Oriana, which would be our home for the next 71 days.
The Oriana is a beautiful, comfortable ship, very British, of
course, so quite formal. The comfort and well being of the 1,600
passengers were paramount to the captain and crew.
After a chilly beginning, we soon reached warm waters and enjoyed
calm seas and summer weather for the rest of the journey down the
west coast of Europe, Africa and around the Cape of Good Hope.
We proceeded up the east coast to Kenya and the Seychelles, across
the Indian Ocean to Indonesia (Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore),
to Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand, and into the Pacific Ocean to
Tahiti, Bora Bora, Hawaii and San Francisco, where we reluctantly
disembarked for a short flight home on March 19. The ship would
continue on to Acapulco, through the Panama Canal, before returning
There were many wonderful days at sea with unlimited activities to
suit everyone's taste -- lectures, bridge and dance lessons, movies,
a great gym, an Internet room and casino, to name just a few. There
was a marvelous library, if anyone had time to read. Most of the
passengers, being British, were eager to soak up the endless
sunshine, resulting in painful looking sunburns.
The evening musical programs and stage shows were very
professional and entertaining. Of course, eating was nonstop.
Crossing the equator requires permission from King Neptune, and this
ceremony creates a lot of fun for the passengers and crew. As we
actually crossed the equator on three different occasions, we
experienced this nonsense three times.
We visited 22 different and interesting ports. Among our favorites
were Walvis Bay, Namibia, Cape Town, Durban, the Seychelles, Perth,
Burnie, Sydney, Marlborough Sound, Auckland and Morea.
Our arrival in Auckland coincided with the conclusion of the
Americas Cup races, so the port was still bustling. Dean, who enjoys
sailing, had the exciting experience of a sail on one of the 12-meter
boats that had been the contender in the 1995 Cup race, so this was
the highlight of his cruise.
Arriving in Honolulu, and five days later in San Francisco, made
us realize that no matter how many beautiful countries and cities we
visited, we are very privileged and content to live in Newport Beach.