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Oceana

Oceana as seen sailing the Northsea Canal passing Velsen Noord at the evening of the 28th of august 2012.

The last ship of the Sun-class that was built for Princess Cruises in the middle of the 1990's sailed out of her building dock in Monfalcone, Italy in november 1999. Like her sisters, the ship had a tonnage of 77.499, a lenght of 261,22 meter, a width of 32,25 meters and a draft of 7,95 meters. The ship was designed for a maximum of 2272 passengers in 1011 cabins and a crew of 814 persons. She had been built as yardnumber 6044. The Sun-class, that consists out of four ships, was a very large investment for Princess Cruises, in fact, the first ship of the class, Sun Princess, had been the largest passengership in the world when she floated out her building dock in january 1995. The second ship was called Dawn Princess and she started her sailings in 1997, followed by Sea Princess that debuted in 1998. There was a slight variation in design between the first two ships of the class and there later sisters, on the first pair of ships the bridgewings were kept open. On Sea Princess and Ocean Princess, the bridgewings were glassed in. This caused a little change in tonnage too, the first pair had a slightly smaller tonnage-measurement of 77.441.

The ship was delivered to Princess Cruises on the 29th of january of the year 2000 and named by Ali MacGraw and Ryan O'Neil the following 14nd of february. MacGraw is an American actress, author and animal rights activist for PETA, O'Neil started his carreer as an American boxer, but later he was known as an actor. Because of the date the ship was named, and because it was the thirtieth anniversary of the release of the film 'Love Story',  there were one million tiny hearts released next to the ship when the bottle had smashed to her bow. In her first year, the ship was registered at Monrovia and sailed under the Liberian flag, but this was changed in the same year when she was brought under the British flag and got London as her homeport. This was one of the traditional homeports of P&O, the owners of Princess Cruises. It was also in this year, that P&O demerged the cruiseship operations from the main company and the tourism division was named P&O Princess Cruises as a seperate company. Within this name, the fleets of P&O Cruises and Princess Cruises kept their seperate identities.

The ship was transferred to the fleet of P&O Cruises in november of 2002 and for them she was renamed Oceana. Just one month after this move, the ship was plagued by a Norwalk-like virus and around 120 passengers were affected by this. It was the second time P&O had used the name Oceana, the first ship sailing under that name was built in 1887 and was part of a four ship class. That time, these ships were the largest ships in the fleet of P&O, measuring some 6500 tons! Sadly, after just a few years of service, the first Oceana sank. It is normally not done to name a ship after one that sank, this is a bad omen for the new one. What also is a bad omen for a ship, is when a bottle of champagne is not willing to break during the naming-ceremony, and this is what happed to Oceana too. The ship was officially renamed in Southampton in the first dual naming ceremony in history at the 22nd of may 2003. On this day, Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, named Oceana. Her daughter Zara Phillips named Adonia, that had previously been Sea Princess. Both ships were placed in the P&O fleet to expand the British fleet of P&O Cruises, before some new and still larger tonnage would come into service. Immidiately, P&O Cruises had a nickname for both sisterships, that were sailing out of Southampton for their first cruise in tandem, an impressive sight that was widely covered by the BBC. The ships were called 'The White Sisters', a nickname that had also been used for the all-white liners of the 'Strath'-class of the P&O Line, introduced in the 1930's. The re-location of these two large cruiseliners was somthing very important in Great Britain, it made sure that the British-flagged large linerfleet recieved something back from its glorious history.

P&O Princess was merged into the massive Carnival Corporation in 2003, after a much debated failure of the merger between P&O Princess and Royal Caribbean International, a combination that was going to be the largest cruisesompany in the world, surpassing Carnival Corporation, if it had gone through. In may 2005, when the new Arcadia was starting her service, Adonia was going back to the fleet of Princess Cruises under her former name, but although more large ships have since entered the P&O Cruises fleet, Oceana never returned to the fleet of Princess and stayed the only Sun-class sister in the fleet of P&O Cruises. For P&O Cruises, the ship normally sails European cruises from Southampton in summer, and Caribbean cruises in winter from Barbados.

The ship did come in the news a few times, in january 2004, the ship was not authorized to dock in the port of St. Thomas, because there was no passengerlist that could be declared to the customs. Also, at the 30th of september 2007, a 67-year old female passenger was reported to be fallen overboard close to Southampton.

During a two-week drydock in the beginning of april 2008, the ship was updated to the Elevation Program of P&O Cruises,and several public rooms as well as cabins were updated to new standards within the fleet.

Above, and older picture of Oceana is shown, when she enters the port of Amsterdam at the 25th of june 2003.

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