With Reuben Goossens
Cruise’n’Travel Journalist / Cruise Reviewer & Maritime Historian
A Carnival Corp Company
2006 World Cruise Review
Please Note: Cruise-Australia is a non-commercial and privately owned cruise site and it is NOT associated with any cruise company or travel agency! Although the author has been in the passenger shipping industry since 1960 and is currently semi-retired, but continues to write cruise and ship reviews and articles in order to better to inform cruise and ship enthusiasts and provide information for those intending a cruise in the future. Please read my statement at the bottom of the page!
MS Aurora – Ships Photographer - Used with permission
Photographs throughout this review are © copyright 2006 - Nautilus Media and were taken by the author and associate Mr. Hun-Eng Tan. However, there are several images obtained from the ships photographer and these will are credited below the image, as seen above.
This cruise review of
Introduction - Does size matter?
Cruising is the fastest
growing sector in the travel and leisure market around the world. In order to
compete with one another, cruise companies are building larger ships than their
rivals. Cunard Line, another Carnival Corp company, up to 2005 had the largest
passenger liner ever built, the Queen Mary II which is a massive 150,000
During the great days of
passenger liners, a ship was considered large between 20,000 to 40,000
The Australian P&O
cruise ships, such as Pacific Sun and the Pacific Dawn is a delightful 46,000
Many regular cruise
passengers prefer to sail on today’s medium sized ships, ranging from
60,000 to 80,000 tons. Two of these are P&O’s 1995 built 69,153
Without doubt, I consider both Oriana and Aurora as the finest cruise
ships around today, perfect in size and both retain ocean going traditions,
which, sadly is lost with the mega ships (floating hotels) built
today which resemble giant shopping centres and apartment blocks rather that a
great ocean liner. In addition certain of these mega ships have poor sea
capabilities, as many past passengers of certain ships have told me! My advice
is simple, if a ship has a Carnival Vista Class Hull, such as certain Carnival,
The author in Crows Nest
Photograph by Mr Hun-Eng Tan
Oriana 2005 to Aurora 2006
It stands to reason, that a
comparison will be made between my two cruises on Oriana and
As on my first cruise on her back in 2001, I remember that her interiors are as you would expect from a P&O ship, having a pleasant décor and is generally well maintained.
Photo Album of the
Please Note: There is an INDEX at the bottom of each page, which will take you to the Photo Album of each deck. These will commence topside with Navigation Deck (14) and concludes on Formosa Deck (5). In addition the accommodation page describes the various accommodations onboard as well as the cabin we occupied.
The author’s cabin F218
author’s was accommodated in cabin F218 on Formosa Deck (5), this cabin
is like most on Aurora, all having the comforts of a home away from home,
especially on long voyages. Both on Oriana and Aurora cabins have four
wardrobes; and up to eleven drawers. Cabins on
Navigation Deck is the highest Deck accessible to passengers. It is located directly above Crows Nest, it has a wonderful view, both forward over the bow and back over the pool Decks and the ships stately funnel. This Deck is surrounded by windows protecting sun bathers from the wind. There is no shade available on this Deck.
Crows Nest is known as the “Room with a View.” This large room has three layers, the highest being at the bar on the aft wall of the room, which features a fine model of the Peninsular Line (P&O) liner RMS Strathaird. This room surrounded by floor to ceiling windows providing a 180 degree view of the ocean. Furnishings are upholstered in blues, dark greens and beige, providing a pleasing atmosphere. Some chairs on the upper level have fine mahogany curved arm rests, although for some reason they are not included in any photographs taken. Walls are clad in teak, with the portside featuring two paintings of SS oriana and the other of SS Canberra.
In the centre of the room is the Band Stand that is topped with an alcove in the ceiling with its ever changing stars. Each night a band performs pre dinner music and a concert performance commencing at 9.30pm to Midnight. A small dance floor is located aft on starboard side. On both sides of the bandstand are two large brass surrounded globes of the world, whereas a compass is located centre forward.
Just aft of Crows Nest, on the portside is Cyb@Study. On this cruise the only use for this venue was providing computer classes, as the internet was out of order. Apparently the system was overhauled to provide a better and faster service, which obviously failed. In addition in-cabin TV entertainment and international phone calls was out of order. According to the staff, the failure was due to a satellite malfunction; however, it seemed to work quite well at reception.
Starboard aft of Crows Nest is the Uganda Room. This room has a fine model of the ship this room is named after. The Uganda Room, like Crows Nest has floor to ceiling windows, but here they are framed by golden drapes. Furnishing in this room contains several blue sofas as well as brown clad chairs with polished teak armrests. The Uganda Room is used for private parties, as well as for Church services on Sundays, and Jewish Sabbath service Friday evening at 5.30 pm.
Sun Deck has ample Deck space for sun baking (forward port and starboard), a jogging track, tennis court and other sport facilities including a gold simulator. Navigation & Sun Deck - link located at bottom of the page.
Lido Deck is blessed with three Bars, two pools, three Jacuzzis and two casual dinning venues.
1… Sidewalk Café. This casual dining venue is located between the two pools on the starboard side. On offer are typical snack foods such as a variety of delicious hamburgers, including a vegetarian option, hot dogs with variety of sauces. But the best meal on offer is the traditional beer battered fish and chips, which became a favourite with many passengers, including myself. Seating is beside the floor to ceiling windows and poolside. Sidewalk Café is a highly recommended alternative to the other lunch options available.
The Orangery is one of the most colourful buffets I have encountered. Many of
its walls are covered in colourful murals; the buffet is well arranged and all
foods are easily accessible. The entire room has a circular feel, which is
achieved by the colourful curved walls and the ceiling which has been cleverly
deigned. Hats off to the interior decorators! Meals can also be enjoyed around
the Pennant Bar, with its timber tables and chairs on the aft Deck, as well as
Aft of the Orangery is the delightful Pennant Bar surrounded by timbered seating, both under cover and out in the sun. From here is a stunning view of the aft Decks that are tiered down to the Lido Pool down on Devanha Deck (8). The Lido Pool has one Jacuzzi and an enclosed wading pool for the little ones. Lido Deck link located at bottom of the page.
These decks are occupied by cabins and suites only. Aft of each deck is one of the layered Decks (9 to 11) having ample sun lounges and deck chairs, which can be used under cover or out in the sun, again the views over the ships wake is magnificent.
Raffles on the Atrium
The forward section is dedicated
by cabins. At
The walls of Raffles are clad in fine timbers with a range of tropical paintings and two backlit stained glass features. Furnishings are in a period style with elegant upholsteries and scattered pillows. Large table lamps and fine shell like ceiling lights compliment this Lounge. It is a popular venue both during the day and at night.
On the starboard side is the Library. Undoubtedly a fine timbered facility, but the number of books do not compare with the vast range I found on Oriana last year. The reading Room is separated and is located along the windows. Aft of the Atrium is Vanderbilt’s Card Room. Filled with card tables with the balance of the rooms quietly decorated in soft blues.
The Playhouse has a number of functions. It serves as a cinema, lecture theatre and the venue for classical concerts.
The ships photographers and
photo shop is next, it offers then usual snapshots taken during your cruise as
well as a variety of services and
This brings us to Café Bordeaux the ships 24 hour dinning venue. Oriana has the Al Fresco Café located starboard on Lido Deck. The difference between these two venues is that Al Fresco’s is a relaxed casual dinning facility, with full length windows and outdoor seating beside the pool. Café Bordeaux is a formal venue and is located indoors with no exterior views. In order to have a coffee, snack or a light meal, you have to wait at the entrance for a waiter who takes you to a table. The only option here is a full, dinning room style service whilst Oriana’s Al Fresco’s is a semi self service venue with menu options can be ordered from a waiter or at the counter. All meals/snacks at Café Bordeaux are free, except for dinner which has to be pre booked and a small fee applies. In the middle of the Café, there is an elegant spiral staircase down to Promenade Deck. Personally I found Café Bordeaux an overly stuffy venue, and I used it just a couple of times. My opinion was shared by many passengers who have sailed on both Oriana and Aurora.
Aft is the superb children and teenage centre, offering a host of facilities, including, Decibel’s Disco, Intergalactica, the Toybox, Jumping Jacks, a pool, wading pool for the little ones, Jacuzzi and soda bar, with alcoholic drinks for the parents. Devanha Deck - link located at bottom of the page.
Just aft port on
Masquerade Night Club/Disco is a modern colourful room with a bar on the forward wall and a band stand and dance floor aft. Décor is mostly in bright blues with large decorative glass panels with blue artist impressions of people walking and dancing. Seating varies from yellows, blues and light browns. The centre of the ceiling contains a circular dome and the room has a number of large TV screens and cameras, which show the dancers on the floor. However, this room only comes to life after 10.30pm and is not used what so ever during the day, except for the occasional art auction. Without doubt this is a wasted venue. Like on Oriana, this should be used as the Ballroom. I found that at night the staff and crew tend to be the only (or majority) party animals there.
In the Hall (portside) is the
The Casino has ample slot machines and tables to suit every type of gambler. Thankfully, unlike the American ships, P&O UK has opted for a smaller casino, but then again, a casino is a casino no matter the size.
Champions is a large lounge and bar with its décor highlighting a variety of sports, including cricket. Walls are covered in a variety f timbers with sport memorabilia scattered throughout. Top of the bar are many screens showing sports video’s. It has a band stand aft on the portside and regular entertainment is provided by the ships bands. Although this room has a relatively small smoking area, Champions is certainly not suitable for non smokers for, bluntly, it stinks.
The final lounge on Promenade Deck is the superbly designed Carmen’s Showroom. The dark red entrance features a bronze sculpture of two dancers in full embrace. Once inside you discover that seating surrounds the room and is unusual in style. It has a sculptured look with long curved sofas. The room is terraced and although the seating tends to suggest that the line of view to the stage and dance floor could be obstructed, it is not so. During the day, dance classes are held here, such as line dancing for beginners and those more advanced. In addition, ballroom dancing lessons prove to be ever popular. In the afternoon it is the venue for a weird form of English style Bingo, one that Americans, Canadians, New Zealanders and Australians did not understand, and frankly they hated it and stayed away in droves. Only the serious gamblers turned up. At night Carmen’s became a showroom with one excellent production, the brilliant “Blues Brothers.” On all other nights, it became the ballroom regulated by Freda the dance mistress, and I mean a mistress who took total charge of the room and the danced did as they were told, as did the band. Thankfully on some nights passengers were actually allowed to dance freestyle, with, thank God, no Freda in sight. These were the nights the bands could let their hair down and play the sort of music so many passengers craved for! Carmen’s is a fine room, far superior to the Pacific Lounge on Oriana,.
One of the popular features on both Oriana and Aurora is the covered walk around Promenade Deck which encircles the ship ideal for an evening stroll or early morning exercise. During the day sun lounges and chairs are filled with those who enjoy taking in the sun, or sit in the shade with a good book, or just relaxing. Promenade Deck - link located at bottom of the page.
Just aft of
(Decks 5, 6, 7 & 8)
I have kept the Atrium to the
last. The four level Atrium towers above “
The Atrium is of a rectangular
classic design, having four large beige marble like ionic square columns
holding up a simple glass ceiling that has little colour. Dark marble, mahogany
timber railings and the beige carpets with scrolling brown pattern down on
Formosa Deck made this a stunning and an elegant venue.
The author and Captain Alistar Clark
Ships Photographer - Used with permission
As the photographs that
accompany this page will show,
Page 1 - Main page
Page 2 – Accommodation
Page 3 – Navigation and Sun decks
Page 4 – Lido deck
Page 5 – Devanha deck
Page 6 – Promenade deck
Page 7 – Ellora deck
Page 8 – Formosa Deck & the Atrium
Page 9 – Final comments
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Photographs on cruise-australia.com & .net are: 1. By the author. 2. From the author’s private collection. 3. As provided by Shipping Companies and private photographers or collectors. Credit is given to all contributors. However, there are photographs provided to me without details provided regarding the photographer concerned. I hereby invite if owners of these images would be so kind to make them-selves known to me, that due credit may be given. I know what it is like, I have seen a multitude of my own photographs on other sites, yet they either refuse to give me credit and even refuse to remove them, knowing full well that there is no legal comeback when it comes to the net. However, let us show the charlatans up and do the right thing at all times and give credit where credit is due! Note: I do not credit those who send me photos as they are not the owners of the photographs concerned, unless the image is part of their private collection.
This notice covers all pages, although, I have done my best to ensure that all photographs are duly credited and that this notice is displaced on each page, that is, when a page is updated!
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