Aurora's world cruise of Southampton goes on as further delays strike ship

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The Independent Online

The luxury cruise ship Aurora was still undergoing repairs in Southampton last night despite hopes that she would be able to set sail on her round-the-world voyage.

The luxury cruise ship Aurora was still undergoing repairs in Southampton last night despite hopes that she would be able to set sail on her round-the-world voyage.

The P&O liner was meant to depart 10 days ago with her 1,769 passengers, taking in 23 countries and 40 ports of call. Passengers paid between £9,800 and £41,985 for the 103-day trip but have so far been no further than the Isle of Wight.

The ship has undergone repairs and sea trials in the Solent after a problem with her propulsion system.

A P&O spokeswoman had said that final work was being undertaken and the company was "confident" the Aurora would be leaving yesterday afternoon. But repair work was continuing last night with no definite departure date. The spokeswoman said: "She won't be sailing before midnight [last night] and I can't give a time-scale after that either."

During the delay, passengers have mostly been happy to stay on board free of charge. Some 1,708 passengers sailed along the Channel during trials on Monday taking advantage of the free drinks, entertainment and accommodation. Passengers have also been told they will be compensated for the reduced time of the cruise.

The £106m German-built ship entered service in 2000 after being launched by the Princess Royal. As the Princess blessed Aurora, the traditional champagne bottle did not break.

Bad luck quickly followed when the liner broke down in the Bay of Biscay on her maiden voyage. The compensation bill was more than £6m.

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