Update: Aurora Sets Sail from Auckland

March 12, 2009
Update, 10:15 a.m. GMT: P&O Cruises tells us that Aurora sailed from Auckland at 5 p.m. local time on 12 March. However, as a result of this further delay, the call at Honolulu will be a day later than planned, as will San Francisco and all future ports on the itinerary. In order to arrive back into Southampton as planned the call at Madeira will be substituted for a call at Ponta Delgada in the Azores.

P&O will rearrange onward flights and arrangements will be given to those passengers disembarking in San Francisco.

P&O Cruises' Aurora (March 11, 3 p.m EDT) -- After spending several days docked in Auckland for repair work, P&O Cruises' Aurora is finally set to leave Auckland ... but will it?

According to the cruise ship timetable on the Web site for the Ports of Auckland, Aurora was scheduled to depart at 6:30 a.m. local time, 12 March. However, it's now just past 8 a.m., 12 March, in Auckland and Aurora remains docked (we've been watching the ship's Web cam and have seen the sun come up -- but the ship has not moved).

A thrust bearing on the ship was scheduled to undergo repairs during the one scheduled day in the port; then it was announced that maintenance work would continue at least through 10 March. That estimate was then changed to evening on 11 March. A P&O spokeswoman tells us that she has no further updates on what time Aurora will actually set sail.

As compensation for missed ports prior to and after Auckland, passengers will receive up to £500 (the total will depend on cruise duration -- i.e., whether they booked just this sector or the full world cruise). Aurora missed four ports due to the mechanical issue and subsequent delays: Wellington, Napier, Moorea and Papeete. Passengers will also receive a refund for each of the four extra days spent in Auckland, prorated based on the cruise fare paid.

At this point, the ship is expected to continue on as planned to Honolulu, calling on 18 March, and then San Francisco on 23 March, where this segment ends and passengers will be embarking and disembarking.

We'll keep you posted should there be any further delays that might impact this itinerary.

--by Melissa Baldwin Paloti, Managing Editor, with Reporting by Kelly Ranson, U.K. Editor

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