aurora.jpgOne month into its annual world cruise, P&O’s Aurora has developed a propeller shaft fault which has slowed its progress across the Pacific Ocean and will require engineers to carry out essential repairs.
Passengers due to fly out this weekend to join the next leg of the voyage in Auckland, New Zealand, had been warned the ship would be departing a day late and that a half-day call at Napier and a full-day visit to Wellington were to be cancelled so the ship could reach Sydney, Australia on schedule next Friday (February 22).
However, P&O now say the fault can be rectified during its programmed two-day stay in Dubai at the beginning of April. The problem requires work on the port propeller shaft; it has no safety implications, but affects the vessel’s cruising speed. A statement added: “There will be minimal impact to the onward itinerary and ports of call will remain
The ship left San Francisco on January 30 for the 16-day crossing to New Zealand. Visits to Honolulu and Hilo in Hawai’i, and Papeete in Tahiti went ahead as planned, but a scheduled call at Bora Bora in French Polynesia last Sunday was cancelled.
Aurora carries 1,874 passengers and 850 crew, and was christened by the Princess Royal in April 2000. The 2013 world cruise, a true circumnavigation, began in Southampton on January 7 and the ship is die to return home on April 24.
Sailing westbound, the ship has already visited the Caribbean and transited the Panama Canal. From Sydney, it is expected to call at Brisbane before sailing to Japan, China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Thailand, and Singapore. Crossing to India, the route continues via Mumbai, Muscat to Dubai, arriving on April 3. Form their the route takes it to the Red and the Suez Canal, before it heads to Haifa, Rome and Lisbon.
Fares for the full voyage started at £9,999. The 66-night segment from Auckland to Southampton was available for just over £6,000.
Aurora’s world cruises have frequently been dogged by incident.
In 2005 an engine failed soon after leaving Southampton. The ship returned to port and spent several days circling the Isle of Wight while engineers attempted to solve the problem. Eventually, after nights of unlimited drinks on the house, passengers were told their cruise was cancelled. The ship was taken to dry dock in Bremerhaven, where a replacement motor was fitted.
In 2009, propulsion problems again delayed the ship between Sydney and Auckland, where it remained for a few days while repairs were carried out. (Sounds familiar?).
Last year, two passengers were arrested when US customs officers searched the ship and found cocaine with a street value of more than £1 million was found in their cabin. In a separate incident, a passenger was arrested in Sydney when he tried to disembark with cocaine hidden inside a wetsuit under his clothes.