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Cruise around the world gives appreciation for home

June 26, 2003

Marjorie Reavie

It was an unseasonable 85 degrees at the Los Angeles airport when my

husband Dean and I boarded American Airlines for Heathrow, London to

embark on a world cruise aboard the ship Oriana. Imagine our dismay

as we landed in a blinding snowstorm with all of our arrival

arrangements in utter confusion.

After a lengthy unplanned taxi ride to Southampton, we boarded the

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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

to Southampton.

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.

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