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The BBC's Robert Hall
"There is still mystery about how the fault could have developed"
 real 28k

Gwyn Hughes, P&O MD
"The captain had a standing ovation at a cocktail party last night"
 real 28k

Aurora passengers talk to BBC
"Everyone got on with it"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 3 May, 2000, 15:49 GMT 16:49 UK
Brave face on cruise breakdown
Disappointed passengers leave the Aurora cruise ship
Passengers on the Aurora have spoken of their disappointment at the cancellation of the superliner's maiden cruise.

Some 1,500 holidaymakers stepped ashore shortly after the broken down vessel berthed in Southampton just two days after setting sail.

But there was praise for owners P&O over the way they handled the crisis and many said they would take up the compensation offered of another cruise.

Chris Russon, from Havant, Hampshire, who spent 5,000 on tickets for the voyage with her husband, said: "We're obviously disappointed that the cruise was cancelled but to be honest P&O have done everything that they could possibly do. It's just one of those things."

There was nothing we could do except get on with the party

Chris Russon, passenger
She added: "They told us at about 10am yesterday morning. It was quite unbelievable and I went off to pack straight away but there was nothing we could do except get on with the party and have some of the free drinks they were offering."

Patricia Blow, 70, from Blairgowrie, Perthshire, travelled alone on the cruise, which cost her 3,000. She said: "It is one of those things and there's not very much that you can do about it.

We can't speak more highly of the way we've been treated

Beryl Farmer, passenger
"The company has been wonderful. I've travelled to the Himalayas before and something like this is not going to put me off."

Mrs Blow said that she was aboard P&O's Oriana when the cruise liner had to return to port with engine problems in November 1995.

Beryl Farmer, 63, from Spalding in Lincolnshire, was travelling with her husband and son on the luxury cruise. She said: "We were obviously very sorry at what happened and we were very sorry for the captain of the ship, but we can't speak more highly of the way we have been treated by P&O.

"Most of us on board are old people who have travelled regularly and I think to be honest we just don't get fazed by anything untoward."

The Aurora left Southampton on Monday just days after being formally named by the Princess Royal in a glittering ceremony.


Gwyn Hughes, managing director of P&O Cruises, told a news conference at the Mayflower Cruise terminal in Southampton: "We're gutted. We're obviously disappointed, but not as disappointed as the passengers who were on board."

Capt Steve Burgoine
Captain Steve Burgoine: "Very disappointing"
Captain Steve Burgoine, master of the Aurora, added: "Embarrassing is the wrong word, but it is very disappointing."

It appears that a propeller shaft bearing overheated, making it impossible for the 76,000-tonne ship to continue her two-week cruise of Mediterranean resorts.

The 1,800 passengers had paid prices ranging from 2,295 per head for a basic cabin and 7,825 per head for a penthouse suite.

P&O is set to pay out around 6m in refunds even before working out a compensation package.

The company said it expected the Aurora to be back in service for its second cruise - a 12-night trip to the Canary Islands starting on 15 May.

It has already left for the German Blohm and Voss shipyard to establish the cause of the problem.

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08 Nov 99 | The Company File
Cunard plans world's largest liner - the QM2
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