sábado, 26 de fevereiro de 2011

ORIANA-Continuing a long tradition

When launched in 1995 ORIANA built on and continued the traditions of her owners P&O, even the destinations of her maiden voyage were a reflection of the company's past, in its earliest days P&O had ran mail services from the British mainland to the Iberian peninsular calling at Vigo and Lisbon among others.
From here the company also offered journeys down to Madeira and then onwards to Gibraltar,
It is for this reason that the house flag which ORIANA and her fleetmates fly comprises of the colours of flags from Portugal and Spain as they appeared in the the 1830s.

The Flags of Spain and Portugal in 1830s and P&Os house flag.

From here the company would grow to include calls throughout the Mediterranean, Asia and eventually all the way to Australia and New Zealand. ORIANA can truly boast that when on a circumnavigation of the world she is on P&Os line voyage, flying proudly her flag and P&Os history in the many and varied ports that she'll visit.

quinta-feira, 24 de fevereiro de 2011

Coincidence in Funchal on a 13th April

On the 13th April of 2008, Funchal's harbour hosted an interesting coincidence, it marked 13 years since ORIANA's inaugural in the "Garden Island", and at the same time, Holland America's NOORDAM made it's first call in Funchal, accompanied by ORIANA herself.
ORIANA was returning home back from a 101 night world cruise, while the 81,769 gt NOORDAM visited Funchal on a eastbound transatlantic ready to start her new Summer season in the Med.
11 years separte the two Carnival owned ships, besides NOORDAM'a much modern and "Vista" profile, ORIANA's inaugural 13 years ago was a lot memorable, and so was reason for her passengers to celebrate with an outstanding deck party, as they left for Southampton by late afternoon on a much pleasent 13th of April.

quarta-feira, 23 de fevereiro de 2011

History in the Making - Part 2 - Construction I

Dream Starts in Germany

On the 20th January 1992 P&O officially announced that it had a month previously signed a contract for the construction of its new liner with Meyer Werft, while the ship entered its final design stages P&O assembled a team people to work on certain aspects of the project headed by project leader Jim Hunter they comprised of the new ships Chief engineer designate Marcus James, Purser Chris Bullen, specialist theatre designer John Wyckham and alongside them numerous other people from shipboard departments and P&O’s operations and marketing departments.
While that team began its work P&O began other preparations into the ships construction and assembled another team to work more closely with the shipyard, these included site manager Peter Bonham who would be on site with his team of inspectors to make sure the work met with P&O’s high standards.
P&O had already chosen the ships master, Commodore Ian Gibb who in preparation for the new role as ORIANA first commander was assigned to the recently completed Princess ships Crown & Regal Princess being of similar tonnage to the new ship the experience would prepare him for his new role.
Meanwhile to ensure the final designs were what was required two models of the ship, one 3 metres in length and the other 8 metres, these were taken to Trondheim, Norway for testing in one of the largest testing tanks in Europe, with further tests being performed on the aerodynamics of the designs gas emissions and the proposed anchor in Vienna.
10 months after the contract was signed and all design work almost complete on the 4th October 1992 the first steel was delivered to Meyer Werft where it underwent numerous inspections by Bonham and his team he explained “P&O is a very demanding client which wants first-class ships built”.“Classification societies such of Lloyds are employed by the shipyards but I and my inspectors are independent, there at the request of the client.”
Although it had some experience of modern shipbuilding with its subsidiary Princess P&O had not ordered a new ship for its UK service since 1956 when the order for CANBERRA had been placed with Harland & Wolff, in the years since then shipbuilding techniques had radically changed.
When the previous ORIANA and CANBERRA were built although being of very different design the basic construction of the two ships were the same, the majority of the hull being built in the traditional manner of steel riveted hull plates with larger welded aluminium superstructure.
The new ship would be built using newer prefabrication methods in Meyer Werft’s enclosed building dock as ship number 636:
Building dock 1 © Meyer Werft

While the preparations at Meyer Werft were almost complete there was one vital area which had so far received little attention: the engines.
For this they looked to MAN B&W in Augsburg, who using a state of the art computer system which calculated the best engine system for the ship.
Suggested a so called father and son arrangement of 4 medium speed diesel producing 39,750kW at 428rpm to supply the propulsive power, with a further four auxiliary engines developing 4,420kW to supply the mains electricity for the ships A/C machinery and hotel services.

Construction begins

As the sun rose on the 11th March 1993 it did so on the first day ORIANA’s official existence, later that day a group of around 100 people gathered on the floor of the building dock before them stood the first block of 636.

The keel is laid

Keeping with tradition P&O’s Tim Harris placed a 1 pence coin onto the keel and Meyer Werft Bernard Meyer, Chief executive officer placed a 1 Pfennig coin.
Both giving speeches Harris took the opportunity to officially announce the name of 636, ORIANA.
He concluded by saying “ ORIANA will lead in terms of design, elegance and passenger comfort” and that “She’ll epitomise everything that is best about Britain”.
As the assembled guests prepared to head off for celebration lunch a brass band also in the dock played for the occasion playing both Deutschlandlied and God Save the Queen.
Within hours of the guests leaving the next block of ORIANA was lowered into place slowly at first but surely the great ship began to grow.
With the name now know by the public reaction was varied especially among the fans of the previous ORIANA, to some it was great news a new ORIANA to sail the oceans of the world to continue the legacy of her predecessor while to others they felt that the new ship no matter how well built would not be able to live up the previous one's reputation.
With the construction underway P&O began to publish publicity material including sending existing passengers booklets regularly covering the design and what passengers could expect when the ship was completed.
It was also at this time with computer generated images that the public could see what the completed ORIANA would look like.
Computer image of ORIANA © P&O Cruises

Once construction began the pace quickened, by May 1993 2,000 tonnes of steel was in place, by July 4,036 tonnes ; by November 7,762.
11 months after construction had began 10,845 tonnes of steel had been erected.
Soon ORIANA would take on a shape that would come to be identifiable and loved worldwide.
Development: Steve Martin.

terça-feira, 22 de fevereiro de 2011

Deck parties on ORIANA

One of the main entertainment highlights on board ORIANA is the deck parties,
Owing to ORIANA's generous open deck space the parties are always guaranteed to be good fun if not a little loud.

On ORIANA two different deck parties are normally held, the first during cruises to warmer climates it the tropical/pirate themed party.
During these parties the ships guest band Natural high supply the music while the passengers dance conga and generally have a good time around the Riviera pool before the streamer throwing at midnight, often one of the members of crew ends up in the pool.

The second type of deck party is the sailaway party, often but not always held on at the terrace pool when ORIANA sails from each part of call, they include singing and some interesting dancing.
When sailing from the last port of call of the cruise the party is called "The Great British Sailaway"
It features a lot of flag waving and music from each country of the British Isles.

Oriana waves goodbye to Madeira.
Photos: Copyright P&O Cruises.

segunda-feira, 21 de fevereiro de 2011

First New Year of ORIANA in Funchal

In the year of 1995, on a gray New Year's Eve morning, Funchal welcomed the first ship of many scheduled that day. From Tenerife the newest built ORIANA berthed in Funchal for her very first New Year.
The first New Year in Funchal of many that were to follow for ORIANA, P&O by the years have cruised to the Atlantic especially for this occasion, CANBERRA was also a loyal visitor on this date where many passenger ships gather to witness the well knowed and now rewared fireworks that welcome the New Year in magnificent style.With ORIANA, on 31th December 1995, were the 1975 built UKRAINA former BELORRUSSIYA with her new blue livery, Fred Olsen's BLACK PRINCE, THE AZUR and MAXIM GORKIY, whose arrival at anchor took place two hours before the fireworks display.
At almost 1 am on the 1st January 1996, ORIANA left Funchal inbound her homeport of Southampton.
Photos by: © Nuno Jesus.Check out more ORIANA in Funchal New Year photos and reports in "ORIANA of 1995".

sábado, 19 de fevereiro de 2011

200 Years of Meyer Werft celebrated on ORIANA

In April 1995 two companies both with with long histories had reason to celebrate, for P&O ORIANA was the culmination of over 150 years experience in passenger shipping with her being the largest ship and that the company had ordered for their UK operation, but for Meyer Werft themselves ORIANA as was a reason to celebrate, not only the largest ship built in Germany her completion also marked the 200th anniversary of the company which had been founded by Wilam Rolf Meyer in 1795.
The celebrations were held on board Oriana where German Chancellor Helmut Kohl joined P&O's chairman Lord Sterling and P&O Cruises Chairman Tim Harris for a tour and lunch on their latest technical masterpiece.
German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, second from left joins P&O management to celebrate Meyer Werfts 200 years of shipbuilding activities.
Photo Copyright: Meyer Werft.

sexta-feira, 18 de fevereiro de 2011

The world of ORIANA

Since her maiden voyage 16 years ago ORIANA has visited many ports in all four corners of the globe, here in some of P&O photos she is shown in various ports looking as elegant as ever.
At Bonaire

At Tenerife

Vancouver, Canada

Transiting the Panama Canal

At anchor, Hamilton,Whitsunday Islands

Entering Grand harbour, Valletta, Malta

In Geiranger Fjord, Norway

At North Cape, Norway

Photos Copyright P&O Cruises.

Inaugural call of ORIANA in Funchal - 12-13/04/1995

ORIANA's inaugural call at Funchal was certainly a event much appreciated by the locals, as she arrived by late afternoon from Southampton on the 12th of April of 1995, during her maiden cruise. Followed by a overnight, she departed the next day to start her first Canary Islands visits.Some local postcards show ORIANA leaving inbound Tenerife on the afternoon of 13th April. A large crowd was assisting in the shores and harbour, looking at the ship not only based on CANBERRA's main features but that was to continue her legacy years to follow.From the numerous Madeira promotional cards released, it's clearly seen that ORIANA's inaugural was truly a memorable event in Funchal.
Images: João Abreu Collection.

quinta-feira, 17 de fevereiro de 2011

ORIANA and the rough seas in Funchal - 20/12/2010

The month of December 2010, was in Funchal bay, a period with rough seas, as it's normal in the Season. In the first days of the month, 5 cruise ship calls were canceled, one of them being P&O's Arcadia. Some days later, on the 17th, Cunard's QUEEN ELIZABETH delayed her berthing for 8 hours due to bad weather.On the 20th of December, the bay was again having rough seas and strong winds blowing from southwest, a great nightmare for any captain to dock his ship in Funchal. So captain Ian Hutley, in ORIANA at the time, was in charge to berth the ship in these conditions. ORIANA arrived in the bay about 11 am from Southampton, and the captain went for the most reasonable atempt in this weather, to berth by portside. A tugboat went to assist her in this operation. However the first atempt was a failure as ORIANA changed heading south to wait for an opening.About midday, ORIANA went for a second atempt, the tug was nearby and after a carefull manouver, she managed to berth nice and safely, with lot's of eyes observing from the shore.Also in port that day were the 1983 built THOMSON SPIRIT and the most recent AIDA ship, the 71.000 gross tons AIDA BLU.Scheduled to arrive by late afternoon, her fleetmate AURORA, also experienced rough seas at the arrival. ORIANA left her moorings by 6 pm, and afterwards AURORA on a first atempt made her safe berthing. Next followed a nice overnight in Funchal after the voyage from Southampton.AURORA prepares to berth while ORIANA on the background leaves for Tenerife.
Photos by João Abreu.

quarta-feira, 16 de fevereiro de 2011

History in the Making - Part 1 - Art and Conception III

The Interior Design

As mentioned in last weeks post a important addition to the team was made in October 1991 when Robert Tillberg was appointed as coordinating architect to Project Gemini as he explained
“The most important period was before the contract, when I was the only person working with P&O’s team on Gemini/Oriana. That was when we laid the plans and decided the functions of the different rooms and their ambiance.”

Robert Tillberg
Tillberg’s brief was effectively what P&O had come up with in the early planning stages, a ships interior that was British in character yet in its design modern.
“When the contract was signed, P&O and I decided to give some of the public rooms to other architects.”
These were British architect John McNeece to work on some of the public rooms and Norwegian Petter Yran to work on the cabins, both experts in their field of work.
In order to get an idea of exactly what was needed Tillberg took two trips onboard Canberra to get a feel for what was required
Of the experience he said “ I was very impressed by: no much by the ship, because she is a old ship and had been altered and added , but I was impressed by the atmosphere onboard”.
It was now that Tillberg had a better view of what his designs should incorporate.

Cutaway image of Oriana as completed.
The first public space he began working on was perhaps one of the most important for the ship, the area which would give the passenger their first impression of life onboard ORIANA, the atrium.
Standing 4 storeys tall at the heart of ORIANA the atrium's’ centrepiece is a elegant curved spiral staircase which sweeps from D Deck to F Deck.
Behind the staircase set into a marble wall is a waterfall that runs the entire height of the atrium emptying into a pool beneath the last flight of the staircase.

Each level of the atrium has its own name which contains some of the ships amenities, beginning on F Deck and working up they are, Garden Court which contains the reception desk, E Deck - Queens Court that holds the lower level of Knightsbridge shopping along with the emporium shop,
Promenade Deck- Royal Court which contains the upper level Knightsbridge shopping,

E Deck shopping area

D Deck- Tiffany Court which contains Tiffany’s Bar which allows passengers to enjoy a wide ranges of drinks while relaxing under a stained glass tiffany styled art deco ceiling.Tiffanys

Although the atrium is indeed a beautiful and elegant introduction to the style of Oriana passengers who are more accustomed to the North American cruise market might find it lacking in the glitz and glamour those ships feature as standard, it is the perfect realisation of P&O’s concept, refined good taste and above all very British in character.


While Robert Tillberg worked with John McNeece on the public areas Petter Yran worked on what was required from the most important rooms onboard ORIANA the passengers cabins,
After being given the basic brief from Tillberg he was free to do what he wanted to achieve the final product.
To begin with it was necessary to look at what was required from the cabins both decoratively and from a practical point of view,
Firstly the cabins needed to welcoming to the passengers and inevitably have to give the atmosphere fitting of a premier cruise ship also in order to accommodate ORIANA’s longer cruises the cabins would require a
large amount of storage space, this is achieved by each cabin having a minimum of 12 draws for clothes storage with a further two in a unit next to each bed and a full height wardrobe with capacity for shirts, suits, and evening dresses.
As with the rest of the ship the cabins had to reflect a unique style of their own, at the time with most ships entering service for the North American market the trend was for cabins to be scaled down versions of hotel rooms,
“Virtually all new cruise ships today are designed for the North American Market” Yarn commented on being interviewed at the time
“ I have never known before of any cruise ship in the world where 96-97 per cent of the passengers would be British”
“When they come onboard a ship they expect the interiors to look more ship like and functional, whereas the Americans expect a floating hotel.”
So for the overall look of the cabins he adopted a ship like design making use of as much wood and wood laminates as possible and avoiding the use of shape edges around cabin furniture
Another requirement for cabins was of course for all to have on-suite bathroom facilities a feature that was lacking in parts of Canberra’s accommodation due to the original nature of the venerable liner.
Another feature to note about ORIANA’s cabins bathrooms is the number which include a bath, about 50 % of the bath rooms do, this is significantly higher number than would be found on a US market ship where the number would be 20 - 30 per cent,
 Of the 914 cabins on board 594 are outside cabins, 118 include balconies of these 8 are suites and 16 are mini-suites, the remaining 320 cabins onboard are inside cabins.

As P&O proudly said in the official book of "ORIANA, From Dream To Reality, “the ship is a one-class ship: first class, unlike other prestigious ships that had gone before her if you book the cheapest grade of cabin or the most expensive suite you are guaranteed to receive the same high standards of service."

Public Rooms

Onboard ORIANA the public rooms are located on Sun Deck, Lido Deck, D deck, Promenade Deck and the main restaurants on Deck E
Tillberg’s aim with the interiors was to create a feeling of openness and to emphasize the size of ship this most apparent the public rooms on the upper decks these are The Crows Nest , Medina room and Cyber Study on the Sun Deck, The Gymnasium, health spa, Al fresco Pizzeria and The Conservatory buffet restaurant on the Lido deck.
This was achieved by using where ever possible large floor to ceiling windows, creating spaces which allow a maximum amount sunlight and of course stunning views.
This is creates the perfect ambiance for The Crows Nest bar, a bar with views that no other onboard no other can rival,
Named after the similarly used bar on Canberra The Crows Nest’s design is inspired by nautical themes and includes a authentic classic style ships compass and a model of one of P&O’s R Class ships built in the mid 1920s and to add a to add a unique aspect the individual seating all has the word ORIANA and the previous ORIANA’s badge proudly displayed.
A room that always attracts many passengers, the sights t o behold from here very from the Norwegian Fjords to the Panama Canal or just to watch the sunset over the open seas.

One deck below The Crows Nest is ORIANA’s health and fitness spa complex -The Oasis Spa, also including the ships Gymnasium this is another area which makes use of floor to ceiling windows,
To allow for the passenger to relax completely the Spa includes: Steam room, a Jacuzzi, a hair and beauty salon, massage treatment rooms.
  Another room onboard which bespeaks the origins of ORIANA, is Andersons located on the promenade deck.
Named after Arthur Anderson one of the founders of P&O the room takes its inspiration from the late 19th/early 20th century London clubs and with its wood panelling and traditional furniture could easily have fitted in onboard a Edwardian ocean liner.
The room features as a tribute to its namesake a bronze relief depicting Anderson.


Further aft on the promenade deck is Harlequins one of the rooms given to John McNeece, ORIANA’s ballroom during the day and early evening, it changes function to that of nightclub during the later hours.
To welcome passengers to dance in Harlequins a statue of Harlequin and Columbine dancing stands guard at the entrance.
Featuring the largest dance floor in the P&O Cruises fleet, Harlequins continues the nautical/exploration theme by having a large compass motif at its centre all of which goes in to making this the most popular nightspot onboard.
Continuing aft on the promenade is another of McNeece’s rooms the onboard sports bar Lords Tavern as the name suggests its theme is a cricket one, a tribute both to the much loved game and to the Cricketers Tavern onboard Canberra which over the years had become one of the liners most popular venues.
In order to create a feel of a sports bar McNeece used many references to cricket, careful examination of the bar will reveal that the ends are shaped as cricket balls, the carpet in part of the room is designed to look like a cricket pitch and the most obvious feature aside form the memorabilia on the walls is a large mural depicting Lords cricket ground.
Being typically British in it is decorative style its described by some as being one of the only true examples of a authentic British styled bar at sea.

Lords Tavern

By far the largest room on the promenade deck is the Theatre Royal, located at the forward end of the deck, the 650 seat theatre offers full theatre style productions courtesy of The headliners, P&O's own theatre company, in keeping with the theme of entertainment the two entrances to the theatre are lined with photos of legendary film and theatre stars.`To keep the passengers comfortable the room is heated and cooled by vents on the back of the seats.
Heading up to D Deck where more of the public rooms are located on this Deck is as mentioned before Tiffanys, Oriana Rhodes Restaurants, originally designed as the Curzon Room a Piano recital room , the Chaplin’s Cinema, Library and writing room and at the aft end of the deck the children’s facilities, which are to be removed in November this year.
Named after Charlie Chaplin, the cinema with a capacity of 200 is used to show modern and classic films but also is used to host lectures.
To have a dedicated cinema on board a modern cruise ship is actually quite a rarity. To reflect the nature of Chaplin himself passengers are greeted by not one but two statues of Chaplin in character as "The Tramp"

Chaplins Cinema and Peter Pans children's area.

Chaplins entrance

The library and Thackeray writing room are two more rooms to give a special mention to, named after the renowned English writer William Makepeace Thackeray who once sailed on one of P&O's early ships Tagus the two rooms furniture and bookshelves were designed by the nephew of her Majesty the Queen, David Linley, the room gives a relaxed atmosphere within its wooden panels to read a book or magazine or to write letters home about your travels.


Onboard ORIANA there are two main restaurants The Peninsular and The Oriental. The Peninsular which seats 400 passengers at one time is located midships and The Oriental which seats 500 passengers is aft, in decorative style both have a similar style with mirrored ceiling panel and much and matching carpets and seating. The Peninsular Restaurant's colour scheme features a tasteful light green, and light coloured wood work, the forward walls are mirrored to increase the sense of openness, however the rooms most unique feature is a painting that covers the entire centre of the aft wall showing The Journey of Odysseus. The overall effects creates a bright and airy environment with unique Art Deco inspired lamps of the tables to help create sophisticated atmosphere. The Peninsular Restaurant

The Oriental Restaurant located in the very stern is of similar style to that of Peninsular however the colour scheme is red with darker wood, however the most stunning feature here is not a work of art instead the room boasts sea views on three sides.

The Oriental Restaurant

ORIANA also feature three other dining venues, The Conservatory buffet, Al Frescos Pizzeria, both located on the lido deck and Oriana Rhodes located on D Deck, Oriana Rhodes is the restaurant of chef Gary Rhodes who often travels onborad,The room was formerly The Curzon room a music venue where Piano recitals could be heard on most nights. As hopefully can be seen words alone can not do ORIANA justice, but hopefully we have created some idea what thought went into creating the great lady and the thought process her designers also went through.
The design work they did although aimed at the British market has become popular with not only the target market but as well other nationalities among them Australian, Portuguese, Spanish and South African, a real tribute to the effort which was put into creating ORIANA.
Development: Steve Martin.
Photos copyright P&O Cruises & Meyer Werft.
Next week arrives the first post of Part 2 of "History in the Making" - Construction. Not to be missed!