domingo, 29 de dezembro de 2013

An Italian diversion

As ORIANA is enjoying the festive season on a 19 night cruise around the Central Mediterranean, she recently had to make a slight alteration to her itinerary as reported by local online newspaper Trieste Prima ORIANA was due to dock in Venice on the 22nd for an overnight stay she however had to alter her call to Trieste due to heavy fog around the Venice area.
A foggy night for ORIANA in Italy.

After departure the following afternoon ORIANA headed to the historical port of Dubrovnik,Croatia famed for among other things it's walled old city.
Her current cruise being both a Christmas and New Year the last  port of call will be Lisbon where she will overnight for New year to enjoy the Portuguese capital's celebrations before departing the following morning,
Elsewhere ORIANA's fleet mate and "half sister" AURORA will also be seeing in New Year in Portuguese waters with the world famous firework display in Funchal, Madeira.
The Italian artical relating to ORIANA 's change of port as well as some more photos can be seen here

Photo Copyright : Trieste Prima

terça-feira, 26 de novembro de 2013

ORIANA's operatic city break.

Tomorrow ORIANA sets off from Southampton on the second of two City break cruises of the year with Welsh classical-crossover singer Katherine Jenkins on board.
The 4 night cruise calls in Zeebrugge, Belgium and Amsterdam, Netherlands where ORIANA will stay overnight.
With P&O constantly finding new acts and perfomers to showcase on board Katherine becomes the latest in a line celebrities to feature on board, as mentioned before in last year ORIANA also introduced the world of the BBC hit television programme Strictly Come Dancing to the high seas.
 Giving a driscription of the cruise P&O state "ORIANA provides the perfect backdrop for you to enjoy an extra special performance by the Welsh Mezzo Soprano, who is best known for her unique interpretations of popular songs, operatic arias and hymns. Be among the first to see Katherine in her debut on board performances."
The first cruise having been a success with positive reviews it is perhaps not surprising that ORIANA will be sailing fully booked.

quinta-feira, 17 de outubro de 2013

ORIANA departing from Funchal

To complete our post yesterday we present some excellent images of ORIANA's departure from Funchal yesterday, a scene which the port has seen many times over the last 18 years and will see again soon when she retrurns in December.
Photo Copyrights: João Abreu.

quarta-feira, 16 de outubro de 2013

ORIANA back at the Garden Isle

Today ORIANA returns again to the beautiful Island of Madeira as the last port of call of her current 13 night Atlantic Island cruise.
Although a well known fact it is always worth mentioning is that it was in Funchal where she made her first port of call during her Maiden Voyage 18 years ago.

Arriving at approximately 7am ORIANA is due to depart at 5pm, she will make one further call in Madeira this year on the 5th December as the fisrt port of call of another Atlantic Island Cruise.
On another point of interest today also sees ORIANA's "half sister" AURORA in the other Portuguese Atlantic archipelago being docked in Ponta Delgada in the Azores.

terça-feira, 1 de outubro de 2013

Strictly on ORIANA

With the hit television show Strictly Come Dancing having recently returned to UK screens today another cruise departed from Southampton with the famous theme on board, this time on AZURA.
As most will know the first Strictly Come Dancing cruises were on board ORIANA last year the first have been in June.
The theme having proven popular so far is due to continue next year when it will be returning to ORIANA during a 14 night Atlantic Island cruise departing 20th April.
Below is a short video P&O made last year on board ORIANA showcasing the highlights of the cruises including an interview with judge Craig Revel Horwood who was joined by some of the show's professional dancers.

quarta-feira, 17 de julho de 2013

A comic turn for ORIANA

 ORIANA - An elegant setting.
While ORIANA is no stranger to comady having played host in her various venues to comadians and comic acts on most cruises it is the common practice to have at least one comadian among the entainers on board, however on occasion ORIANA herself became the setting for an episode of well know British situation comady, 2point4 Children
For it's 1996 Christmas special titled "Two Years Before The Mast" the cast and crew boarded P&O's flagship to ensure the series typical madcap humour came to the high seas.
The plot revolves around one of the supporting characters Tina portrayed by American born actress Sandra Dickenson booking herself on a 2 week Mediterranean festive cruise on board P&O's flagship who asks her hapless brother and his family to take her to Southampton tp join the ship.
 After entering the dock  the wrong way the family make a bad first impression by crashing in the fictional Commodore's car, and try to start a fight with his crew.
 ORIANA makes her first background appearance

 Later boarding ORIANA the family somehow manage to stowaway in a rather inconvincible manner which begins typical comic performances  as the family attempt to evade the the Commodore resulting in some  unlikely and bizzare situations.
 While the story is forgetable most lilkly only remembered by fans of the show anyone who has cruised with ORIANA can not help but recognize her elegant and unmistakeable venues and areas of the ship as can be seen been in the screen captures below
Rushing down the atrium staircase.
 Sunset in The Crow's Nest
 An evening walk on the promenade deck

 For anyone who may be interested in watching ORIANA in action in the episode it can be viewed in 5 parts on Youtube

sábado, 25 de maio de 2013

A Wonderful World on board ORIANA

Continuing of theme of ORIANA's continued popularity last month on P&O's Cruises blog they invited David George a passenger from one of ORIANA's transatlantic Caribbean cruises to write about his time on board their flagship.
Talking about their time on board he describes ORIANA in an extremely positive light saying that-
 "The ship delong been one of my favourites but on this cruise she seemed to have upped her game another notch." and "she still sparkles and every officer and crew member we met impressed with their courtesy and interest."
The whole review can be read here:
ORIANA departing Fort Lauderdale in March during her transatlatic Caribbean cruise.

With cruise lines being increaseingly effected by cut backs due to difficult economic times many companies have been accused of underperfroming in terms of the maintance of their ships, level of service on board etc
in fact recently one Southampton based critic/enthusiast said regarding ORIANA's fleetmate AURORA that   "With P&O going down the toilet I think it's best to adore her from afar."
Thnakfully recent cruise reviews from  ORIANA tell a much different story with reviewers saying that they had  "Another great trip on ORIANA" while another paises the ship and crew saying ORIANA you are the greatest, proof if any was needed that despite that ORIANA still can impress and indeed surpass the floating apartment blocks of recent years.

quarta-feira, 1 de maio de 2013

Another star turn for ORIANA

Never a ship to shy away from celebrities on board for 2 cruises this winter ORIANA will add Welsh classical crosser singer Katherine Jenkins to the list as she preforms for two 4 night cruises on 31st October and 27th November respectively both of which go sale today and will call at Zeebrugge and Amsterdam.
 In her career so far ORIANA has played host many well known celebrities from a Royal launch with Her Majesty The Queen to celebrity entertainers and lecturers.
Most recently in 2012 ORIANA hosted the first ever Strictly Come Dancing cruises featuring professional dancers and judges from the hit  BBC show, which she will also host next year.
 Katherine Jenkins first came to prominence nearly a decade ago and has sold in excess of seven million albums to date, which has made her the fastest selling soprano singer ever.
Between 2004 and 2008 6 of her 7 albums reached number 1 in the UK classical chart.
In 2005 she performed at the Royal Variety Performance alongside the famed Blue Man Group.
Elsewhere she has made several television appearances including in the UK in ITV's drama Emmerdale and BBC science fiction show Doctor Who in other appearances she also appeared as a contestant in the US show Dancing With The Stars.
Commenting on the announcement P&O Manging Director Carol Marlow said:
" These short breaks provide the opportunity for an indulgent weekend of fine dining, pampering in the spa, time to explore the ports, rounded off by a very special performance from the world’s most prolific classical crossover artist Katherine Jenkins."  

quinta-feira, 25 de abril de 2013

A True Pioneer

In the 18 years since ORIANA was introduced to service and with the UK cruise industry having changed radically it is perhaps fitting to look at how in no small part ORIANA was responsible in fact the sole pioneer.
Up until her introduction the P&O Cruise's fleet had consisted solely of former ocean liners firstly CANBERRA and SS ORIANA and from the late 1980's CANBERRA was joined by SEA PRINCESS.    
ORIANA brought to the UK market a level of luxury and on board amenities that would rival and  surpass than ships operating in the larger US market yet being distinctly British in character.
Certainly the passengers opinions during her maiden cruise was more than complementary  as can be seen below.
 As the years have passed it and tonnage in all markets have increased dramatically ORIANA's own popularity has continued to grow in leaps and bounds it is fair to say that within P&O's own fleet the feeling of  ORIANA has not be repeated although the other fleet members are in their own way elegant they emulate to varying degrees her success with perhaps.

domingo, 21 de abril de 2013

Maiden call in Lisbon

On the 20th April 1995 ORIANA made the final call of her maiden voyage the Portuguese capital Lisbon like many ports of call during the cruise including the first Funchal in Madeira a port with a long established history with P&O, indeed ORIANA's namesake had visited the city during her pre-maiden voyage shakedown cruise in 1960 although the association with the port stretched back much longer to the company's earliest days.
Due to maintenance in the port and other cruise activity ORIANA berthed in the Jardim do Tabaco terminal rather than the preferred  Alcântara terminal.
During the day while her passengers enjoyed tours of the historic city ORIANA played host to a group of local journalist and later in the day to the British Ambassador to Portugal, Stephen Wall.
To complete the final call of the cruise a local folk band played on the quayside as ORIANA prepared to sail out to the Atlantic and back to Southampton.
Below is a short video of ORIANA's maiden departure from Lisbon.

terça-feira, 9 de abril de 2013

Maiden Departure- Beginning of a New Era

9th April 1995, after over  6 years of careful planning designing, building and the cost of £200 million ORIANA the first ship built for the UK cruise market departed the Mayflower Cruise terminal with 1850 passengers on board for her Maiden Voyage.
Her passengers boarded with the knowledge of being on board the newest most expensive liner, but also the fastest built since the liner era had ended.
Departing from her berth ORIANA's passengers listened as they threw streamers from her decks while below the band on the dockside saluted with music as Southampton's newest resident moved off
 Surrounded by small crafts reminiscent of her arrival one week earlier ORIANA made her way stately down Southampton water her fine lines making an impressive sight  as she sailed.
From her home port her voyage would take her to ports well known to P&O in its long history,
Firstly the Garden Isle of Madeira, where she would overnight, Tenerife, Lanzarote, Casablanca, Praia da Rocha in the Algarve and finally Lisbon, the Portuguese capital was well known to the previous ORIANA who had cruised there in 1960 on a pre maiden voyage shakedown cruise.
Below is a short clip from P&O's official film of the Maiden Voyage showing her departure. 

sábado, 6 de abril de 2013

A Royal Occasion

On the 6th April 1995 after 4 days in her home port of Southampton and having been visited by some 10,000 people ORIANA was ready for her first true social occasion and the one surrounded by perhaps the most pomp and ceremony her naming, for any vessel a big day however being ORIANA it was only fitting that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II would do the honours.
For the occasion ORIANA occupied  berth 43/44 the former Ocean Terminal, from this same dock many famous ships had set sail including TITANIC and the Cunard Queen's.
To begin the day guests who had stayed on board overnight were joined  by others who gathered in the stands that had been erected on the dockside alongside the ship.
The assembled guests were seated by 11 am and entertained by the Band of HM Royal Marines as the Royal train could be heard arriving behind the stands.
As Her Majesty and His Royal Highness, The Duke of Edinburgh arrived  the choir of Westminster Abbey sang Fair Oriana, Beauty's Queen.
Shortly before taking their seats the choir performed God save the Queen before an introduction  by the Master of Ceremonies.  
More music followed fittingly Fanfare for ORIANA which had been especially commissioned for the launch of SS ORIANA 35 years previously.
After speeches and the blessing of the ship by the Bishop Of Basingstoke finally her Majesty took to the stand to utter the words all had assembled to hear.
Such was the anticipation of the event that it was aired around the world from the United States to Australia.  
The day concluded with a tour of the ship and finally a fireworks display.
 The first engagement of ORIANA's career had passed as planned now in less than 72 hours the public would get there first impressions of the new flagship.

terça-feira, 2 de abril de 2013

Maiden arrival in Southampton

18 years ago today Southampton turned out in style to greet its proud new citizen ORIANA the brand new £200 million flagship of Britain's most distinguished and popular shipping and passenger line P&O perhaps more importantly new flagship of the merchant fleet replacing in both roles to of the most famous liners afloat CANBERRA and QUEEN ELIZABETH 2 respectively.
In scenes reminiscent of the Ocean Liners of Yesteryear ORIANA was escorted into her new home by a flotilla of small ships.
Having endured force 7 to 11 winds during her trials which has proven her superior sea keeping abilities and some slight delays due to a unforeseen vibration problem ORIANA proudly showed her clean lines as she emerged from the haze to a warm reception which continued as she came alongside her berth as P&O's and news film crews looked on.
Below is a News story looking at ORIANA's arrival in Southampton from UK broadcaster ITN.
  On her bridge when asked about his feelings of bringing ORIANA in for the first time Commodore Gibb replied simply "Delight absolute delight" while P&O's Chairman Lord Sterling also was irrepressible during an interview for P&O's film ORIANA: From Dream to Reality which gave a look behind the genesis of the great liner's creation.
As ORIANA's took her first great bow the first of many members of the public got their first proper view of her in her home waters.
While her first journey was completed  the rush activity to prepare for the next event her naming and the Maiden Voyage was just beginning.

quinta-feira, 28 de março de 2013

18 years,still popular

Almost 18 years after she entered service and thanks to the care given by her various crews and her several  refits ORIANA remains amongst the most popular ships cruising out of Southampton.
Despite passengers expectations being different to what it was in 1995 the design philosophy of ORIANA has accommodated this change well and still offers a modern yet traditional cruise experience, a perfect example of this is her 2011 conversation to adults although undoubtedly with a minority, the simple truth is that it has had little effect to her on board ambiance.
While ORIANA continues to be popular with her clientele and along with AURORA offering the most authentic cruising experience in the fleet, her future is certainly assured for many more years.
Below we present two videos from ORIANA's earliest days covering her keel laying arrival in Southampton, naming and maiden departure. 

segunda-feira, 18 de março de 2013

ORIANA on Television

On a  recent television programme Sea City produced by the British Broadcasting Corporation looking at life in Southampton's port ORIANA featured prominently as the first episode featured P&O's Grand Event.
As well as her arrival and departure the episode detailed the preparations on board for the arrival of Princess Anne for the reception on board and also the interesting problems that a large celebratory cake posed.    
Below are some screen captures from the episode.

domingo, 10 de março de 2013

ORIANA's departure from Port Canaveral

Continuing with our coverage of ORIANA's recent activity in North America we present some webcam images of of her departure from Port Canaveral on 6th March.
Departing shortly after sunset with several blasts from her horn to which fellow Carnival group ship CARNIVAL PRIDE remained silent .
 Following her departure headed to Charleston,South Carolina before her Eastbound Atlantic crossing her next port of call before her return to Southampton is Ponta Delgada in the Azores where she will arrive on 14th March.

quarta-feira, 6 de março de 2013

Departure from Port Everglade and arrival at Port Canaveral

Below we present a selection of webcam images of ORIANA from her departure Port Everglades yesterday evening to her arrival at Port Canaveral this morning.

Departure from Port Everglades. 
 Originally scheduled to depart at 5:30pm it was nearer 6:15 pm when she finally slipped her moorings and headed astern.
In the webcam images below ORIANA is seen heading astern and turning before continuing on her way and her next destination
In keeping with tradition ORIANA's departure was saluted by locals with whistles and and car horns as she passed to which her distinctive horn replied enthusiastically. 
Arrival at Port Canaveral
Arriving this morning shortly after dawn at Port Canaveral ORIANA joined fellow Carnival group ship CARNIVAL PRIDE who had arrived before hand.
ORIANA is scheduled to remain in dock until 6pm local time where she is due to departure simultaneously with CARNIVAL PRIDE, her next destination, the last port of call before her east bound Atlantic crossing, will be Charleston.

terça-feira, 5 de março de 2013

ORIANA in Fort Lauderdale

Having completed her tour of the Caribbean Islands, New Orleans and Key West today finds ORIANA in Port Everglades in South Florida, which is currently ranked as the third busiest cruise port in the world arriving amongst clear skies and sunshine ORIANA looked fittingly dazzling as sailed into port one which she is only a occasional visitor to.
Below is a selection of selection of webcam captures of her arrival,
ORIANA will depart at 17:30 local time for her next call at Port Canaveral.
Its tradition by locals in the nearby condominium to give ships a warm send of  horns and whistles to which the ships often respond from there own horn, a rare visitor such as ORIANA will undoubtedly draw attention as she slips moorings.

segunda-feira, 4 de março de 2013

Cruise Experience 2012

Continuing our Cruise Experience review series we present a photographic look at the next two ports of call of the cruise.
 Geiranger-12th June.
ORIANA at anchor

AIDA MAR seen as ORIANA departs
Viewing the Seven Sisters waterfalls
Leaving Geiranger
Olden 13th June.
Olden seen from ORIANA
A local tour train arrives in dock
ORIANA docked in Olden
Rune like inscriptions on a wall
Bulidings in Olden
Captain Pembridge observes from the bridge as departure nears
ORIANA proceeds astern leaving Olden.
Photos Copyrights : João Abreu & Steve Martin