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 With Reuben Goossens

Cruise‘n’Ship Reviewer, Maritime Historian, Author and Lecturer


Please Note: Cruise-Australia and my other related maritime sites are 100% non-commercial and privately owned sites. Be assured that I am NOT associated with any of the cruise companies nor any travel or cruise agencies, etc! The author has been in the Passenger Shipping industry for a very long time and although now semi-retired, but I am delighted to share all my knowledge with those who love to take their vacation by sea! Thus I continue to write on worthy Cruise Companies and their wonderful Ships in order to better to inform cruise and ship enthusiasts for their pleasure, but more so to ensure that you, my wonderful reader will make the best-informed choice possible!


All seven ships departed Southampton on July 3, 2012 celebrating P&O’s 175th.Anniversarry

There will be an eighth ship in 2015, the huge 142,000-ton MV Britannia to be followed by her sister in 2016


P&O Cruises UK (Worldwide) has two styles of cruise ships: 1. there are three “Adult only” cruise ships, and 2. there are four “Family-friendly” cruise ships. The latter offers some of the finest facilities for young people, teenagers and children of all ages.

Below, are brief descriptions of P&O’s seven current excellent ships in service, but will also add the new MV Britannia, which will come into service

P&O’s Adult Only Ships:

MV Adonia, Arcadia and Oriana offer a holiday with tranquil and relaxing spaces where passengers are able to share their day’s experiences with like-minded people and where they can enjoy fine dining and a range of sophisticated lounges and bars. These ships are reserved exclusively for adults and offer that special peace of mind, as well as knowing that your vacation will be not just an adventurous one, but also a peaceful one!

P&O’s Family-friendly Cruise Ships:

P&O’s Family-friendly Ships:

The MV Aurora, Azura, Oceana and Ventura are P&O’s family-friendly ships and offer something special for passengers of every age, be they very young, to the young married couple or the retired person. Available are free, age-specific children’s clubs, night nurseries and family-focused shore excursions for the younger passengers, and areas reserved for the adults only. And remember, P&O ships are large enough to find a wonderful quiet spot to read a book, and there are always adult only venues on board every ship, as well as Adult only deck spaces and pools, etc! Thus, there is no doubt that these “Family-friendly” ships offer an ideal way to go on a cruise holiday regardless your age!

The Seven Ships of P&O Cruises - Please Note; the ships are listed in alphabetical order.

1 - MV Adonia - Adults-Only and a beautiful, luxurious intimate sized Ship!

The delightfully intimate 30,277-ton MV Adonia

Thanks to her intimate size P&O Cruises’ MV Adonia is a pathfinder ship, and she will be exploring ports that the majority of the larger ships are simply unable to visit. Some 75% of her beautifully appointed staterooms feature a balcony, offering views that are second to none! This splendid ship was designed as an ultra luxury cruise ship and this is obvious as soon as you board and see her glamorous interiors, for her décor is without doubt stunning!

The Adonia offers a delightfully intimate cruise experience, having that warm intimate ship charm and as she accommodates just 710 passengers, means that you will quickly make new acquaintances on board as you will soon get to know your fellow ships mates. In addition the stewards will very soon know all your likes and dislikes and this will ensure that you will receive the very best service and the drink of choice will be awaiting you as you arrive at your favourite bar, also when dinning the finest cuisine will arrive without anything you did not want on your plate. On Adonia details matter!

Adonia Photo Gallery


The elegant top level of the Atrium with shops and Lounge and future cruise desk


The beautiful Andersons Lounge and Bar with deep and cosy sofas and arm chairs


The Crows Nest seen from the portside looking forward the views through these large windows are spectacular!

2 - MV Arcadia - Adults-Only, but P&O claims her to be a “mid-sized” Ship:

The 83,781-ton cruise ship MV Arcadia

A special note regarding size, before I comment on this ship!

On the heading you will note that it states that P&O claims that the MV Arcadia is a “Mid-sized” cruise ship, well I must be completely honest for technically she is far from being a “Mid-sized” cruise ship as P&O claims her to be! The truth is she is a “large” cruise ship; in fact she is larger that the legendary RMS Queen Mary or the tragic almost half-sized RMS Titanic thus let no one tell you she is “mid-sized.”

When I commenced in the passenger shipping industry in 1960, we found that a 25,000 to 28,000-ton ship was “big” and those huge Trans-Atlantic liners, like the RMS Queen Mary and the Queen Elizabeth in their day were simply massive, but by today’s standards, according the modern cruise companies these ships would be considered as being just “mid-sized”! We should ask; “why is this so?” Well, all this came about due to the American ideology of “Mine is bigger that yours!” It is very much of a man thing, and there has been a war going on between Carnival Cruises (Group) and Royal Caribbean International Cruises (RCI), for they have been competing by building bigger and better ships! Carnival largest ship was the Cunard ship that was based on an over sized Vista Class hull, the MV Queen Mary 2 at a good 148,528-tons which departed on her maiden voyage in 2004 and they have not surpassed this tonnage to date. However RCI very quickly decided to build a much larger sized ships and outdo Carnival/Cunard and they soon built the MV Oasis of the Seas at 225,282-tons, which departed on her maiden voyage in 2009. This vessel, that is a massive hull, with building on top of it on her starboard and portside, with a massive park in the middle, is more like a floating city and nothing like a ship at all, and it accommodates a huge 6,296 people in its hotels on board, the vessel also has a crew of 2,394. All that means there is a grand total of 8,690 people all on one great big, no, a huge monstrous floating building at sea one that I would not been seen on, not even if RCI provided me with the Owners Suite for free, including return First Class airfares from Australia to Miami, etc, etc, all would be refused! I must say however, that RCI does have some fine and well run ships, but not those hideous big monsters, that cannot be called ships and I call them vessels at best! The point is, that cruise companies have reset the parameters of what is small, mid-sized and large, well don’t believe it, for even the Adonia is in reality a relatively large ship, but by today’s standard’s she is more “intimate,” at just 30,000-tons, but that is not small, and I will never call her “small.”

MV Arcadia - the Ship.

However, back to the “large” cruise ship, MV Arcadia and this ship offers a wonderful blend of features that have been carefully planned and designed with pastel colours and exotic touches for she offers more than a hint of extravagance. Being an “Adult only” ship she is perfect for relaxation and to be pampered as she has a host of facilities to spoil you and keep you delighted, for she has a wide range of glamorous lounges and bars, spacious covered and open decks, pools and spa’s, then there is the wonderful Oasis Spa where you can be completely pampered in the thermal suite or hydro-therapy pool or one of the many other options available! Located aft of the ship there is the two tiered Meridian restaurant, but, there are other wonderful options such as Marco Pierre White “Grill” Restaurant and Atul Kochhar’s “East” Restaurant. At night go to one of the great production shows at the three-tiered Palladium theatre/showroom or enjoy a movie in the boutique Cinema. Arcadia offers so much more than a hint of extravagance!

She visits a host of exotic ports around Europe, the America’s as well as the greatest voyage on the globe for she operates a regular “Around the World Voyage” departing Southampton on January 6, 2015 for a 106 night voyage sailing via the Panama Canal to Australia and returning via the Suez Canal, however she will call at an amazing 41 ports in 28 countries. This can be taken as a full return voyage, UK to Brisbane, or Sydney, or Australia to UK, as well as other shorter sectors are also available for those who just do not have the time.

Arcadia Photo Gallery


Top level of the Atrium with its huge ceiling lighting feature


The Crows Nest with its wonderful vista all around of the ocean


The beautiful and elegant Rising Sun Lounge & Bar


The Palladium Theatre has three levels


The two level Meridian Restaurant that has views on three sides of the ship

3 - MV Aurora - the Family-friendly mid-sized Ship:

The 76,152-ton cruise ship MV Aurora

Aurora is a more classic style cruise ship that has an elegant tiered stern and a shapely bow. At her heart of the ship is a water feature that forms the centrepiece of her Atrium, it is one of her signature features. You will also find a delightful range of lounges and bars that have been carefully designed for every taste Champions is the ships Sports bar! Andersons is the glamour lounge and bar and is very luxurious and then there is Raffles and of course the wonderful Crows Nest! Aurora has the delightful Playhouse Cinema with Charlie Chaplin ushering you in outside the door! The ship has a number of outdoor pools, but one has a retractable Sky-Dome Roof for those cooler of inclement days. Dining highlights on board are the two main restaurants, the Medina amidships and Alexandria Restaurant aft. Other dinning options include the excellent Cafe Bordeaux by Marco Pierre White and the Pennant Grill the alfresco grill restaurant.

The MV Aurora also operates an exotic 105 night “World Voyage” but very different to that of the Arcadia, as Aurora will sail from Southampton on January 8, 2015 and head for the Caribbean, then for Rio de Janeiro and she calls on several other excellent ports before she operates several days of glacier cruising. She will head to Tahiti, New Zealand and Australia, and return via New Zealand, Samoa, Tahiti, Hawaii, USA, Mexico, Panama Canal and homeward via a number of ports. In all, the Aurora will visit 38 ports in 17 countries! Again, this voyage can be taken as a whole, one way to or from Britain/Australia, or as shorter sectors.

Aurora Photo Gallery


The Aurora is seen in Sydney whilst on one of her regular Around the World Cruises


The Atrium with its sculpture and a waterfall behind it as well as water flowing from a bowl on the sculpture


The delightful Raffles Court and Bar, the perfect place for a drink, coffee and a light snack or a chocolate!



The spectacular Crows Nest at the top of the ships Crows-Nest


The delightful Playhouse Cinema

4 - MV Azura - a Family-friendly, large Ship:

The 115,055-ton cruise ship MV Azura

The MV Azura is currently the second largest ship in the P&O Cruises fleet, only her sister the Ventura is of a greater tonnage, but overall the same size. Azura offers a huge choice of public venues, with wonderful lounges and bars, restaurants, sports and spa facilities. The ship offers wonderful entertainment and has so many other exciting and unique features.

Azura Photo Gallery


Malabar lounge with a large entertainment stage



Above & below: The colourful Manhattan Lounge and Bar, that has separate sections



The Playhouse Theatre/Cinema


Oriental Restaurant

5 – MV Oceana - a “Family-friendly”, mid-sized Ship:

The 77,499-ton cruise ship MV Aurora

Built for Princess Cruises and transferred to P&O, the MV Oceana’s Atrium offers real “wow” factor, for as soon as you step on board you are met by tall palm trees and glass-fronted lifts that shoots up and down. However, she has lost that traditional Princess feel for she has become a genuine P&O ship, as she has been given extensive refits turning her from the typical American ship into an English one! She offers a range of diverse and flexible dining options not to forget the excellent entertainment options that offer a huge variety of things to do, be it by day or night. The ship has two main restaurants as well as an Italian restaurant by Marco Pierre White and the delightful Poolside Grill, then there are a good 13 places to enjoy a drink. Aurora has a champagne bar, a nightclub, a large casino, two swimming pools, Jacuzzis and there are some superb facilities for children, covering every age and they will have a great time on the Oceana!

Oceana Photo Gallery



Above & below: The glamorous looking and functional Atrium



The wonderful Footlights Theatre – Showroom is well staggered thus it has perfect sightlines and excellent sound system!


Winners Lounge and Sports Bar a popular place to be


The Starlight Cabaret Lounge for great entertainment

6 - MV Oriana - an Adults-Only “mid-sized” Ship:

The 69,153-ton cruise ship MV Oriana, the last of the classic style ships

The Oriana is a beautifully designed ship for she followed the SS Canberra, and she even has a hint of her with her funnel having a slight appearance of being split at the front. She is an elegant ship both her exteriors as she has the touches of the liners of yesteryears with her aft decks so beautifully tiered stern that steps down from her top deck down low, it is just perfect! But more so her delightful interiors, that combine classic design features such including her wonderful all teak decks and beautiful Art Deco touches combined with elegant lounges and bars.

Being an “Adult Only Ship” she exudes the ultimate refinement of luxury. Oriana’s signature feature is the stunning Atrium that is topped by a Tiffany Glass ceiling and then there is her panoramic Crow’s Nest lounge and bar. Another of her much loved features is the Lords Tavern, being a spacious lounge and bar with flat TV screens all around, thus a popular Sport bar. When there it is like being at Lords! There is a door for those having a drink being able to go out and sit at tables and chairs on Promenade deck. Andersons Lounge and its exclusive Bar is the ultimate venue, for it is more like a Gentleman’s Club from days that have long gone, it is filled with fine paintings, deep and comfortable sofas and arm chairs, all having the finest upholstery and some dark leather in the bar! The author has sailed on the Oriana and Aurora for that matter a good number of times, and I just love the Oriana mote that any other ship, for she is my absolute favourite as she is the closest to the old style liner, but still being a cruise ship!

Oriana Photo Gallery



Above & below: Top of the Atrium is the delightful Tiffanies Lounge and bar



The elegant Anderson’s Lounge and Bar


The ships Ballroom Harlequins a wonderful venue, this image does not do it justice!


The Lords Tavern, the most popular bar on board with a door out on deck – the perfect sports bar with large flat screens


The wonderful Crows Nest

7 - MV Ventura - a Family-friendly, large Ship:

The 116,017-ton cruise ship MV Ventura

The MV Ventura is currently (in 2014) the largest ship in the P&O Cruises fleet, with her sister ship, the Azura being of a slightly lesser tonnage, but overall she is the same size.

Ventura is a ship where there is always something is always going for there are an amazing 12 wonderful places to fine dine, enjoy food from one of the many options, or just have a light snack or an ice cream. There are three main restaurants, as well as a wine bar, a fine dining restaurant by Marco Pierre White, and a dedicated family restaurant where you can dine whenever you choose, day or night. You will also find 16 places to drink at a bar. In addition there are some fantastic children's clubs. And for great production shows there is a lavish two-deck theatre, but during the day why not relax in the tranquil spa, or in one of the many quieter places to simply relax. Be assured, Ventura will have the perfect venue and service to make your vacation a perfect one!

Ventura Photo Gallery


Ventura’s grand Atrium


The Arena Theatre and Showroom


Metropolis lounge and bar and entertainment centre and all with a grand view!


The-Exchange bar


The Beachcomber Pool and sliding glass roof

8 - MV Britannia:

This is what the huge 142,000-ton MV Britannia will look like with P&O’s all new British style livery

This livery will also be featured on all of the other ships in due course!

An order was placed with Fincantieri Ship Yards at Monfalcone, Italy to build a 142,000 GRT (Gross Registered Tons) by the Carnival Group in 2011. The ship was built as hull number 6231 and laid down on May 15, 2013 and launched less than a year later on February 14, 2014 was officially named the Britannia. It is anticipated that she will depart on her maiden voyage on March 14, 2015.

The 330m – 1,083ft long MV Britannia will accommodate 3,647 passengers and have a crew of 1,350, thus there will be a grand total of 4,997 people on board at anyone time, and that is almost 5,000 a massive number! The Britannia is wholly based on the identical sized Princess Cruises, MV Royal Princess, which commenced cruising in 2013 and her sister the Regal Princess that is commencing her maiden voyage on May 20, 2014. Although, there are some minor exterior differences that are mostly cosmetic for P&O have decided to give the Britannia two funnels, although one is a dummy and contains a sports facility and her forward superstructure has been P&O’ised, if you can call that a word!

In the near future a new page will feature images of her interiors! However, you can view her deck Plans now via the link below.


For further information on P&O Cruises UK in Britain visit;


Or in Australia, visit;



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Where the ships of the past make history the 1914 built MV Doulos Story


Photographs on & .net are: 1. By the author. 2. From the author’s private collection. 3. As provided by Shipping Companies and their Publicity Companies as well as by private photographers or collectors. Credit is given to all contributors. However, there are some photographs provided without details regarding the photographer concerned., therefore I hereby invite if owners of those images to be so kind and make them-selves known to me, in order that due credit may be given!!

This notice covers all pages, although, I have done my best to ensure that all photographs are duly credited and that this notice is displaced on each page, that is, when a page is updated!


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