Author Topic: Book Review : P&O Oriana & Aurora - TAKING UK CRUISING INTO A NEW MILLENIUM  (Read 2181 times)

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Online Rob Lightbody

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Hello all,

I received a copy of this book for review from Amberley publishing.  Because I have no real interest in these ships, I looked on the forum for someone who'd spoken about them, and found Trevor had, so I passed the book to him to review.

Trevor has now written his book review, below.  I flicked through it before I sent it on, and I thought it would be a lovely thing for fans of P&O's ships, and I even learnt that Aurora is a bit special in her own way (compared to most new cruise ships...) and as we know Oriana is special too.

Below is a cover-shot, Amberley Publishing's text, and Trevor's review.

Quote from: Amberley Publishing
Oriana & Aurora: Taking UK Cruising into a New Millenium
Sharon Poole & Andrew Sassoli-Walker

In 1995, P&O introduced the 70,000grt Oriana into service. She was to be the replacement for the long-lived Canberra and she ushered in a new period in British cruising history. Popular from her first days of service, she has become the epitome of P&O style, offering luxurious accommodation and public rooms.

Five years later, her half-sister, Aurora, externally similar but internally much different, was introduced. Together, the two ships took P&O into the twenty-first century with a modern fleet of luxury liners. Oriana holds the Golden Cockeral for the fastest ship in the fleet, while Aurora offers an intimacy not seen on the larger and newer P&O vessels.

2012 sees the 175th anniversary of P&O and celebrations planned this year include the sailing of all seven P&O cruise ships from Southampton in mid-July. It is expected that tens of thousands will visit the city to see the biggest sail off in Southampton’s history.

171 x 248 mm | paperback | 128 pages | 200 illustrations (approximately)
COVER PRICE £ 19.99 
ISBN 9781445604428

Available to buy online at -

                                        Oriana & Aurora

                           TAKING UK CRUISING INTO A NEW MILLENIUM

Having been approached several weeks before I eventually received the new book "Oriana & Aurora" so as to write a review, I awaited the royal mail postman with anticipation, only to be a tad disappointed when the small parcel eventually arrived, on opening I was pleasantly surprised with the cover photo of both ships taken at sunset with "Oriana" in the foreground after setting sail & "Aurora" still berthed in the distance. As if "size matters" the format of this book is not going to do it justice, as it will be lost on any good bookshelf, A4 would of been a better choice, even if it means, being somewhat thin with only 128 pages.

Anyway, not to judge a book by "its cover & small size" I flicked through the pages, looking at the photographs briefly and was pleasantly surprised with the quality and amount (approx 200) illustrations before even sitting down to read a single word.
Starting at the beginning, obviously, like many other maritime titles, the "Foreward" or introduction to the publication is provided by the "Commodore of the Fleet" on this occasion being Cmdr Ian Gibb now retired but very influential, during the build of "Oriana" and most informative.
As per the "norm" next we get the usual History of the shipping line known originally as The Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company through to P & O Cruises
This is followed by the initial concept of the "New" builds for the British cruise market and the de-commissioning of "Canberra", for which they were to replace eventually, otherwise known as "Project Gemini"
Whilst finding this all very informative and interesting and I am already at the point where I do not want to stop reading, it occurs to me that when turning the pages the paper on which it is printed is somewhat rough, something that my father used too and still does say to me, as he is a great collector of fictional / factual books, regardless of the subject, he will not purchase even if it seems a bargain, if the paper and photograph quality is not too his liking,     
We continue further, all still very informative, but the photographs become all the more common, sometimes three per fold of the page and less & less text.

There is a brief mention of 175 years of P & O, this could of been a big plus if continued within the text, but that was not to be, maybe a follow on book is in the pipeline ??

The content of the book is split into ten chapters, the most interesting of which is probably 6 & 7, Six (6) being entitled "Project Capricorn - A new dawn, this explains in some detail, the building of Oriana`s half sister and a very much updated version "Aurora" the following chapter is then all about her Naming & Maiden (Not so Maiden) Voyage

Unfortunately, but not to be too dismissive of the content, which is mostly commendable, like I mentioned at the beginning the size of the book does not do it any favours.

If for instance you walk past a book shop window and see two maritime publications, lets say "Queen Mary 2 The Grandest Ocean Liner of our time" by John Maxtone-Graham or "Oriana & Aurora" Taking UK in to the next Millenium, one being exactly twice, not only in size but also in price @ £ 50 however being a hardback, £ 50 for the hard back seems the better of the two on reflection,   

Therefore in my humble opinion to attract a wider audience / sales etc.. Re-publish as a hardback, even though it was only released in Sept 2012, together with a better quality of paper, charge maybe an extra £5 per copy and then find it on more home bookshelves than in its current guise, otherwise a fascinating and very informative book.

The book will and probably should appeal to any shipping enthusiast aswell as to the many thousands of passengers whom have sailed on either or both ships.

Well Done to the Author`s, not so much to the publishers !!
Passionate about QE2's service life for 40 years and creator of this website.  I have worked in IT for 28 years and created my personal QE2 website in 1994.


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