P&O Lines

The Last Ocean Liners

 

P&O Lines At the time of their 1960 merger, the combined P&O (Peninsular and Oriental) and Orient Lines had the largest fleet of passenger ships on earth. Most notable were the ocean liners built following World War II. Orient Line contributed the Orcades, Oronsay and Orsova, some of the most modern looking liners of their day. P&O followed the design of their popular Strath class ships with few modifications in the Himalaya, Chusan and near sisters Arcadia and Iberia.

Air travel was making its impact on the ocean liner, and so new ideas were needed to attract passengers to travel by sea. Accordingly, the seven newer ships were refurbished and refitted with complete air-conditioning. The distinctive corn colored hulls of the Orient liners were painted tropical white to match the P&O ships. Entertainment became a major feature of the voyage.

P&O Lines Next, the two biggest British ships since the Cunard Queens were placed in service. Oriana was the fastest ship ever built for the Australia run, cutting the sailing time from England from four weeks to three. The slightly larger Canberra reached nearly the same speed. With aft mounted engines and nested lifeboats low in the superstructure, she was a trendsetter offering an unusual amount of prime space for passenger facilities. They were the largest ships yet built for a service other than the North Atlantic, and the last P&O ocean liners.

P&O Lines In 1961, to replace their older ships, P&O-Orient Lines purchased two Belgian combination liners for the First class six week run from Britain to Japan via Suez, naming them Cathay and Chitral.

In 1963 Himalaya and Orcades were reconfigured as all tourist class, allowing the last of the pre-World War II ocean liners to be retired and leaving P&O-Orient Lines with an all modern fleet.

P&O Lines P&O-Orient Lines had created the greatest passenger ship network and schedule ever seen, calling at over 100 ports. Their main service linked Europe with Australia and New Zealand, with many sailings calling in India and the Far East as well. New routes sent P&O-Orient liners to the West Coast of North America (1954), Panama Canal and the Caribbean (1959) and Florida (1963). Their extensive cruise operation covered almost anyplace else the liner services missed. The Orient Line brand was phased out in 1966.

P&O Lines "You stretch out, relaxed, on a warm deck and suddenly, nothing on earth matters. You see the sun like you've never seen it before - dazzling across the smooth sapphire of the sea. And you discover how carefree life can be, surrounded by people who are actually eager to please you. You're in the world of P&O. And it's like nothing on earth!"

In the early 1970s, with the inevitable decline in point-to-point sea travel and a dramatic increase in fuel prices, P&O ceased most of its line voyages. First, the Cathay and Chitral were sold. Then they quickly retired and scrapped Iberia, Orcades, Chusan, Orsova, Himalaya and Oronsay. The Arcadia was used for both cruising and line voyages until 1979. That left only the Canberra and Oriana, which were deployed permanently as cruise ships.

Continued below...



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Orcades - 1948 - P&O Lines
Orcades P&O Lines
Built: 1948 by Vickers-Armstrongs, Barrow, England Gross tons: 28164 Length: 709ft (216m) Width: 90ft (27m) Depth: 30ft (9m) Speed: 22kn Power: 42500 shp Propulsion: Steam turbines twin screw Passengers: 631 First 734 Tourist End of service: Laid up 1972; scrapped 1973
 

Oronsay - 1951 - P&O Lines
Oronsay P&O Lines
Built: 1951 by Vickers-Armstrongs, Barrow, England Gross tons: 27632 Length: 709ft (216m) Width: 90ft (27m) Depth: 30ft (9m) Speed: 22kn Power: 42500 shp Propulsion: Steam turbines twin screw Passengers: 614 First 804 Tourist End of service: Scrapped 1975
 

Orsova - 1954 - P&O Lines
Orsova P&O Lines
Built: 1954 by Vickers-Armstrongs, Barrow, England Gross tons: 28790 Length: 723ft (220m) Width: 90ft (27m) Depth: 30ft (9m) Speed: 22kn Power: 42500 shp Propulsion: Steam turbines twin screw Passengers: 694 First 809 Tourist End of service: Scrapped 1974
 

Himalaya - 1949 - P&O Lines
Himalaya P&O Lines
Built: 1949 by Vickers-Armstrongs, Barrow, England Gross tons: 27955 Length: 709ft (216m) Width: 91ft (28m) Depth: 31ft (9m) Speed: 22kn Power: 42500 shp Propulsion: Steam turbines twin screw Passengers: 758 First 401 Tourist End of service: Scrapped 1974
 

Chusan - 1950 - P&O Lines
Chusan P&O Lines
Built: 1950 by Vickers-Armstrongs, Barrow, England Gross tons: 24215 Length: 672ft (205m) Width: 85ft (26m) Depth: 29ft (9m) Speed: 22kn Power: 42500 shp Propulsion: Steam turbines twin screw Passengers: 475 First 551 Tourist End of service: Scrapped 1973
 

Arcadia - 1954 - P&O Lines
Arcadia P&O Lines
Built: 1954 by John Brown & Co, Clydebank, Scotland Gross tons: 29734 Length: 721ft (220m) Width: 91ft (28m) Depth: 30ft (9m) Speed: 22kn Power: 42500 shp Propulsion: Steam turbines twin screw Passengers: 647 First 735 Tourist End of service: Scrapped 1979
 

Iberia - 1954 - P&O Lines
Iberia P&O Lines
Built: 1954 by Harland & Wolff, Belfast, N Ireland Gross tons: 29614 Length: 719ft (219m) Width: 91ft (28m) Depth: 30ft (9m) Speed: 22kn Power: 42500 shp Propulsion: Steam turbines twin screw Passengers: 673 First 733 Tourist End of service: Scrapped 1972
 

Oriana - 1960 - P&O Lines
Oriana P&O Lines
Built: 1960 by Vickers-Armstrongs, Barrow, England Gross tons: 41923 Length: 804ft (245m) Width: 97ft (30m) Depth: 31ft (9m) Speed: 27.5kn Power: 80000 shp Propulsion: Steam turbines twin screw Passengers: 668 First 1496 Tourist End of service: Cruising only from 1981; sold 1986
 

Canberra - 1961 - P&O Lines
Canberra P&O Lines
Built: 1961 by Harland & Wolff, Belfast, N Ireland Gross tons: 45733 Length: 818ft (249m) Width: 102ft (31m) Depth: 32ft (10m) Speed: 27kn Power: 88000 shp Propulsion: Steam turbo electric twin screw Passengers: 556 First 1716 Tourist End of service: Cruising only from 1973; scrapped 1997
 

Cathay - 1957 - P&O Lines
Cathay P&O Lines
Built: 1957 by Cockerill, Hoboken, Belgium Gross tons: 13809 Length: 558ft (170m) Width: 70ft (21m) Depth: 28ft (9m) Speed: 16.5kn Power: 12500 shp Propulsion: Steam turbines twin screw Passengers: 240 First End of service: Sold 1970
 

Chitral - 1956 - P&O Lines
Chitral P&O Lines
Built: 1956 by Penhoet, St Nazaire, France Gross tons: 13821 Length: 558ft (170m) Width: 70ft (21m) Depth: 28ft (9m) Speed: 16.5kn Power: 12500 shp Propulsion: Steam turbines twin screw Passengers: 240 First End of service: Sold 1970