quinta-feira, 31 de março de 2011

ORIANA - New Years Eve in Funchal - 1998

On a sunny New Years Eve of 1998, ORIANA was one of the first cruise ships to arrive in Funchal, of 5 scheduled to witness yet another memorable fireworks display.From Tenerife, she left the 1965 built SAGA ROSE dock first in port, then aproximatly half past nine am she was fully secured with both the Saga liner and the 6,757 GT ASTRA II in position.
Later that morning the fourth cruise ship joined the meeting, Fred Olsen's BLACK WATCH secured her mooring place at ORIANA's stern, having arrived from the small Canary island of La Gomera.The fifth at final ship of the day, was to make her way in port by late afternoon, the former ferry boat THE AZUR docked in the opposite north terminal, where she would stay for the late night show.At 10 past 11 pm ORIANA released her mooring lines and set out for the anchorage to have a better view of the fireworks. Having welcomed the new year in style, she left Funchal in the first 20 minutes of 1999 inbound the nothern spanish port of Vigo.
Photos: © Nuno Jesus.

quarta-feira, 30 de março de 2011

History in the Making - Part 3 -Delivery and Christening III

And “I name this ship ORIANA.”
With ORIANA completed and delivered to P&O, all that remained was to deliver the ship to her home port of Southampton where in a spectacular and fitting ceremony she would be named by Queen Elizabeth II. For P&O this had been a long held dream of having the reigning monarch name their flagship, although the company had many royal connections, it had the distinction of being the only British shipping company to have been founded officially by Royal Charter from Queen Victoria in 1837, it also had been given permission by the royal houses of Spain and Portugal to use the colours of their flags. While preparations were underway in Southampton ORIANA with her crew for the first time in charge of her, bid goodbye to land of her birth and to Eemshaven as the ship headed out into the North Sea this time to take southerly course through the English Channel on route to her new home. Due to the heavy sea conditions that ORIANA had encountered during her sea trials which had resulted to in a rescheduling of some of the trials, this meant that her departure was later than had first been anticipated.
Commodore Gibb on the bridge.
Being only a short journey ORIANA was expected to arrive the next day, for the remainder of the day and night ORIANA navigated through the English channel passing the east coast of the British mainland to starboard and the Dutch/Belgian coast to port. Onboard were a few shipyard workers who had a few final fittings to check complete and check, also the ships first photographers preparing their onboard shop and photo printing room. During the early hours of the morning ORIANA slowed as she approached the Nab Tower Lighthouse in the Dover Straits marking entry into the Solent. Embarking the pilot for the first time ORIANA continued slowly ahead, as day broke curious spectators watched as at first light the ship continued to make her way up river towards Southampton. As is tradition when a new ship arrives in Southampton local people, ship enthusiasts and photographers took yachts and small boats out to greet and escort the ship into dock while at her bow tugs gave a traditional water hose welcome. For the first time many of P&O’s and CANBERRA’s loyal fans were able to view her in person as the historic port welcomed the worlds newest and finest passenger liner.
On an overcast Southampton morning ORIANA arrives.
Due to the ship arriving later than was planned the next three days up until the naming would be a busy period of last minute preparations and arranged visits and over the next five days would have a heavy schedule of events going on onboard which would see 10,000 visitors enjoy ORIANA’s hospitality. As was expected ORIANA attracted much media attention including interviews with members of P&O’s management and the ships crew among them Commodore Gibb, Speaking of his anticipation of the maiden cruise he said “ Funchal in Madeira is one of our favourite ports of call, there’ll be a great welcome, with a half a bottle of Madeira wine for every passenger and corsages of local flowers- and the weather is almost always sunny too.” However before the maiden cruise there was the important matter of the naming ceremony which was set for the 6th April An event like no other the naming is always ranked as one of the most memorable in the life of a ship and P&O certainly wanted ORIANA’s to as special as possible. For those who had been lucky enough to stay onboard over night and those arriving early the day started with a classical music presentation which was held in the Crows Nest bar followed by recitals in the Pacific Lounge. Afterwards they joined the later arrivals on the dockside where they took their seats on the specially installed seating which had been set up next ORIANA for the occasion. All being seated by 11am the guests were honoured by musical entertainment supplied by the Band of HM Royal Marines until Her Majesty arrived. From behind as the band played, the Royal Train from London could be heard pulling into the station. With cameras filming to broadcast the occasion to the world and The Choir of Westminster Abby singing Fair Oriana, Beauty’s Queen, Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness Prince Philip The Duke of Edinburgh took their places on the podium in front of ORIANA. Before the ceremony began and as is always the case when Her Majesty is present the choir led the singing of the National Anthem and the introduction were made by the Master of Ceremonies, then followed the playing of Fanfare to ORIANA a piece of music which had been composed by the famed composer Benjamin Britten for the launch of the previous ORIANA. After the music finished speeches were made by the chairman of Associated British Ports and Lord Sterling, concluding with the ship being blessed with holy water by the Bishop of Basingstoke. With Commodore Gibb and Lord Sterling looking on Her Majesty said the words that in the English language are so associated with ship naming ceremonies -“ I name this ship ORIANA, may god bless her and all who sail in her.” she pulled the leaver sending the bottle champagne smashing against the “I” in the ships name as ORIANA’s horn blew enthusiastically much to the excitement of the crowd many of whom admitted later of having a tear in their eyes. After the naming its self Her Majesty went onboard ORIANA to dine and for a tour of the ship as did many other guests. Including many areas the paying public would never see including the navigational bridge.
Her Majesty is shown the ships plaque. On the bridge.
To complete what had been a perfect day as night fell a full pyrotechnic display was arranged by P&O to celebrate in the grandest possible way the arrival of ORIANA- Queen of Seas.

Celebration fireworks.

And so the first chapter of ORIANA’s story came to a spectacular end ORIANA had gone from concept-Gemini, to a solid reality, in 3 days she would depart on her maiden cruise for Madeira where a warm welcome awaited for her first landfall.

ORIANA had truly arrived.

Photo Copyrights: P&O Cruises.

segunda-feira, 28 de março de 2011

Tropical nights onboard ORIANA

If it is one thing which a holidaymaker from the British mainland always wants while away from home 9 times out of 10 its sun, sea and a tropical climate. Of course any time spent on ORIANA offers the sea and much of the time sun too, so to add to the feeling of a tropical break away on ORIANA a Tropical themed night is often included during the cruises to warmer climes. The highlight of the evening mostly being the deck parties mentioned in a earlier post, the evening begins somewhat earlier at dinner where instead of wearing their uniform the waiters will be dressed in Hawaiian styled shirts and some of the desert dishes on the menu will have decidedly tropical flavour. Moving on up to the lido deck later in the evening the deck will be awash with colour as passengers and the entertainment team usually wear the always bad taste but very amusing Hawaiian shirts With the odd pirate or two taking photographs! Music often has a very exotic flavour invoking images of lush Caribbean islands with songs such as Hot Hot Hot by Arrow and occasionally changing language to Spanish for the Mexican folk song La Bamba and to Portuguese for the song Lambada, always accompanied enthusiastically by passengers dancing.

Photos Copyright P&O Cruises

sábado, 26 de março de 2011

A grand meeting for 2012

On 3rd July 2012 ORIANA will join her fleet mates in Southampton for a grand celebration .
For the first time all 7 ships of the fleet will gather in order to mark P&O's 175th anniversary.
For what P&O is calling its grand event ORIANA will join in as each ship departs in procession and will parade out to the open sea, once there before heading their separate ways the fleet will salute each other.
ORIANA will then make the overnight crossing to Amsterdam, The Netherlands on a four day cruise.
ORIANA in Southampton Copyright, P&O Cruises

More detail can be found on P&O Cruises' dedicated grand event website: http://175.pocruises.com/.
ORIANA meets OCEANA in Southampton, Unknown source

sexta-feira, 25 de março de 2011

ORIANA brings the summer to Santa Cruz de Tenerife

The ORIANA data visits by the Tenerife port authorities, only dates back from May of 1996 and mentions 79 visits made by this emblematic ship in Santa Cruz harbour, including today.The previous visit was carried out in January 2011 and the inaugural call took place on 14th April 1995 during her maiden voyage.
Today there has been a glorious and sunny day much to the joy of the passengers onboard ORIANA like the ones on BOUDICCA and ISLAND ESCAPE, also in port.The call of the british vessel lasted until half 10 pm, an extented visit since she was scheduled to leave at 6. Next stop Arrecife in Lanzarote.
Thanks to the new AIS receiver in Hierro island(and to the excelent conditions in propagation recently) we've been able to know "to the minute" her route since she sailed from Funchal.Photos & Text: © Antonio Sáez - Tenerife.
Antonio Sáez is one of the most active ship spotters in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, he doesn't miss to photograph his ships with fantastic sunrise conditions and nocturnal ambience, making his photos quite unique. You can keep close with Antonio's work following Sergio@cruises blog and o Porto da Graciosa where he updates frequently about Tenerife ship activity.

quinta-feira, 24 de março de 2011

ORIANA-November refit.

As was announced last year ORIANA will go into refit for two weeks in November this year to accommodate the change from family cruising to adults only.
The majority of the alterations will be to the aft end of Deck 8 (D) where the space formerly occupied by the children and teenager areas will be replaced by 27 new cabins and the children's swimming pool removed and replaced by a seating area and enlarged bar.Of the cabins 12 will be new balcony cabins requiring the removal of hull plating aft of the lifeboat recesses above the promenade deck, 4 will be obstructed view and the remainder inside cabins including 2 single cabins

Deck plans showing the current and future look of Deck 8.

ORIANA in Funchal 21st August 2010 showing the area where the new cabins will be added
Commenting on the changes Manging Director Carol Marlow said:
"We’re delighted that with these changes Oriana will become even more elegant and very well suited to passengers seeking a sophisticated environment exclusively for adults"
Other alterations to ORIANA will include the addition of two new restaurants, the Ocean grill and the Sorrento.
The Ocean grill will be replacing the Oriana Rhodes restaurant and feature menus from renowned chef Marco Pierre White while the Sorrento will replace the Al Fresco Pizzeria and offer fine Italian cuisine.
ORIANA will leave service on the 16th November and will return on the 30th.
At this time no mention has been made to where the refit will take place.
Deck plans Copyright P&O cruises, Photo Copyright Steve Martin.

quarta-feira, 23 de março de 2011

ORIANA in Funchal 5 hours late

Images of ORIANA arriving in Funchal from Southampton by early afternoon, with some significant 5 hours delay.
In this new 11 night Canary Isles cruises she'll visit the best of the spanish archipelago, now to return to Funchal on the 1st October. For this summer ORIANA will operate mostly Med cruises with some Baltic and Norwegian Fjords itineraries.
ORIANA leaves Funchal for Las Palmas at 7 pm
Photos by Nuno Jesus.

History in the Making-Part 3-Delivery and Christening II

Sea trials in the North Sea.
March 1995:- After a more or less successful journey from Papenburg and a short stopover at Hamburg for a hull inspection ORIANA was at last ready to head out to sea to prove the ships technical systems.
The Trials would take place over the course of 10 days and would test all aspects of the ship including: Stopping distances at different speeds, manoeuvrability, deployment of lifeboat and testing of lifesaving equipment, effectiveness of the stabilizers and of course a full speed run to see what top speed ORIANA could actually achieve.
Alongside members of the crew many shipyard workers remained onboard to continue with the remaining fitting out tasks such as adding the balcony dividers and fittings such as artwork and some light fixtures.
Among those onboard ORIANA anticipation was high, finally after years of planning and designing the ship was a solid reality a new flagship ready to begin what would be hopefully a long career and to be the latest showcase of P&O’s high levels of service.
Although many different tests had been preformed on the ships design during the later planning stages it was not until now that P&O would know exactly how ORIANA would perform.
As ORIANA took to the high seas for the first time the weather took a turn for the worse the sea conditions deteriorated rapidly and soon the ship found herself in conditions which certainly would be a test for her sea keeping abilities.
As a sign of early promise with the aid of the stabilizers ORIANA only rolled by a about 3 degrees in either direction much to the pleasure of those aboard.
Many commenting on how despite the heavy seas how the ship kept a steady course throughout.
The work that had gone into making ORIANA suitable for all season cruising seemed to have been worth it as her deep sharp angled bow deflected the North Seas ferocious waves like her great predecessor ORIANA showed to have excellent sea keeping abilities.

On a rough North Sea March 1995.
To ORIANA’s crew the new ship with greater manoeuvrability than was available on CANBERRA was a delight to operate.
Commodore Gibb commented “Everyone who knows me knows of my affinity for CANBERRA but with her you had to plan every manoeuvre 10 Minutes in advance whereas with ORIANA everything is instantaneous.”
Also being demonstrated during the trials was the great range of speeds available to the ship using the variable pitch propellers from full head ORIANA was able to be ordered to full stop or full astern within a matter of seconds by just inverting the angle of the propellers’ blades instead of fully stopping and reversing the engines.

Chief engineer Marcus James checks one of the engines.

As has been discussed in previous posts a important requirement for the ship was speed , 24 knots had been calculated to be the required maximum speed for the ships role, faster than any passenger ship built since the 1960s but slower than the later Ocean Liners.
With the engines checked, Propellers set for maximum efficiency for the first time the main engine controls on the bridge were set Ahead Full and for the first time ORIANA’s engines run to maximum as expected 24 knots was easily achieved and surpassed as with little effort 25 Knots was in turn passed a speed which CANBERRA had not operated at for a number of years due to high fuel consumption.
In the rough sea conditions at full ORIANA eventually made 26.2 knots with predictions that in more favourable conditions a higher speed was a high possibility.
Of the engine system James commented “ ORIANA has been a major challenge her engine technology is completely different to CANBERRA”
Having also served onboard the 1984 launched ROYAL PRINCESS he said “ I will have no more staff onboard ORIANA than I had on ROYAL PRINCESS despite the substantial size difference of the two ships”
“This is due to computerisation, ORIANA is a ship that has been designed for the 21st century”

In keeping with SOLAS while not at sea each of ORIANA’s life boats were lowered to check that both they and the lifeboat davits are in full working order and the crew deployed the rescue crafts housed in the second lifeboat recesses of the promenade in order to train for the unlikely event of a emergency.
Commodore Gibb (left) tests ORIANA’s life saving equipment.

During the course of the trials every system had been repeatedly test to ensure it was 100 percent operational from safety systems such as Watertight doors and swimming pool emergency drainage to external lighting and the ships onboard public address system.
Sea trials continue.
P&O and Meyer Werft were now completely satisfied with the quality of the ship returned to Emshaven where on the 2nd April 1995 ORIANA was official handed over to become the property of P&O Cruises to mark the occasion the Meyer Werft company flag which had flown over ORIANA during her trials was lowered for the final time and raised in its place for the first time P&O’s historic house flag.
With all the crew and Lord Sterling present P&O cruises chairman Tim Harris and Meyer Werft’s Chief executive officer Bernard Meyer sighed the ships papers to say that ship 636 ORIANA had been completed as per the owners specification and that it met with their approval.
Officially now ORIANA was Commodore Gibb's responsibility, his first task to deliver her safely to Southampton for her naming in 4 days time.
Photos Copyright: P&O Cruises & Meyer Werft.

domingo, 20 de março de 2011

Captain's Gala evenings

One of the highlights of evenings on ORIANA is the Captain's Gala reception and dinner.
Usually held on the second or third evening of the cruise.
Being the first opportunity to dress up in formal attire passengers often take time during the day to buy new clothing to be photographed with the Captain.
The evening begins with the Gala Reception held in the Crows Nest and Pacific Lounge.
Followed by the Gala Dinner where each female passenger is given a rose by the head waiter. To finish the evening off a Gala dance is also held in Harlequins.
Below are some Photos from a onboard Gala evening in 2009

Photos copyright P&O

sábado, 19 de março de 2011

ORIANA- The television star

As well as being well known to many people in different countries thanks to her world cruises closer to home ORIANA has also appeared in numerous television programmes.
Often to be found in her home port of Southampton ORIANA can be frequently spotted in the background of locally produced programmes.
To a larger audience ORIANA has also appeared on national and international programmes.
Among these was an episode of the British comedy show 2point4 Children, in which the main characters rather implausibly stowaway onboard while driving a family member to join ORIANA for a Christmas cruise.

Image Copyright BBC.
In 1996 ORIANA had the great honour to open and feature in the four part documentary series "The Liners" telling the story of the development of the passenger liner, the opening scene is a beautiful shot of ORIANA's maiden approach to Sydney, also featured was ORIANA in a number of locations.

Photos Copyright: Screen Australia.

sexta-feira, 18 de março de 2011

Theatre shows on ORIANA

On board ORIANA one of the entertainment highlights in the evenings is the theatre show,
As the name suggests the majority of the shows take place in the dedicated Theatre Royal on the promenade deck, performed by P&O's own company The Headliners theatre company, the singers and dancers train for over a month in London before going to join the ship.
On a typical ten day cruise they preform about six different shows.
Some of the subjects of the shows are: Viva Vegas, Lets Dance, ABBA, We are the champions-Queen and Freddie Mercury Tribute, Sensational 60s.
All are preformed to the highest standards and do exactly what was intended entertain!
Below are some random images from some of the shows on board ORIANA.

Photos Copyright P&O Cruises.