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Aurora of 2000
Aurora Page 5: The Maiden Cruise Break - AU003
Aurora is P&O Cruises' newest ship, which entered service on Monday 1st May 2000, when she left on a maiden cruise to the Mediterranean. Unfortunately, this cruise was terminated after 18 hours due to overheating propeller shaft bearings. After repairs at Hamburg, the second and third "maiden cruises" to the Canaries and Lisbon took place without further problems. She is 76000 tons, and carries 1874 passengers (1950 max) and 850 crew. I travelled on the third scheduled cruise, the 'Maiden Cruise Break', a seven-day trip to Lisbon, Vigo, Gijon, Brest and Guernsey, when the pictures on this page were taken.
Aurora Pages:-
Aurora 2000 Page 1 - Postcards
Aurora 2000 Page 2 - Photographs - Aurora's first arrival at Southampton
Aurora 2000 Page 3 - Photographs - Aurora's exterior and open decks
Aurora 2000 Page 4 - Photographs - Aurora's interiors
Aurora 2000 Page 5 - The Third Maiden Voyage - Cruise to Lisbon - this page!
Aurora Cruise 2006 - Part 1
Aurora Cruise 2006 - Part 2
Aurora Cruise 2006 - Part 3
P&O and Princess Pages:-
P&O Header Page - Links to all main P&O pages
P&O/Princess Cruise - Page 1 - P&O Official Postcards - early ships
P&O/Princess Cruises - Page2 - P&O Official Postcards - later ships
P&O/Princess Photographs
Simplon P&O/Princess Cruises - Page 1 - Simplon Postcards P&O Releases
Simplon P&O/Princess Cruises - Page 2 - Simplon Postcards P&O Releases
Click on images for details
Associated Pages:-
Cruise Ship Postcards
Ocean Liner Postcards
Simplon Postcards Home Page
The Maiden Cruise Break
The Maiden Cruise Break, Aurora's third scheduled cruise, left Southampton for Lisbon on Saturday 27th May for Lisbon, Vigo, Gijon and St Peter Port, Guernsey. The cruise began with one and a half days at sea, arriving Lisbon at 1.00pm on Monday 29th May. The 890 nautical miles was covered at an average speed of 23.0 knots, travel for much of the journey being at 24 knots and over to achieve this average.
The itinerary and route map are shown below.
Passengers received various special mementoes since this was billed as one of the four inaugural voyages. These included a book about the building and design of Aurora, a certificate, and an attractive aerial photograph of the ship in a silver frame. All are shown below.
The pictures below show us arriving at the P&O terminal and at the Captain's Dinner (with Brian Purnell, Exec. Purser).
Lisbon is one of many cities where an arrival by sea is the only way to arrive. It has a beautiful location on the north bank of the Tagus, the estuary dominated by the impressive Ponte 25 de Abril suspension bridge. The following pictures show some of the interesting sites viewed from the ship. The first photo is the large fort defending the harbour entrance.

In Belem, there is the famous Torre de Belem (1515-1521), followed by the Monument to the Discoveries (1960), with the Jeronimos Monastery (early 16th Century) behind it.
The Ponte de 25th Abril, was opened in 1966, and carries both road and railway. Aurora had about 10 meters clearance under the bridge.
Ships passed as we sailed down the river included the Portuguese frigate F487 Joao Roby (built 1975 in Spain), the submarine S176, and container ship Montreal Senator (DSR?)
Once through the bridge, we passed the Gare Maritima da Rocha, where smaller cruise ships berth. One this day HAPAG's Europa, Renaissance Cruises' R Two, and Aida Cruises' Aida were in port. Aida, now majority owned by P&O, sported a new funnel logo, which I attempted to photograph from the shore later, without much success.
Aurora then passed the local ferry terminals of Cais de Sodre and the adjacent Cais da Alfandega/Estacio do Sul E Sueste. Between them is the impressive square, Praca do Comercio. The ferries include passenger vessels, distinctive car ferries and recently introduced UK-built catamarans. I have devoted a separate page to the Lisbon Ferries.
Aurora berthed close to the Grand Princess (so three P&O cruise ships were in port that day) and adjacent to the old town. A separate page shows photos of Grand Princess leaving Lisbon.
I spent my day in Lisbon travelling by tram to the Jeronimos Monastery which houses the maritime Museum. Lisbon has a mixed fleet of trams with both ancient wooden-bodied 4-wheelers and modern articulated vehicles. Note the Aurora in the background of the third picture.
Aurora's second port of call was Vigo, on the North West tip of Spain. P&O stop here regularly on the way to or from the Mediterranean or Atlantic Isles, primarily to allow visits to Santiago de Compostela. Like Lisbon, Vigo is sited on the shores of a great natural harbour, which is sheltered from Atlantic storms by the Cies Islands. In summer, regular excursions are run to these islands. There are also year-round ferry services to Cangas and Moana, towns on the other side of the bay. Photos of these ferries are shown below. A more detailed page on Vigo's ferries has been created on this link. The photos below show the catamarans which run to Cangas and Moana, plus the attractive reefer Albacora Frigo.




Aurora's third port of call was Gijon, on the northern coast of Spain. This was the first visit of a P&O cruise ship to this port, which has an attractive and stylish city centre, plus an interesting old town area. There is an extremely impressive new railway museum, housed in the old narrow gauge station. The narrow gauge lines now run into the main station shared with RENFE, the main national railway company.






Aurora's fourth port of call was Brest, on the north west tip of France. Brest is the main French naval base, although there were far fewer ships in port than Toulon, their main Mediterranean base, which I visited in 1999. two of the largest units were in port however, the helicopter carrier Jeanne d'Arc, and the new nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, both of which are shown below.



St Peter Port, Guernsey
Aurora's final port of call was St Peter Port, on island of Guernsey. This was the only port which required tenders, one of the catamarans is shown below. St Peter Port is the island's harbour for services to England, France and the other Channel Isles of Jersey, Alderney and Herm.



Aurora 2000 Page 1 - Postcards - Aurora 2000 Page 2 - Photographs - Aurora 2000 Page 3 - Photographs
Aurora 2000 Page 4 - Photographs - Aurora 2000 Page 5 - The Third Maiden Voyage
Aurora Cruise 2006 - Part 1 - Aurora Cruise 2006 - Part 2 - Aurora Cruise 2006 - Part 3
P&O Header Page - P&O/Princess - Page 1 - P&O/Princess - Page2 - P&O and Princess Photographs
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