MV Aurora (2000)
Aurora docked in Dubrovnik
|Port of registry:||2000–2007: London, United Kingdom
2007 onwards: Hamilton, Bermuda
|Builder:||Meyer Werft, Germany|
|Laid down:||15 December 1998|
|Launched:||18 January 2000|
|Christened:||27 April 2000|
|Maiden voyage:||1 May 2000|
|Identification:||Call sign: ZCDW9
IMO number: 9169524
|Length:||270.0 m (885 ft 10 in)|
|Beam:||32.2 m (105 ft 8 in)|
|Draught:||25.9 ft (7.9 m)|
|Installed power:||4 × MAN B&W 14V48/60
58,800 kW (combined)
|Speed:||24 knots (44 km/h; 28 mph)|
|Capacity:||1,878 passengers (regular)
1,950 passengers (maximum)
MV Aurora is a cruise ship of the P&O Cruises fleet. The ship was built by Meyer Werft at their shipyard in Papenburg, Germany. At 76,000 tonnes, Aurora is the fifth largest of seven ships currently in service with P&O Cruises. She officially entered service with the company in April 2000 and was christened by Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal in Southampton, United Kingdom.
Aurora is a mid-sized cruise ship, with an overall length of 270.0 metres (885 ft 10 in), moulded beam of 32.2 metres (105 ft 8 in) and draught of 7.90 metres (25 ft 11 in). Her gross tonnage is 76,152 and her deadweight tonnage is 8,486 tonnes. The ship can accommodate up to 1,878 passengers in 939 cabins, with a maximum crew complement of 936.
Aurora is powered by four MAN B&W 14V48/60 medium-speed diesel engines with a total power output of 58,800 kilowatts. These engines provide power for various ship's services and for two STN AEG propulsion motors. The propulsion motors drive two propellers, each of which measures 5.8 metres (19 ft 0 in) in diameter. For maneuvering, the ship has three bow thrusters and a stern thruster. The ship's service speed is 24 knots (44 km/h; 28 mph), though during sea trials she reached a maximum speed of 29 knots (54 km/h; 33 mph).
Aurora was designed to appeal to the British market, and was built as an extended and improved version of P&O Cruises' Oriana. The ship's hull and superstructure were designed to be attractive to this market with features similar to more traditional ocean liners, such as her raked, tiered stern.
The ship's passenger cabins vary in size and facilities. Outside cabins, with either a window or a balcony in the ship's side, compose 69 percent of passenger cabins on board. Passengers may book inside or outside cabins, cabins with balconies, suites or one of the ship's two penthouse suites. The two penthouse suites are situated at the forward end of the ship and provide accommodation on two levels.
Aurora's passenger facilities include numerous bars, public rooms and entertainment venues. These include a cinema, a theatre, a nightclub, a casino and a number of bars. The ship also has a spa and gym, as well as three swimming pools. Outside, passengers may use the promenade deck or the upper decks. Traditional deck games such as shuffleboard and deck quoits may be played, and a tennis court and golf simulator are available for passenger use.
Passengers are allocated a table in one of the ship's two dining rooms—the "Alexandria" and "Medina" restaurants. Passengers may also choose to dine in "The Orangery" buffet restaurant, "The Pennant Grill" or "Café Bordeaux", an alternative restaurant modelled on a French bistro. "Café Bordeaux" is run in partnership with celebrity chef Marco Pierre White.
Construction and naming
Aurora was built by Meyer Werft in Germany. Her keel was laid in December 1998 and she was launched in January 2000. She was delivered to P&O Cruises in April 2000. P&O Princess wanted Aurora to be built in the UK but there was no British shipyards left large enough to fulfil the order.
The ship was christened on 27 April 2000, by HRH Princess Anne. The champagne bottle did not shatter when it hit the ship's side and fell unopened into the sea. This type of occurrence is considered a bad omen among seafarers, and this incident has been blamed for the numerous setbacks that Aurora has encountered throughout her career.
Aurora departed on her maiden voyage on 1 May 2000—a 14-night cruise to various Mediterranean destinations. The ship's crew identified a major technical problem, and the cruise was curtailed after 16 hours at sea. The cause was a propeller shaft bearing which had been damaged by overheating and required urgent repair while the ship was out of service.
On 3 May 2000, the ship returned to Southampton, where passengers disembarked. Passengers expressed disappointment about the incident but reported that they were mainly satisfied with P&O Cruises' response to the situation. P&O Cruises offered all passengers a full refund and compensation package, worth about GBP£6 million.
Pamela Dream rescue effort
In March 2001, Aurora was sailing through the Taiwan Strait on her first world cruise when she was called to assist Pamela Dream, a Cambodian ship which had capsized in rough seas. Aurora launched her fast rescue boats to retrieve survivors from the water. The crew were able to retrieve three survivors. A crewmember described the sea state as "very rough, with waves of about 5 m (16 ft)". One of Aurora's propellers was damaged by flotsam, and repairs were carried out in Singapore.
World Trade Center attack connection
On the morning of September 11, 2001, Aurora was positioned approximately 80 miles south of New York City and 20 miles east of Atlantic City, New Jersey while a conference of IT executives and vendors hosted by Richmond Events was occurring on board. The ship had embarked from Pier 53 in New York City on the evening of September 9. Following the attacks on the World Trade Center that morning there were concerns for the safety of the British owned ship. U.S. Coast Guard helicopters and vessels briefly protected the Aurora until it was determined that the vessel was not in danger. The ship was planned to return to Manhattan on September 12 but due to the closure of Pier 53 the ship instead sailed to Boston to disembark its passengers. Many of the executives on board were from the banking and financial services industries and it was estimated that as many as 50 executives worked in Tower 1 and Tower 2 of the World Trade Center and adjacent buildings. Reports from conference attendees were that several executives onboard were in communication via smartphones with their staffs in Tower 1 and Tower 2 who eventually perished in the collapse of those buildings.
During a cruise around the eastern Mediterranean in October 2003, over 500 passengers suffered stomach infections caused by the highly contagious Norovirus. During the outbreak, the ship's passengers were denied the right to land at Piraeus, Greece, as the ship was held in quarantine. Aurora departed from Piraeus on 31 October having loaded medical supplies.
On arrival in Dubrovnik, Croatia, a health inspector boarded the vessel and ordered the sick passengers to remain in their cabins "as a precautionary measure". Those unaffected by the virus were allowed to leave the ship. There was uncertainty as to whether the ship would be allowed to dock in Gibraltar, the next scheduled port.
Aurora was allowed to dock in Gibraltar on 3 November. A small number of passengers who were still recovering were required to stay on board. Passengers who went ashore were required to leave their passports behind. One passenger had died from a heart attack, unrelated to the norovirus breakout. The Spanish government decided to close the border between Gibraltar and Spain on advice from its health ministry. It was reopened a few hours after Aurora departed from Gibraltar. The incident caused some diplomatic tension between the United Kingdom and Spain.
Aurora returned to Southampton on 6 November, where passengers disembarked. There was a widespread expression of disappointment, with some passengers threatening legal action against P&O Cruises. P&O Cruises said that while they would not offer a standard compensation package, cases would be considered individually.
World cruise 2005
In January 2005, Aurora began a 103-day world cruise with more than 1,700 passengers on board. While bound for Madeira, the ship repeatedly had problems with one of the propulsion motors. Since the problems could not be solved quickly, the world cruise was abandoned. During the ship's time waiting in Southampton, passengers were offered free drinks in the onboard bars and were able to exit the ship at any time. Passengers were also permitted to cancel their booking for a full refund. After P&O Cruises cancelled the cruise, the company donated all of the food purchased for the trip to local charities around Southampton. Aurora set sail for a dry dock in Bremerhaven, Germany, where her damaged motor would be taken out and replaced with one destined for another ship under construction at the time. Her broken motor was taken apart, reconditioned, and placed in an unknown cruise ship.
The planned world cruise hence affectionately became known as a voyage around the Isle of Wight or "the largest ever Isle of Wight ferry". The cruise was also dubbed the "World Booze Cruise" as the Company offered free drinks, free excursions and a 50 percent discount for the 2007 World Cruise after reimbursing all the fares for the 2005 World Cruise. P&O Cruises also arranged for entertainers such as Elaine Paige and Paul Daniels to come on board.
The cancellation of the cruise is reported to have cost the company GBP£25 million.
World cruise 2009
During the 2009 World Cruise, Aurora again experienced problems with her propulsion system shortly after leaving Sydney, Australia. The ship continued to Auckland, New Zealand, to undergo repairs. The ship left Auckland for Hawaii on 12 March 2009. More than 600 passengers on the 93-night cruise attended an emergency meeting and formed a protest committee after the ship failed to dock at three ports in New Zealand and at two Pacific Islands. While P&O Cruises made offers of compensation, some passengers branded these offers "derisory" and threatened legal action against the company.
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