The 2014 summer cruising season is beginning to get into gear.
For P&O, most ships have now started their summer programs. Aurora and Adonia are still on the final stages of their 2014 World Cruises but they’re on the homeward stretch of those – they will finish them before the end of the month – and Arcadia has already started her main 2014 program. Oriana is finishing off her last ‘Caribbean No-Fly’ cruise of the winter, while Azura and Ventura have already returned from the winter Caribbean seasons. Ventura is now into her Mediterranean Fly-Cruise season, and is presently on her way back to Genoa after her first call in Venice. I was pointed to this YouTube video of Ventura sailing up the Giudecca canal past San Basileo. That tug at the front seems to be doing a whole load of work…. Finally, Oceana is doing her summer cruises, although in her case she’s temporarily stuck in Barcelona while remedial work is done on a propeller shaft seal.
As far as Cunard is concerned, all three of their ships are still are still finishing off the world cruises, but (as with the P&O ships) they’ll be liver before the end of April
Back to Ventura. The first passengers have embarked on the first Mediterranean Fly-Cruises and have therefore experienced the travel arrangements. The stories are mixed. It seems that the journeys out to join the ship, at Genoa at least, are going well. As long as the charter flight is 100% for the cruise, P&O and the airline have been able to make almost the same arrangements as for the Caribbean fly cruises – once passengers have checked their bags in at their departure airport, they don’t see them again until it arrives outside their cabin. They do need to go through passport control, but the stories I’m reading suggest that this is quick. (Certainly that matches my experience from my visit to Rome the other weekend – I was given a much closer scrutiny on return to Leeds Bradford airport than on arrival at Fiumicino.) Of course, anyone not flying with P&O on the day of embarkation will have to recover their baggage at the airport, either because they’ve flown in a day or so early, or because they’ve arranged their own flights.
There are some suggestions that things are a little more chaotic when returning from Italy, at least when the departing airport is Venice – there are stories of disorganisation and shouting and arm-waving. On the other hand, that could just be Italians being Italian…. The first disembarkations at Genoa will take place this week, so we should get some news about that soon enough.