Thursday, April 28, 2005

Super Liner in Gibraltar Inaugural Call

by Alice Mascarenhas


The Arcadia was in Gibraltar for its inaugural cruise yesterday
P&O’s latest super liner, The Arcadia, was in the Gibraltar Port yesterday for the very first time ever.

The liner, launched by Dame Kelly Holmes, is on her maiden voyage in the Meditarranean and is the largest and latest in a long line of achievements for P&O Cruises. She is the biggest ever cruise ship built for Britain at a cost of £200 million.

At an exchange of plaques ceremony on board in the early morning, with representatives from the Gibraltar Tourist Board (GTB) and the ship’s port agents MH Bland, Captain Steve Burgoine said he was glad to be back in Gibraltar, especially finding himself side by side another P&O vessel the Aurora, also in port yesterday.

“This maiden voyage has been an eventful cruise. We are looking forward to having many more cruises. It is good to see us beside the Aurora, I brought her out new – she was my baby, and it is good to see her back in action again. It is like the old days, when we had a lot of P&O ships in port together, just like here in Gibraltar today. It is good to see.”

The Arcadia is expected to call in at Gibraltar several times throughout the rest of this year.

GTB Principal Secretary Richard Garcia welcomed the Arcadia to Gibraltar saying it was a pleasure to have the vessel in port. He revealed that later this year the Arcadia would be included in a set of stamps depicting cruise ships which call at Gibraltar, and which will be launched at the end of June by the Gibraltar Philatelic Bureau – an initiative well received by her captain.

Also on board was director MH Bland Johnny Gaggero, GTB Chief Executive Peter Canessa, and Gibraltar Port Authority Chief Executive Tony Davis.

Captain Burgoine who has visited Gibraltar on numerous occasions, said Gibraltar was a favourite port of call with all passengers, who were always keen to visit the Rock.

Johnny Gaggero spoke of the long relationship between MH Bland and P&O:

“I like to think of ourselves as being part of the P&O family, and we are delighted to have this ship coming to Gibraltar.”

Mr Gaggero said that although there was confidence in Gibraltar, the agents still had to work hard at getting more cruise ships calling in at Gibraltar.

“It needs a lot of hard work and we need to stay on top of it. It is not something we can take for granted because there is a lot of competition out there – Malaga, Cadiz, Ceuta, Tangiers, and all the ports in the Western Meditteranean – who would dearly love to take business from us. So we have to be on top of our game to keep the ships coming here.”

Mr Gaggero said that cruise lines invest heavily on their ships to provide the quality – “if they feel the quality provided on board is not reciprocated by what the passengers experience ashore they will go elsewhere – so quality ashore is still paramount,” emphasised Mr Gaggero.

The Arcadia is presently carrying 1900 passengers, although she can cater for over 2000 passengers, and has some 900 crew on board. Built to sail to different destinations in the Mediterranean, Atlantic Isles, Baltic, Norwegian Fjords, USA, Caribbean and Central America.

Since the launch the ship has had some famous guests on board: celebrity chef Gary Rhodes who has his own restaurant on board ‘Arcadian Rhodes’ developed exclusively for P&O Cruises, TV garden designer Diarmuid Gavin and sportswoman Sharron Davies. During her visit to Gibraltar one of her guests was Tessa Sanderson, Olympic Javelin Gold medalist.

On the entertainment front, the vessel is linked to Cirque du Soleil with shows featuring the ‘cirque experience’, and entertainer Gerard Kenny who had hits with New York, New York and Fantasy in the 1970s.

The names inside are familiar too – the Palladium theatre, the Globe cinema, and the very latest in exercise – a Kenesis Gym for balance and tension, with a Planetarium, and Canyon Ranch Spa.

The cruise also boasts a “life enrichment" programme called 'New Horizons' developed especially for Arcadia and another new cruise ship Artemis, due to be launched later this year. On board, like most cruises, Arcadia’s passengers can attend daytime activity classes on cuisine, gardening, psychology, reflexology, wine tasting and interior design with special celebrity speakers.

The Arcadia’s Captain Stephen Burgoine is also able to conduct wedding ceremonies at sea, with couples marrying either on deck or in one of the rooms. Arcadia is a child-free ship, featuring an expansive spa with a thermal suite and hydrotherapy pool, three-tier theatre, 3,000 piece multi-million pound modern British art collection, 14 bars and six fine dining options.

Related Links:

Arcadia Webcam

Book a Cruise on Arcadia Online with Lastminute.com

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