P&O Cruises Confirms New Airline Partners for Caribbean Packages

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P&O Cruises has partnered with three airlines to provide charter service for its winter 2024-25 season of popular fly-cruise packages to the Caribbean from the UK. The Carnival Corporation brand caters to the British market, and homeports two ships for Southern Caribbean voyages.

The cruise line, which operates seven ships on global itineraries, revealed in February 2024 that it was seeking new airlift partners for the Caribbean cruise packages. The change was prompted by service issues with then-charter partner Maleth Aero, following complaints from cruise guests and travel agents.

The airline, for instance, offered no premium seating and no inflight entertainment on the long-haul routes from the UK to Barbados, where its cruise ships Britannia and Arvia are based.

P&O Arvia Cruise Ship in St. Lucia
Photo Courtesy: Ministry of Tourism Saint Lucia

Cruise line president Paul Ludlow detailed the service problems in a video posted on X (formerly named Twitter), and apologized to guests who were disappointed with the flights. In addition to Maleth Aero, P&O Cruises also partnered with TUI Airways, and that airline will continue to provide service.

Along with TUI Airways, P&O Cruises confirmed that Norse Atlantic Airways and Virgin Atlantic will be air partners for the upcoming season. The charter flights are scheduled to coincide with departure dates for each ship’s 7- and 14-night voyages.

Both Britannia and Arvia sail 14-night cruises roundtrip from Barbados, and Arvia also offers 7-night sailings between Barbados and Antigua.

Under the new partnerships, Norse Atlantic Airways will provide weekly service on Fridays from Manchester, England, to Barbados, and Saturday service from London Gatwick and Manchester to Antigua and Barbados on an alternating basis.

TUI Airways will provide service to Barbados on Friday and Saturday from three airports — London Gatwick, Manchester, and Birmingham, England. TUI will also operate regional feeder flights to larger airports from several destinations, including Edinburgh and Glasgow, Scotland; Bristol, Newcastle, and Bournemouth, England; Cardiff, Wales; and Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Virgin Atlantic will provide service from London Heathrow every 14 days, with Friday departures, to Barbados.

P&O Cruises Ship
P&O Cruises Ship (Photo Credit: ATGImages)

We recognise that flights are a key part of the holiday experience and so I am delighted that we are continuing our longstanding partnership with TUI and that we are introducing a bespoke in-flight proposition with Norse Atlantic as well as fortnightly flights with Virgin Atlantic,said Paul Ludlow, president of P&O Cruises

This will ensure our guests have a consistent in-flight experience aligned across all three airlines matching the high quality standard they would expect from P&O Cruises,Ludlow added.

Read Also: Barbados Cruise Port – Getting Around, What’s Nearby and Guide

The air service on P&O Cruises’ fly-cruise packages feature amenity kits in premium economy and Upper Class (on Virgin Atlantic); inflight drinks and meals; and valet luggage service that includes delivery to each guest’s cabin if the luggage is checked at the airport.

Both P&O Cruises’ Ships Offer Port-Rich Itineraries

The 3,647-guest Britannia, which entered service in 2015, will sail 14-night cruises roundtrip from Barbados and calling at Martinique, St. Kitts, Tortola, BVI, St. Maarten, Grenada, and St. Lucia. A special 14-night Christmas cruise, sailing roundtrip from Barbados on December 13, 2024, will call at Curacao, Bonaire, St. Lucia, Grenada, Antigua, St. Maarten, and St. Vincent.

The 5,200-guest Arvia offers 14-night voyages from Barbados, calling at the same ports as Britannia. A 7-night option onboard the bigger ship operates between Barbados and Antigua, calling at Martinique, St. Kitts, Tortola, and St. Maarten.

Arvia is an Excellence-class ship that launched in 2022. Bound for a long-term deployment to the Southern Caribbean, she was christened in Barbados in March 2023.

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