(1:27 p.m. EDT) -- P&O Cruises' Aurora will undergo a £26 million makeover this winter -- and will be the first ship to feature the UK line's brand new look.
The 2,000-passenger, 76,000-tonne vessel was launched in 2000. The refurbishment coincides with the introduction of a new livery -- featuring a contemporary version of the Union Flag on the bow and blue funnels with rising sun designs -- which is being rolled out across the fleet.
Aurora's new features include the Sindhu fine dining restaurant, with an Indian-fusion menu overseen by Michelin-star chef Atul Kochhar, and the Glass House restaurant and bar, with wines selected by TV presenter Olly Smith, will replace Cafe Bordeaux. Both these restaurants are on Azura and Ventura. There will also be a complete refurbishment of the buffet restaurant and Sidewalk Cafe -- including a new Costa Coffee and "Grab and Go" counter -- and the introduction of "Freedom Dining" in the Medina Restaurant, with more tables for two, and Marco Pierre White dishes on gala evenings.
Other improvements will cover the Oasis Spa, theatre and show lounge, Reef children's clubs, casino, shops and photography gallery.
P&O Cruises' marketing director, Christopher Edgington, said: "It's all part of our ongoing commitment to ensure continuous improvement of our ships and consistency across the fleet. As the very first ship to display our new livery, we have big plans to welcome Aurora back in Southampton."
The refit will take place from November 29 to December 18 in Hamburg, ahead of the ship's 14-night Christmas and New Year round-trip cruise from Southampton to Morocco, the Canaries and Madeira, departing December 21, and the South America and Pacific Adventure world cruise itinerary sailing on January 8 2015.
-- by Jeannine Williamson, Cruise Critic Contributor