I was told on the day I boarded for my first cruise voyage that it would be something I would never forget and that the ship would also hold a place in my heart forever, I laughed and smiled thinking “ok this lady is crazy, it’s a ship”, but I soon realised every word she said was true.
My first cruise was on board P&O Cruises Oriana back in 2007 and I still remember now the feeling I got when I first set eyes upon her. It was the first time I had seen a cruise ship and I couldn’t quite get over just how massive this thing was. She was sitting at Southampton port waiting for her passengers like Lady of the manor and I instantly fell in love.
We had picked a 12-night Canaries cruise, opting for the 12-nights just in case half way through I decided no, cruising is definitely not for me (I had to be convinced to go in the first place, one because I was convinced I would spend the entire time feeling ill but also that I just wouldn’t enjoy it or feel comfortable) but from the moment I stepped on board I was star struck, that really is the only way I can describe it. Although in comparison to some, Oriana really is not a massive ship to me she was huge and I had never seen anything like it. The closest I had come to seeing anything that even slightly resembled a cruise ship was the DFDS Ferry and even that was a long way off what I was seeing at that moment in time.
Oriana was amazing, she had numerous bars and dining venues, swimming pools, whirlpool spa’s, at the time kids clubs (she is now adult-only) more than enough deck space and she had such a great atmosphere. Obviously that is the norm for cruise ship’s but being completely unaware really of what to expect I was quite impressed. Of an evening we dined on a table of 8 and on formal evenings had the pleasure of dining with the loyalty manager on board. It was such a great laugh, our table was quite a young bunch and we got on literally got on like a house on fire. Even now when I talk about my first cruise to others they say how lucky I was to have such a great table of people, we all know it can be hit or miss but on that particular cruise we hit the bullseye!
The lady on Oriana told me on day one “your first cruise ship stays with you forever” and it really does. It is so strange, every time since that I have caught a glimpse of her I have given the typical “ahhhhhh” the type of sigh and emotion people give to an adorable little puppy, I give to Oriana. To be honest I still don’t think I “get it” entirely but I can’t stop myself from doing it.
I will forever have a soft spot for Oriana, I guess I understand why people were a little saddened when P&O sold Artemis, if it had been Oriana I too would have mourned my loss. I couldn’t have picked a better ship. I would love to step back on board one day and relive that first cruise feeling again…….one day.
I have added a photo album of Oriana to the CruiseMiss facebook page, click the link and enjoy – http://on.fb.me/GWTDTW