P&O Cruises’ Britannia to make St Lucia debut in 2016

P&O Britannia

P&O Cruises’ newest ship, Britannia, is to sail from St Lucia for the first time as part of its winter 2016-17 deployment in the Caribbean.

An expanded fly-cruise programme of new seven-night cruises alongside traditional 14-night winter sun itineraries went on sale yesterday (Thursday).

Britannia will run a total of 28 Caribbean cruises from St Lucia or Barbados during its second winter season in the region.

The ships will depart from the new Caribbean port for the first time on November 12, 2016 on a seven-night itinerary with calls into Dominica, Antigua, St Maarten and Barbados.

The line described St Lucia as a “must-see” Caribbean destination for its passengers.

Marketing director, Christopher Edgington, said: “Introducing new itineraries which all depart or return St Lucia will offer a new dimension to our Caribbean cruises.

“St Lucia is a popular destination with passengers and no other cruise line has it as a home port, so we are looking to make the most of this by offering an exciting range of shore excursions to maximise the time there.

“It is also the first time we have offered a seven-night Caribbean cruise option. These new week-long itineraries will appeal to those wishing to escape the cold weather and see a number of destinations but who don’t have the time for a longer cruise.

“For passengers with more leisure time, our 14-night cruises provide the perfect opportunity to see more than seven islands in one holiday.”

Prices for seven-night Caribbean fly-cruises start at £1,099 per person for an inside cabin and a 14-nights from £1,299, including return flights from Gatwick.

Celebrity to add overnight port stays on long Caribbean cruises

Celebrity Cruises said it will add an overnight stay to the itinerary of Caribbean cruises of 10 days or longer, starting in January 2016. The decision affects 43 cruises, said Dondra Ritzenthaler, senior vice president of sales, trade support and services.

Ritzenthaler stressed that overnights are typically a feature of cruises outside the Caribbean, so Celebrity is breaking ground with the move.

“This gives us the ability to say we have more overnights in the Caribbean than any cruise line in the industry,” Ritzenthaler said. “While overnights have been a trend in the marketplace in Europe and in Asia, there really hasn’t been a movement and we believe we are a leader in this initiative.”

The destinations where overnights are planned include Aruba, Barbados, Cartagena, Cozumel, Curacao and St. Maarten. Ritzenthaler said they are among the highest-rated destinations in the Caribbean by guests.

“Consumer and trade research indicates this is something they desire,” Ritzenthaler said.

Of Celebrity’s 10 ships, five are scheduled to be in the Caribbean in the first quarter of 2016, but not all do itineraries of 10 days or longer.

Celebrity has been selling the 2016 Caribbean winter season since the fall of 2014 and cruises have been booking well, Ritzenthaler said. Now booked guests will get the bonus of an overnight stay. “This will be a really wonderful gift for these folks,” she said. “This will be something that will be a really nice opportunity for them. We think it will be a differentiator.”

Caribbean Facts and Figures

Interesting
Caribbean
facts & tidbits

Tourist count

Roughly two million tourists visit the Caribbean Islands per year.

World’s top cruise destination

The Caribbean accounts for nearly half of the industry’s passenger count. Most of the world’s major cruise ships winter here.

Economy

Tourism drives the economy of most Caribbean islands. And the United States is the chief trading partner in goods and raw materials.

Caribbean compared to the Atlantic

The Caribbean water is significantly warmer, calmer, clearer and less salty. These attributes draw tourists.

Size

The Caribbean Sea is the world’s second largest sea. The biggest, the Mediterranean, is only 9% larger.

Depth

The Caribbean Sea’s deepest point is 7.5 kilometers (4.7 miles) below sea level.

Number of Islands

The Caribbean officially has over 7,000 islands (but that figure includes small cays, reefs, and islets). Only about 150 islands are inhabited.

Population

When Columbus arrived in 1492, the Caribbean had an estimated population of 700,000. Today, the number is about 40 million. Most descend from African slaves.

Language

Creole, Dutch, English, French, and Spanish are the top five languages spoken in the Caribbean. The entrenched European language on any given island reflects the island’s colonial heritage.

Nautical link

The Caribbean Sea connects the Atlantic with the Pacific Ocean (with the assistance of the Panama Canal).

Geographical origins

The rugged-mountain islands (think Jamaica) are mainly volcanic in origin. Flat islands (like Barbados) were formed by coral formation and rising sea beds.

Etymology

The Caribbean is named after the native Carib people who once dominated many of the islands.

Best Caribbean cruise lines

Best luxury

Silversea Cruises ships are modest sized and sport spiffy interiors. Passengers are sophisticated, congenial, and well-traveled. Food and service are highly regarded. Crew-to-passenger ratio is high.

Best luxury-upmarket

Azamara Club Cruises has two ships, each accommodating up to 644 passengers. Its price point is between upmarket and luxury. They provide vacationers with a needed niche between luxury and mid-priced fares.


to see my tip-and-photo pages on the Azamara Quest ship.

Best upmarket

Celebrity Cruises is upmarket, thus clearly superior to the mid-priced lines in many ways, including cabin space, service, entertainment, food, and passenger sophistication. Most ships carry about 2,000 passengers.

Best 20-something party boat

Carnival Cruise Line has a well-documented fun, party-boat reputation. Fare are mid-priced and ships are quite large (about several thousand passengers). Has glitzy Las Vegas style entertainment and decor.

Best for families

If your children
are 9 or younger

Disney Cruise Line has four ships, all family oriented. Pleasing kids is the prime focus, but there’s something for everyone. The Fantasy is the best and newest Disney ship.

If your children
are teens

Royal Caribbean International has specialized facilities and programs for teens. But there’s plenty going on to please parents and other adults. Passengers: About 3,000.

If your children
tweens ( to 12)

If 9 to 10, Disney Cruise Line is a better fit.  If 11 to 12, Royal Caribbean is better.