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Art and adventures on board Oriana


Guest and enthusiastic artist Keith Boldy recalls his time on a cruise to New Orleans on board Oriana and recommends a few favourite and new ports of call along the way

P&O Cruises passenger Keith Boldy with Captain Marcin Banach and the portrait he painted of him while on board Oriana

‘We have recently returned from our wonderful four-and-a-half-week cruise to New Orleans on Oriana; it was a great cruise and we had such an adventure. We also had the honour of being on board for Oriana’s 20th birthday, which was a fantastic celebration.


‘On our first night, we ate in the Oriental Restaurant and, although we were on a table for two, we made friends with the table of four next to us and virtually became a table of six. A happy start. We stopped off in Ponta Delgada in the Azores to stretch our legs, enjoy a little shopping and reflect on the sea days ahead to Hamilton in Bermuda.


‘The sea days passed by quickly: I kept myself busy drawing portraits of crew and guests, while my partner Chris enjoyed reading her books. 


‘Although Hamilton, the capital of Bermuda, is the registered home of Oriana, it was her first visit there – and for us, too. What a beautiful island it is. From there, we moved on to Charleston in South Carolina – a wonderful city full of history and a joy to discover – and then to Port Canaveral in Orlando for more shopping. We made friends with fellow guests Barry and Joyce, who commented that Walmart department stores in America were bigger than most British villages! It looks like we’ve made friends for life in Barry and Joyce, so thank you Oriana.


‘Next, it was on to Miami, where the adventure continued. What a vibrant city. We caught a bus to Miami beach; it’s such a different world there. The 1930s Art Deco buildings were fantastic and we had a great day with lots of super memories to take home.


‘New Orleans was a dream come true for me. We explored the lovely old French Quarter and sat listening to jazz on Bourbon Street in the evening with a drink – that’s something now crossed off my bucket list. Cozumel, an island in the Caribbean Sea off the eastern coast of Mexico, was another great destination and it was lovely to spend the day on the beach and swim in the Gulf Of Mexico. What bliss! Then, after a quick stop in Nassau in the Bahamas, we were homeward bound.


‘I used the five-day journey to draw a picture of Oriana’s Captain, Marcin Banach. He was delighted when I presented it to him.


‘The jewel in the crown, however, was Praia da Vitória in the Azores. This was another maiden port of call for P&O Cruises and Oriana, and it was a truly wonderful destination. Everybody was so welcoming.’