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CruiseNews

P&O Cruises New 141,000-ton Cruise Ship For March 2015 Will Have Two Funnels

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The new P&O cruise ship will have two traditional fore-and-aft funnels

P&O Cruises has announced an order for a new 141,000-ton cruise ship to be based on the recently-designed platform for Princess Cruises’ Royal Princess and Regal Princess, which will be introduced in 2013 and 2014, respectively. The new P&O ship will accommodate 3,611 passengers in lower berths. What is most interesting about the design is P&O’s reversion in the new ship to a more traditional appearance in that she will feature two conventional funnels carrying the P&O colours. This is unusal in that P&O went straight from three funnels with the Strathnaver and Strathaird, the first P&O ships to carry the now traditional white hull in 1931-32, to one funnel in the Strathmore, Strathallan and Stratheden of 1935-38. The last important P&O ship to have had two funnels arranged fore and aft was the original Oriana, built for the Orient Line in 1960. Previous to that, the most famous two-funnelled P&O ship was the Viceroy of India, delivered in 1929.

The last major P&O ship to have been built with two funnels was the Viceroy of India in 1929

To be built at Fincantieri’s Monfalcone yard, the new ship will cost about €560 million, or €155,000 per lower berth. Ushering in a new era for P&O Cruises, the ship will offer a stylish and innovative design and an unprecedented number of passenger facilities, along with many of the line’s classic and iconic features. Specifications will be announced at a later date.

The original Oriana was built for the Orient Line in 1960 and became a P&O ship in 1965

Commented Micky Arison, Carnival Corporation & plc’s chairman and CEO, “P&O Cruises is Britain’s number one cruise operator, and is synonymous with high quality holidays that celebrate its rich British heritage. The UK continues to be a key growth market and innovative vessels such as this new P&O Cruises ship – targeted specifically to British clientele – underscore our commitment to leading the expansion of this important cruise region. With a progression of highly successful new ships introduced over the last 15 years, P&O Cruises is uniquely experienced in designing vessels to meet the specific needs and aspirations of British passengers.”

P&O Cruises Managing Director Carol Marlow said, “This next-generation ship will deliver the ultimate P&O Cruises experience, with ‘sophisticated wows’ and new features to attract thousands of newcomers to our brand, and equally to resonate with existing P&O Cruises passengers by giving them the ‘P&O-ness’ they recognise and love. She will offer ‘the best of the best,’ combining the favourite classic features of Oriana and Aurora, the choice and variety of Azura and Ventura, and a host of new ideas and concepts which together will deliver to our passengers the holiday of a lifetime, every time they travel with us.”

Two funnels have made quite a comeback in the past decade or so. Starting with the original Disney Magic and Disney Wonder in 1998-99, these were followed by six Holland America “Vista” types (Zuiderdam through Nieuw Amsterdam) in 2002-10 and joined by five Celebrity Solstice class ships in 2008-12, then Disney Dream this year and Disney Fantasy to follow next. Cruise ships have now entered a size bracket where two funnels have become relatively common once again. Indeed, after the new P&O ship is delivered there will be sixteen ships carrying two funnels in the fore-and-aft mode. Meanwhile, the last of the traditional two-funnelled ships, NCL’s Norway, was retired in 2003.

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