Oriana X809 - Final tales from Sue and the Butler....for now

Reports about cruises on Oriana
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Oriana X809 - Final tales from Sue and the Butler....for now

Post by prefdavid » 13 Jun 2018, 09:03

Monday 11 June 2018 - Southampton

Another sunny day in Southampton. We got off early after picking up our new cruise cards, dropped off our duty free. This time no border control on duty, which I was surprised about as our last port of call was Gibraltar. We had a quick whiz around Asda to stock up on supplies then back to the ship to meet our friends who are joining us on this cruise.

The sun was on the aft deck and I grabbed a sun bed for what may be my last chance of feeling the rays as we sail North to not so sunny Scotland. I have been warned by a friend to expect rain even though they have had 3 weeks of good weather.

At 12:45 I made my way to the Priority lunch and bubbles. Garry had gone to the spa for a massage and our friends were on their way through security. I decided not to eat until they arrived but the bubbles were flowing well.

We caught up with all the news and confirmed plans for the cruise before they went off to unpack and we headed for the sun on the aft deck.
Joel the head waiter had sorted out the table and sitting in the dining room and there was a card confirming this in our cabin.

Sailaway was delayed slightly and once again the aft bar wasn’t open .

Unusually for the first night the Headliners were in the theatre performing Destination Dance.
When we returned to the cabin there was a box of chocolates from the Loyalty team on board.

Sea day tomorrow to Greenock

Tuesday 12 June 2018 -Sea Day to Glasgow

A sunny sea day but temperatures nowhere near what we have been used to. I sat out for a while after my usual morning routine and was surprised how busy it was. Some even dared to bare but far too cold for me.

After lunch it was the Battle of the Sexes quiz where the ladies stormed ahead into the lead.

My butler put his hairdressers hat on and tended to my root growth.

The first formal night of this cruise and the Captains Welcome on board reception. I had sent our evening wear for free pressing and had a bit of a panic when my dress was returned minus the sash. It seemed to take ages for the deck supervisor to find it but he did and returned it beautifully pressed.

The new Captain is Chris Bourne and is very down to earth. He gave a the usual welcome on board speech mainly about the weather which is generally looking okay as far as UK weather goes but and it is a big but our tender into Portree is looking very dodgy. His words were that ‘We will go and take a look’. Sounds very ominous to me but fingers are crossed.

The entertainment was the group RunaroundKids. We saw them on Aurora and they were the best entertainment of the whole cruise. They didn’t disappoint and I just wish P & O would source more of the young groups to come on board to entertain us instead of boring us half to death with usual vocalists singing songs from the shows or magicians. They got a standing ovation at the end.

We finished the night in the Lords Tavern where we listened to the James Bond Quiz. We should have joined in as Bob knew most of the answers.

Tomorrow will be my first time in Scotland.

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Re: Oriana X809 - Final tales from Sue and the Butler....for now

Post by Meg 50 » 13 Jun 2018, 19:27

Hope you get into Portree.
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Greenock for Glasgow

Post by prefdavid » 14 Jun 2018, 08:55

Wednesday 13 June 2018 - Greenock, Glasgow

An early start today so no time for the exercise classes. I ordered room service breakfast and went on the aft deck to watch our sail in. We were greeted by a lone bagpiper who was later joined by a local dressed as William Wallace dancing to the music. Brr it was so cold even though it was a sunny morning. I really wish I had brought my gloves and fur hats.

We were off the ship by 08:15 and it was still soooo cold and windy.
A taxi driver tried to persuade us to take a taxi to Glasgow instead of a taxi to the train station. He wanted £45 for the 4 of us one way which wasn’t bad and we may have been persuaded if we hadn’t done our home work and knew that the train was £10.60 return.
The taxi to the station cost £5 and once at the station they offered us the HO HO bus in Glasgow at a reduced rate of £13. Great value for money. The train was on time, modern and clean. The journey was around 45 minutes and we saw some stunning scenery as we followed the River Clyde.

We used the toilet facilities which cost 40p each. Ridiculous and they weren’t particularly clean for the amount being charged.
We easily found the HO HO bus which runs every 10 minutes from the Central Station which is bus stop 8 on the route and we stayed on until stop 1, seeing all the sights of Glasgow with an excellent commentary that although with a Scottish accent we could understand. We started on the top deck which was mainly open to the elements but soon moved downstairs to get warm.

Stop 1 is Buchanan street which is the main shopping area of Glasgow. Many upmarket shops and arcades along with many homeless beggars. There appeared to be a huge divide here between the very wealthy and very poor. It was still extremely cold mainly because of the bitter wind.

We lunched at Wetherspoons which was the old counting house. A very impressive building. Afterwards we got back on the bus at stop 1 and were lucky to get front seats upstairs but under cover and sheltered from the wind. We completed the route at stop 8 for Central Station.
Part of me wanted more time here to see some of the sights in depth instead of just driving past but it was so cold that it probably wouldn’t have been worth while and I was happier on the bus.

As we reached Central Station it had just started raining. We had had the best of the day as although extremely cold it had been overcast but with some sun breaking through the clouds.
The journey back was quicker as the train didn’t make as many stops but it was an older train which rattled around.

I enjoyed my first visit to Scotland and Glasgow has a lot to offer but they need to sort the weather out before I could be tempted to visit again.

After dinner I realised I had lost one of my tanzanite and diamond earrings. We spent a lot of the evening retracing our steps and checking with reception to see if it had been handed in. So far no luck in finding it but I will check back with reception again tomorrow.

The evening entertainment was the Headliners performing Stage door and the Orchestra playing Glen Miller in the Pacific Lounge.

Tomorrow we are supposed to be tendering into Portree but storm Hector is very likely to prevent that from happening.

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Re: Oriana X809 - Final tales from Sue and the Butler....for now

Post by GillD46 » 14 Jun 2018, 09:04

It has been extremely windy here overnight so I imagine you may not be successful, but fingers crossed you are. It’s been hard having cold, wet and windy weather after weeks of sunshine.

I have never visited Scotland either.
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Re: Oriana X809 - Final tales from Sue and the Butler....for now

Post by Ranchi » 14 Jun 2018, 14:39

Glad you enjoyed the counting house! I see from ship’s tracker that you made a gesture toward Portree but it looks like better was thought of it. Can you remember any of the trips offered from Glasgow...just nosey!
Did you spot the upturned sugar boat in the Clyde at Greenock? It’s been there since the ‘70s.
Enjoy the rest of your trip.

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The Portree that never was

Post by prefdavid » 15 Jun 2018, 07:53

Thursday 14 June 2018 - Portree, Isle of Skye

Well that is where we were supposed to be and we had a lovely day planned with a private taxi to see what this lovely island had to offer.
Unfortunately Storm Hector spoilt the party and just after 7 a.m. the Captain announced that we wouldn’t be able to call here.

Disappointing but he had already mentioned the possibility that this would happen at the Welcome on board cocktail party on Tuesday so no great shock. Although the ship was riding the storm extremely well there was no way I would have wanted to be in a tender boat on those seas. There were the usual whingers and moaners who thought they knew better than the Captain and the weather forecasters. If I had been the Captain I would have been tempted to put them all in a tender and leave them to it.

It took Hughie quite a while longer to come up with an extended entertainment programme. With all of the storm warnings we had had I thought that it was a bit uninspiring but every department had contributed.

The only thing that appealed to me was the free bubbles in the jewellers with the half price diamond jewellery on sale. I drank their bubbles and although tempted by some blue diamond earrings I staggered away empty handed.

There was a talk on campanology which didn’t ring my bell at all , the usual dancing classes, bingo and extra showings of the film The Black Panther.

We went for lunch then I went to the extra Battle of the sexes where after the first general knowledge round the ladies were ahead by 10 points but after the second round the men were ahead by 10 points. The ladies are still winning over all by over 100 points.

The weather worsened as the day went on and the best place to be was horizontal in the cabin.

Great evening entertainment with us wanting to see both shows when often there is nothing that appeals. E Sarah Carter billed as ‘The Fabulous Funky Fiddler’ was in the theatre. She was certainly different, very talented and kept us entertained. We then had to leg it full speed to the Pacific Lounge (which isn’t easy in high heels with rough seas and hundreds of other passengers doing the same) to see the last show with the RunaroundKids. The lounge was already 3/4 full when we got there and with the rest of the theatre capacity bringing up the rear there was nowhere near enough room for everyone. I was impressed by the new Hotel General Manager Deborah Thomson who got involved with finding passengers seats and urging people to move up and get cosy so that more passengers could sit down. There were at least another hundred stood around the room. The group should have been performing in the theatre not the Pathetic lounge as it has become fondly known.
The lads were fantastic, the audience really got involved and many were dancing to the Rock and Roll music and they got a well deserved standing ovation once again.

Storm Hector allowing we should be docking in Kirkwall in the Orkney Islands tomorrow but the Captain has already forewarned that it will be very windy and that he has ordered tugs to help us berth but that only one was available. Fingers crossed.

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Re: Oriana X809 - Final tales from Sue and the Butler....for now

Post by Meg 50 » 15 Jun 2018, 08:54

Did you find your earring?
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Kirkwall, Orkney Island

Post by prefdavid » 16 Jun 2018, 09:45

Friday 15 June 2018 Kirkwall, Orkney Islands

It had been a fairly rough night but Oriana coped and a tablet made sure I slept through the worst of it. I had intended to go to the gym but when I woke I needed another tablet before I could move.

The weather looked iffy with blue sky clouds and lots of rainstorms as we sailed closer to the Orkneys. The Captain definitely needed the Tug to push the ship towards the berth but we docked only 15 minutes late.

We got off for 9am and were on the shuttle and in Kirkwall before 9:30. We queued for the T11 tour bus which cost £12 each for a tour of the island and a stop for 1 1/2 hours at Scara Brae which is one of Orkneys most popular tourist attractions. A Neolithic village which dates back to around 2500 BC AND the remains of 8 houses are easily seen. The ticket cost £6 and included the village with fabulous views of the coast line where we saw seals swimming in the surf, and a tour of Skaill House a very impressive mansion which was built in 1620 by the Bishop of Orkney. In 1850 it belonged to William Watt the 7th Laird of Breckness who unearthed the village at the bottom of his garden. It is now owned by the 12th Laird of Breckness.
The next stop was at the Ring of Brodgar the 3rd largest stone circle in the UK dating back to between 2000BC and 2500BC. 27 of the 60 original stones are still standing. We had 30 minutes here to explore and photograph the stones before driving by the Standing stones of Stenness. These were a smaller circle of stones but older at around 3000BC. It was only a drive by as recent storms had damaged the car park making it unsafe for the buses.

We arrived back in Kirkwall and wandered around the quaint town with a huge cathedral and individual local shops before heading to a local hotel for lunch and to get warm. Here we sampled the local ale and I tried the Haggis with Nachos and cheese dish. I couldn’t visit Scotland without tasting the Haggis.

Once back on board my butler booked Sindhu as this was the only night that the taster menu was available.
The meal went on forever so many courses and different foods to try. Lucky for me Garry doesn’t like Scallops so I got a double portion.
Another excellent meal.

Tomorrow we dock in Invergordon.

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Invergordon to Belfast

Post by prefdavid » 18 Jun 2018, 08:55

Saturday 16 June 2018 - Invergordon for Inverness

There was no time for the exercise class today as we had hired a car and wanted to make the most use out of it. It wasn’t a late stay here anyway and we had to be back on board for 16:30.

I went out to see the sail in which was very picturesque but the huge Oil platforms stood out like a sore thumb. It was very cold on deck but at least the wind had died down. Rain was forecast for much of the day so we dressed accordingly in winter woolies to keep warm and rain macs to keep dry. The one thing I hadn’t packed was my boots so my trainers had to suffice.

We had some difficulty locating the Hire car garage as the instructions we had were for a different dock and of course whilst we were looking the rain started. Once we found it we were soon on our way armed with a map and of course google maps as well.

The rain was non stop and it couldn’t have been easy driving but we found Loch Ness which even in the rain looked impressive. It was too wet to walk around so we found a hotel with a viewing point and stayed there for a coffee. This is where I met Nessie. We didn’t realise that this was also where the trips were calling. We were lucky and one was just leaving when we arrived.

The weather didn’t improve so we decided a tour of a distillery and whisky tasting would be a drier way of spending our day.
We booked the tickets over the phone and set off on another scenic drive to Glen Ord. The roads were very narrow and reminded me of Devon roads. With the help of Mr Google we found the distillery with 15 minutes to spare which gave us time to look around the gift shop.
The whisky they sell here is called Singletons but it can’t be bought anywhere else in Europe. They only export to the Asian market. The prices of the bottles were eye wateringly expensive.
It was an interesting tour and Annalise was a very enthusiastic young guide. It was the only time during the day that I felt warm and dry. Only at the end did she tell us that she had only been working there for a month. After our sample at the end and a carry out for our driver we set back off in the rain towards Invergordon.

The theme of the day was the rain and it continued. Instead of walking through Invergordon to see the many murals painted on the gable walls of the buildings we did a slow drive through. I braved the weather to get out and take a few photos. Invergordon was small and would have been easy to walk around. I would have liked to walk through the Natal Garden which was a car park transformed into a garden by Charlie Dimmock with local volunteers to commemorate the loss of life on HMS Natal in 1915.
We hadn’t had time for lunch so we found a cafe called The Crazy Horse but the owner refused to serve us as he was closing early. I always thought the Scots were canny business men but he was obviously an exception to the rule or maybe he had made enough money from the cruise ship passengers during the morning.
We returned to the ship for afternoon tea and watched the sail away by which time typically the rain had stopped and the sun although weak and watery came out to see us off from our final Scottish port.

A great nights entertainment on board starting pre dinner with a cocktail party, then the Headliners performed Night of a 1000 stars followed by the 60s and 70s party night in the Pacific Lounge.

A relaxing sea day tomorrow.

Sunday 17 June 2018- Sea Day to Belfast, Ireland

I returned to the early morning exercise class and due to a mistake in the Horizon had an hours class instead of the usual sea day half hour.

A lazy morning followed as it was the Ligurian lunch in the restaurant. To our surprise it was a new menu. Our table was hosted by Jeffrey the Chief Engineer and he kept us entertained with his shipboard tales. We all got on so well that we have arranged another meal with him in the Beach House in a couple of nights time. As usual the wine flowed well and we spent the afternoon sleeping it off until it was time to get ready for a formal night meal and more wine.

E Sarah Carter the fiddler was in the theatre and performed another high energy show. We finished the night in the Pacific Lounge where the talented CJ and Inspiration were playing The Music of Burt Baccharach. Brilliant show.

Tomorrow we dock in Belfast.

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Belfast

Post by prefdavid » 19 Jun 2018, 09:07

Monday 18 June 2018 - Belfast, Northern Ireland

Another early start but I managed breakfast as Monday’s special is Eggs Benedict. The weather was a great improvement and the sun kept breaking through the cloud.
We had pre booked Paddy’s Black Cab tour and Ciaran our driver and tour guide collected us at the port at 9am. He gave us a brief introduction of what we were going to see. He was unbiased and having lived through and witnessed first hand the troubles in Belfast he was very informative. He brought to life everything we had seen on the TV and read about over the many years.
We visited the Protestant Shankill Road area where there are many murals on the gable ends of the rows of the immaculate houses which were decorated with Union Jacks in readiness for the 12 July celebrations of the Battle of the Boyne. My overall impression was of how quiet and peaceful the area was which hid the turmoil, tensions and hatred that still runs high here. There is a mural very close to a prImary school and children’s nursery of two gun men with rifles. Very cleverly done as no matter where you move to look at it the gun man and rifle follows you. The residents build huge bonfires between 200 to 300 feet high and up to the 12th July these are decorated with Union Jacks but these are then taken down and are replaced by the Irish flag and photos of the pope which are then burnt. We saw one of the bonfires being built and it was huge, completely symmetrical almost like it had been erected by a master builder. Nothing like the bonfires we have on Guy Fawkes Night.

Our next stop was the Catholic Falls area and once again there were so many murals and again immaculate houses and very peaceful. The most famous mural is the IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands. Even though the Troubles are officially over the 32 mile long Peace Wall which divides the two areas still has gates that are locked from 10pm each night, to keep the different areas safe. We were amazed how high the Peace Wall is and the houses close to it have wire cages at the back of their house to stop missiles thrown over the wall causing any damage.
Ciaran stressed that this was a small area of Belfast and that the huge majority of the population wanted a peaceful and integrated life.

We saw the Old Court House which is now derelict and has been bought by a property developer who is turning it into a hotel. Opposite the Court House and linked by an underground tunnel is the Crumlin Road Gaol. This closed in 1996 but is still used for functions and various events.
It was certainly an eye opening tour and Ciaran an enthusiastic tour guide.

Ciaran dropped us at the very unusually hull shaped Titanic Experience building which we had purchased tickets for online before we left home. This meant no queuing. The exhibition is interactive and took around 2 hours to get around. Lots of information about the shipyard Harland and Wolff who built the Titanic as well as the ship itself. The ticket also included a visit to the SS Nomadic that ferried passengers out to board The Titanic. We saw the huge slip way that the Titanic was launched from, which is now a public area with gardens and play area for children. Oriana was docked just across the water.

We got a taxi to the Crown Liquor Bar which is the oldest bar in Belfast. It is highly decorated and downstairs it is split into individual booths which hold approx 8 people. It was extremely busy and we went upstairs to the dining room. We sampled the local brew and had a sandwich for lunch. Opposite the bar is the Europa Hotel whose claim to fame is that it is the most bombed hotel in Europe.

After our late boozy lunch we wandered around the City Centre and shops then made our way back to the shuttle bus.

The England match was being shown around the ship whilst we were in dinner. One of the head waiters kept us to date with the score.

Great evening entertainment again with Peter Howarth, who is the current lead singer of the legendary band The Hollies in the theatre and the hard working Headliners performing their Queen tribute act in the Pacific Lounge.

Tomorrow we are in Dublin.

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Re: Oriana X809 - Final tales from Sue and the Butler....for now

Post by Manoverboard » 19 Jun 2018, 09:29

You saw Belfast to the full, well done you … most don't bother, sadly.

Some years ago we stayed at the Europa Hotel as part of a Coach Tour covering both halves of Ireland and did a superb, and escorted, Pub crawl which took us to ' establishments ' representing both sides of the divide. One had the famous painting of the Reverend Paisley talking to Gerry Adams as a main feature … now that was real progress.

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Dublin

Post by prefdavid » 20 Jun 2018, 22:59

Tuesday 19 June 2018- Dublin

A much brighter and warmer day but we still needed to wear layers and fleeces for our early morning start.
There was a shuttle into the centre of Dublin but as we were heading for the Guiness experience which is quite a way outside the centre we negotiated a fixed price and took a taxi direct from the port. It was rush hour and it took around 40 minutes to get there. Our driver pointed out various sites on the way and explained how to find the shuttle bus point for our return journey later in the day.

The Guiness experience was very interesting and well laid out. Some of the exhibits were interactive. We gradually made our way up to the 4th floor and the tasting experience. Here we were given a small sample glass of Guinness and taught how to taste it to appreciate all of the flavours. This also gave the people who hadn’t tasted Guiness before the chance to decide if they wanted to use their ticket for a free pint of Guiness or a different drink.

From there the next floor was the old advertising section for Guinness. Many memories of the Toucans and the Seal balancing the pint on his nose among many others I had forgotten about.

I took the opportunity to learn how to pour the perfect pint and was awarded a certificate to prove it. Garry decided not to risk ruining his pint so opted out. I then took my pint up to the top floor where Garry collected his free pint and we drank them at the bar which has 360 degree views of the city.

We caught a taxi into the city and the busy Temple Bar Area and went in to the old bars there in search of a light lunch but chose the modern, light and clean Elephant & Castle to eat in.

After lunch we walked through Dublin to the Historic Trinity College and then on to the shuttle bus. Another great day out.

The sun came out for the sailaway and stayed out until the evening.

We had booked the Beach House for dinner with Jeffrey the Chief Engineer on board. He was an entertaining dining companion and the evening went well. We chatted so long we missed the evening entertainment but having started drinking early at the Guinness Store and continuing for most of the day we decided that an early night was called for.

Tomorrow we dock in Ringsakiddy.

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Ringsakiddy

Post by prefdavid » 21 Jun 2018, 15:51

Wednesday 20 June 2018- Ringsakiddy, Ireland

We had to dock at this Godforsaken port because the huge Royal Princess was docked in Cobh.

We had visited Cork a couple of years ago and had done the usual touristy things cathedral, Blarney castle etc so decided to just get the shuttle to do a bit of shopping.
The announcement stated that we were sharing shuttles with the Nautica ship docked in front of Oriana so made the decision to get off early to avoid the queues.
Shuttle buses were waiting for us and after very cautiously creeping down the gangway on the most useless gangway ever seen we boarded the double decker bus to Cork. The gangway had 3 ins high ridges every six inches so to walk on them was painful and not room to walk between them other than like a crab. As much use as a Chocolate tea pot comes to mind. These were not the ships gangways but the port ones.

The information was rubbish and Nautica had its own shuttles so we could have left it until later. We were there for 9:45am and it was so very cold. We had been promised 18 degrees which it probably got to later in the day but I wasn’t dressed to cope with 10 degrees and the bitter wind made it feel colder.

We moved from shop to shop to keep warm and I bought some shoes. Every 5th shop appeared to be a shoe shop. We found the old English market where we found out that Charles and Camilla had very recently visited so at least we had been spared that.
We tried to get a coffee there but the tables were either reserved or full so made our way to a bar that had been recommended but even at 11am breakfast was still being served.

We gave up and went back to the shuttle stop. We thought we would be the only passengers going back so early but the bus was almost full. The topic of conversation was the cold weather and the amount of shoe shops.

We had a lovely lunch on board and by the time we had finished the sun was out on the aft deck and it was warming up nicely. The bar didn’t open though.

The entertainment was an extremely funny comedian Jeff Stevenson. I nearly didn’t go as we had seen him before. So glad I did as his material was new and very topical. He made fun of our Captain and the sail past Skye as well as the laughable gangways at Rindaskiddy. Looking forward already to his second show on our final night.

We finished the night in Anderson’s where we sampled the Gin flight again.

Tomorrow we are sailing past the Cornish Coast.

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Cornish coast sail by

Post by prefdavid » 22 Jun 2018, 13:29

21 June 2018 - Sea day and Sail past the Cornish Coast

Glorious day. Started sailing past Lands End at 6am we appeared to be a long way away from the coast but the Captain moved closer as the morning went on and we were picking up phone signals from the land.
During the morning the Captain announced that we would be anchoring close to Guernsey at around 7:30pm tonight instead of early tomorrow morning. Unfortunately there was no tender operation during the evening.

We needed to start packing up some of the cases as tomorrow we have a full day in port. We got around 70% of it done and will finish the rest tomorrow. It is unusual not to have the final day as a sea day.

We Lunched in the MDR followed by the final battle of the sexes. I had missed the last one because of the Ligurian lunch and I was relieved to find that the ladies were still in the lead by 80 points . Today ended in a draw so the ladies won the Battle by 80 points.

Last formal night and Black & White Night and Chefs Parade but we made a decision to have our final meal in Sindhu with our friends. Another exceptional meal with attentive service.

A great night of entertainment followed dinner. The Headliners were in the Pacific Lounge performing the Top of the Billboards and Peter Howarth from the Hollies in the theatre for his final show. He sang a lot of Roy Orbison songs as well as some from the Hollies.
Tomorrow we are in Guernsey.
Last edited by prefdavid on 22 Jun 2018, 13:30, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Oriana X809 - Final tales from Sue and the Butler....for now

Post by Suekersh » 23 Jun 2018, 17:11

Thank you David Raymonde for your tendering duties and everyone who read and or commentented.
This is the final port of call and summary of the cruise.

Friday 22 June 2018 - Guernsey

A glorious day in Guernsey. We had arranged to meet our friends to collect tickets from the Pacific Lounge for a tender. As our plan was for a fishy lunch and wander around we decided against an early start which gave me chance to do the exercise class and say goodbye to the instructors.
When we arrived to collect our tickets at 9:40 the independents hadn’t even started tendering. Due to lots of boat traffic and ferries it was a very slow process but we were in Guernsey for around 11:15 a.m.

We had researched a few fish restaurants but when we found them we either didn’t like the menu or the look of the place, we eventually found one and we were just about to go in when a local elderly gentleman called Warwick stopped us and said I wouldn’t go in there if I were you. He showed us to another one and we were so pleased that we took his recommendation. If anyone wants lunch in Guernsey I can certainly recommend Da nello. It is a family run restaurant a street back from the front. Excellent value for fresh sea food and friendly attentive service. It doesn’t look much from the outside but inside it has been renovated and extended but done sympathetically as the restaurant is over 500 years old. Well worth a visit and they do a set price lunch time menu.
After lunch we called into an individual dress shop also recommended by Warwick and I couldn’t resist buying a perfect summer maxi dress.
We walked off lunch around the harbour wall and for the first time all cruise I dipped my feet into the sea.

Tender queues getting back were horrendous but we were kept informed of the problems which were out of P & O hands. Very busy port with only one tender dock as a Holland America ship was tendering into the other spot. The ferries coming in and out stop the tenders working until the wake has calmed down. Lots of moaning whinging passengers in the queue but once the tenders were allowed to move again three arrived at once and we were soon back at the ship.

We had arranged to have pre dinner drinks in our cabin as I still had some gin and tonics to use up. Jeffrey the Chief engineer called by to say goodbye and stopped for a drink.

We had our final dinner in the MDR and said goodbye to our lovely waiters before heading to the theatre for comedian Jeff Stevenson’s final show. Another very funny show with topical material about Guernsey and the tenders.

We finished the packing and had an earlyish night as we have a long drive home to look forward to tomorrow.

Saturday 23 June 2018- Southampton
It was a very easy disembarkation this morning. I went to breakfast in the dining room with our friends and Garry opted for an early breakfast in the buffet. The ship seemed unusually quiet for disembarkation day.
We had Priority disembarkation and were off ship well before 08:30 which was our estimated disembarkation time, and as we were on D deck where there are less cabins than the other decks it was easy to find our cases. We had a porter to help and when we got outside Steve our taxi driver was waiting for us.
We collected our car and were on the road home before 9 a.m.

We have had a fabulous three cruises despite the weather not being great for some of the UK cruise. The only really wet day was in Invergordon but it was much colder everywhere than we expected for the time of year. We may well book another round UK cruise in the future but I would book that first next time so that I had the hot weather in the Med to look forward to afterwards.

The Oriana is getting on in years but is still looking classy and much loved. I went to the gym most days at 7 a.m. and the crew were busy cleaning and polishing every day. The officers were there checking for dust and looking under sofas.

All of the crew and officers that we met were friendly, helpful and appeared to be happy in their work.

The evening entertainment on this cruise was the best we have experienced in recent years. The entertainment team were friendly and involved in everything. The Headliners were the most talented troupe we have seen. The Caberet acts were varied and where as in recent cruises we have had to make our own entertainment most nights on here there was so much to do that it was impossible to fit everything in. This could be that because it was a shorter cruise at 12 nights and very port intensive that there wasn’t much need for day time entertainment which left more of the budget for the evening.

The food in the main dining room was always hot and although not gourmet standard was very tasty and the presentation and service was excellent.
I never used the buffet so cannot comment on the food served in there.
We did use Al Fresco once but preferred the main dining room for lunch on the few sea days. We ate in both the Beach House and Sindhu and enjoyed both venues.

The biggest disappointment on the ship was that the aft bar on deck 8 only opened once in the evening over the 46 night cruise and on the last cruise didn’t even open during the day even when the weather improved and passengers were sat out. We missed this facility when we had hot sultry evenings in the Mediterranean. Last year during a summer cruise it was open every night with music playing and mood lighting. The senior officers who were on then have now moved on from Oriana and the new ones obviously have different priorities which doesn’t include staffing the aft deck 8.

Our next cruise is on Arcadia in October when we board on my butlers 70th Birthday. I guess I will have to let him have a day off for that celebration.

That’s all for now.

Sue

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Re: Oriana X809 - Final tales from Sue and the Butler....for now

Post by Suekersh » 23 Jun 2018, 17:17

Meg 50 wrote:
15 Jun 2018, 08:54
Did you find your earring?
Yes Meg. It had been handed in at reception. Phew!

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Re: Oriana X809 - Final tales from Sue and the Butler....for now

Post by Suekersh » 23 Jun 2018, 17:22

Manoverboard wrote:
19 Jun 2018, 09:29
You saw Belfast to the full, well done you … most don't bother, sadly.

Some years ago we stayed at the Europa Hotel as part of a Coach Tour covering both halves of Ireland and did a superb, and escorted, Pub crawl which took us to ' establishments ' representing both sides of the divide. One had the famous painting of the Reverend Paisley talking to Gerry Adams as a main feature … now that was real progress.
I think Belfast was probably the Highlight of the cruise. Well worth seeing although there have been some comments on facecloth that we put too much emphasis on the troubled areas which are only a small part of Belfast. We thoroughly enjoyed the day there.

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Re: Oriana X809 - Final tales from Sue and the Butler....for now

Post by Happydays » 23 Jun 2018, 19:05

Thanks for an other great review, I read them all 😇 I'm impressed you're allowing your butler a day off for his birthday 🎂 you're all heart! He'll just have to make up for it the next day ha ha.


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Re: Oriana X809 - Final tales from Sue and the Butler....for now

Post by Finker » 23 Jun 2018, 21:56

Thank you again Sue for taking time to give us a flavour of your cruises. Really appreciated.

We have dined at Da Nellos in Guernsey many times. Yes miniscule from the outside but a surprise once inside.

Roll on October!!


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Re: Oriana X809 - Final tales from Sue and the Butler....for now

Post by rita17 » 24 Jun 2018, 10:41

Thank you for your reports Sue. Have really enjoyed reading them. We did a similar cruise around Britain about 3 years ago so it brought back some memories.

Rita


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Re: Oriana X809 - Final tales from Sue and the Butler....for now

Post by Whynd1 » 24 Jun 2018, 11:32

Many thanks is for the reports Sue, really enjoyed reading them. Was very interested in the British Isles report as I am booked on Oriana next June for this cruise, although ours is a slightly different itinerary as we call in at the Faroe Islands.
As it happens there is an article in the Summer day Telegraph today on the Faroe Islands.

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Re: Oriana X809 - Final tales from Sue and the Butler....for now

Post by Kenmo1 » 24 Jun 2018, 14:18

Thanks for your review - I still read it although we were on this cruise because you provide so much useful information. It was good to put a face to a name when we met you at breakfast but I was disappointed not to meet Garry as I was hoping to bring him home with me as I could do with a wonderful butler like Garry. Despite the rain, we thoroughly enjoyed this cruise. It is a very friendly ship and we bumped into several couples we have met before which was nice.

Like you, we enjoyed the entertainment very much but towards the end we were concerned that the fabulous Headliners troupe were being overused to the detriment of their health. The singer and the comedian were fabulous.
We got off on the 2nd tender in Guernsey and joined a long queue for 91 or 92 round the island local bus which costs £1 per person. Wonderful bargain but really packed so we didn't get off anywhere but saw a lot of the beaches and even pulled into the airport. We did the Giants Causeway in Belfast and then had a run along the coast and finally a tour round Belfast city to see the Falls Rd/Shankill Rd with the murals and Peace Wall. Like you, we wished we had moored at Cobh - it was an absolute picture in the sunshine when we sat in the Crow's Nest for the sail out. Maureen

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Re: Oriana X809 - Final tales from Sue and the Butler....for now

Post by johnds » 25 Jun 2018, 08:05

Joyce and I together with four friends also enjoyed the cruise - despite the iffy weather
The headliners were brilliant but I share Maureen's view that they were perhaps overworked, hence one of the girl singers was missing for the last few days reportedly suffering from vocal strain. All the other entertainment we saw was much enjoyed.Like Sue we hired a car in Invergordon as I wanted to visit some old stomping grounds and we were also surprised that the car was waiting at a different quay from the ship. Thought that Hughie the cruise director ( or whatever they are called this week ) was excellent and I appreciated his silent tannoy message for those with extra-sensory perception (He's probably done it before). Food much better than last time and some wonderful and unusual soups. (I'm a soup buff)
Two serious points. I realise that the cabin staff have to prepare for change over days and I don't object to sheets etc being left the night before. I do however regard it as a breach of Data Security to leave open correspondence addressed to the next occupants of my cabin the night before I leave it. The names and cruise history of the next occupants should not be made known to me.
Secondly we observed an elderly lady with a walking stick doing her level best to take an early bath in the harbour at St Peter Port. As the tender entered the harbour some distance from the docking point she got up, climbed to the top step on the open door and leaned out to take a video on her I-Pad. She then crossed over the tender and did the same from the other side. Whilst passengers made noises which she ignored neither of the two members of the ships company on board made any attempt to stop her or tell her to return to her seat. One of them was a crew man but the other was a young female entertainer (not a Headliner) and I doubt that she was properly trained to deal with the situation.
John

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Re: Oriana X809 - Final tales from Sue and the Butler....for now

Post by barney » 25 Jun 2018, 10:45

Hi Sue,
Can you enlighten me to how you got on with the new policy ref cabin supplies.
You tell me, I won't let on to the others ;)

I noticed in the link on another thread about the crew conditions, that the officer said that the changes in' drink and dress policy' were for short cruises.
My sister in law has just come back from Ventura to the Med and said that it was basically an honesty policy, some handed in, others didn't
She did, but her partner boarded in Barca with a bottle of Barcadi and a bottle of coke and no one asked, so he went on board. They enjoyed it on their balcony with the steward bringing the ice.

I'm thinking discretion is the word of the day.

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Re: Oriana X809 - Final tales from Sue and the Butler....for now

Post by Gill W » 26 Jun 2018, 15:05

Thank you Sue for all your reports and to David for posting them.

Also thanks to Maureen and John for their perspective on Round Britain, always a good itinerary.

I think Jeff Stevenson is one of the best comedians I've seen onboard. He seems to include topical jokes and funny observations from the current cruise. When I did part of the Aurora world cruise last year, Jeff was on from Honolulu to San Francisco. The big talking point onboard was the albatrosses that followed us for at least two days. According to Jeff, they were Trump agents sent to keep an eye on us! :lol:
Gill

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Re: Oriana X809 - Final tales from Sue and the Butler....for now

Post by GillD46 » 26 Jun 2018, 16:36

Just caught up with the last of your extended trip(s) Sue. Thanks for sharing your experiences and to David for tendering.
Gill

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Re: Oriana X809 - Final tales from Sue and the Butler....for now

Post by Suekersh » 27 Jun 2018, 20:24

Kenmo1 wrote:
24 Jun 2018, 14:18
Thanks for your review - I still read it although we were on this cruise because you provide so much useful information. It was good to put a face to a name when we met you at breakfast but I was disappointed not to meet Garry as I was hoping to bring him home with me as I could do with a wonderful butler like Garry. Despite the rain, we thoroughly enjoyed this cruise. It is a very friendly ship and we bumped into several couples we have met before which was nice.

Like you, we enjoyed the entertainment very much but towards the end we were concerned that the fabulous Headliners troupe were being overused to the detriment of their health. The singer and the comedian were fabulous.
We got off on the 2nd tender in Guernsey and joined a long queue for 91 or 92 round the island local bus which costs £1 per person. Wonderful bargain but really packed so we didn't get off anywhere but saw a lot of the beaches and even pulled into the airport. We did the Giants Causeway in Belfast and then had a run along the coast and finally a tour round Belfast city to see the Falls Rd/Shankill Rd with the murals and Peace Wall. Like you, we wished we had moored at Cobh - it was an absolute picture in the sunshine when we sat in the Crow's Nest for the sail out. Maureen
It was great to meet you at breakfast Maureen. I looked out for you around the ship after that but didn’t spot you.

Back down to earth now and so p,eased that my butler came home with me and that you didn’t get chance to entice him away.
He has done all of the washing now but unfortunately I still haven’t trained him to do the ironing.

Sue

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Re: Oriana X809 - Final tales from Sue and the Butler....for now

Post by Suekersh » 27 Jun 2018, 20:33

barney wrote:
25 Jun 2018, 10:45
Hi Sue,
Can you enlighten me to how you got on with the new policy ref cabin supplies.
You tell me, I won't let on to the others ;)

I noticed in the link on another thread about the crew conditions, that the officer said that the changes in' drink and dress policy' were for short cruises.
My sister in law has just come back from Ventura to the Med and said that it was basically an honesty policy, some handed in, others didn't
She did, but her partner boarded in Barca with a bottle of Barcadi and a bottle of coke and no one asked, so he went on board. They enjoyed it on their balcony with the steward bringing the ice.

I'm thinking discretion is the word of the day.
Hi Barney, the alcohol policy is not controlled 100%. We found if security is done off the ship as it tends to be in Spain then as long as any drink is not visible no one queries what is in the bag. There is a table which is staffed after the scanners and if alcohol shows up on the scanner then you are asked to go to the table to hand it in. We didn’t hand any in as we only bought in Spain and as we only had 2 litres we kept it for the second cruise and then bought in Gibraltar and the table to hand it in wasn’t there. We just took 2 bottles on board with us in Southampton. The shops on board were doing great duty free deals and we bought on the first cruise, picked them up on the last day and took them to the car when in Southampton.

Sue

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