived, This was a lady who my husband had found staggering along the corridor the previous day. She had been trying to find her way to reception . He escorted her there. Same lady I found collapsed on my deck against stewards trolley two mornings later. Cabin steward advised that he had been making her cups of tea and that she had fallen in her cabin. She was 87 years of age and had become completely disoriented. Insisting that it was not her cabin. We witnessed a passenger stop a frail elderly man attempting to climb the metal stairs and put him in a lift telling him you are not using those in this weather. I witnessed many such acts of passengers helping others. Eventually my turn came and I was seen by the crew doctor and it was lovely to witness some good old fashioned doctoring. She was a delight and I was diagnosed with a severe ear infection. I sat back in the waiting room and was called to the dispensary where I got my antibiotics and pain killers. I was surprised how cheap it was. £55.13 consultation office hours. The price rises out of hours so if you can visit during sick parade! 42 Amoxicillin and 12 Ibuprofen came to £4.08. They charge £4.97 for dispensing each item. Total bill £65.07. Passengers visited the dispensary without reference to a doctor to get cough medicine, paracetamol etc to self care.

Unfortunately I reacted to the tablets and a further visit to the lovely doctor was required. Once more I sat for a long time witnessing how hard the team has to work. My turn came and she gave me a thorough check and different medication. I stayed in my cabin and was looked after by hubby.

Weather did not improve and we had a helicopter evacuation off the coast of Spain. Apparently there were two such evacuations but I only witnessed one.

We skipped Lisbon and followed a route dictated by Southampton so we could avoid the worst of the seas and thus reduce further passenger injuries. We arrived in Southampton Friday and we walked to town. There was an ambulance already at the port and we passed two more on their way in. I presumed to Oriana. What was my final count, well according to a reliable source there were seven sudden deaths (we had 10 on our world cruise) two helicopter evacs five ambulances and it was ‘worst voyage’ they had been on.

We had priority disembarkation and left the lounge at 8.20 It was extremely hard to make any progress down the air bridge and frail elderly passengers could not walk more than a few yards without stopping to catch their breath. They blocked the way for the passenger assist pushing wheelchairs so slowed the whole process down. This is born out by another reviewer saying she got off late and missed her train. This is not a criticism of the less able but reporting the facts . Oriana carried 1700 passengers this trip and I recognised many faces of regular cruisers who were fit and well and having a great time with groups of friends. What I hope my review gives you is an insight into the hospital ship on board services which for me were outstanding.

Oriana set sail for Hamburg to undergo repairs. Her next journey is to the Canaries on the 30 January. She is a lovely ship and I felt she held her own in the storms.The staff were lovely. Yes there were 12 Ukrainians recruited for this cruise at Southampton. They didn’t quite match the service standards but they got better as the cruise progressed and they were kind in helping less able pax with their food trays. I enjoyed my cabin and thought he food, what I had of it, was lovely. I shall not be travelling on her again as I support the previous reviews that she is becoming a care home. If you want to avoid this then fly.

lionpops

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