The start of cruises might be happening worldwide now; it doesn’t mean the cruise lines don’t have to juggle ship schedules anymore. Even in the UK, with the staycations underway already for more than a month, the cruise schedules are still under constant adjustments.
P&O UK has now announced its expected deployment and phased re-start plan for 2021 and early 2022. The plans include new cruise cancelations due to the ban on international tourism by the UK government and new cruises onboard flagship Britannia and the newest addition Iona.
UK Staycations Prove Popular
The UK Staycations onboard Britannia has proven to be extremely popular. Cruises onboard the vessel are showing sold out until August of this year, and the first of Iona’s cruises are also proving popular.
The two ships will be sailing on the UK itineraries until the end of September this year. After this, both Iona and Britannia will be changing course. Britannia will begin her scheduled itinerary in the Western Mediterranean on September 25, while Iona will sail on her Atlantic Coast voyages on the same date.
P&O Cruises president Paul Ludlow said:
“We are very much looking forward to getting Britannia and Iona back to sea for the series of UK coastal cruises – staycations at their best – which are certainly proving very popular and then beginning our international re-start as we phase in each of the other ships.”
Following her short time in the Mediterranean, Britannia will sail to the Caribbean to sail her winter season as initially scheduled. Iona will remain in Europe, sailing cruises to the Canary Islands and ports along the entire European Atlantic Coast.
International Cruises Still Not Certain
International cruises are being scheduled; however, they are not 100% certain just yet. This is because the UK government has not opened up international travel yet for UK tourists to go abroad, including cruises. Paul Ludlow:
“As we know the UK Government has developed a traffic light system for holidays abroad this summer. The current situation means that whilst unfortunately there will be a number of cancellations of itineraries on some ships. We are confident that destinations will soon open up their borders both for UK travellers and also for cruise ships. Spain and its islands and the Caribbean are both looking very positive and we are seeing, one by one, countries publicly looking forward to welcoming us back.”
This means that the long cruises onboard Arcadia and Aurora, which were due to sail in January 2022, have been canceled. Although a new itinerary for Aurora will be announced soon for the winter period, Arcadia will not set sail until next year.
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The schedule for each ship looks as follows:
- Iona: UK coastal cruises from August 7 to September 25, then sailing Atlantic coast cruises beginning September 25, 2021
- Britannia – UK coastal cruises from June 27 to September 25, then sailing Western Mediterranean September 25, 2021, followed by Caribbean cruises in October.
- Ventura – sailing Atlantic islands cruises from October 3, 2021
- Azura – sailing Caribbean fly/cruises from December 10, 2021
- Aurora – currently scheduled to sail the Mediterranean on April 13, 2022; a replacement itinerary for early 2022 will be announced shortly.
- Arcadia – currently scheduled to start sailing March 27, 2022
P&O Updates Vaccination Policy
The cruise line also updated its vaccination policy, which is now valid for all cruises sailing this year. All guests 18 years old and over will be required to have completed their vaccination course a minimum of 14 days before sailing.
All guests 17 years old and below will need to have completed their vaccination course a minimum of 14 days before sailing or require a negative PCR test within 72 hours before travel.
Guests who have had their cruise canceled will automatically receive a Future Cruise Credit worth 125% of the standard deposit terms and 100% of any additional monies paid.