Review of P&O's Oriana cruise.

In April of this year we went on a cruise on the Oriana cruise ship part of the P&O group.

It was our second cruise but the first with P&O. We booked it via Gills cruises website last year. Correspondence from them was excellent. Payment was easy with a minimal deposit and final payment due 14 weeks before the cruise. Their emails and telephone conversations were always polite and very helpful. Well done Gills cruises.

Day One

Our cruise started on a Sunday and left from Southampton. The drive down was a little eventful due to our choice of route. The M25 around London was nose to tail traffic, very slow moving and frustrating. Once moving past the M25 the traffic cleared and it was a clear run down to Southampton docks.

P&O have a dedicated port at Southampton which was easy to find and get into. We pulled up out front of the terminal and were met by courteous staff who took all our bags from the car and delivered them straight to our cabin on-board. The car was then valet parked for us in a secure car park to wait for us until our return.

The book in was quick and due to my wheelchair we were guided up a dedicated ramp helped by staff onto the ship. The lifts from the entrance deck to our cabin platform was spacious clean and quick. The corridor on the deck of our cabin was a little narrow, which meant if anything such as luggage or cleaners trolley was there then getting passed in my wheelchair was difficult. Fortunately these where kept clear for most of the holiday.

There was a big 'Sail away' party as we pulled away from the dock which included a brass band on the dock to play us off.

Flags were handed out to everyone so we could celebrate our departure which went smoothly and on time. As we sailed out of Southampton we passed P&O's new liner the Azura accompanied by lots of cheering and horn blowing we left Southampton.

We had an inside cabin this cruise. It was spacious but the air conditioning unit was very noisy and took a little getting used to. As we spent very little time in the cabin this was not a problem to spoil the cruise.

Dinner that evening was in the smart Oriental restaurant situated at the rear or stern of the ship. It had huge panoramic windows all the way round giving good views.

Dress was smart casual which meant shirt and trousers for men and smart skirt/trousers and top for the ladies. Food was excellent and service was polite and very prompt.

The evenings big show in the theatre at the bow of the ship was changed due to one of the production companies stars had had to leave the ship for a family emergency. It was replaced by a show by a comedian. The comedian was good but used lots of the usual cruise material and one liners to pad out his repertoire but was still entertaining.

After the show we had a stroll around the Art gallery and library and then went for a drink, a couple of Mocktails non alcoholic cocktails, in the Tiffany bar accompanied by the resident pianist, who was excellent.

All in all it was a great first day. The ship was stunning the staff were polite well dressed and pleasant it looks like it will be a good cruise.

Keep watching for the rest of the review over the next few days.

More Garden shots

After the less than perfect shots displayed yesterday I tried again to get a shot of the normally frequent birds in our back garden.
The only one that would come out to play was Mr Blackbird.

This shot is still not very sharp but at least colour and subject are good (if you can ignore the chicken house in the backgreound that is).

We have been fortunate this year to witness the first excursions from the nest of the Blackbird family into our garden. Even though we have cats they are doing well and can still be seen around the garden, just not on camera grrrrr!
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Telephoto Lens in garden

Its been a while since I did this blog properly. I've been very remiss or is it just lazy, one of them.

Anyway I took delivery the other week of a new telephoto lens for my DSLR. It's a 500mm manual focus lens with a 2x converter option as well. I thought as the weather was nice yesterday I set it up on a tripod in the conservatory with both doors wide open. The theory was to get some good close up shots of the birds which frequent our garden. It was not to be though, I sat there for over an hour and not one bird came near the feeders. In the end I let the dog out into the garden and took a few shots of him. As you can see I need to practice more as the picture isn't the sharpest of shots, but at least its a start.

Much the same has happened with this picture of the hanging down branch. The background is nicely blurred, though maybe a bit too highlighted but the foreground leaves just don't have the sharpness I wanted.

And just a couple of other shots I took whilst I had the camera out...

Top of daughters swing-ball

Corky our dog and Garfield one of our cats saying hello, they have become very good friends.

Trip to the Globe theatre

This week I went with some university students to see the scottish play at the Globe theatre in London. It was my first experience of a live Shakespearian production so I was unsure what to expect. I shouldn't have worried though, as it was excellent though as those of you who are aware of the play, somewhat blood thirsty.

It was portrayed very authentically due to it being in the Globe theatre and they try to keep it as close to the original Shakespearian experience as possible. There was lots of use of fake blood and gore which perhaps rules this play out for the younger audience or those who may feel affected by it. It did in my opinion enhance the visual effect of the play for the audience though.

The actors were all first class, helping to bring the experience to life. Using the full stage and at times the whole auditorium to great effect.
Being a wheelchair user I was pleasantly surprised at the extent of help given before and during the performance. There is a dedicated box right by the stage for those in wheelchairs and their companions which had a good view of the stage. To get to it you are taken via a backstage lift, with the added bonus of getting to meet the actors and musicians and escorted back during the interval and end of show.

In all a very good experience, one I would recommend to others looking for a play to see in London.

(Photos taken on Android G1 mobile phone).


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