Name change for P&O Cruises

//Name change for P&O Cruises

P&O-Panda.jpgThey call themselves Britain’s favourite cruise line, and from today P&O Cruises has a new name, to avoid confusion with Britain’s most popular ferry company, P&O Ferries.
Welcome to Panda Cruises – involving the change of just one vowel in the name, but necessitating a multi-million pound makeover for the seven-ship fleet.
The all-white vessels are to be repainted black and white, like their cuddly namesakes. The 116,000-ton Azura, which has just been delivered by the shipyard in Italy, will be the first to display the new livery when she arrives in Southampton next week.
The handover of the vessel from builders Fincantieri was carried out in conditions of great secrecy last week in order to keep the new colours under wraps. Carnival UK boss David Dingle and Panda managing director Carol Marlow were the only British representatives at the ceremony, and media invitations were withdrawn, under cover of uncertainty over availability of flights because of the British Airways cabin crew strike.
pandazura.jpgFincantieri spokeswoman Lola Porfi told me that workers at the yard had been busy for the past two weeks on last-minute modifications to the ship.
“As well as the new colour scheme for the hull, the sports court on the top deck has been converted into a cage to accommodate a pair of pandas, and of course there is hope that they can be persuaded to mate and produce the first pandas to be born at sea.
“The animals will be fed on fresh bamboo shoots grown on board. The company’s environmentalists have been carrying out secret tests and believe that if Celebrity can have real lawns on their ships, there should be no problem growing bamboo – it’s only a type of grass, after all.”
I understand the name change will be supported by a sponsorship agreement with the World Wildlife Fund, and that 2011 itineraries for next year’s world cruises are being altered to include extended visits to the Chinese ports of Shanghai, Dalian, Xiamen, and Sanya on the tropical resort island of Hainan.
Also new on the ships’ itineraries will be visits to the remote island of San Serriffe, and excursions to the spaghetti tree plantations in Italy.
The history of P&O can be traced back to 1837, when the Peninsular Steam Navigation Company was awarded the contract to carry Royal Mail to the Iberian peninsula and beyond. The company grew into a major commercial shipping line and passenger liner operator and in 1918 took over the Orient Line, its partner in the UK to Australia mail route, thus becoming Peninsular and Orient.
In the 1950s and 60s, the company’s fleet carried thousands of “£10 Poms” to Australia, and when that program ended ships such as SS Canberra were converted to cruise liners. The cargo and ferry side of the business also grew, with the takeover of companies such as British-India Steam Navigation and Townsend Thoreson.
In 2000, P&O demerged its cruise business as P&O Princess Cruises, and this company was taken over in 2003 by the giant Carnival Corporation.
But confusion among consumers unable to differentiate between the cruise line and the remaining shipping and logistics company – which since 2005 has been owned by Dubai World – have led to the decision to adopt a new name.

By | 2017-06-15T16:00:30+00:00 1 April 2010|Cruise News|8 Comments

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.


  1. simone 1 April 2010 at 9:22 am - Reply

    love this!

  2. Ken 1 April 2010 at 9:53 am - Reply

    My wife and I are on Azuras maiden, will we be allowed to feed the pandas?

  3. Margaret Rose 1 April 2010 at 9:57 am - Reply

    The spaghetti trees give it away – but very funny!

  4. Tom Burke 1 April 2010 at 10:43 am - Reply

    Nice article – I for one welcome bold and exciting ideas like this!
    Just one point, however – I don’t think San Serrife is as remote as it used to be. Isn’t it due to collide with India any year now? On the upside, this does I suppose make it easier for Panda cruises to reach it.

  5. jsmith 1 April 2010 at 11:17 am - Reply

    the words ‘aye’ and ‘right’ come to mind!

  6. Cruisegle 2 April 2010 at 12:52 am - Reply

    I guess Carnival will change to Rio Carnival as well or maybe Celebrity to Was Once Famous Cruises?
    Great article.

  7. Christopher & GRace Dursley 10 April 2010 at 12:55 pm - Reply

    My wife and I are desperately sorry that P&O Cruises will be no more (in name). It is an honourable name with many years of service to the British (and others) people. We think it would have been more fitting to change the name of the P&O Ferries.

  8. Anthony Lawson 3 February 2011 at 10:18 pm - Reply

    Dear Sir, is it possible for you to give me a passenger list of a sailing of the “Orcades” in August, 1955 please? My parents boarded the ship in Vancouver and made stops at San Francisco, Honolulu and Suva and disembarked at Auckland. I cannot be 100% sure that the month was August but possibly may have been September??? Thanking you for your time, I remain, Yours Faithfully, Anthony Lawson.

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