P&O Cruises’ Pacific Jewel has played host to a special reunion celebrating a golden anniversary of friendship between the P&O ‘Orcadeans’, who, 50 years ago, became lifelong friends sailing to England on the beautiful liner Orcades.
The group – still very much young at heart – boarded Pacific Jewel on August 9 with lots of photo albums to reminisce about the original voyage and their lives since then.
One of the group, Robbie Horn from Canberra, wrote to Carnival Australia CEO Ann Sherry to let her know that the Orcadeans would be sailing together again, this time to the South Pacific.
“We Orcadeans will be celebrating 50 years since meeting and sailing to England,” Robbie told Ann in her letter.
“We will be celebrating our 50th anniversary on Pacific Jewel sailing out of Brisbane on August 9 – 50 years to the day that SS Orcades sailed out of Sydney with us onboard bound for Tilbury, England. Individually we will be travelling from Edinburgh, Perth, Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Newcastle and Blackheath to meet up onboard. Our seventeenth Orcadean lives in Johannesburg and is not able to join us but we have two ‘outsiders’ included in our group.”
The 17 original ‘Orcadeans’ met in August 1965 onboard the SS Orcades setting out for a working holiday in England and Europe. The youngest Orcadean was then aged 20 and the eldest was 29. Six Orcadeans met their life partners on Orcades during that voyage.
“We have kept in regular contact over these 50 years – lots of socialising when we can and phone calls and emails in between,” Robbie said.
“The first time we came together as a group was for our 25th anniversary but it was at our 40th that we had our full complement,” he said.
“We do have a very special bond together, which really began in London and has only deepened over the years so our coming together is not just a casual reigniting of acquaintances, but genuine love and affection between each of us.
“Needless to say there is a fair bit of excitement in the air at the moment. And this will be our longest reunion – seven nights!”
Photo caption: The “Orcadeans” at Pompeii Railway Station during their first cruise together on SS Orcades in 1965.
Photo caption 2: Pictured during a visit to Pacific Jewel’s bridge is the group with Captain Roger Bilton (centre) and Staff Captain Nick Carter.