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… I never knew you at all. Not even sure if I’d have wanted to, in fact. Lots of people seem to have loved you, but somehow I was never attracted – you were never the ship for me.

I do appreciate her historical importance, however. Built in 1983/4 and christened by Princess Diana as ‘Royal Princess’, she was unique at the time as having no inside cabins at all, and for the fact that a lot (most?) of her cabins had balconies. At 45,000 grt she was a big ship for her day, and she represented a big investment by P&O Princess in the US cruising market. (P&O felt that the UK cruising market could make do with an increasingly-geriatric Canberra for another 11 years.) But by the mid-noughties she didn’t fit with Princess’ aspirations or image any more so she was transferred to P&O and renamed Artemis. (The name Artemis is very clever, by the way. Artemis was the Greek goddess of hunting; the equivalent Roman goddess was called ‘Diana’; and s I mentioend above, it was the Princess of Wales who christened her.) Phoenix Reisen, the German cruise and general travel company to whom she is going, are going to call her Artania.

As I say, I never felt especially attracted to cruising on her for some reason, but I also know that many P&O passengers felt, just in the six years that she was a member of the P&O fleet, that she was the best ship P&O had. I gather she’ll be sorely missed. If you want to look at some pictures of her, go to Bart de Boer’s excellent ‘ShipParade’ site, click on ‘A’ on the top row, and then on the image of Artemis that you’ll find on that page.

The image at the top of this post, however, was taken and copyrighted by Andrew Sassoli-Walker, whose pictures I’ve been able to use before. He took a number of images the other morning – here’s a link to a gallery of them.

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