segunda-feira, 11 de março de 2019

ORIANA through the years - Arrival in Southampton & naming

Today we continue our look back over ORIANA's career as we take a trip back to April 1995 and ORIANA's arrival in Southampton and her naming day.
On a typically British overcast day ORIANA's perfectly white form glided gracefully into Southampton for the first time to a fittingly warm welcome of fireboats and small pleasure crafts.
ORIANA is welcomed to Southampton for the first time

On ORIANA's bridge a delghted Commodore Gibb and his officers were joined by P&O's Chairman Lord Sterling who was also eager to show his pride in the new flagship as she sailed up Southampton water.
At long last the culmantion of many years of work finally arrived home for the first time.
Following her arrival ORIANA would recieve some 10,000 visitors on board to tour with wonder and awe the first custom built cruise liner for the British Market.
On the 6th April just 3 days before her maiden voyage ORIANA was again the centre of attention as Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II performed the time honoured tradition of naming her.
Along with being the first cruise ship built for the British market ORIANA also hold the first ship to hold the honour of being first P&O ship to be named by a reigning monarch.
ORIANA is named by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
After the naming itself Her Majesty, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and their entourge  went on board for lunch and a tour of the ship along with Commodore Gibb, Lord Sterling and various P&O officials.

Queen Elizabeth II with Commodore Gibb on ORIANA's bridge

Her Majesty is shown the ships plaque originally from ORIANA's 1960 built namesake
Rounding off the days celebrations in the evening the new flagship was treated to a fireworks display.

At the end of perfect day fireworks light up the Southampton skyline in honour of ORIANA
Photo Copyrights: P&O

quarta-feira, 20 de fevereiro de 2019

ORIANA through the years

With ORIANA having a little over 6 months left in P&O service in this small series we take the time to look at a selection of images of her over the years from shipyard up to the present day.
Today we take a brief look at her time under construction at the Meyer Werft shipyard and her sea trials
11 March 1993 - The first photo of ORIANA as her Keel is laid to much celebration
With a metal framework suporrting her ORIANA reaches 10 decks in hight.

30th June 1994 ORIANA floats for the first time

Complete at last ORIANA takes her leave of the Meyer Werft yard
Waiting for high tide, ORIANA at Leer on her journy down the River Ems on route to the North Sea

ORIANA cuts a fine image in the North Sea on her trials. All Photo Copyrights P&O

segunda-feira, 14 de janeiro de 2019

A Penultimate Departure

As ORIANA's time with P&O  comes towards it's end so does her calls and departures remaining from various ports and today among overcast skies and choppy seas she made her penultimate departure from Bermuda where she has been of course registered since December 2006.
Having arrived from Southampton yesterday afternoon and after a overnight and call ORIANA let go her ropes around 3:20pm local time.
ORIANA preparing to depart
Thrusting off from the berth shortly after without any blasts from her horn and picking up speed as she headed back out to sea and her next port of call Freeport in the Bahamas.
ORIANA picking up speed
 Watching as she departed it was hard not to feel a sadness seeing her looking pristine and as she always has elegant despite the tasteless livery yet knowing that her time in the west is coming to an end.
An overcast sky hangs over ORIANA as she sets course for the Bahamas
 ORIANA will make her final call in Bermuda on the 1st of March with one last call overnight in the port.
With a few passengers and crew on her decks ORIANA disappears from sight

segunda-feira, 22 de outubro de 2018

ORIANA's Future- More details

While details relating to ORIANA's future beyond P&O have been hard to come by we can now reveal details about her new owners, a new cruise company formed as a joint venture between the China Ocean Shipping Group Company also known as Cosco and China Travel Service (CTS).
While it maybe a poor or mistranslation the new venture's name appears to be Twinkle Travel Cruise.
ORIANA is due to leave P&O in early August 2019 and will be arriving in China to begin operations for her new owners in mid September 2019
While we don't know if this new venture is related to or is one in the same as the mystrious Oriental Fleet Cruise 01 Ltd who ORIANA was transferred to in July this year it was comfirmed as expected that since July she has been bareboat chartered to P&O in order to complete her cruises up to August next year.
It has also been announced that neither the venture or it's joint owners will be taking care of any of ORIANA's operational requirements either in terms of the ships navigation and technical systems or Hotel services instead she will be crewed and operated by V Ship Leisure who will be expanding to China to support the new venture speaking about taking on responsabilty of ORIANA V Ship Leisure Director Per Bjornsen said,
"We are very pleased to have secured the contract to handle the technical and hotel management of this cruise ship after the redelivery next August."
He continued, "We are proud to build on our legacy in the cruise sector, as the first ship manager to create a separate company for cruise ship management and now becoming the first manager to set up a fleet cell in China for cruise operations for both technical and hotel operation."
Alex Iley, business development manager and Per Bjornsen, director, V. Ships Leisure on board ORIANA
 While Per Bjornsen and his team maybe looking forward to taking over ORIANA's running it can be noted that V.Ships Leisure has something of a reputation for it's cost cutting  and a 'slap dash' approch to ship managment and is infamous in shipping circles for it's less than examplery  practices.
It is assumed at this time very little in the way of changes will be made to the ship as the short turn around time between her leaving P&O service and entering service in China.

terça-feira, 7 de agosto de 2018

End of an Era, Death of a Brand

Exactly one year from today ORIANA will make the last call of her 24 year career under the P&O name when she calls in Belfast, Northern Ireland, birthplace of her beloved 'mother ' CANBERRA and many other famous liners.
Two days later she will make her last arrival in Southampton bringing to a end her career and in a very real sense disposing of the last vestages of the company that introduced her into service in 1995, P&O Cruises part of The Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company.
ORIANA 's maiden arrival in Southampton
Under Carnival's ownership the brand has claimed with each new ship it introduces that it is the latest or the largest ship 'built for Britain' and their latest monstrosity IONA is proving to be no exception.
 While on a technicality this could be seen as being true, each of the ships in serivce with P&O since 2001 have served their mainly British passengers, from a design point of view this is however a complete contrast to the reality, P&O's post merger fleet have all consisted of generic Carnival/Princess designs built with no real consideration for the British passenger beyond a few aesthetic modifications to make it more 'British'.
It is  a complete contrast to that mentality at the time ORIANA was designed the foremost goal that was set was the ship would be designed to appeal to her British clientele in both a decor and range of facilites on board, thus features such as a full Cinema and West End style was included where her US based cousins would combine both venues into a large Las Vegas styled show lounge complete bar service.
 While on a technical level her hull was built stronger than a standard cruise ship and her longer bow and deeper draught give her superior sea keeping quailities with her higher speed she is able to reach ports from her homeport in less time than other ships.
Many of these features would later be carried forward to the design of AURORA,  sadly that would be as far as her design linage would strech  as between them ORIANA and AURORA would become the last passenger ships designed for The P&O Group.
Despite P&O's promises that there will be no more departures from the fleet after ORIANA it more than likely that AURORA will be following ORIANA and leaveing the fleet in the not so distant future allowing Carnival UK to reshape it in the way it feels fit with it's remaing mishmash of mass market Carnival ships to quote the company in recent email to ourselves-
"Our vision is to become Britain's number one holiday company and by balancing guest loyalty and commercial need as well as investing in our current fleet, we are confident that this will be achieved"
Contrasting to the down key and disrespectful way ORIANA has been treated recently we will finish with a brief recap of the 9th April 1995 when ORIANA was the new star of the P&O Cruise fleet, the first super liner built for Britain, and her whole future and that of her owners streached out on her horizon.

quinta-feira, 19 de julho de 2018

End of an era :- A question of registery

Further to our previous post after we have found that briefly ORIANA was registerd to the Marshall Islands on 1st June  before being re registered to Bermuda the very same day as can be seen below.

Adding further unaswered questions that are surround ORIANA's future this happened 27 days before ORIANA's ownership was transferred to the mystrious Oriental Fleet Cruise 01 Ltd, so it must have been Carnival themselves who transferred the registry but for what reason and why the Marshall Islands?
Carnival Plc seemingly have no links there except the aforementioned Oriental Fleet Cruise 01 Ltd who as revealed previously are registered yet their main address is Care of Carnival UK's headquaters.
While we know very little about what lies ahead for ORIANA and the events around her sale, the one thing we do know for sure is that in her final year with P&O after all she has acheived for the brand, standards she introduced and her contribution to the British cruise market she deserves to be treated better than how she has been.

segunda-feira, 16 de julho de 2018

End of an Era:- ORIANA's New Owner?

 Since the news of ORIANA's departure from the P&O Cruises fleet in August next year there has been pleanty of speculation and rumours and very little information relating to ORIANA's future.
 P&O/Carnival themselves have stated very little relating to ORIANA's future role apart from 'Operating in the Chinese domestic market'
The epitome of P&O ORIANA in the Norwegian Fjords
With very little infomation available naturely rumours began to circulate around the ship's future there were some self apponited cruise experts who claim their reliable sources were telling them that Fred. Olsen Criuse line were in fact the buyers, while another source a supposed employee claimed that Cruise & Maritime Voyages had shown an interest in the ship but due to Carnival UK's strict conditions pulled out of a sale, this at least is feasible they have made two purchases from Carnival in the past couple of years including one of ORIANA's former fleet mates the privious ARCADIA now  COLUMBUS under CMV.
While for some the reason behind her departure from the fleet has more interest, one blogger claiming it is due ORIANA's custom built mechanical transmission system becoming increasingly unreliable citing several of ORIANA's technical issues as evidence while it is possible of course it is worth stating that the 18 year old AURORA who features an electrical transmission system has suffered many more technical issues than ORIANA,
They also claim many of ORIANA's outdated features and cabin sizes maybe be a factor, some of these being features which she shares with AURORA who is remainig with the fleet for the time being.
Concreate infomation regarding ORIANA's future has been almost impossible to come by in attempt gain further insight we contacted P&O Cruises twice to see if they were willing to give the name of ORIANA's buyer and on both occasions they were not very forthcoming however they did reveal that despite ORIANA's special place in with their passengers and the company they felt ORIANA's time had come and it would be better to invest in the remaing ships in the fleet saying-
"ORIANA is a much loved ship, and I know our guests (and indeed us as a company) are extremely sad to see her go. Although we do love the ship, we did feel that it would be prudent to focus on our other mid-sized and larger ships, especially with the arrival of two new ships in the fleet, and maintaining our high standard." 

However today we are able reveal the very little infomation that has come to light regarding ORIANA's post P&O career thanks to the detective work of well known ship enthusiast and spotter Patrica Dempsey,
On the 28th June just a day before the announcement ORIANA's ownership was transferred to ORIENTAL FLEET CRUISE 01 LTD a company whose address is listed as
'c/o Carnival Plc (Carnival UK) Carnival House,100, Harbour Prade Southampton, SO15 1ST, United Kingdom'
So who is Oriental Fleet Cruise 01 Ltd? well there is very little we can say for sure, investgating a little further found that the company is registered in the Marshall Islands, the company is not registered with Companies House in London or any other register of companies, the only confirmation of it's existence is it's International Maritime Organization number which also lists it's fleet consisting of ORIANA.
IMO/IHS entry for 'Oriental Fleet Cruise 01 Ltd'

So what can we deduce from any of this? In all honesty not very much perhaps Oriental Fleet Cruise 01 is a new Carnival venture or perhaps a new company formed in Asia to operate in China as P&O have stated previosly, at this moment we can not say for sure but as soon as we have more infomation we will let our readers know