Are Carnival Cruises guilty of brand favouritism or are their own hulls and variations really so bad they need constant dry docking? Take P&O in particular more recently. Arcadia arrived in April 2005 during the time Aurora was having a refit. This was the year her world cruise got as far as the Isle of Wight so she went to Bremerhaven to replace an engine, during which time they also brought her refit forward so was gone 3 months. During April and May, Southampton performed its last drydocking for cruise ships. Adonia returned to being Sea Princess, with the addition of trout pout – I mean MUTS screen. This was followed by Ocean Village then Oceana. Meanwhile also in May, Royal Princess headed to Bremerhaven to become Artemis. Busy year! December 2006, Oriana returned and was the first to be branded with the P&O Cruises logo. 2008 was Oceana in the March/April then Artemis (minus branding so it was obvious she had no future and they wanted to offload her). December 2008 Arcadia returned with stern cabin addition. Meanhile during Aurora’s 2009 world cruise, she developed the same problem she had in 2005. But when was her refit scheduled for? APRIL 2010! That would be 5 years since she came back after the last. Well in June 2009 they cancelled the cruises on the 5th-7th and 7th-19th December (my trips!) for a refit. But leaving it so long is ridiculous. No wonder problems develop.
Now take Costa to show inconsistency. Serena was in dry dock 2 years after her maiden voyage. But the classic has to be Luminosa, the closest to the Cunard Vistas in tonnage and exterior design (right down to grass!). She entered service in June 2009 and has been in dry dock since the end of October 2010!
Costas have easy lives compared to ships sailing out of the UK, just like their Carnival counterparts. Here they hit the English Channel then can go to the Atlantic, North Sea, Irish Sea, Baltic Sea. They do world cruises (even though the Cunard Vistas aren’t built for real sea). They have enormous stress on the hulls so need a damn sight more maintenance than the Costas! It used to be a maximum of 30 months but they’d probably leave it 300 if they thought they could. If modern technology means ships no longer need refits so often, why do Costa and others (Diamond Princess is having one now in Singapore) have them every couple of years?