Aboard the P&O Oriana

San Pedro Travel Blog

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Oriana at Port of Los Angeles

In 1965, when I was a teenager, my family traveled on a cruise from Los Angeles to Nassau aboard the P&O liner M/V Oriana. We made a port call at Acapulco and transited the Panama Canal in the process. I'd taken travel photos before then, but I like the photos from this trip as they represent my first set of travel photos that tell a complete story. In this blog I'll use the photos to show you what it was like to travel though the Panama Canal. So, let's step into the WAYBAC Machine and take a look at cruising in the 60's.

In the 1960s, cruises typically were not self-contained round trips as they are now.  Instead, sections of longer line voyages were sold as cruises. Oriana was traveling on an eastward round-the-world voyage from Southampton via Australia when it docked at Los Angeles in July 1965.

Port of Los Angeles passenger terminal
Oriana had been launched in 1960 for the UK-Australia trade. But with competition from jetliners, the ship was soon given over to round-the-world voyages with the idea that most passengers would not take the whole voyage, but embark and disembark after visiting a set number of ports along the way.  P&O promoted transatlantic crossings from San Francisco and Los Angeles aboard its ships as a way to travel to Europe via the Panama Canal and the Caribbean. ("Getting there is half the fun.") Our cruise had been promoted by Finlay Fun-Time Tours, a Los Angeles operator that had arranged for passengers to take the Los Angeles-Nassau portion of the voyage and return home by air.

The ship appeared large as we boarded, but at 41,915 GRT Oriana was smaller than the popular cruise ships of today.
Cabin
(By comparison, Carnival Pride that I was on in 2010 is 88,500 GRT.) We had an Inside Cabin (no window/porthole) in First Class. 

Sail Away from Berth 93A was around 4:00 p.m. There was a delay as the innovative telescoping covered gangway was stuck. (It was similar to airport jetwalks and was something new in ship passenger loading at the time, making the Port of Los Angeles Cruise Terminal state-of-the art.) When the operator was finally able to retract the gangway from the ship, a huge cheer went up! Then, as Oriana got underway, the passengers all stood at the railing and threw out rolls of serpentine to celebrate. (You don't see that anymore!) As the ship sailed down the Main Channel it passed the Ports O'Call Village restaurants and shops, where our passing was acknowledged over a loudspeaker.
Oriana's Bridge


Dinner was always in the main Dining Room, where we joined other passengers at a table for six. Every night was a "formal night" then, and men always wore a jacket and tie to dinner. Another now-quaint custom was that all the ship's officers dined at a table with the passengers. An Assistant Purser was the officer assigned to our table. He was personable, but always eager to excuse himself and leave early. (He kept going on about all the girls in bikinis that were traveling in Tourist Class. Obviously he wanted to get back to the aft pool to check out the scenery!)

Dr_Seuss says:
Congrats on todays feature Andy. A blast from the past :D I was expecting the pitures to be black and white ;)
Posted on: Sep 29, 2012
rsvpme says:
Congrats on the Review feature...Andy.
Posted on: Sep 29, 2012
montecarlostar says:
Congrats on the feature Andy! Great job! :D
Posted on: Sep 29, 2012
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Oriana at Port of Los Angeles
Oriana at Port of Los Angeles
Port of Los Angeles passenger term…
Port of Los Angeles passenger ter…
Cabin
Cabin
Orianas Bridge
Oriana's Bridge
Oriana postcard
Oriana postcard
San Pedro
photo by: Andy99