Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 2 October 2014

Royal Princess cruise ends early

The Duchess of Cambridge cuts the ribbon during the ceremony where she named Princess Cruises' newest ship, Royal Princess

A cruise in a liner officially named this summer by the Duchess of Cambridge has had to be curtailed after the vessel lost power.

And the next voyage of the ship - the Royal Princess - is now in doubt.

The Duchess named the ship, part of the Princess Cruises fleet, in a ceremony at Southampton in June - one of her last engagements before the birth of her son George the following month.

The ship suffered a power outage while sailing in the Mediterranean between Mykonos and Naples this week. Although the power was restored, the ship needs to be taken to Barcelona for repairs.

Passengers will be taken to Naples for flights home and the ship will leave on Wednesday for Barcelona with only crew on board.

The Royal Princess is due to embark on a 30-day cruise on Friday, finishing in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

A spokeswoman for Princess Cruises said: "We sincerely regret this means the remainder of the current cruise will be cancelled, and passengers will disembark the ship in Naples. Passengers will be provided a full refund of their cruise fare, along with a 25% future cruise credit.

"We have dispatched a care team to Naples to ensure that all our passengers are provided with any assistance they may require. The impact of the repairs on the next Royal Princess cruise, scheduled to depart from Barcelona on September 27, is not yet known and we will keep passengers fully advised as details become known."

Meanwhile, in London, P&O Cruises revealed it was building a new liner, to be called Britannia, which would be the largest cruise liner ever exclusively created for the UK market. The 141,000-tonne vessel is due to sail on its maiden voyage in mid-March 2015 and will feature a number of innovations, including purpose-built single rooms with private balconies.

The Britannia name has been used by the company before, for a vessel built to mark Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee in 1887. P&O said that it could not yet say who would officially name the ship. But there is bound to be speculation that the Queen or another member of the royal family will be asked to take part in the ceremony.

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