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Oriana of 1995
Oriana Page 4a: July 2000 Mediterranean Cruise (Part 1)
Oriana was P&O Cruises' first large purpose-built cruise ship for the UK market. She entered service in April 1995, and this was my fifth cruise on her. I find the ship superb in every respect, particularly the food which is better than the nominally higher rated Princess, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean lines (at least to the non-Americans that I have met). P&O's policy is that every cruise is different, so repeat cruising rarely means visiting ports previously seen. I travelled to the Mediterranean on Oriana in July 1997, and the only duplicate ports of call were Gibraltar and Elba. The former was only a half day, and the latter was no problem to me in view of Elba's fascinating ferry services. This pictorial review of the cruise is primarily aimed a transport enthusiasts, detailing the ships and railways which one can see at each stop. This page covers the first six days of the cruise. A description of the second half of the voyage continues on Part 2.
Sections on Page One (This Page):-
Days at Sea on Oriana
Ajaccio (Corsica)
Livorno (Italy)
Corsica Ferries
Etruria Ferries
Moby Lines
SNCM Ferries
Tirrenia Ferries
Torema Ferries
Corsican Railways (CFC)
Sections on Part Two:-
Palma (Majorca)
Portoferraio (Elba)
Villefranche (France)
Moby Lines
SNCM Ferries
Torema Ferries
Caronia at Villefranche
Oriana at Portoferraio
Oriana (1995) Pages:-
Oriana 1995 Page 1 - Postcards
Oriana 1995 Page 2a - Photographs - Ship Views: 1995-2000
Oriana 1995 Page 2b - Photographs - Open Deck Views
Oriana 1995 Page 2c - Photographs - Interior Views
Oriana 1995 Page 2d - Photographs - Ship Views: after 2000
Oriana 1995 Page 3 - The 1999 Refit
Oriana 1995 Page 4a - 2000 Cruise Part 1 - A Mediterranean Cruise taken July/August 2000
Oriana 1995 Page 4b - 2000 Cruise Part 2 - A Mediterranean Cruise taken July/August 2000 - this page!
Oriana 1995 Page 5 - 2003 Cruise - A 7-Day Cruise taken October 2003
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P&O Header Page - Links to all main P&O pages
P&O/Princess Cruises - Page 1 - P&O Official Postcards
P&O/Princess Cruises - Page 2 - P&O Official Postcards
P&O/Princess Photographs
Simplon P&O/Princess Cruises - Page 1 - Simplon Postcards P&O Releases
Simplon P&O/Princess Cruises - Page 2 - Simplon Postcards P&O Releases
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OR013: Summer in the Med - Part 1
Oriana cruise OR013, "Summer in the Med", left Southampton on Sunday 23rd July for Gibraltar, Ajaccio, Livorno, Elba, Villefranche and Palma. The cruise began with two days at sea, arriving Gibraltar at 7.00pm on Wednesday 26th July. The 1181 nautical miles were covered at an average speed of 20.9 knots. P&O must have been very confident that the weather would be fine all the way, since Oriana held this speed throughout. Usually the initial stages of a long passage are made at a higher speed of at least 24 knots, slowing down later in the journey. The route and itinerary for the cruise are shown below.
The first picture below shows our arrival at the P&O Mayflower Terminal (myself: Ian Boyle, plus wife Margaret and son Alastair). P&O employs first class brass bands to send their ships off. The second picture shows the Central Band of the Royal British Legion playing as we left, streamers entangled around their feet.
Days 1 & 2: At Sea
There were two days at sea before Gibraltar. This picture is at the Captain's Reception Party with Phil Aldridge, Chief Technical Officer, towering over my 6ft height. This was the first of the four formal nights on the cruise.
We sailed in fine weather, which stayed with us throughout the cruise, although it was chilly in the evening for the first two days out. Alastair was the first person on board to venture into a pool, on the evening of departure. He received a rousing cheer from those on deck as he leapt in (third picture). We started to teach Alastair shuffle board early in the cruise. The newer Aurora lacks the extensive wooden games deck of the Oriana, and is the poorer for it.
Day 3: Gibraltar
Oriana's first port of call was Gibraltar, after two days at sea. The picture below shows us at disembarkation. Gibraltar is a slightly frustrating port for ship enthusiasts, since one can just about see the frequent ferry services into Algeciras, but they are too far for photography. Since my last visit, a ferry service has started direct to Gibraltar from Africa.
Oriana arrived at Gibraltar early in the morning. She was followed into the harbour by Renaissance Cruises R TWO.
Gibraltar does have its own ferry service to Africa, run by the Lemnos of Southern Ferries, a 1976-built ferry previously used on Greek domestic services. Anchored just outside Gibraltar was the ferry Dolce Vita, in very poor condition. She was originally the Holger Danske of 1961, which operated between Denmark and Norway for Da-No Linjen.
Once docked, we made our way to the cable-car, which runs to the top of the rock. The photos below show the views from the top. The cable car is run by M.H.Bland, who used to operate the ferry service to from Gibraltar to Africa, as featured in the Alec Guinness film The Captain's Paradise. They also operate harbour tugs and coach services.
As we descended, I photographed Oriana and R Two from the cable car, and also two interesting excursion ships as shown in the second and third pictures. The one with the yellow funnel is the Estrella, which was built as Hein Godenwind for the Hamburg-based HADAG in 1960. In 1969 she sailed between Copenhagen and Malmo as the Kobenhavn for Centrumlinjen (still 50% owned by HADAG), and then moved to Forde Rederei of Flensburg as the Nordsee I in 1975. They were still listed as owners in 1995, but I do not have details of her current Gibraltar operators. I saw no advertisements for services. The fairly derelict white ship is the IDRISS 1 built in Mallorca in 1974 as the ISLE DE MALLORCA. According to Lloyds Register 1998/99 the operator was Transtours (thanks to Tony Carless for this information). The final picture shows a fast ferry of EuroFerrys sailing into Algeciras. I believe it is the Euroferry Primero, a 1995 InCat vessel, previously Cat Link II. I had hoped to pass one of the interesting conventional vessels that run into Algeciras as we left, but we missed an ex-Sealink vessel by about 15 minutes.
These two pictures of 'the Rock' were taken as Oriana left Gibraltar at 2pm.
Day 4: At Sea
There was another day at sea before reaching the next port, on which the second formal dinner took place.
Day 5: Ajaccio (Corsica)
Oriana's second port of call was Ajaccio on Corsica, the birthplace of Napoleon. Two commercial postcards of Ajaccio are shown below, both featuring SNCM-Ferryterranee ferries.
My photos as we approached Ajaccio, showing the SNCM-Ferryterranee ferry Danielle Casanova of 1989 and the CNM ferry Scandola of 1992. The two companies other an integrated service of passenger, Ro-pax and fast ferries to France and Italy. I have a series of pages devoted to the SNCM fleet, including many more photos taken during this cruise.
Corsican Railways (CFC)
I took my only organised trip of the cruise on Corsica, since this was the only way possible to travel on the CFC, the local metre-gauge railway system. I travelled to Corte along one of the most scenic parts of the network. Coach travel was arranged from Corte back to Ajaccio, since the next train back would have missed the ship. The pictures below show the train at Ajaccio, the sparsely populated maquis, a diesel loco used for maintenance trains, an Eiffel-designed bridge and arrival in Corte. The railcars are two Soule diesel-hydraulic 2-car units, operating in multiple. They were delivered between 1989-95, and the unit shown is X97052. The locomotive is 405, an 0-4-4-0 diesel hydro-mechanical, built by CFD Montmirail in 1966. It moved to the island in 1994, and is one of three CFD units maintained for service and recovery duties. There are no scheduled freight services on CFC.
This final picture of the CFC shows an earlier raicar taken from a commercial postcard - the only card I could find showing the railway.



Corte, the destination of my train trip, was the original capital of Corsica (it is Ajaccio now). The town has a spectacular setting amongst the mountains. the statue is of Pasquale Paoli, the great revolutionary leader who gained independence for Corsica from the Genoans.
The following pictures of Oriana were taken from the tender as I returned to the ship anchored off Ajaccio.
Day 6: Livorno (Italy)
Oriana's third port of call was Livorno, on the Italian coast near Pisa. Livorno is Italy's third port, and there was never a moment went some shipping movement was not occurring. The first picture, from a commercial postcard, shows an aerial view of the port, with an Airtours ship (Carousel?) at the Dole banana terminal. Oriana docked at a container berth, just ahead of where the Airtours ship is in this picture. I could walk to the end of this quay, and see the many ferries entering and leaving. I later walked around the harbour, to the pilot station shown at the bottom right, from where the sun was more suitable for afternoon photography.
This second view again shows the Carousel at the Dole banana terminal. On our visit, Oriana berthed between her bow and the yellow container crane top right. The pilot station is again visible bottom left.
Two older postcards of Livorno. That on the left shows two Neri tugs, one an attractive steamer. An interesting passenger ship is largely hidden behind the coaster. I presume it is a predecessor of the Toremar car ferries which serve Corsica and Elba. The second card shows the early car ferry Capo Bianco, which was originally the Prins Bertil of Lion Ferry. She was operated by Toremar in the early 1980s, having also served as Holmia for Silja and the Kalmar Nyckel.
Three generations of Neri tugs were in service on my visit; a selection is shown below.
Corsica Ferries
Two large new ferries are under construction at the Livorno yard of Orlando for Corsica Ferries. These are the first new conventional ships built for Corsica Ferries, and will be called the Mega Express and Mega Express 2. Corsica Ferries also operate three fast monohull ferries Corsica Express I, II and III. It has been announced that one ship will compete with SNCM out of Toulon. Further photographs of Mega Express are available on this link.
Corsica & Sardinia Ferries seen in service included the Corsica Serena II, Sardinia Regina, Sardinia Nova and Corsica Marina Secundo. These ferries all served previously for Northern European operators. Dedicated pages of postcards and photographs of Corsica/Sardinia/Elba Ferries are available on this link.
Moby Lines
Moby Lines compete with Corsica/Sardinia Ferries. Shown below are Moby King (ex-Skane of Swedish Railways) and Ro-Ro ferry Moby Gum. The Mega Express 2 is visible in the background of the Moby King picture. Also shown below is a memorial tablet to the Moby Prince (ex-Koningin Juliana), which collided with a tanker in fog near Livorno. There was considerable loss of life in the resulting fire.
Torema Ferries
State-owned Toremar serve Elba from Livorno. This is the Liburnia.
Etruria Ferries
A rival to Toremar on the Elba route is Livorno-Elba Ferries (Etruria Shipping), who operate the veteran ferry Nortia, built as Danish ferry Grenaa in 1964. She later served as Kalle, Olau West and Corsica Marina. She was out of service with engine problems on the days that I visited both Livorno and Elba.
SNCM Ferries
French state-owned operator SNCM operate fast ferries and Ro-pax vessels to Corsica and Elba from Livorno. Monte d'Oro and NGV Aliso are shown below. Dedicated pages of postcards and photographs of SNCM-Ferrterranee vessels are available on this link.
Tirrenia Ferries
Another Italian state-owned operator is Tirrenia Line, who operate large Ro-Ro ferries out of Livorno.
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