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I’ve concentrated on the new fly-cruise schedule for Ventura because this is a significant departure for P&O – it must be a long time since they last did fly cruises in the Mediterranean, if they ever have. But Ventura is just one ship out of seven – what will the rest of them be doing in 2014?

Well, the truth is ‘much the same as any other year’. Some ships – Adonia, Aurora and Arcadia – will be doing world cruises or equivalent-length ‘grand voyages’ in the opening months of the year. Then Azura and Ventura will be doing the usual pattern of Caribbean fly-cruises. That leaves Oriana and Oceana which in the same early months will be doing the non-fly-cruises that have proved so successful in the last few years. So that takes us up to Spring, which is when the new season starts.

The remaining six ships – Adonia, Arcadia, Aurora, Azura, Oceana and Oriana – will then each undertake a fairly typical pattern of cruises from Southampton through to the later part of the year. Each of the six will do a range of these – they’re not repeating the experiment they tried a few years ago of putting specific ships onto specific itineraries. So if you want to do a Baltic cruise, then not only will there be a number of dates but also various ships to choose from as well. That said, I have a feeling that the mix has changed a bit, which given that they will have one ship parked permanently in the Med is not surprising. Here’s what I’ve gleaned:

  • there will be no less than 14 two-night cruises to Zeebrugge or St Peter Port. All of the ships excvept Adonia will be doing at least one of these. Then there are some  three and four-night cruises – some of which feature a day at sea with the ship presumably going round in circles in the channel for the day in question. Then there will also be a few slightly longer cruises, four and five nights, to various reasonably close destinations. Of these shorter cruises, one that stands out is a four-night cruise to Antwerp on Oriana, in September – it includes an overnight stay in Antwerp before the obligatory visit to Zeebrugge;
  • the French/Iberian Coast 7-night cruises reappear – there will be about 10 of these. Most will feature calls at the usual ports (Bilbao, La Coruna, La Rochelle, etc) but there are a few on Adonia which will include calls at smaller ports – Honfleur and Bordeaux. These cruises (and others in Adonia’s schedule) are being marketed as ‘Discovery’ cruises, presumably because they feature calls at smaller and less commonly-used ports;
  • Then there are about 16 cruises, ranging from 9 to 12 days that extend the Iberian Coast cruises down to North Africa, with calls at Morocco, Gibraltar, and even as far as Malaga in the Mediterranean. These cruises extend through the whole of 2014 and into the early months of 2015;
  • There are no less than 24 cruises to the Canary Islands, through 2014 and into 2015. They’re mostly about 12 nights, with some longer and a few a bit shorter, but there’s one cruise on Adonia that extends to 18 nights;
  • the Western Mediterranean cruises are still in the programme, of varying length – some just 12 nights (and only going as far as Spain, typically Barcelona), some 14 nights and going to the western coast of Italy, but some longer – 17 and 18 nights, on Oriana and Adonia;
  • Central Mediterranean cruises: almost all 17 nights. These look, to me, to be least attractive – there seem to be one or two fewer ports of call than when we did such a cruise in 2011. For example Aurora’s cruise R409 in mid-June 2014 for 17 nights to Venice, which manages to call at just 7 ports: Cadiz, Messina, Corfu, Dubrovnik, Venice (1 day only), Valetta and Gibraltar. Thats typical of that itinerary in 2014;
  • Just 11 Baltic cruises, mostly 14 nights, but some longer – again, Adonia has the longer ones.I would have expected more Baltic cruises than this. Perhaps the limited season is the reason;
  • Fjords cruises – 16 of these;
  • Northern Norway & Iceland cruises – 11 of these, mostly of 14 nights;
  • and finally some odd-ball itineraries: a round-Britain cruise on Adonia; a New England cruise (25 nights) on Arcadia in the autumn (sorry, ‘Fall’); a Black Sea cruise on Aurora for 24 nights; and another E Med cruise to Israel and Egypt, also on Aurora.

So that’s it. Actually, not a bad mix: more varied than most years, especially if you look at the fine detail. The Discovery cruises on Adonia will attract a lot of interest – it looks as if they’re finally using her as she should be used – and there’s a good range there for passengers of all interests and depth of pocket.

One Response to “2014 Schedules – the rest of P&O”

  1. Malcolm Oliver says:

    Unfortunately P&O’s mini cruises seem to be very popular with the ‘party crowd’ which can alienate those look for a more sedate experience, perhaps trying out P&O for the first time or trying a new P&O ship.

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