The future of Artemis, P&O’s smallest cruise ship, became clearer today.
I reported a couple of weeks ago that there were rumours the 1,200-passenger vessel was about to be sold to German cruise line Phoenix Reisen and at that time P&O confirmed they had received an enquiry from an unnamed source.
In a statement today, the company confirms the ship has been sold, and that it will continue to operate under the P&O flag until it has completed all the cruises currently listed in P&O’s brochures.
An initial statement reads: “P&O Cruises can confirm that it has signed contracts for the sale of its 45,000 ton ship Artemis to MS Artania Shipping, for an undisclosed sum. The sale will be completed on October 6, 2009 but P&O Cruises will continue to operate Artemis and her series of cruises as published until April 12, 2011.”
This did not completely clarify what will be happening to the ship, as Artania was a new name to me – and most other industry observers. A further statement made things a bit clearer. “After Artemis leaves the P&O Cruises fleet, MS Artania Shipping is set to charter the ship to the German tour operator Phoenix Reisen.”
So the first rumour was correct, and the ship – originally called Royal Princess and named by Princess Diana in 1984 – will join Albatros, Amadea, Alexander von Humboldt, and Athena. Do you see a pattern emerging there? Should have realised that with a name beginning with “A”, there was only one place Artemis could end up.
There’s no word yet on whether P&O are planning another addition to their fleet, following the introduction of mega-liner Azura, a 3,000-passenger sister ship to Ventura, next April.
Artemis’s last voyage for P&O will be a Grand Voyage to the Far East, leaving from Southampton in January 2011.