I am sure most of you have heard of the P&O cruise ship Oriana, some of you may have been on board the ship. But upon my recent visit to my local maritime museum with my youngest daughter, I took a look at an early Oriana which was built in my home town (well it was a trade off – there is a park next to the museum, plus she gets to colour whilst I look around). Oriana was sister ship to the Famous Canberra
My hometown of Barrow-in-Furness has a rich maritime history and has built many cruise liners over the years. The SS Oriana was built by the then Vickers Armstrong in Barrow for Orient Lines (ORIENT STEAM NAVIGATION COMPANY LTD.) . Oriana was the largest ship to built at the Barrow yard, it would also be the last ship they constructed for the Orient Steam Navigation Company.
Oriana was launched on Tuesday November 3 1959, by Princess Alexandra. At 41,915 tonnes the Oriana was the largest passenger liner to be placed on the Australia / New Zealand service. Her dimensions being, 245.1m long, in 30.5m wide, having 730 cabins, 17 public rooms, and 11 passenger decks. She was able to carry 2000 passengers, in two classes, having a crew of around 980. At the time she was one of the mos
In 1966, the name of Orient Line disappeared, when together with P&O Peninsular, it simply became the P&O Line. Oriana sailed around the world for almost fourteen years. In the late sixties, the round the world service started to become unprofitable with a decline of passengers. She then became the toast of Australian cruise lovers, and proved to be a great success for P&O. She cruised the South Pacific, as well as an occasional Asian itinerary from Australian ports.
She spent her final years as a hotel and tourist attraction in China, unfortunately On June 16, 2004, SS oriana was struck by a vicious storm in which she was badly damaged. She took on a great deal of water due to her being holed at bow that saw her lower decks flooded, and soon she listed to port. Attempts were made to right her and the owners even considered restoring her, however the cost proved to be too great. On May 13, 2005 SS Oriana departed Dalian and was towed to Wayou scrap yard in Zhangiagang Chinawhere she was broken up.
A sad end to such an iconic ship, but I am proud to say she was built in my home town.