Is it farewell to Lorraine as P&O welcomes its latest cruise ship?

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lorraine_bottle.jpgWhen Dame Shirley Bassey names P&O’s newest ship, Adonia, in Southampton next Saturday, she will open a new chapter in the life of a vessel which has already seen several changes in its short life.
It may also be the end of a fascinating book for another grand old lady.
In June 2007, Lorraine Arzt was godmother when the ship was re-named Royal Princess in Portofino harbour, Italy. She had been living almost permanently on board Princess cruise ships for the whole of the decade. The picture above shows her with Micky Arison (left), chief executive of Carnival Corporation which owns both Princess and P&O Cruises, Captain Vincenzo Lubrano, and Princess Cruises’ Alan Buckelew.
Born in Glasgow and raised in Belfast, where her father was a hairdresser, Lorraine emigrated to America during the Second World War. At the age of 18, she and her brother joined a convoy of 98 ships from Liverpool. Sixteen days later when she arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia, only 47 ships were left – the others had been sunk by torpedo attacks.
All the more surprising then, that she should eventually choose a life at sea.
She was spending at least £70,000 a year on having her own suite permanently on board – she sailed on Sea Princess before moving to Royal – and had sailed on dozens of cruises with her husband Joe before he died in 2002.
She said: “It was very different sailing after Joe was gone, especially in the evenings because he was a professional dancer and we used to go and spend our nights on the floor in the ballroom.
“After he died, I didn’t want to come back on board because I was scared of how different it would be. But my family saw me going crazy at home and told me to get back on the boat.
“From the minute I stepped back on, the staff didn’t leave me alone for a second. They were amazing. There was always someone next to me to have a chat to. While I didn’t realise it then, I now know they were taking it in turns to look after me and wouldn’t leave my side until they knew someone else was on their way.”
In 2009, Lorraine was forced to spend time at home in Beverly Hills, California when Royal Princess was crippled by an engine-room fire and had to be taken to Athens for repairs.
She is back on dry land again now, and a Princess Cruises spokesperson in Southampton was unable to tell me of her future plans.
Come back soon, Lorraine.
As for the exciting life of the ship, Adonia will be the fourth name it has sailed under. Built in 2000 for the now-defunct Renaissance Cruises, it started life as R Eight. When the company went bankrupt in September 2001 the ship was laid up until 2003 when it was chartered to Swan Hellenic Cruises as Minerva II before becoming Royal Princess in 2007.
The other seven almost-identical R-ships have found new homes as well. Carrying just under 700 passengers each, they are all now comfortable, boutique ships just a step down from the ultra-luxury range.
R One and R Two are now Insignia and Regatta, and R Five is Nautica, all sailing for Oceania Cruises. Next year, Insignia will move to Hapag-Lloyd to become Columbus 2. R Three and R Four are now Pacific Princess and Ocean Princess. Finally, R Six and R Seven are Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest.

By | 2017-06-15T16:00:07+00:00 12 May 2011|Cruise News, Cruise Ships|0 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.

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