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P&O's new ship

While we were on our recent cruise on Ventura, P&O announced an order for a new ship. At 141,000 gross tons it will be the largest P&O liner ever, by some distance – Azura and Ventura, each with a gross tonnage of 113,651, are the currently P&O record holders. Details about the new ship are still sketchy, but it seems likely that the standard passenger capacity will be 3,600 which means that maximum capacity will be somewhere over 4,000, possibly even 4,500. As yet unnamed, she’ll be delivered in spring 2015.

Of course, P&O is part of Carnival Cruise Corp & plc these days, so we can’t expect a P&O-specific ship to be built. It so happens that Princess Cruises announced in March that they had placed an order for two ships each with a gross tonnage of 141,000  and passenger capacity of 3,600. The first of these – to be called Royal Princess – will be delivered in May 2013. Assuming that the (unnamed) second Princess ship is delivered in 2014, that means that the new P&O ship will be the third of this new class.

Here is a composite image based on what has been release by Princess (the top ship) and P&O (the bottom one). There do appear to be some differences – two funnels on the P&O ship as against one on the Princess ship, and a different shape to the stern – but I’m pretty sure these are cosmetic differences on the same overall hull and superstructure. There are some clear similarities – that mid-ships break in the superstructure cabins, the shape of the bridge structure, and so on. We ought also to realise that these images aren’t necessarily an accurate reflection of what will eventually emerge – they are very much “artist’s impressions”. There’s no word yet on when detailed specifications including deck plans will be released, but given that the new Royal Princess will be in service from spring 2013, it will have to feature  in the 2013/14 Princess brochure which will be released in early spring 2012.

Most of the other lines (including Carnival partners as well as competitors) have already got ships at around 150,000 gross tons in service so Princess/P&O are significantly behind the curve with the Grand Princess class. It’s inevitable that P&O would be forced to go down the same mega-ship route. Unfortunately the current generation of new larger ships have generally resulted in some design decisions that  I feel unhappy about, and I expect that these new Princess and P&O ships will share these features. I expect, therefore, that there won’t be a real promenade deck, and neither will there be a Crows Nest or forward-facing observation lunge – as on the Grand Princess class ships, that’s almost certainly where the spa and the gym will go. But we will have to wait and see.

In the meantime here are some links: the Princess announcement, including a video; P&O’s announcement; and a Wikipedia article about what ‘gross tonnage’ actually means.

One Response to “P&O's new ship”

  1. […] mentioned P&O’s new ship in a blog post in July, and P&O are now telling us a bit more about it. The new ship is due to go into service in […]

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