The MV Aurora entered service in April 2000 and is owned and operated by P&O Cruises (now a part of Carnival Corporation). She was built by Meyer Werft in Germany and has a Gross Registered Tonnage (GRT) of 76,152 tonnes and is 270 metres long, with a beam of 32.20 metres. Her draught of 7.9 metres means that she can enter and exit most commercial ports around the world without much difficulty. At full capacity, she can carry up to 1,950 passengers in 939 cabins and also carries around 850 crew.
Aurora is powered is provided by four MAN B&W engines generating 14,700 kW each, powering two 20,000kW STN AEG motors that are used for propulsion. This gives her a service speed of around 24.5 knots (45.4 km/h) , with peaks up to 26.5 (during 2007 World Cruise), even reaching 29 knots (54 km/h) in trials.
After entering service in May 2000, the ship suffered several setbacks. When being christened on 27 April 2000 by HRH Princess Anne, the champagne bottle did not break — a sign of bad luck among seafarers. She also suffered from engine problems during her maiden voyage, which was aborted after eighteen hours. In March 2001, she was involved in a rescue of eleven Russian seamen after their ship capsized and sank in the South China Sea. During the rescue attempt, her crew bravely battled horrendous weather in small rescue boats trying to rescue the Russian seamen and the vessel sustained propeller damage caused by floating debris. In July 2003, she suffered a crank case explosion in one of her engines while at anchor in the Mediterranean which was brought under control by her engineering officers equipped with fire fighting equipment.
2003: Norwalk virus breakout
During a cruise around the eastern Mediterranean Sea in November 2003, about 1,000 passengers suffered stomach infections caused by the highly contagious Norwalk virus. During the outbreak, the ship's passengers were denied the right to land at Piraeus, Greece. On arrival in Dubrovnik, health inspector Ivo Miloglav 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 to visit the Adriatic port.
She then sailed to Gibraltar where she was allowed to dock on 3 November, on the advice of Dr Kumar, Chief Medical Officer, a small number of passengers who were still recovering had to stay onboard. Passengers who went ashore were required to leave their passports behind. One passenger had died from a heart attack, unrelated to the Norwalk virus. The Spanish government decided to close the border between Gibraltar and Spain on advice from its health ministry. Spain complained it had received no comprehensive information from the UK Government on the outbreak. The Gibraltar Chief Medical Officer visited Spain and informed Andalusian Government officials of the situation. The Spanish central government "does not deal directly with Gibraltar, only with Britain, the colonial power," as quoted in The Independent. However, the UK Government does not have any responsibility for, or information about, health matters in Gibraltar.
The closure of the border by Spain led to an international row with Britain and generated almost as much media attention as the cruise ship itself. The border was closed at 7:30 a.m. and reopened thirteen hours later, when the ship departed Gibraltar waters. Some passengers complained that P&O Cruises' response was slow on stamping out the spread of the virus amongst them, with others describing it as a Holiday from Hell. Passengers who came ashore praised the way that they had been looked after by the crew, and said that they would book another cruise on the Aurora.
Following the stop, there was no outbreak of disease in Gibraltar, and checks on people crossing into Spain were abandoned after a few days when no trace of infection was seen. The disease is considered one of the most common causes of outbreaks and sporadic cases of gastroenteritis in individuals of all ages worldwide, including Spain. Norovirus outbreaks are not uncommon, especially in crowded places. In this matter P&O did enforce the prevention with a three phase awareness program and it is providing alcohol gel in all restaurants and gangways , warning notices in all the public restrooms as well with paper towel dispensers for door opening and special bin outside for disposal. During normal operation all the contact surfaces are sanitized with accelerated peroxide.
In January 2005, the Aurora was about to begin a 103-day world cruise with more than 1,700 passengers on board. Bound for Madeira, the ship repeatedly had problems with one of the propulsion motors.[clarification needed] Unfortunately, the problem could not be solved quickly and sufficiently and hence the decision was taken to abandon the world cruise. During her time waiting in Southampton, passengers had free drinks at the bars and were able to exit the ship at any time they felt, or even cancel their holiday. After P&O canceled the cruise, the line 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 and reconditioned and placed in another cruise ship; however, it is not known which ship received it.
The planned world cruise hence affectionately became known as a voyage around the Isle of Wight or the largest ever Isle of Wight ferry. Also the cruise was named the World Booze Cruise as the Company did offer free drinks, free excursions and 50% discount for the 2007 World Cruise after reimbursing all the fares for the 2005 World Cruise.
The ship underwent a refit from 10th to the 13th December 2007, which saw the carpets in some public rooms replaced. All cabins received a makeover which included the bedding in the cabins being upgraded to 'Egyptian Linen'.
During the 2009 World Cruise, between Sydney, Australia and Auckland, New Zealand the propulsion system on Aurora broke down. Aurora continued to Auckland to receive repairs. The ship eventually 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.
We picked this cruise for the 'different' itinerary. We'd cruised aboard Aurora quite a few times & so knew the ship well & knew we liked her. She's a typical British style cruise ship which suits the likes of me :-) Not glitzy, not loud, a proper ship in my opinion. Anyway, the ports of call on this Southampton round trip were:- Dublin - Eire Reykjavik - Iceland Akureyri - Iceland … more
Sunday 27th November By 9.00am we are all pacing the living room floor waiting for the mini bus to arrive, by 9.15am we have started to check for it down the street, but at 9.30am on the nose (the time he was booked for) he magically appears outside the house and before he can switch the ignition off a fleet of cases are at his back door. A clear run down to Southampton with only one short stop and we arrive at just gone noon. Check in is rammed, completely … more
Well after going down to soton on the thursday to get acclimatised to the good life at the De Vere, we found out that i had booked a nice little balcony which we could see aurora from on the friday morning which as you can imagine got me even more excited!! check in at the QE2 terminal was really quick! we arrived at midday and we managed to be in the crows nest (along with the goldies and priority people) at about … more