Celebrations for P&O’s Azura cancelled due to death of a worker

Planned celebrations for the keel-laying of P&O Cruises’ new superliner Azura were cancelled due to the death of worker on new sister ship Ruby Princess.

Work has now started on Azura, due to come into operation in 2010.

The name of the new ship, one of the two largest ever built for P&O Cruises, was announced at the Monfalcone shipyard of Fincantieri in Italy.

Celebrations, due to be attended by press and senior management, were cancelled due to the death of a worker on the 3,110-passenger Ruby Princess, delivered to the same shipyard last week and due to be named on November 6.

A P&O Cruises’ spokeswoman said: “It was inappropriate to continue with the festivities surrounding the keel laying. The ceremony went ahead but was very low key.”

More details of Azura will be revealed next month. The ship will cater for 3,100 passengers and have 15 public decks, 11 restaurants, five boutiques, four swimming pools, two lounges and more than 900 private balconies. Its maiden voyage will be in late spring in 2010.

The keel-laying involved placing a section of the ship’s hull in dry dock. Once built, the ship will take to water for its ‘float out’ in summer 2009.

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