Day 1 - Friday 28th November Santiago/Valparaiso (Chile)
We finally arrived in Santiago at 8.30am after a 17hour flight from Manchester, England. The flight wasn’t too bad, with a good choice of films and TV programs, they also kept us well fed and watered. David and Louise behaved themselves quite well, although Louise was bored after just 2 hours. Stephen and Barbara were not sitting with us, which I think was a bit of a relief for them not to have David bothering them for 17 hrs.
The plane put down in Barbados for re-fuelling and we were allowed to get off for an hour. This was very welcome as we could have a walk about before getting back on the plane for the final leg of the flight. Most people slept the rest of the way until they were woken up to be given breakfast before finally landing.
Anyway back to Santiago, we were all loaded on to buses for the journey to the port, about one and half hours away.
As you are whisked through the Chilean countryside it’s hard to imagine that you are on the other side of the world, looking out of the widow it looks just like Spain, and a lot greener than I expected it to be.
We arrived at the port just before lunchtime and were very quickly checked in and taken to the ship. We went straight to our cabin (mini-suite no less) to be greeted with champagne, chocolates and flowers - very nice.
After relocating Stephen and Barbara, who we mislaid at the airport, we decided to go to the restaurant for lunch, 2 bottles of wine later we all went back to our cabins and slept.
When we woke a couple of hours later I realized that we were still missing a suitcase but Stephen soon turned up with it, he had found it in a corridor on C deck with luggage labels missing, so panic over.
Then it was time to set sail, so off to prom deck for a glass of champagne, but what’s this no streamers, no band, just lots of locals to wave us off on our way.
After pre-dinner drinks in the Crows Nest and dinner at table 7 (as usual) in the Oriental restaurant, we decided on an early night as we had an early start the next day.
Tour D - Petroglyphs and vineyards.
When we arrived we left the bus and walked to some nearby rocks to look at the Petroglyphs. These are drawings carved onto the rocks 2000BC. We walked on further before clambering up some more rocks to look at the views. Of course Thomas had to climb even further up and hang over the edge to take more photos, as he does.
Then it was back to the bus for the short journey to the Vina Francisco de Aguirre where we were to visit the winery. On arrival Miguel asked us if we had ever been to a winery before, and when most people said yes, he replied that we would just have a quick look before moving on to the wine tasting. The wine tasting took place in an underground cellar carved into the hillside. We were then invited to purchase some wine and as it would be rude not to we set about buying just about every bottle in the shop, for David’s birthday of course.
Then it was off to lunch. We pulled up outside a very unpromising looking building, but once inside you could see why we were there as the views were stunning. Hence the name, Panoramic restaurant I guess. You could go out onto a balcony and look right down the valley over the foothills of the Andes and vineyards below.
For lunch we were given river prawns and some sort of sea snail to start with, Miguel said that the snails where endangered but the bloke that owned the restaurant knew a man! The main course was just lots of meat with more meat and for desert papaya and ice cream. All washed down with pisco sours and more wine. Then it was back to the bus for a very good-humoured journey back to the ship.
This was a wonderful day. We saw plenty of Chilean countryside, drank lots of Chilean wine and returned to the ship happy and exited for the rest of the holiday.
Day 4 - Monday 1st December
Day 5 - Tuesday 2nd December
Cusco/Machu Picchu (Peru)
Our guides travelled with us and pointed out all the places of interest, this was good as it made the train journey seem shorter. We followed the Urubamba River along the valley before we entered the denser undergrowth of the rainforest. We were shown where the tented village for the start of the Inca trail was, we didn’t think we will be doing that though as you have to cross a mountain range at a height of over 4000mtrs
After 4 & a half hrs on the train we finally pulled into the station at Aguas Calientes which looked like it had just sprung up to service the tourists that are going to Machu Picchu.
We were then all piled into buses for the final leg of the journey up the mountain. As we wound our way up a very narrow and windy road I was looking for the first signs of Machu Picchu, this also took my mind off the steep drops at the side of the road. Once at the top we were taken for lunch at the Sanctuary Lodge Hotel before dividing us back into our groups for touring the site. We were soon taken through the entrance and round the last corner. The first thing that we saw were the terraces that the Inca’s used to farm, but this was nothing compared to the sight that we saw on rounding the next corner and start to see the full site. We followed the guide around the site for the next 2 hrs, he was very good and seemed to know when people needed to rest, due mainly to the altitude. He was soon leading the way to the top house to see what he termed "the postcard view" of Machu Picchu and when we got to the top the view took your breath away. Everyone was now taking photos so I thought it was time to bring Paddington out of my bag and show him darkest Peru. He was a big hit, with everyone wanting a photo of him.
It was now time to make our way back down to the town for the train journey back. David and I avoided all the locals trying to sell the usual Machu Picchu tourist tat, and settled on a beer and chips before returning to the train. The journey back was over 5 hrs and seemed endless as is was dark most of the way, but we finally got back to the hotel at 9.30pm. We were all exhausted but still managed dinner before bed.
It was a wonderful day but very hard work. We will all be pleased to see Oriana tomorrow.
Day 7 - Thursday 4th December
We decided to go and do the quiz that night, not a big success though, so we went down to Harlequins to drown our sorrows and finally managed to stay up past 2.00am.
Day 9 - Saturday 6th December As the Scott’s and ourselves were not on tour until the afternoon we decided to go ashore mid morning, using the tender privilege disembarkation tickets that were delivered to our cabin yesterday. We were taken by tender into the harbour of St George’s which was built on a crater made by an extinct volcano. When we got off the tender and started to walk around the harbour we were soon getting unwanted attention of what seemed like every taxi driver in Grenada, we carried on trying to ignore them and walked to the town centre. In contrast to the pretty harbour area the town centre was scruffy and unwelcoming, so David and myself decided to head back to the harbour and find somewhere for lunch - no change there then.Tour J - Bonaire Beach BreakUp early again to go to the beach snorkelling. As we stood on the balcony looking out at Bonaire you can see all these pretty little house in different colours and its just like you imagine a Caribbean island to be. Woke up in time for bacon pannini in Alfresco 24/7, it was starting to become quite a habit. P&O had a "great" idea to put the clocks forward at 12.00am so all of a sudden it was lunchtime. After lunch in in the Peninsular Restaurant I had a massage which was very good and I soon found myself nodding off.As it was chocoholics that afternoon, Stephen and Thomas turned up with plates of cake for afternoon tea (and we still haven’t eaten David’s cake). All we seemed to do was eat and drink, so we must have been on a cruise.’s 40th Birthday)As we had been told that we would start to transit the canal at 8.00am we decided to get up at 7.30am so that we wouldn’t miss anything. We were told that some people were sitting on observation deck at 5.00am - there is always someone mad enough. Marissa, our cabin stewardess, woke us with our breakfast at 7.30am as we were off on our first tour today.Another lazy day at sea with a bit of sunbathing in the morning. The sun seemed very strong though and as I didn’t want to look like all the other lobsters I decided to go and commandeer a table down by the Riviera Bar. We had thought that if we got a table down by the bar then we would have a good view for the crossing the line ceremony. So here we were at our "good" table for lunch, salad & pizza washed down by some of our Chilean wine. Then as we sat there everyone started to pull chairs from god knows where and put them in front of us, oh well best plans and all that. Very lazy day at sea, with not much to report. When I finally got up I found the others had got a nice quiet spot on the top deck. We had another early start, having been woken at 5.00am again that morning. We were then transferred to the airport, for another scenic flight over the Andes to Lima.After a very early start at 5.00am we were taken to the train station for a 4 & a half hour journey on the backpacker train. The train was very rickety and ran on a single track with 4 trains going up in the morning and then coming back in the evening.Travelling through the Peruvian countryside we saw a different way of life to that in the city of Cusco, there were lots of cultivated crops and animals in the fields.Breakfast in the cabin again this morning before saying goodbye to Oriana for 2 nights and embarking on our big trip to Machu Picchu.’s We were transferred to the airport by coach and then the scenery changed again, from the very fertile and green surroundings of central Chile to miles of the Atacama desert, the driest desert in the world. Finally we had a nice leisurely day at sea. Went down to breakfast in the restaurant with S & B as David was still in bed, he didn’t get in until 3am in a bit of a state. We decided to be fit and go for a walk round prom deck and bumped into T & L on the way, but this was to be a dangerous decision for Louise.
As she was walking around prom deck, a jogger launched himself at her and she caught her arm on a knob causing a very large bruise to appear, so off we went to Tiffany’s for an ice pack and coffee. Surprisingly enough this didn’t stop Louise spending the next half hour going up and down the stairs to the shops - funny that.Spent the morning watching us sail into Balboa the port for Panama. The city of Panama seemed to rise from the mist and looked like it was straight out of a Si Fi movie.
At Sea/Panama City (Panama)
The scenery was very green and it was like sailing into the Lake District, with small islands dotted about the sea.
We sailed under The Bridge of The Americas at lunchtime and pulled into a very industrial port.
The wildlife, especially the birds, were wonderful at all the ports and here was no exception with pelicans diving into the sea right by the ship.
After lunch we had the first signs that we were in the rainforest as it started to rain and looked like it wasn’t going to stop, it was very warm though and this made it very humid. This played havoc with the video cameras and we had to leave them out on the balcony’s to get them to work.
As we couldn’t get on the only trip into Panama we decided to stay on the ship, it didn’t look like we missed much though.
We decided to eat in Le Jardin Bistro that night as it was a casual night and it didn’t look like we would miss much on the dinner menu. After dinner we went to Crows Nest for a drink but like many of the bars on the ship this holiday it was very quiet.
David & Thomas wandered ashore to a little duty free shed but came back empty handed.
Although they were offered a ride into Panama city by a taxi driver to "visit some nice ladies".
The girls pretended to go to bed at 12.00am but really went to decorate our cabin for David’s Birthday the next day, luckily Stephen and Thomas had already blown up the balloons. When David came to bed some time later he was surprised to find the cabin filled with balloons and banners.
Day 11 - Monday 8th December
Stephen, Barbara and David tried their luck in the casino that night with Stephen winning £50.
Day 13 - Wednesday 10th December
The Nutmeg Restaurant overlooking the harbour quickly drew our attention and so we grabbed the best seat by the window and waited for Thomas & Louise. David & Thomas had the local delicacy of spicy crab back followed by lambie (conch).
After lunch we were booked onto the Rhum Runner II
Day 14 - Thursday 11th December
Day 15 - Friday 12th December
Then there’s nothing left except to go home after a wonderful and exiting holiday.
I think this had given us a kick to do something other than keep sailing round the Med in future, but then again?
Got up to have breakfast in the restaurant, just to fill in some time before going to the airport. All the hand luggage was being held in the pacific lounge so that you didn’t have to trail it around with you, some people are not going to the airport until 5.00pm. So we left our bags and went for a walk but soon came back as it was to hot to hang around in going home clothes. Luckily we didn’t have to hang around very long as we are the first group off.The catamaran came into the same harbour as Oriana but P & O still insisted on putting us on a bus to go 100yards. Once on the boat the crew were really helpful and friendly and once again kept trying to ply everyone with rum punch.Another day, another island, another boat trip but this time in Barbados.
well! where do i start!! check in at mayflower was quick with no problems we arrived at midday with a queue already fairly long,considering there was no priority check in for the 800+ goldies it was quick with plenty of desks. straight onto Oriana, up to the conservatory for a snack and a stroll round the ship. Oriana wow! loved this ship! like Aurora! we spent most of our time in Lords, Harlies, conservatory and terrace bar! … more
Feb 10, 2010
Mar 5, 2010 05:13 PM UTC
About this topic
MV Oriana is a cruise ship owned and operated by P&O Cruises. She was built by Meyer Werft shipyard , Papenburg, Germany in 1995, and entered service in 1995 after being christened by the Queen at her home port of Southampton. She is the second ship to carry the name 'Oriana', in tribute to the long serving SS Oriana, which served for Orient Line and P&O from 1959 until 1986.
After a lengthy campaign, P&O Cruises were permitted to allocate the new Oriana with the call sign 'GVSN', which is the same call sign as her namesake. However, the call sign was changed to ZCDU9 in 2006, when she was re-registered to Bermuda.