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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 January 2005, 12:00 GMT
Was Aurora doomed from the start?
A brief history of a ship which was hit by bad luck from the very start.

27 April 2000

In an elaborate opening ceremony, the Princess Royal christens the new 200m superliner Aurora at its home port of Southampton.

The Princess Royal has christened P&O's new 200m superliner.
The Aurora was christened in a lavish ceremony in 2000

But the champagne bottle fails to smash - something sailors consider a bad omen.

2 May 2000

The Aurora breaks down just 18 hours into its maiden voyage and is forced to return to port.

14 May 2000

The ship undergoes repairs at a German shipyard before returning to Southampton.

11 March 2001

The P&O liner is involved in a dramatic rescue in the South China Sea - plucking 11 Russian sailors from the sea after their ship overturns.

Aurora passengers in Gibraltar
The ship caused an international row when it docked in Gibraltar

October 2003

About 450 passengers are taken ill with a highly contagious stomach virus while on a cruise in the eastern Mediterranean.

1 November 2003

The ship is forced to sail to Gibraltar after being refused entry into Greece because of fears the passengers would spread the infection.

3 November 2003

Spain seals its border with Gibraltar after the virus-hit ship docks in the colony - sparking an international row with Britain.

The border was closed for 13 hours after the ship arrived in the morning.

It was reopened after the ship departed for Southampton in the evening.

Passengers have paid up to 42,000 for the P&O cruise

9 November 2003

The ship is disinfected and cleaned in Southampton before the next group of passengers embark for a three-day cruise of the Channel Islands.

9 January 2005

A scheduled 103-day round-the-world cruise is halted because of technical problems.

15 January 2005

The luxury cruise sails around the Isle of Wight to check repairs have been successful.

19 January 2005

After several false starts the Aurora finally leaves on its world cruise - ten days late and with 385 fewer passengers who had lost patience with the delays.

20 January 2005

After just a few hours of its rescheduled voyage P&O are forced to admit defeat and turn back.

The ship turns back to Southampton after repairs to the propulsion motor proved unsuccessful.

P&O said passengers would be refunded their full fare and receive a "cruise credit".

Troubled liner limps back to port
20 Jan 05 |  Hampshire
Troubled liner waiting to leave
19 Jan 05 |  Hampshire
Passengers enjoy Solent 'cruise'
13 Jan 05 |  Hampshire
Luxury cruise round Isle of Wight
12 Jan 05 |  Hampshire


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