Southampton Shipwatch 07: Oriana

When I talk about Oriana I can talk about superlatives. She is probably one of the better looking modern cruise ships afloat (even though she is already over 15 years old). She is on a parr with ships like QE2, the type of ship that people like me look back on and ooh and aah over. She is also a one-off, she does not have a sister ship, and there are elements in her design that point to her illustrious predecessor, the one and only Canberra. I was fortunate enough to sail on her maiden call to South Africa, way back in 1997, and she was unforgettable. The one ship I was hoping to see again in Southampton was her.

hythe02

She arrived on 14 April, and berthed up at the QE2 terminal which you can’t really see well from Town Quay.  I decided that the time had come for a trip out to Hythe with the ferry, and off I went. I did not see much of the trip though because all eyes were on her. 

The only real change that has been made to her was the addition of a ducktail to her stern, and that makes her look kind of odd from aft. But, she is still beautiful, in fact statuesque is a word I would use to describe her. 

  

Her sailing was scheduled for 16H30, and there were four ships to get out of the harbour, I expected she would have been the first to go, but it turns out that age came before beauty as Saga Sapphire was first out of Southampton. 

  

21 April 2013 sailing. 

Oriana was back in Southampton on 21 April, and berthed up at Mayflower. I watched her sail from Town Quay in a blustery and gray afternoon. As expected, she is as beautiful as ever.

 

And then she was past and heading out of the harbour. Such a beautiful vessel.

Oriana was a regular during my time in Southampton, and I even worked baggage on her at least 3 times, but she is terrible to work and it was always a mad rush to get the luggage on board before she sails. I also had lunch in her crew mess on two separate occasions, and got to take a look around her again while waiting to start. She is looking a tad worn, but is still beautiful on board. She is one of the nicer lookers around nowadays, and long may she grace the oceans.

   

Unfortunately Oriana is no longer under the P&O flag, having been sold in 2019 for service in the Far East under the name “Piano Land” (I kid you not). The images below are all courtesy of Steve Carrett and are used with permission. 

Destored and with her new name on her bows, Oriana is ready to leave

Aurora is berthed behind Oriana as she makes ready to sail

That last glimpse of a great ship

Steve Carrett shot this video of her departure.

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© DRW 2013-2022. Images recreated 31/03/2016, updated 21/07/2022

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