Our final morning onboard Oriana (for this holiday at least) and we awoke to find we were docking in Southampton at the new Ocean Cruise terminal.
We decided to breakfast in the formal dining setting of the Peninsular restaurant and therefore headed down for the first sitting at 07:00am. Having to choose a particular breakfast rather than having the freedom dining of the Oriental did seem a bit strange. The food however was still of an excellent quality with friendly and polite service.
So that there is not a mad rush for the gangways, P&O have a colour code system for disembarkation.
We had been allocated purple which meant we did not have to leave the ship until 09:40am. This was fine as we were in no hurry to end our holiday. There is opportunity to change your departure time if you need to by calling at the main reception.
As we had time to spare, and our luggage had been taken from our cabin shortly after breakfast, we stopped at the Terrace bar for coffee.
Looking across the waters of Southampton I spotted Fred Olsens', Black Watch ship whom we had berthed next to in Bilbao. They seemed to be tied up at the berth that we had left from a week earlier.
Sitting on the terrace with the flags waving gently in the breeze under a clear blue sky I thought back over our holiday.
The ship had proved to be as good as the brochure had promised. The staff were all polite and friendly. There had been lots of activities to do over the course of the week for all ages. From the kids clubs (we didn't need them this time) to workshops, tours, dance instruction, seminars, talks, shows and live music and much, much more. There was also plenty of space just to quietly relax in places such as the library or secluded deck areas without piped music spoiling the ambiance.
The ship was always clean and well looked after. The brasses around the ship seemed to be polished daily and the decks were cleaned every night.
Access was good throughout the ship, although some doors out onto the deck areas were so heavy, assistance was needed to open them.
All the restaurants were of a very high calibre, with plenty of choice of fresh, well presented and tasty food.
If anything let it down it was some of the evening entertainment in the main theatre. The comedian Paul Boardman was mediocre at best. He ran out of material before the end of his set which spoiled the performance. The cabaret star Jimmy James was unfortunately not our choice of music and having him on two different nights of a 7 night cruise was a bit too much. Fortunately P&O do offer alternative entertainment around the ship so we were always able to find something to enjoy.
It was a shame when our colour was called forward for disembarkation. We had really enjoyed our time on the Oriana.
Disembarkation was easy with ramped access leading up into the Cruise terminal. Luggage was laid out in deck sections. Our cases had got a bit separated but it was easy to locate them and load them onto a trolley.
As we left the terminal building signs pointed us to the car park where our car was waiting for us. After a short wait we picked up our keys and lettered location of the car within the car park and were able to load our luggage for the journey home.
Photo courtesy of Pengannel
Thank you P&O for a wonderful holiday aboard the Oriana. I look forward to joining you again next year this time on the Azura.