Every time P&O announce a new ship, so many people post on various outlets about it being called Canberra. Why? There are many other names out there or they could just come up with a new one like they did for Ventura and Azura. Canberra was a one-off and well loved like Oriana and Aurora today. What is they’re obsession with re-using that particular name when the company has (currently) 174 years of names to use? But with the announcement today by P&O that they are launching a new ship in March 2015, I have a horrible feeling the name so synonymous with that legend will be dusted off and this is why. Their press release went:
P&O Cruises announces new 141,000-tonne ship to enter service in March 2015
Posted 01 Jun 2011
To be built at Fincantieri’s Monfalcone yard, the all-in cost is approximately €155,000 per lower berth. Ushering in an exciting era for P&O Cruises, the ship will offer a stylish and innovative new design and an unprecedented number of passenger facilities, along with many of the brand’s classic and iconic features. Specifications and new product innovations will be announced at a later date.
Commented Micky Arison, Carnival Corporation & plc’s chairman and CEO, “P&O Cruises is Britain’s number one cruise operator, and is synonymous with high quality holidays that celebrate its rich British heritage. The UK continues to be a key growth market and innovative vessels such as this new P&O Cruises ship – targeted specifically to British clientele – underscore our commitment to leading the expansion of this important cruise region. With a progression of highly successful new ships introduced over the last 15 years, P&O Cruises is uniquely experienced in designing vessels to meet the specific needs and aspirations of British passengers. This newly ordered ship will underline P&O Cruises’ position as Britain’s favourite cruise line.”
P&O Cruises Managing Director Carol Marlow said, “This next-generation ship will deliver the ultimate P&O Cruises experience, with ‘sophisticated wows’ and new features to attract thousands of newcomers to our brand, and equally to resonate with existing P&O Cruises passengers by giving them the ‘P&O-ness’ they recognise and love. She will offer ‘the best of the best,’ combining the favourite classic features of Oriana and Aurora, the choice and variety of Azura and Ventura, and a host of new ideas and concepts which together will deliver to our passengers the holiday of a lifetime, every time they travel with us.”
About P&O Cruises
P&O Cruises can trace its roots back to 1837 when the Peninsular Steam Navigation Company was awarded the lucrative Admiralty contract to carry mail to the Iberian Peninsula and beyond. Today, as trusted cruise experts, P&O Cruises has a fleet of seven ships offering holidays tailored to British tastes combining genuine service, a sense of occasion and attention to detail, ensuring passengers have the holiday of a lifetime, every time they travel with us. Azura was launched in April 2010 – officially named by Godmother Darcey Bussell CBE and small ship Adonia was added to the fleet on May 21, 2011 with global singing star Dame Shirley Bassey DBE as Godmother.
P&O Cruises Fleet:
Oriana entered service 1995, named by Her Majesty The Queen, 1,828 passengers
Aurora entered service 2000, named by HRH Princess Anne, 1,870 passengers
Oceana entered service 2003, named by HRH Princess Anne, 2,016 passengers
Arcadia entered service 2005, named by Dame Kelly Holmes DBE, 2,016 passengers
Ventura entered service 2008, named by Dame Helen Mirren DBE, 3,078 passengers
Azura entered service 2010, named by Darcey Bussell CBE, 3,100 passengers
Adonia entered service 2011, named by Dame Shirley Bassey DBE, 710 passengers
Newbuild 2015 to be confirmed , 3,611 passengers
Well you can see why they may insult a legend by giving this, a slightly modified version of the future Royal Princess (III) (another ship which had a unique history but Princess bods have made it a meaningless name now), the same name. It’s got TWO funnels! Sorry but something which looks like a Royal Caribbean ship is NOT unique. To date, thanks to them selling Artemis, there are just two original ships left in the P&O fleet, Oriana and Aurora. How long before they’re shipped off to P&O Australia so all we’re left with is an R ship (one of eight!), a Sun class Princess (one of four), a HAL Vista (one of five, not including the modified Signature class, Cunard and Costas) and two Grand class Princesses (one of five of that design and umpteen older ones!)? Why can’t Carnival let each brand have their own UNIQUE ships? But the most important question is, why are P&O trying to be something they’re not? Take a look at RCCL. Yes they use same basic platforms in their Royal Caribbean and Celebrity fleets BUT that’s where the similarities end. You go onto a Radiance class and you’re not comparing to Millennium because they have made them VERY different inside and out. Why can’t Carnival do the same to keep at least a little of what made each line unique? You can’t make a ship catered to one market out of a clones ear. Where’s the originality? Why is it RCCL and NCL are leading the way with innovative and exciting ships? Why do the likes of HAL, AIDA and Seabourn get NEW ships yet the rest get the same as everyone else? How long before a Carnival Dream class ends up as the next ‘Classic Cunarder’? HAL manages very well being a mid-sized fleet. Can you imagine a mega-monster in theirs? Of course not. They know what their passengers want and are listening. P&O sadly aren’t so they’ll have gimmicks to compete but fail miserably so will heavily discount. One of the great things about P&O was the atmosphere onboard, which is lost on the larger ships. You lose the personal touch with thousands of other people. In my opinion, this is a mistake.
If they DO decide to reuse the Canberra name, it’s a shame they couldn’t have given it to something completely unique, drawing on her design but with a modern twist, as they did with Oriana. Stephen Payne would have done an extraordinary job the way he had with Queen Mary 2.
Long live Canberra! 1961-97