Launched in 2001, Aurora is one of the largest ships in the P&O Cruises fleet with an overall length of 273 metres.
Aurora is a classic ocean going vessel with an elegant tiered stern and long bow with a range of facilities including numerous bars for all tastes, public rooms and entertainment venues.
Passengers can also enjoy a cinema, a theatre, a nightclub, a casino, a spa, a gym, three swimming pools and outside passengers have access to traditional deck games such as shuffleboard and deck quoits, a tennis court and golf simulator.
Dining highlights include famous chefs such as Atul Kochhar’s.
The ship can accommodate up to 1,878 passengers in 939 cabins, with a maximum crew complement of 936.
It currently has 1,771 passengers and 829 crew members.
To mark the occasion, Tourism and Culture Minister Alain St Ange and Seychelles Ports Authority (SPA) chief executive Colonel Andre Ciseau paid a courtesy visit to the ship’s captain Peter Philpott.
Accompanying the minister was also the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) chief executive Sherin Naiken, STB and SPA staff members.
Last year a record 26 cruise ships visited Seychelles with 19,806 transit visitors.
Aurora is the 13th cruise ship to visit Seychelles since January 2016 and in total they have brought in 13,876 transit visitors during the first three months of this year and the number is expected to exceed that of last year by the end of the cruise ship season which starts in September.
Aurora left Seychelles at 6pm yesterday for Port Louis, Mauritius as part of its world tour cruise.
Measuring 261 metres long, Sun Princess was until yesterday holding the record for the longest cruise ship to moor in Seychelles waters after her visit in February 2016.
This new record set by Aurora is expected to be broken next month with the arrival of MS Queen Victoria at 294m long.
However, whether or not it will berth at the Mahé quay is still indecisive.
According to Minister St Ange cruise ships bring major benefits to Seychelles.
Firstly, the passengers add to the country’s economy as they buy our services such as excursions, and products such as arts and crafts.
Secondly, cruise ship passengers are able to come back and enjoy Seychelles for a holiday or they recommend friends and family to come for a visit and this helps with marketing and to get Seychelles discovered.
“The STB with the port authority have been working hard to bring cruise ships back to our islands. This is today working and the proof of it is that this year we’ve had more cruise ships coming back to our islands than we’ve had for many years, but it is important to break the perception that cruise ship passengers are counted as visitor arrivals in this country. They are not counted as visitor arrivals. There is a section in the statistic that deals only with cruise ships and they are not counted as tourists who landed in Seychelles,” said the minister.
Colonel Ciseau said this upshot is a result of the joint efforts of various stakeholders and partners.
“The developed capacity of our staff is now providing good results and the new marketing strategy brought about with regional countries, other national authorities and private partners is also the reason behind this end result,” said Colonel Ciseau.
Source : Seychelles NATION