7-day Oriana cruise to Norway. 28 July 2012

Day 1


Well, here we are. Back on the Oriana.


The coach park was very busy this morning. With coaches going to all sorts of destinations.




Faultless journey down on the coach with the Cleanest, Best Ventilated, but without doubt the Smallest Toilet on Earth. By all means drop your trousers, but don’t imagine you have any room to bend over far enough to pick them up again.  No, really.  You may not have even noticed that you bend forward when you pick up your trousers, but trust me, you do.  Watch your head.  Furthermore, when you’re upright, whatever you do, don’t wobble, because the handbag hook on the back of the door is almost EXACTLY level with your right eye and only inches away.  You carry a spare, but it would be pretty unpleasant, nonetheless.  And that strange grit for soap that I had almost forgotten existed.  When was the last time you saw that?!  Anyway, the suspension was so soft, I slept most of the way, which is fine by me, because it’s a pretty boring drive – around the M25 to the M27 and then straight down to Southampton.  It takes a little under two hours.  So by the time I’ve eaten my lunch, some junk food (a giant double lolly and a sherbet dibdab, well, I am on holiday), used the aforementioned Minifacilities and had a nap, we’re there.


Oddly effusive welcome back on board – well, some of the staff only saw us three weeks ago, and their memories aren’t as shot as ours! Surprised how far forward my cabin is. Not like me to pick one in the front quarter, and bearing in mind that three weeks ago, I was in one of the sternmost cabins possible, this could be quite a different experience. No special single cabin this time. Paying the single person supplement all week, this time.  Boo. Need to go to reception and check how much onboard credit I have. It should be about fifty quid, but it’s always good to check these things. It varies from cruise to cruise and, particularly now that the parents and I are on different loyalty tiers, I really did ought to pay more attention to this stuff!  (Answer: £50, which I’ve already spent on internet time!)


Noticeably, I appear to be directly above the theatre. I can tell that they are not only currently rehearsing, I can tell you what songs they are rehearsing and what instruments they are using and that’s all over the top of the television which I currently have tuned to Click on BBC World News.  It’s doable, but suffice to say that I think my earplugs may have a challenge to deal with not just the sound, but also the vibrations coming through the floor. So no early nights when there’s a show on, on this cruise.  Not a big deal, I’m hardly renowned for my ‘early to bed early to rise’ tendencies, but it would be nice to have a choice! After all, I do rather enjoy a good nap now and then.  Will monitor this situation and see how it goes.


I may have ranted about this previously, but the primary problem with P&O in recent years has been a lack of attention to detail.  Just to prove that things have not improved in the slightest, I present you herewith with the first, rather glaring, example that I spotted immediately on entering the cabin for the first time.  Minor quibble of this cruise #1 herewith. Let’s see how long this list gets.


This is the equivalent of the hotel directory, found in every cabin, listing room services and phone numbers.  The contents are correct enough, but still…




Dinner was pleasant enough. Our table mates are Tony and Sandra. Both retired. It’s his 65th birthday on Wednesday, although he is reluctant to retire. Must remember to buy him a card tomorrow. Or remind the parents to do it.  Had salmon for dinner. Surprisingly high bone content, but nothing’s perfect. I don’t think I swallowed any, so no harm done.  Tomorrow is the first formal night, so the menu is ghastly.  Minor quibble #2: How do we explain to P&O that there is such a thing as trying too hard?


Currently got the Can-Can wafting up through the floor. Second show has just started.   I can see this listening through the floor process saving me a lot of time and effort, whilst still providing me with all the entertainment I need. 


After dinner, I went to the cinema to see Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, which I think brings me up to date with that particular franchise.  I think… There were some aspects of this film I really liked. The sandstorm chase was cool, and I also enjoyed the malfunctioning kit.  It has bothered me for some time that their electronics never seemed to fail on them, which seemed catastrophically unrealistic in a real world dominated by Windows 7 and, Heaven help us, 8.  This rectified that.  It was highly enjoyable, although perhaps a little high stress-wise for a holiday movie.  That is to say, to translate for my Stateside chums, a movie to watch on holiday, not a movie about snow and elves.  I wasn’t planning to get that stressed out and there was one moment where I genuinely covered my eyes, which is unusual for me.  Very high on adrenalin.  Not suitable for those with dodgy cortisol readings.


The floor is currently singing ‘Bless your beautiful hide’ and whooping a lot, so I think we’re at the barn dance bit of the show.


Minor detail quibble of the day #3: menu item. No spelling mistakes spotted so far, but… One item is a sirloin steak with straw potatoes and watercress.  There is an asterisk next to this item. Referring to the bottom of the menu reveals that an asterisk is a warning to alert passengers that items of game may contain pieces of shot.  Which part of the cow, potato and watercress was shot, exactly?  I like to consider myself to be quite an imaginative soul, but I can’t see the thrill in hunting potatoes or watercress – they seem quite sedentary, as vegetables go.  Neither, frankly, do I think that cows would make particularly good quarry.  All I know of cows is that they seem to have three settings: lying, standing and stampeding, none of which seems suitable for a hunt scenario. So how has any of this been shot at exactly? If I had to hazard a guess, I would say that the warning should be the one about ‘we’ll cook it to your order, but the UK Government is now so terrified of risk that it says that we have to tell you that undercooked meat is dangerous and can kill you and damage small puppies’ or whatever it’s supposed to read.  But I’m just guessing.


The Bolero?! With a cha-cha-cha backing?! It sounds oddly like ‘If I was a rich man’ in places.  Very odd.


It’s so nice to be in a virtually Olympics-free environment.  No one has mentioned the Olympics to me since I boarded the coach (the man in WHSmith was yawning because he’d stayed up til the end).  The only problem is that, as the BBC are utterly OBSESSED, it’s hard to escape when searching for news on the tellybox.  You have to plough through a good eight minutes of a news bulletin before they mention anything important, like Syria, for example.


I think I shall call it quits, log off and listen to the floor for a bit. Goodnight.


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