In March 2015, the newest ship in the P&O fleet, Britannia, will arrive from Fincantieri. When she was unveiled in September 2013, all renderings had the usual buff on both funnels. Yet in January 2014, that was changed to Union Jack across the bow and her funnels will now be dark blue with a P&O rising sun on them. This announcement made it too late for Arcadia to receive the change as her refit was December 2013. That meant Aurora would be the very first in service to have the new livery which ended more than 8- years of the familiar white hull and buff funnel.
The last change they made was only a minor one. P&O Cruises branding replaced the traditional P&O letters on the side of the hull. Oriana was the first, returning from refit in December 2006 but it was dark so hard to see. She had been due for 5pm, docking in QEII Terminal after QE2 had sailed but was early.
Aurora was the last to receive it, in December 2009. She was also the last to be reflagged in 2007. My first cruise on her that September had London registry while the second for New Year was Hamilton.
Artemis was the only one of the P&O Cruise fleet to retain the lettering and she left the fleet in 2011.
So it made a change for Aurora to do anything first. I’m very fond of the old girl, having spent the majority of my P&O Cruises days on her across 6 cruises and also experienced my very first bad weather in the Bay of Biscay as we headed to and from the Canaries on the New Year cruise 2007. We also went through 85 knot winds while on a cruise to Greenland and she handled it like a dream! No other ship has given me such fabulous seas. 🙂 She set off for Hamburg on the 29th November 2014, the final departure in her old colours.
And on the 17th December she returned. Like Oriana eight years prior, she was originally scheduled to dock in QEII Terminal after being vacated by a Queen. This one was Queen Victoria but Aurora was delayed until 7.30pm. Oceana was on a turnaround and sailed in her current colours.
Out with the old and in with the new!
It wasn’t until the following day you could see the full effect of the new livery and it was apt Oriana was in with her.
It’s very strange seeing a blue funnel on the gorgeous girl but like anything, you get used to it.