Two Carnival-Owned Cruise Ships to Use Iconic UK Drydock Facility

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The only UK-based dry docking facility has been awarded a drydock contract for two P&O Cruises and Cunard cruise ships.

The facilities will be in use for 33 days, making it one of the biggest contracts the Belfast-based Harland & Wolff has landed. The company’s heritage includes work on some of the most iconic ships, including the famous RMS Titanic. 

The works will boost the UK’s shipbuilding and maritime industry and include work to Cunard’s Queen Victoria and P&O Cruises’ Aurora. Queen Victoria will be the largest cruise ship to every drydock in the United Kingdom. 

Two Ships Scheduled for Drydock

With many cruise companies opting to have their dry-dock works done in well-established shipyards in Germany, Italy, or the Bahamas, the fact that Harland & Wolff has been awarded a dry-dock contract for two cruise ships comes as a huge win for the Belfast-based shipyard. 

Queen Victoria Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Vytautas Kielaitis /

P&O Cruises and Cunard belong under Carnival Corporation and work together under the Carnival UK banner. The company is a massive player in the international cruise industry, with more than 80 ships operating worldwide. Two of the cruise lines’ ships have been selected to undergo dry dock works at the Belfast shipyard.

Carnival UK, vice-president maritime David Varty said: “We are delighted to be able to have these two ships at a UK shipyard with such a long heritage and reputation and we very much look forward to supporting the UK maritime industry and working closely with the Harland & Wolff team on this project.”

The first cruise ship will be Queen Victoria, operated by Cunard Line. She will be the biggest cruise ship to dry-dock in the United Kingdom and the first and only Cunard ship to dry-dock in Belfast.

P&O Aurora Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Vytautas Kielaitis / Shutterstock

With a length of 294m and with space for 2081 guests, the 90,049 gross tons cruise ship will be a beautiful sight in the Belfast harbor. She will be in the yard between May 2 and May 19, 2022. 

The second cruise ship for a make-over will be P&O Cruises’ Aurora, which entered service in May of 2000. Aurora has space for 1,878 guests, and with a length of 270m, she measures 76,152 gross tons. Aurora will be in the yard from June 9 through June 23, 2022.

Harland & Wolff Boost for UK Maritime Industry

The work that the shipyard will be undertaking during the 33 days the ships are in the yard include standard dry dock works such as repainting, maintenance of engines and propulsion systems, hull and propeller maintenance, and cosmetic work to the hotel interiors. 

It will allow Harland & Wolff to show Carnival UK’s parent company, Carnival Corporation, that dry-docking is available outside of traditional options such as the Meyer Werft, Fincantieri, and Chantiers de l’Atlantique.  

Harland & Wolff, group CEO John Wood, commented: “Our facilities are ideally placed to capitalise on these types of large projects whilst we continue servicing our smaller but regular clients. We have now secured contracts in four out of our five markets; commercial, cruise & ferry, renewables and energy.”

Other cruise ships that have had work done at the Belfast shipyard include P&O’s Azure, Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady, and Azamara Pursuit

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