P&O Cruise Ship Embarkation Delayed Following Outbreak

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P&O Cruises has reached out to guests who will be boarding Ventura in Southampton, UK on Saturday, May 25, 2024 to alert them to a delay in embarkation. This change has been made in order to thoroughly deep clean and sanitize the ship following an outbreak of gastrointestinal illness onboard.

The outbreak includes 0.64% of those onboard reporting as symptomatic, according to numbers released by the cruise line on Wednesday, May 22. Common symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea, but may also include stomach cramps, aches, and fever.

This does not include anyone who may have recovered already, however. Norovirus, for example, generally presents symptoms for just 1-3 days, though infected individuals can continue to spread the virus for several days after they feel recovered.

P&O Cruises Ship
Photo Credit: Sterling Images / Shutterstock

“We wanted to advise you that during the last cruise we saw symptoms of gastrointestinal illness,” the email notified guests.

Enhanced cleaning and other proactive measures have been in place onboard through the current 14-night sailing. Now, embarking guests are asked to delay the beginning of their cruise to ensure adequate time for cleaning and sanitizing.

“Embarkation will begin later in the afternoon, and we ask that you arrive four hours later than the arrival time published on your boarding pass,” the email explained.

A delayed embarkation will permit even further deep cleaning and fogging of the ship as well as prevent additional crowding in the cruise terminal before the next cruise, a 7-night France and Spain itinerary, departs. In addition to the crew members who will be cleaning the ship, additional professional cleaners will be brought onboard in Southampton to facilitate the process.

P&O Cruises is providing a complimentary shuttle bus from the cruise terminal to Southampton City Centre so guests can enjoy local sites and attractions during their extra time in the city. Guests could easily visit multiple shops and dining venues, explore local parks, visit Bargate, and much more.

Read Also: 29 Ideal Things to Do in Southampton, UK

The cruise line is also providing all passengers with a £30 (approximately $38 USD) onboard credit for the delay and loss of the embarkation lunch offerings.

“We do hope that you will be able to enjoy lunch in Southampton on us,” the email explains. “We apologise for the late change and look forward to welcoming you on board Ventura.”

P&O Ventura Cruise Ship in Southampton
P&O Ventura Cruise Ship in Southampton (Photo Credit: P.Cartwright)

It should be noted that cruise lines are not obligated to provide compensation for this type of delay, but many cruise lines do offer some minimal credit when a delay extends several hours.

The ship’s departure from Southampton will be subsequently delayed, but there is no word on whether or not the overall itinerary will need adjustment to compensate for the later departure. The ship is scheduled to visit La Coruna, Gijon, Santander, and La Rochelle.

Sanitation Measures Onboard

Since the outbreak began on the 116,017-gross-ton, Grand-class cruise ship, various precautionary measures have been in place. This includes greater cleaning frequency, changing to served dining instead of self service, closing onboard launderettes, isolating guests reporting symptoms, and other steps.

“These protocols were developed in conjunction with leading global health authorities and are designed to adapt to changing health situations,” the cruise line confirmed.

P&O Cruises is also urging all embarking passengers to follow more stringent health and cleanliness protocols, including washing hands with soap and water before eating and after using the bathroom and using hand sanitizer as well.

Furthermore, guests are asked not to travel if they have experienced gastrointestinal symptoms within the last 24-48 hours. These types of health considerations are common with all cruise lines prior to embarkation, regardless of whether an outbreak has been documented or not.

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