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The BBC's Robert Hall
"There are a lot of very relieved passengers on board"
 real 28k

Monday, 15 May, 2000, 18:14 GMT 19:14 UK
Superliner tries again
The Aurora suffered mechanical problems off the French coast
The cruise liner Aurora has left Britain for her second scheduled sailing after breaking down on her maiden voyage.

The 200m superliner's first voyage had to be cancelled on 2 May when the 76,000-tonne ship developed problems one day into a two-week cruise.

Repairs were carried out in Germany and she arrived back in Southampton today in time to depart on a 12-night sell-out cruise of the Canary Islands, with more than 1,800 passengers.

Capt Steve Burgoine
Captain Steve Burgoine: "We're cofident"
P&O Cruises spokesman Ray Hankin said the liner left Southampton Docks just after 6pm amid hundreds of streamers and to the sound of The Parachute Regiment's band.

Aurora's captain Steve Burgoine told an earlier news conference he was confident any problems with the ship had been put right.

"We can't afford to get anything wrong and it will work, I'm sure. I'm very confident."

More than 1,600 passengers have been promised full refunds and compensation packages after the maiden voyage was aborted, costing P&O an estimated 6m.

The problem arose when a propeller shaft bearing overheated. It could not be repaired at sea during the maiden cruise to the Mediterranean.

All six bearings have now been "slightly redesigned", but Aurora's journey from Germany to Southampton was her first sea voyage since the replacements.

She left the shipyard on Saturday. Aurora was built specifically for the UK market at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany and can carry 1,874 passengers and 850 crew.

The luxury liner has five lounges, 12 bars, five restaurants, a London West End-style theatre, a concert hall/cinema and shops as well as special areas for young children and teenagers.

Princess Royal and Commodore Timothy Laurence tour the Aurora at last week's naming ceremony
The Princess Royal named the liner
Other facilities include three swimming pools, a health and beauty centre and a golf simulator which enables passengers to "play" some of the world's finest courses.

P&O Cruises commissioned the 10-deck liner in April 1997 to accommodate a new demand for cruise holidays, which is now the fastest growing holiday choice in Britain.

The shipping company claims it is the market leader for the British cruise industry and billed Aurora as "Britain's world-class superliner".

She was named by the Princess Royal on 27 April, although the traditional bottle of champagne dropped into Southampton Docks instead of smashing against the ship when a bottle-release mechanism failed.

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