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There’s a new book out by Andrew Sassoli-Walker and Sharon Poole, who wrote the P&O 175 book. The new one is called “Oriana & Aurora” and is subtitled “Taking UK cruising into a new millennium”. You’ll not be surprised to learn that it’s about the genesis, construction and introduction of these two particular ships.

I think they have an especial place in many P&O passengers’ affections as they were the last ships to be built by the company before the Carnival takeover. Indeed, they were the last ships to be built for The Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company – by the time Aurora came along, the demerger of the cruise division into a new independent company, P&O Princess Cruises, had been announced but not yet implemented. They were also of unique, different (though similar) designs, and in a world where many ships are essentially clones of each other they were and remain refreshingly unusual in this regard.

The book is ‘trade paperback’ size, and is lavishly illustrated – there are many more pictures than pages (and the page count goes up to 128). I was going to say that there’s not much that’s actually new in it, but on reflection that’s a bit harsh – although there wasn’t much in the text that I hadn’t come across before, I should recognise that I have already read widely on the subject and may not therefore be a typical reader. But there were a number of new snippets, not least a suggestion as to how Oriana got its name. I won’t write a spoiler – you must read the book to find out (it’s on pages 30 and 31).

I certainly enjoyed it and the illustrations are first class. Recommended. Here’s the UK ISBN: 978 1 4456 0442 8.

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