Following the cruise line’s triumphant return to sailing in the UK this autumn, P&O Cruises has now set its sights for a return to the Caribbean. The cruise line, the UK’s biggest and part of Carnival Corporation, plans to have two ships sailing in the region by the end of the year.
Britannia and Azura Sailing The Caribbean
P&O Cruises plans to have two ships sailing the Caribbean before the end of the year. The cruise line has experienced a hugely successful summer return with the launch of its newest flagship Iona and its popular summer seacations onboard Britannia and Iona. The cruise line is ready to expand its cruises and has chosen to do this in the Caribbean with Britannia and Azura.
The 143,730 gross ton Britannia will set off on her transatlantic voyage from Southampton in southern England on October 22. The vessel will take 14 days to sail to the Southern Caribbean island of Barbados before she starts the first of a series of 14-day cruises in the Caribbean.
Ports of call for the 3,647 passenger Britannia include Curacao, Bonaire, and St. Maarten in the Dutch Antilles and Saint Vincent, St. Lucia, and St. Kitts, amongst others. The cruises, including flights to Barbados, will sail between November and March 2022.
The 115,055 gross ton Azura will be the second ship sailing the Caribbean for the UK-based cruise line. Starting December 10, the 3096 passenger cruise ship will also be sailing from Barbados on 14-day itineraries that include ports of call such as Trinidad and Tobago, Aruba, Bonaire, Dominica, and Martinique, amongst others.
Despite the pandemic, 2021 will be a year to remember for P&O Cruises. The launch of the 5,200 passenger Iona has been a significant highlight for the cruise line, as it welcomed the first LNG-powered ship to UK shores. The line’s summer seacations also proved unbelievably popular despite Iona and Britannia’s cruises only being open to fully vaccinated guests from the United Kingdom.
The Caribbean cruises come after months of planning by the cruise line, said company president Paul Ludlow in a press release:
“Our Caribbean holidays build on our very successful series of UK coastal cruises and now, following months of planning and preparation, we are ready to take our guests further afield. The Caribbean is unrivalled in its popularity, beauty and diversity of islands and after missing out on international travel for so long, this year guests can opt for some winter sun or celebrate Christmas or New Year in style on one of our very special Caribbean holidays on Britannia and Azura.”
The Caribbean islands will be happy to welcome more ships to the islands after more than a year without cruise ship income. Something that is echoed by the Caribbean Tourism Organisation Chapter UK & Europe spokesperson Carol Hay:
“We are so pleased that P&O Cruises guests will be back in the Caribbean to experience everything that makes the region so very special – our white beaches, blue seas, magical culture, delicious food and above all, our warm welcome. The economic support that guests and crew alike provide is richly welcomed after the global downturn in visitors and we look forward to working together to sustainably rebuild tourism in the Caribbean.”
P&O Cruises are not yet sailing with the entire fleet and will not do so this year. According to the P&O website, Aurora is currently scheduled to return in February of next year. Arcadia is scheduled to return to sailing in March of next year. Nonetheless, the current plans are a positive step forward for the UK’s biggest cruise line which also plans to launch another LNG-powered ship, Arvia, next year.