MV Aurora (2000)

The MV "Aurora" entered service in April 2000 and is owned and operated by P&O Cruises (now a part of Carnival Corporation). She was built by Meyer Werft in Germany and has a Gross Registered Tonnage (GRT) of 76,152 tonnes and is 270 metres long, with a beam of 32.20 metres. Her draught of 7.9 metres means that she can enter and exit most commercial ports around the world without much difficulty. At full capacity, she can carry up to 1,950 passengers in 939 cabins and also carries around 850 crew.

She was one of the first British passengers ships to include a sliding magrodome that can be opened or closed to enable one of her three pools to become an inside pool during inclement weather. Electrical power is provided by four MAN B&W engines, generating 14,700 kW each while power for propulsion is generated by two STN AEG engines generating 20,000 kW each. This gives her a service speed of around convert|24.5|kn|km/h , with peaks up to 26.5 (during 2007 World Cruise), even reaching convert|29|kn|km/h in trials. [ [ Specifications and trial data] ]



After entering service in May 2000, the ship suffered several setbacks. When being christened on 27 April 2000 by HRH Princess Anne, the champagne bottle did not break — a sign of bad luck among seafarers. She also suffered from engine problems during her maiden voyage, which was aborted after 18 hours. In March 2001, she was involved in a rescue of 11 Russian Seamen after their ship capsized and sank in the South China Sea. During the rescue attempt, her crew bravely battled horrendous weather in small rescue boats trying to rescue the Russian seamen and the vessel sustained propeller damage caused by floating debris. In July 2003, she suffered a crank case explosion in one of her engines while at anchor in the Mediterranean which was brought under control by her engineering officers equipped with fire fighting equipment.

2003: Norwalk virus breakout

During a cruise around the eastern Mediterranean Sea in November 2003, about 1,000 passengers suffered stomach infections caused by the highly-contagious Norwalk virus. During the outbreak, the ship's passengers were denied the right to land at Piraeus, Greece. [ [ News: Virus-hit liner left all at sea] , retrieved 16. 10. 2007] On arrival in Dubrovnik, health inspector Ivo Miloglav boarded the vessel and ordered the sick passengers to remain in their cabins "as a precautionary measure." Those unaffected by the virus were allowed to leave the ship to visit the Adriatic port.

She then sailed to Gibraltar where she was allowed to dock on 3 November, on the advice of Dr Kumar, Chief Medical Officer, a small number of passengers who were still recovering had to stay onboard. Passengers who went ashore were required to leave their passports behind. One passenger had died from a heart attack, unrelated to the Norwalk virus. The Spanish government decided to close the border between Gibraltar and Spain on advice from its health ministry. [ [ News: Spanish seal border as virus ship docks] , retrieved 16. 10. 2007] Spain complained it had received no comprehensive information from the UK Government on the outbreak. [ [,11525,1076791,00.html#article_continue Guardian Unlimited: Spain shuts border to virus ship] , retrieved 16. 10. 2007] The Gibraltar Chief Medical Officer visited Spain and informed Andalusian Government officials of the situation. The Spanish central government "does not deal directly with Gibraltar, only with Britain, the colonial power," as quoted in "The Independent". [ [ The Independent: How cabin fever sparked a diplomatic upset] , retrieved 16. 10. 2007] However, the UK Government does not have any responsibility for, or information about, health matters in Gibraltar.

The closure of the border by Spain led to an international row with Britain and generated almost as much media attention as the cruise ship itself. The border was closed at 7:30 a.m. and reopened 13 hours later, when the ship departed Gibraltar waters. Some passengers complained that P&O Cruises' response was slow on stamping out the spread of the virus amongst them, [ [ Journal of Medical Secretaries: A Most Unusual Voyage – P & O Aurora October/November 2003 ‘Jewels of the Mediterranean’] , retrieved 16. 10. 2007] with others describing it as a "Holiday from Hell." [ [ Holiday turned into a voyage to hell] , retrieved 16. 10. 2007] Passengers who came ashore praised the way that they had been looked after by the crew, and said that they would book another cruise on the "Aurora". [ [ Real audio of passengers being interviewed at the terminal] ] .

Following the stop, there was no outbreak of disease in Gibraltar, and checks on people crossing into Spain were abandoned after a few days when no trace of infection was seen. The disease is considered one of the most common causes of outbreaks and sporadic cases of gastroenteritis in individuals of all ages worldwide, including Spain. [] Norovirus outbreaks are not uncommon, especially in crowded places. [ [ Foodborne Outbreak Information News] , retrieved 16. 10. 2006] In this matter P&O did enforce the prevention with a 3 phase awareness program and it is providing alcohol gel in all restaurants and gangways , warning notices in all the public restrooms as well with paper towel dispensers for door opening and special bin outside for disposal. During normal operation all the contact surfaces are sanitized with accelerated peroxide.


, passengers had free drinks at the bars and were able to exit the ship at any time they felt, or even cancel their holiday. After P&O canceled the cruise, the line donated all of the food purchased for the trip to local charities around Southampton. Aurora set sail for a dry dock in Bremerhaven, Germany, where her damaged motor would be taken out and replaced with one destined for another ship under construction at the time. Her broken motor was taken apart and reconditioned and placed in another cruise ship; however, it is not known which ship received it.

The planned world cruise hence affectionately became known as a voyage around the Isle of Wight or the largest ever Isle of Wight ferry. Also the cruise was named the World Booze Cruise as the Company did offer free drinks, free excursions and 50% discount for the 2007 World Cruise after reimbursing all the fares for the 2005 World Cruise.

The ship recently underwent a refit (10-13 December 2007) which saw the carpets in some public rooms replaced. All cabins received a makeover which included the bedding in the cabins being upgraded to 'Egyptian Linen'. [ [ Details of refit (Broken Link)] ]


External links

* [ "Was Aurora doomed from the start?"] (a timeline of events by BBC News)

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