Wednesday, February 20, 2013

ORIANA of 1960

Bill Miller's lives of the liners: "When she was completed in December 1960, the 41,000-ton Oriana of Britain’s P&O-Orient Lines was the largest passenger liner yet built for the busy UK-Australia run. Carrying up to 2,022 passengers (530 in first class and 1,492 less fancy tourist), the 27 1/2-knot ship was also notably the very fastest --- she could do the Southampton-Sydney run via Suez in 21 days, a full week less than previous P&O-Orient liners. Immediately, she was immensely popular and very successful. Every sailing was, it seemed, full-up to capacity. Built by the Vickers-Armstrong shipyard at Barrow-in-Furness, in northwest England, the 804-ft long liner was commissioned in what came to be the final great age of British-built, British-owned liners. Others included the likes of the Windsor Castle, the Empress of Canada and then finished-up, in 1969, with theQueen Elizabeth 2. British shipbuilding was losing its long-held prominent place to less expensive, more efficient shipbuilders. Meanwhile, the sleek Oriana was soon to begin a losing battle of her own, with speedy jets on the Australian run. Six months later, in June 1961, P&O added an even larger liner, the 44,000-ton Canberra. She could carry even more passengers, over 2,270 in all.
“The Oriana was my preference over the Canberra. Both very large & important ships, the Oriana was quite different from the Canberra,” according to Howard Franklin, who sailed in both ships and on many occasions -- and often as a guest speaker. “The Oriana was, as it seemed, all graciousness and luxury, and lots of carpets whereas the Canberra, it appeared to me, was more informal and acres of lino. I was, however, amazed in tourist class on the Oriana by the low ceilings in the public rooms and small, even tiny cabins. Originally, the Oriana had a Silver Grill in first class, but that space was later made into cabins. The Monkey Bar Garden felt like you were suspended over the ocean itself. She also had a great enclosed promenade area as well. And more specifically, I remember the enormous proportions of the drinks served onboard. There was especially high excitement on sailing days and with great reunions & meetings of past passengers. The commodore of the Orient Line was aboard and was very precise, very exacting.”
I took this photo of the splendid Oriana from the 20th floor of an apartment tower at Circular Quay in Sydney. The date is July 1984 and I was about to sail off on a 2-week cruise around the South Pacific Islands."
Texto e imagens /Text and images copyright Bill Miller. Favor não piratear. Respeite o meu trabalho / No piracy, please. For other posts and images, check our archive at the right column of the main page. Click on the photos to see them enlarged. Thanks for your visit and comments. Luís Miguel Correia
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