Monday 1st July 2019
Today here on board ORIANA we are due in Santander, Spain. This brought back memories for me of visiting there in the early 1970s with my late husband, when we stayed in one of Spain's Paradors, in the castle on the mountain top, looking way down to the flat coastal beaches. It was a wonderful place to stay overnight, one of the many similar on a route following the west coasts of France, Spain and Portugal. We could look out at the oceans where we once travelled in Union-Castle Mailships, all those years ago, but from the land side this time and visiting lighthouses, promontories etc. on the way.
Before going ashore I took some photos on board.
With the photos taken, reality for me today was taking the shuttle bus to town from ORIANA's ship side, knowing the Plymouth/Santander ferry was due to arrive later today.
Our first visit was to the Cathedral, walking around the cloisters and admiring the various sculptures to be seen. . I liked seeing the carved dogs at the feet of their owners, which immediately shows the status of the dead. We see similar sights of course at home in local churches and cathedrals.
Walking along the promenade brought us to a coffee bar, away from the big crowds visiting the port like us. An old dockside crane was still in place alongside the water, as we admired the views on our walk. In the terminal building before going back to the ship we enjoyed seeing the model of a Brittany Ferries vessel with many little vehicles beside it.
Back at the ship we could enjoy lunch on board, and I located and admired again the beautiful glass ceiling in the Tiffany bar at the top of the atrium.
Later we could watch the Brittany Ferries vessel PONT AVEN arrive from Plymouth in the UK, turn and come astern to allow her vehicles and passengers to disembark here in Santander.
Ships seen: Oriana, Juan de la Cosa (Instituto Social de la Marina, registered in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria), Pont Aven
To be continued...
Sunday 30th June 2019
After breakfast several of us wanted to go ashore and visit the Maritime Museum, which consists of three historic ships afloat in Quai Senac de Meilhan, and so we took the free shuttle bus from ORIANA into town. It was an enjoyable walk into the Museum's Basin amongst the various buildings and after paying our entrance fees I noticed a leaflet about La Rochelle as a passenger port in the past. The top picture on the leaflet showed a black-hulled ship, called ORIANA.
I thought that was an extraordinary coincidence, bearing in mind how we have arrived at La Rochelle, so a little research was needed. I have discovered that the ship pictured was indeed named ORIANA, and that she was built in 1906 as a screw steamer by Barclay, Curle, Glasgow, at 8086 tons. She served with Pacific Steam Navigation Company, Liverpool, to the Americas until finally scrapped in 1927. (http://www.clydeships.co.uk/view.php?ref=1597)
We then walked towards the Maritime Museum and the good ship FRANCE 1. She was built in 1958, and used for many years as a meteorological vessel, and it was interesting to see more details on board, including her bell and a lovely model. I enjoyed standing on the Bridge and see the chart drawers, radar etc.
After a good look round the ship and the surrounding buildings and displays we went back to the shuttle bus and the ship. The Maritime Museum of La Rochelle had been fascinating (https://the-french-atlantic-coast.com/portfolio_page/la-rochelles-maritime-museum/)
Back on our own vessel we enjoyed a late lunch and then went on the stern tiered decks to enjoy the Great British Sailaway. Billed as an afternoon of patriotic sing-alongs with dancing and flag-waving, it was great fun to see and enjoy as we sang along and waved flags. I suppose it was all the more nostalgic as we knew the ship was not long for the P&O fleet and would soon be off to foreign climes and a very different life.
Dinner and a theatre show in the evening (Killer Queen in Concert) completed a very enjoyable and happy day.
To be continued...
Saturday 29th June 2019 (continued)
But back to today, and breakfast is my first priority. Because it is a sea day there will be a Welcome Aboard party of the Ocean Liner Society members this morning, in the Medina Room, Deck 13 Forward Stairwell. We have the use of the room from 10.45 until 12.15, and can buy any drinks or snacks at the nearby Crow's Nest Bar. I know quite a few members of the OLS on board and it will be interesting to see who else attends. In the event, 51 people turned up, and most of us wore a name label (in big font size). I think many of us know each other by name but not necessarily by sight so it was interesting to walk around and meet people. Some people sat in low comfy seats, but the rest of us circulated and enjoyed meeting others. It was a very pleasant way to spend a morning at sea, in congenial company, but later in the voyage I realised I never saw many of them again.
I see from the daily programme that from 7 a.m. I could have attended Total Body Conditioning, Pathway to Yoga, Body Sculpt Boot Camp, Short Tennis, Armed Forces Day UK get together, Cofee Chat and Travelling Solo Get-Together, Stretch & Release, and Facebook Meet & Greet, but I was happy to be in the Medina Room.
During the rest of the day there were lots of activities to take part in or watch and enjoy being on this ship. Tonight all passengers are invited to the Pacific Lounge for the Captain's Welcome On-Board Party at 8 p.m. so OLS members have decided to meet in Anderson's on Deck after 7 p.m. for a drink first before going to the Captain's party, and then to second sitting dinner in the Oriental Restaurant on Deck 6 aft at 8.30 p.m.
That continued a very enjoyable day at sea.
To be continued...