by Kevin Griffin, managing director of The Cruise People Ltd in London writing in Tutto Crociere
P&O Cruises last week announced an order for a new 141,000-ton cruise ship for delivery in 2015. the design is based on the platform for Princess Cruises’ Royal Princess and Regal Princess, which will be introduced in 2013 and 2014. The P&O ship, which will accommodate 3,611 passengers in lower berths, is interesting, as the line has reverted to a more traditional appearance with two conventional funnels. What makes this unusual is that P&O went straight from three funnels with Strathnaver and Strathaird, the first P&O ships to carry white hulls, in 1931-32, to one funnel in Strathmore, Strathallan and Stratheden of 1935-38. The last important P&O ship to have had two funnels arranged fore and aft was the original Oriana, built for the Orient Line in 1960. Previous to that, the most famous two-funnelled P&O ship was Viceroy of India, delivered in 1929.
Two funnels have made quite a comeback in the past decade or so. Starting with the original Disney Magic and Disney Wonder in 1998-99, these were followed by six Holland America “Vista” types (Zuiderdam through Nieuw Amsterdam)in 2002-10 and joined by five Celebrity Solstice classships in 2008-12, then Disney Dream this year and Disney Fantasy to follow next. Cruise ships have now entered a size bracket where two funnels have become relatively common once again.
The original Oriana was built for the Orient Line in 1960 and became a P&O ship in 1965.
After the new P&O ship is delivered there will be sixteen ships carrying two funnels in the fore-and-aft mode. Meanwhile, the last of the traditional two-funnelled ships, NCL’s Norway, was retired in 2003