Most recent John Allan Travel Blog
 Mon 30 Dec ‘13 – day 16 It was still dark when the Pilot boarded the ship as she passed around Europa Point, the southernmost place in Gibraltar and on which is situated one of the lighthouses that helps guide ships safely through the straits. I spent a very enjoyable few days here a few years ago when I stayed at the Rock Hotel and walked the length of the Rock as well right up to as high as I could go.  The highest points on the Rock are military radio and radar i...

 Fri 27 Dec ‘13 – day 13   Palma As had been predicted the ships motion eased considerably as we entered the lee of the Islas Baleares; however up until this point the ship has been bouncing around considerably so sleep had still been hard to come by. Having finally dropped off in the early hours of the morning I was awoken when the noise of the ships engines died away to virtually nothing, so I switched on the bedside light, checked the time – just after 07:00...

Thu 26 Dec ‘13 – day 12  The strong winds had created a sea state that meant the ships movement was lively to say the least.  I was awoken a few times during the night when a large wave hit the ship and made the whole vessel judder; the result of this movement made my cabin creak and groan as the bulkheads flexed and this meant that the clothes hangers rattled against each other as they moved in time to the ships motion. So a disturbed night’s sleep meant that for ...

Wed 25 Dec ‘13 – day 11  As is tradition with P&O, Oriana like all the other ships in the fleet was at sea on Christmas Day. During the night the ship left the Adriatic Sea and re-entered the Mediterranean Sea as we are now heading for Palma on the island of Mallorca, one of the Islas Baleares and our next port of call. It was a bright sunny day, but with just a hint of a swell that made the ship roll slightly.  As I left my cabin I wished Sailesh my cabin ste...

Tue 24 Dec ‘13 – day 10  I awoke and pulled back to curtains to be greeted by sight of the coast of Croatia bathed in bright sun light and a flat calm blue sea; to be able to see the outside world is the main reason that I always had an outside cabin. Oriana was making her way down between the islands that separate the coastline from the Adriatic Sea and the 08:55 hours announcement from the Officer of the Watch (while I was doing more washing and ironing) stated that...

Sun 22 Dec – day 8 I slept only in short spells as the pain in the big toe on my left foot was excruciating, so having showered I made my way down to deck 4 to be at the Medical Centre as soon as it opened.  After a quick check of my vitals by the nurse, temperature, heart rate and blood pressure all OK, Dr Revel gave me an examination and then prescribed some tablets to help clear the infection as well as easing the pain; however it will take 24 hours before they fully co...

Wed 18 Dec ’13 – day 4  Today was the first of four 'at sea' days, the most time I have ever spent without docking while on a Mediterranean cruise.  Having passed Cabo Finisterre the ship was now on a southerly heading paralleling the coast of first Spain and then Portugal. The first task today was to do the washing and ironing, so I was in the laundry as soon as it opened and within 1½ hours everything was done and back on hangers or in the drawers. Now it was t...

Tue 17 Dec ’13 – day 3  It was still dark when the ship reached the entrance to the harbour at La Coruna which is situated in the province of Galicia, known as the ‘Green Spain’ because of the amount of vegetation that grows thanks to the abundant rainfall. La Coruna is known at the ‘Crystal City’ because of the many windowed balconies that face the waterfront and when these catch the sun they twinkle, which produces an almost magical effect.  We were not lik...

Mon 16 Dec ’13 – day 2   The Captains forecast about the weather was correct as I was awoken a couple of times during the night when a large wave hit the side of the ship and made everything judder.  One can only wonder how the sailors in Nelson’s Navy felt as they blockaded Brest in all weathers during the Napoleonic wars and their wooden ships were just a small fraction of the size of Oriana. As you are always guaranteed lashing of hot water when on-board, a hot...

Sun 15 Dec ’13 – day 1  Having cleaned the house from top to bottom I am leaving for my annual Christmas & New Year cruise with P&O.  I am sailing on Oriana again, the same ship on which I did two cruises last year, so it will be interesting to see how many of the crew I recognise. The P&O brochure normally comes out in late March or early April and details the cruises that commence around that time the following year; so after the world cruises and winte...