More on the problems afflicting P&O’s Aurora, now forced to make an extended stay in Auckland, New Zealand, for emergency repairs.
The ship, on a 93-night world voyage which left the UK on January 11, has cancelled planned visits to the Pacific islands of Tahiti and Moorea.
Passengers have already missed out on calls to Wellington and Napier in New Zealand, because problems with the ship’s propulsion system had reduced her speed.
P&O say that “maintenance work on a thrust bearing is being carried out by a team of technical experts.”
The work is expected to continue at least throughout Tuesday, so even if all goes to plan, it is unlikely the ship will resume her voyage until Wednesday at the earliest.
The only people with smiles on their faces are shopkeepers and taxi drivers in Auckland, who are making the most of their unexpected windfall in the shape of 2,000 passengers with nowhere to go.
The revised schedule gives the passengers just one port of call – Honolulu – between leaving Auckland and their scheduled arrival in San Francisco on March 23.
Any more delays could jeopardize Aurora’s slot for transiting the Panama Canal on March 31. The ship is due back in Southampton on April 13.
P&O say refunds will be made to passengers who had booked excursions at any of the missed ports. A “goodwill” payment will be made to all passengers, but for how much will not be decided until the full extent of the changed itinerary is known.
In situations like this, there is usually no shortage of vociferous passengers wanting to make complaints and demanding compensation. There was a near-mutiny on the Costa Europa last month when the ship missed four out of seven ports on an Indian Ocean cruise.
If Aurora’s passengers want to take their complaints to the top, they won’t have far to go. David Dingle, chief executive of Carnival UK, P&O’s parent company, flew to Auckland at the weekend after a visit to Sydney, Australia.
- This is not the first time propulsion problems have afflicted an Aurora world cruise. In January 2005, passengers spent 11 days in Southampton and sailing round the Isle of Wight before the voyage was abandoned and the ship went into dock to have an engine replaced.