Why is this huge empty cruise ship moored off Southwold coast?

The cruise ship Arcadia, is moored just off Southwold near the pier. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The cruise ship Arcadia, is moored just off Southwold near the pier. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020

An empty cruise ship with space for nearly 2,000 passengers has moored off the coast of Suffolk after the Covid-19 pandemic shut down the travel industry.

The ship is operated by P&O Cruises UK. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The ship is operated by P&O Cruises UK. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020

The Arcadia cruise ship, operated by P&O Cruises UK, arrived off the coast of Southwold early on Wednesday, August 19 afternoon and is moored less than two miles off shore.

The 938ft vessel has space for 1,904 passengers and 880 crew, with a total of 952 cabins across seven decks – as well as a further four decks without cabins.

She was built in 2005, christened by British athlete Dame Kelly Holmes in her home port of Southampton and weighs 84,342 gross tonnes.

A spokesperson for P&O Cruises UK said: “During this pause in our operations, our P&O Cruises ships are berthed in Southampton but also periodically sail to and anchor in other locations including off the coast of Suffolk.

Just 100 crew members are aboard the Arcadia cruise ship off the coast of Southwold. Picture: DENISE

Just 100 crew members are aboard the Arcadia cruise ship off the coast of Southwold. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020


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“We are extremely grateful for the support we have received from harbours and ports during this period.

“Much in the same way as a car needs to be driven, our ships need to sail to ensure full working operation and then return to the berths for storing.

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“We have essential manning on board, which is approximately 100 crew members per ship.

“The crew can, of course, use guest facilities providing they adhere to social distancing and other health protocols.”

The ship’s last voyage was a 12-day trip to Norway. However, while the air travel industry is slowly resuming, it is unlikely cruise ships – which can dock at many locations throughout their journeys – will be setting sail anytime soon.

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