Archive for the ‘Oriana’ Category

Oriana cruise cancellation

I’m late with this story, but I’ve only just learned that Oriana’s planned 50 night cruise from 6 January to 25 February has been cancelled. P&O have instead arranged for Oriana to have some ‘essential maintenance’. I can’t find any real information as to what that maintenance will consist of, but there are suggestions on various forums that it might be for propulsion. (Oriana has a unique propulsion method within the P&O fleet – her engines have a mechanical drive to the propellers. Every other ship in the fleet follows has a system where the diesel engines are directly connected to electricity generators, and the propulsion motors are electrically-powered.)

I gather that there is considerable unhappiness among those who had booked this cruise. This is especially so since the cancellation announcement (21 November) was after the date for final payment which, given the length of the cruise, will have been a not-inconsiderable sum. Further unhappiness seems to have been caused by what is regarded as ungenerous compensation for the cancellation. As far as I can make out, this is as follows:

  • A full refund (of course);
  • A credit of 5% of the amount paid for the cancelled cruise, against the price of a future cruise;
  • Passengers will have until December 2019 to make the booking against which this credit can be taken;
  • Passengers will be credited with the 500 Peninsular Club points that they would have earned on the cancelled cruise.

Although the emergency maintenance is expected to take just 3 weeks (i.e. 21 nights), P&O have not announced any replacement cruises for the period between the end of the maintenance and and the next cruise, scheduled to start on 25 February. It wouldn’t surprise me therefore if there were some additional cruises announced at very short notice in late January – I don’t expect P&O will want to leave Oriana idle for that period. But that’s just a guess.

Coming after the passenger unhappiness caused by the sale of Adonia, this is unfortunate. There are some conspiracy theories swirling around – for example, that the 50 night cruise had sold very badly and was going to make a huge loss – but until I learn otherwise I’m going to assume that P&O are being honest, and that something requiring urgent, lengthy maintenance has indeed arisen. If I learn more I’ll report it here, of course.

Let me finish by saying that I recognise that passengers on the cancelled cruise must have been very disappointed, and have every right to feel very upset. I also think P&O could have been a bit more forthcoming about the reasons for the urgent maintenance.


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This may well be old news, but here’s a link to a page on the P&O website showing some results of Oriana’s recent refit. I must say, the results do look attractive. I could feel tempted…

Of course, she’s been back in service for about month now, and has completed a couple of cruises in that time. If any of my readers has been on her since the refit I’d love to hear your reactions. Pictures, too, please.

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Oriana in the Elbe on a murky afternoon

Well, I was a few minutes too late to grab good webcam shots of Oriana leaving Hamburg – the one above is the best I could manage. But the important thing is that she is on her way back to Southampton where she’s expected just after midnight on the 15th so her two-night cruise starting on the 16th will be OK.

Black Watch left Hamburg yesterday for Tilbury. Currently she’s off the Texel so she, too, should be back in port in plenty of time for her next cruise, which departs on the 15th.

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screen-shot-2016-11-28-at-09-52-01Here’s a webcam image taken just now (nearly 10am, 28 November) of Oriana and Black Watch in dock in Hamburg – Oriana on the left and Black Watch on the right. Here are a couple of links to other posts I’ve done about the refits to these ships – Oriana’s here, and Black Watch’s here. Black Watch will be back in service for a cruise starting from Tilbury on 15 December, while Oriana’s next cruise will start the day after, 16 December.

Here’s a link to the webcam page. You may have to wait for an ad to run, I’m afraid.

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By now pretty much everyone will have received their brochure from P&O or read about this online, so I’m a bit late to the party. My excuse is that I’ve been away on holiday all week, at Salcombe which seems to be a place where they haven’t quite got hold of this ‘internet’ thing yet. No wifi in the apartment!?!

But back to Oriana. From what I’ve received and read, it looks as if this is purely a refurbishment and not a reconstruction. The two main restaurants will be completely redecorated, as will other public areas. Cabins and suites will get new furniture and be redecorated, and cabin bathrooms “will undergo repairs and upgrades to bring them up to the standard that our guests deserve”.

There’s no mention of anything else – no more new cabins anywhere, for example, and I know some people were fearful for the future for Oriana’s library. But it seems that there won’t be any new construction or re-purposing activities at all.

We were last on Oriana for the Grand Event (2012?) and I have to say she did look a bit tired in places. I seem to recall that there were some stains in the washbowl in our bathroom, for example, and possibly also in the bath. Not a sign of bad maintenance, I think, just the result of many years of usage of those items.

One other thing – the brochure refers to “leading cruise-industry architects Richmond”. As far as I know the only other cruise ship they’ve done any work on is Britannia. Indeed, the projects section of their website refers to no less than 13 hotels and just the one ship. But we liked Britannia and some of the same for Oriana will be good. Here’s a link to the relevant page on the P&O site.

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Oriana is due for a refit this December. This will be between the conclusion of cruise X620 on 25th November (34 nights to the Caribbean and the southern United States) and X623N (a 2-nighter to Zeebrugge) on 16 December. Note that the subsequent cruise is listed with an ‘N’ number, suggesting that it’s a New cruise listing which in turn suggests that the work will take a couple of days or so less than originally expected. I’m not sure I would risk booking X623N, however – in the past cruises have been cancelled when a refit overran, for example this one in 2013.

Those dates leave a gap of around 20 days, which of course has to include getting to and from whichever dockyard has been selected. I assume that it’s either Blohm+Voss in Hamburg or Lloyd Werft in Bremerhaven, but I don’t know which one will be doing the work.

More interesting is what the refit will consist of. I asked P&O the other day and I’ve just received this reply:-

Thanks for your request for information regarding our planned refit of Oriana later this year. Whilst there is an immense amount of planning and excitement going on behind the scenes, at this stage we’re not in a position to share information relating to the extent of the refit. ¬†We will be releasing further details in the coming weeks.

So not especially helpful but as they’re saying, ‘watch this space’. As soon as I have any more information I’ll post it.

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Oriana NOT for sale

Original post: This webpage has been spotted.

As the original observer has commented, “Sad day if true…”. However, response has suggested that this may just be a ‘trawl’ – the brokers put up a page for a ship which they think might be available put a suggested price tag on it, and if they get what looks like a good bite from a possible customer, they’ll approach the ac tuasl ship owner and try to complete a deal (with themselves as middlemen, of course). So it’s probably nothing at all….. and the images are old – they don’t have the new livery.

Nonetheless, given all the hoopla over Britannia, and the existence of Azura and Ventura in the fleet, some of the older ships, e.g. Oriana and Aurora, look a little out of place. Of course, many P&O customers love them, in fact more so than the newer, larger ships.

It’s also the case that Oriana was built by P&O before the Carnival takeover. It might be therefore be the case that the ownership of Oriana is more straightforward than that of later ships.

Hopefully this is just a speculative trawl, however.

Update: P&O have confirmed that Oriana is definitely not for sale.

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