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Last of the Liners

In 1991 P&O announced the construction of a new cruise ship in Germany. It was one of six ships built in the decade but, unlike those built for Princess Cruises, ORIANA was the first Company cruise ship to be designed specifically for the UK market.

Oriana was launched by Her Majesty the Queen on 6th April 1995 in Southampton. As so often before, the arrival of the new heralded the departure of the old. After 36 years of service Canberra bowed out on 30th September 1997. The liner had started life as ‘the ship to shape the future’ and ended it as the much loved ‘Great White Whale’. She had sailed more than 3 million miles, carried nearly a million passengers (of every possible description) and played a significant part in the Falklands conflict.

As the last of the P&O liners, Canberra’s demise was much discussed, debated and even commented upon in Parliament. In the course of her career liners had come and gone, leaving leisure to lead the way in the age of the cruise ship.