P&O Cruises pulls Dubai and Arabian Gulf programme

Image result for Oceana in dubai

P&O Cruises has scrapped its entire Dubai and Arabian Gulf 2019-20 winter programme amid rising fears for British-flagged vessels sailing in the region.

The cruise line’s president Paul Ludlow said it had sought advice from “external authorities” have been monitoring the friction between the West and Iran before announcing the decision.

Last month, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard seized the British-flagged oil tanker Stena Impero in the Strait of Hormuz, which lies between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.

The majority of the 49 departures between October to next March on Oceana were due to pass through the Strait.

All bookings will be cancelled and guests will be given a full refund.

Ludlow said: “The increased tension in the region highlighted by the attacks on tankers in the strait and the detention of a British-flagged tanker by the Iranian authorities means as a British company flying the Red Ensign it is not advisable for us to maintain our planned Dubai and Arabian Gulf programme this winter season.

“We have therefore taken the unusual step of withdrawing Oceana from the region for the upcoming season.

“Whilst we appreciate our guests will be disappointed, the safety of our guests and crew is absolutely paramount and given our UK status, coupled with the uncertainty in the region, we have had to make this difficult decision.”

Strait of Hormuz

Strait of Hormuz

New itineraries for Oceana are currently being put together and will be put on sale from 9am on August 20.

The line added that the new programme will include ex-Southampton departures to Spain, Portugal and the Canary Islands, plus a 35-night pre-Christmas sailing to the Caribbean.

Affected passengers have also been given an exclusive offer on 2020-21 Dubai and Arabian Gulf cruises and well as this season’s Caribbean fly-cruises.

P&O launched its first Arabian Gulf programme this year, basing Oceana in Dubai for a series of fly-cruises to destinations such as Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and Oman from January and April.

P&O Cruises launched a new advert in March starring comic Rob Brydon to promote its 2020-21 Arabian Gulf programme.

P&O’s Arcadia and Oceana to undergo refits before Christmas

Image result for P&O Arcadia
P&O Arcadia.

Two P&O Cruises ships are to undergo multi-million-pound refits before Christmas.

Hospitality interior design practice, RPW Design, has been drafted in to support the updating of adults-only ship Arcadia. Cabins, suites, public areas, bars, main dining restaurants and fine dining venues are to be revamped.

Oceana will enter dry dock in Hamburg at the end of November to be updated and refreshed.

Arcadia, which entered service in 2005, will undergo its refit in Hamburg this autumn in preparation for Christmas and a 99-night world cruise which departs Southampton on January 9, 2018.

Arcadia’s first cruise after its refit will be a three-night Belgium cruise from Southampton on November 15.

Work to Oceana, which joined the P&O Cruises fleet from Princess Cruises in 2002, includes refurbished youth spaces with improved entertainment equipment, new soft play equipment, revised nursery space and an updated area for teenagers.

Image result for P&O Oceana

The Terrace Bar will gain refurbished hot tubs as well as a new canopy over a swimming pool which will extend out to cover the bar.

Following its refit, Oceana will embark on a 12-night Canary Islands and Portugal cruise from Southampton on December 17.

P&O Cruises senior vice president Paul Ludlow said “We continually invest in our ships in order to create a contemporary and comfortable environment while still keeping the unique character and key features that our guests know and love.

“Those traveling on Arcadia and Oceana can look forward to new design concepts and improvements to comfort while still enjoying the incomparable service that characterises a P&O Cruises holiday.”

P&O Cruises ship ‘fails US health check’

P&O Oriana
US inspections reportedly found potentially hazardous food, unhygienic pool water and cockroaches on board two P&O Cruises’ ships.

Hygiene problems were discovered when Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) inspectors spot-checked Oriana and Oceana (pictured).

Oceana failed a health check in January while in the US, while Oriana passed an inspection in February despite cockroaches being found in a grill, ITV News reported.

P&O Cruises said issues on the ships were “rectified immediately”.

Swimming and spa pools were closed on Oceana after inspectors found the water had not been disinfected and contained inadequate levels of chlorine and bromine.

Sandwiches were left to sit in “potentially hazardous” temperatures and one member of staff who was suffering from acute gastroenteritis, which can cause vomiting and diarrhoea, worked with food for three hours, the report found.

Inspectors also told the cruise company to “effectively control the presence of insects” after three live cockroaches were found underneath grills on Oriana.

A P&O Cruises spokesman said: ‘We are extremely disappointed in the result of this inspection and we immediately rectified the areas identified as needing attention.”