10 April 2008

Ventura - old design?

P&O's latest cruise ship, Ventura, is in Southampton preparing for her naming ceremony and maiden cruise.

She is carefully billed as "the largest cruise ship built for Britain" or "the largest superliner built exclusively for British holidaymakers" in order to side-step comparisons with Cunard's Queen Mary II, which is much bigger.

Looking at her pics again just now I was once more struck by how 'Princess' she looks.

In the old days (pre-2004) when P&O Princess Ltd hadn't yet been gobbled up by Carnival Corp, they used to go to great lengths to keeps the identity and style of the two fleets separate. Princess ships with their laticework funnels were larger and for an American market. P&O's German-built Oriana & Aurora were smaller and 'British' through & through. Then they started compromising; taking old Princess ships & refurbishing them for P&O.

Now this latest 115,000-ton ship is a pure Princess design, laticework funnel and all, straight from the 'Princess yard'; Fincantieri in Italy.

And she doesn't just look familiar to me, she looks very familiar. Back in 1998 I was one of the first journalists to go on board the first Princess "superliner" Grand Princess. She was the first of the Grand class, which at 115,000-tons/3,000+ passengers simply dwarfed the then current generation of cruise ships which were mostly around 270,000-tons/2,500 passengers.



Cruise Ship Ventura
Grand Princess

One glance at the pics is enough to recognise that Ventura is simply the latest of a last-century ship design.




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