UK: Super-liner 'Aurora' fails on maiden voyage; Princess Anne champagne fiasco blamed : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

A #200m P&O cruise liner has broken down just 18 hours into her maiden voyage.

The 200ft tall Aurora left Southampton on Monday just days after being formally named by the Princess Royal in a glittering ceremony.

A P&O Cruises spokeswoman said a propeller shaft bearing had overheated, making it impossible for the 76,000-tonne ship to continue her two-week cruise of Mediterranean resorts.

She is now heading back to her home port with 1,800 disappointed passengers on board and is expected to arrive on Wednesday morning.

Gwyn Hughes, managing director at P&O cruises said: "We are extremely sorry to bring this news and we are aware that this a great disappointment to our passengers.

"The situation is totally unforeseen as all the necessary rigorous checks and tests were completed satisfactorily before Aurora entered service.

"Passengers will be given a full refund and a compensation package."

Passengers on board had paid prices ranging from #2,295 per head for a basic cabin and #7,825 per head for a penthouse suite.

P&O is set to pay out around #6m in refunds even before working out a compensation package.

The company said it expected the Aurora to be back in service for its second cruise - a 12-night trip to the Canary Islands starting on 15 May.

Lap of luxury

The 886ft vessel was built in the Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany and was first seen off British shores last month during the Tall Ships race.

The 10-deck Aurora, named after the Greek Goddess of the dawn, was designed for the British cruise market.

She boasts 934 cabins - 400 of them with balconies - and penthouse suites with butler service, and sails under the Red Ensign.

There are five lounges, 12 bars, five restaurants, a West End-style theatre, a concert hall and cinema, shops and dedicated club rooms for children and teenagers.

The ship also has three swimming pools, a health and beauty centre, a gym and sauna.

The Aurora was formally named by the Princess Royal in a spectacular quayside ceremony last week.

Unfortunately, champagne released by the Princess to break on the ship did not shatter - traditionally considered a bad omen by seafarers.

-- Jim McAteer (, May 02, 2000

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