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.

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P&O Celebrates Newbuild Milestone for New Iona

Iona Keel

A key stage in the construction of the P&O Iona has been marked at Meyer Werft as the P&O newbuild and yard team celebrated the milestone with the traditional coin-laying ceremony for the 180,000-ton LNG-fueled vessel.

A bronze coin from the historic Iona Abbey and a slice of precious green Iona marble from the island were placed under the block housing the bow thrusters before the block was then lowered onto these items.

P&O Cruises president Paul Ludlow said: “This was an auspicious occasion in Iona’s build. The coin-laying is a long-held ship-building tradition which is to bring good luck to the ship and its crew through from construction to the future at sea.

“It is very special to think that a small part of the island of Iona will live within our own Iona. We hope that the qualities of beauty, heritage, pride, camaraderie, mutual support and loyalty from the island which attracted us to the name will be inherent in our ship, its crew and guests.

“The build of any ship is an incredible achievement but to see one of this size and scope is an extraordinary feat of skilled design and engineering. To view Iona’s SkyDome take shape was literally breath-taking – no other ship in the world has a glass dome of this quality of construction and scale. The extent of the space on Iona has allowed us to create not only spectacular spaces for shows, entertainment, dining and wellness but also many more intimate spaces for tranquillity and relaxation as well as exclusive performances. Iona will be game-changer for holidays.”

As part of the ceremony the ship’s central steel block, the mega block, which has already been constructed was floated out on to the water, according to a press release.

The 21.5-metre long block weighs 461 tons, is 19.4 metres wide and 9.8 metres high and had to be lifted by a 600-ton crane.

Vessel Performance Key to Secondhand Ship Market for Carnival

Oriana

Carnival Corporation has sold 28 ships since 2006, averaging around two ships per year based on demand in the market.

That number was up in 2018, with the company announcing the exit of four ships overall.

The Pacific Eden was sold to Cruise & Maritime Voyages while the Pacific Jewel will head to Indian start-up Jalesh Cruises.

Holland America Line sold the Prinsendam, which will become the Amera next summer for Phoenix Reisen.

P&O Cruises UK also announced the Oriana will leave the fleet in 2019.

“The practical reality for us is if the ship is relevant to our guests and is delivering a double-digit return on invested capital … we have to invest more in that ship over time. We’ll continue with the ship in the fleet if it’s relevant to the guests and his earning is key if it’s not then the ship will be gone,” said Arnold Donald, president and CEO, on the company’s year-end and fourth quarter earnings call.

The secondhand cruise ship market has historically been highlighted by two to three nine- to eight-figure transactions on an annual basis, according to the Secondhand Market Report by Cruise Industry News.

“And so in terms of there being a robust secondary market, there’s no question, the secondary market has an opportunity not only because the IMO regulations but simply because the ageing of ships that are in the secondary market,” Donald added.

Donald said many operators in the secondhand market were sailing ships that are 40 to 45 years old, and those vessels will need to be replaced.

“So there should be a market for a number of the ships. But at the same time, to drive earnings and return on invested capital, if we had a need to scrap for ships, in a nutshell, we would do that. We don’t see that at this point in time. But if it came to that, we have no problems doing that,” Donald continued.

“But we’re not going to hold onto an underperforming asset, because we’re not able to sell it. I mean, if – we would scrap it if we had to. I don’t anticipate that, but if we had to do it, we would do it.”