Posts Tagged ‘P&O’

Oriana cruise cancellation

I’m late with this story, but I’ve only just learned that Oriana’s planned 50 night cruise from 6 January to 25 February has been cancelled. P&O have instead arranged for Oriana to have some ‘essential maintenance’. I can’t find any real information as to what that maintenance will consist of, but there are suggestions on various forums that it might be for propulsion. (Oriana has a unique propulsion method within the P&O fleet – her engines have a mechanical drive to the propellers. Every other ship in the fleet follows has a system where the diesel engines are directly connected to electricity generators, and the propulsion motors are electrically-powered.)

I gather that there is considerable unhappiness among those who had booked this cruise. This is especially so since the cancellation announcement (21 November) was after the date for final payment which, given the length of the cruise, will have been a not-inconsiderable sum. Further unhappiness seems to have been caused by what is regarded as ungenerous compensation for the cancellation. As far as I can make out, this is as follows:

  • A full refund (of course);
  • A credit of 5% of the amount paid for the cancelled cruise, against the price of a future cruise;
  • Passengers will have until December 2019 to make the booking against which this credit can be taken;
  • Passengers will be credited with the 500 Peninsular Club points that they would have earned on the cancelled cruise.

Although the emergency maintenance is expected to take just 3 weeks (i.e. 21 nights), P&O have not announced any replacement cruises for the period between the end of the maintenance and and the next cruise, scheduled to start on 25 February. It wouldn’t surprise me therefore if there were some additional cruises announced at very short notice in late January – I don’t expect P&O will want to leave Oriana idle for that period. But that’s just a guess.

Coming after the passenger unhappiness caused by the sale of Adonia, this is unfortunate. There are some conspiracy theories swirling around – for example, that the 50 night cruise had sold very badly and was going to make a huge loss – but until I learn otherwise I’m going to assume that P&O are being honest, and that something requiring urgent, lengthy maintenance has indeed arisen. If I learn more I’ll report it here, of course.

Let me finish by saying that I recognise that passengers on the cancelled cruise must have been very disappointed, and have every right to feel very upset. I also think P&O could have been a bit more forthcoming about the reasons for the urgent maintenance.

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Oceana in Hamburg

Above is grab from a webcam shot of Oceana, safely tucked-up at the B+V ship repair dry dock in Hamburg. I believe she arrived some time yesterday evening.

Still no real information from P&O about any major work, so it does appear that the aspects of this refit that passengers will see will simple be redecoration and refreshes rather than any dramatic changes. Additionally, of course, the opportunity will be taken to do a significant amount of technical work on engine and propulsion equipment and locations. She’ll be in Hamburg for nearly two weeks.

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To Glass House or not to Glass House

Oceana arriving at Southampton in the early morning

Specifically, will Oceana’s Cafe Jardin be converted to the next Glass House?

Oceana is going in for a refit in a few days’ time – as far as I can see she’ll return from her current cruise (E722) on 29 November and her next cruise is E725 starting on 17 December. Allowing for transit times to and from Hamburg, that allows 14 days or so for the refit.

When this refit became known about (during spring and summer) there was considerable speculation on various forums that the work would include conversion of Cafe Jardin to a Glasshouse. For example, there were reports that officers on Oceana had told passengers that the conversion would happen. (Although you’d think by now that people would have realised that you should always take casual comments by crew members, even officers, with a generous pinch of salt.) Some people were in favour of the conversion, but I think it’s fair to report that the majority view expressed was one of regret if the conversion went ahead.

However for several reasons it’s now looking as if it may not:

  • the deck plans for next year on the P&O site continue to mark the space as ‘Cafe Jardin’;
  • and in a page on the P&O website there’s an article from the design consultancy that’s handled the changes (for both Oceana and Arcadia) that resolutely does not mention anything about Cafe Jardin. For Oceana there are references to outdoor areas, the Terrace Bar and the Yacht & Compass.

Of course, none of this is definitive. I’m hoping that P&O will make some sort of announcement when Oceana departs for Hamburg giving details of what the refit will cover, so we may have solid information by the end of this week. Indeed, it’s always possible that the Glass House approach could be implemented in the existing Cafe Jardin. There was another announcement from P&O this week announcing new menus for the Glass House with references to new food items and new draft beers. Here’s a link to this page. Given that the Glass House concept may perhaps be being revised from “a wine bar that does some bistro food” to something like “a bistro that serves drinks, including a wide range of wines by the glass” it wouldn’t take a full refurbishment of spaces that aren’t branded as ‘Glass House’ to be able to offer something similar.

My interest in the changes to Oceana is due to the fact that we will be cruising on her (for the first time) in September, of course – see here for some other info about that.

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Once again it has been so long since I last posted that I ought to apologise. For whatever reason, nothing has caught my eye, or my interest in the last couple of months. But I have finally managed to crank the old brain into gear, and produced this pearl.

I posted some while ago that when we were on Azura this summer we had booked our next cruise. This will be a fly-cruise! – our first for nearly 10 years. It will be in September 2018, on Oceana, and just for seven nights – we’ll be doing the Adriatic section of her itinerary, with calls at Ravenna, Venice, Dubrovnik and Split. In addition we’ll be prefacing the cruise with two nights in Malta (the cruise starts and finishes at Malta) which we’re also doing through P&O, by using their ‘City Stay’ add-on package.

At the time we booked the cruise the flights were uncertain, and the documentation we received was a bit confusing – on the one hand it said it was a “round trip from Manchester” but on the other hand it said that the outbound flight would be from Gatwick. All of this was because at the time of booking (June 2017) flight details for September 2018 weren’t known. Obviously P&O would be chartering the regular flights for the start and end dates of the cruise itself, but not for the day we would actually be departing which will be two days before the cruise start date.

Now they are known, and we’ve got exactly what we wanted. Our outbound flight will be from Manchester with Air Malta. We’ll depart just before 11am, and arrive in Malta just after 3pm local time. That’s a pretty civilised time for a flight – we could even just about drive over the Manchester that morning (we’d want to be at the airport by 8 o’clock). However I suspect Val would prefer to not do that, so I think I hear the siren call of the Premier Inn on Runger Lane….

Coming back we’ll be on the Thomson Airline charter flight, departing mid-morning and arriving in Manchester early afternoon. We couldn’t really ask for anything more convenient.

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Adonia leaving P&O

[Updated – see below]

I’ve been emailed (thank you Neil Ringan) with information that Adonia is leaving P&O to join Azamara in March 2018. That will leave three of the R ships with Azamara – the other four are with Oceania Cruises. [Update] Here’s a link to the page on the P&O website with the news.

I must admit, I’m shocked by this news. It’s very unusual for a ship to transfer between the two big camps, yet this is what’s happening – P&O is Carnival, of course, while Azamara is in the Royal Caribbean empire. I suppose Azamara must have made them an off they couldn’t refuse – and to be honest, Princess’ last R-ship went to Oceania not that long ago.

I’m also surprised by the date – March 2018. That’s just 6 months away. I had thought that Adonia had cruises scheduled for some date after that. More digging required, I think.

But that’s the news – Adonia is leaving P&O, which can no longer claim to be a ‘small ship’ cruise line in any way.

Update – it looks as if all of Adonia’s existing cruises after D802 have been cancelled, and that cruise might have been changed – it’s now showing as D802A. Subsequent cruises e.g. D803 are no longer available on the P&O website, but can be found on other TA websites.

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I’m astonished to find that it has been a month since I last posted here. Apologies for anyone who might have been waiting with bated breath….

I suppose the main piece of news today is that P&O and Cunard have posted their Summer 2019 schedules. They’re obviously continuing the new scheduling pattern of releasing cruise details in six-months dollops (or thereabouts) – I think we were into late winter 2018/19 already. The latest information takes us to the end of October 2019.

I’ve had a brief look at the P&O schedule, and to be honest it looks rather like more of the same. Oceana will be based at Valetta for the summer doing the same mix of seven night cruises either into the Adriatic or the the Tyrrhenian seas, and the eastern Mediterranean. The mix for the other ships seems to be pretty much as before. Oriana and Aurora will be doing a number of 14+ night cruises, as will Arcadia (including the now-traditional 24 night cruise to North America and back); Ventura will be doing a lot of seven night cruises, including a number to the Fjords; Azura will doing a mix of seven and fourteen night cruises, plus one nineteen night cruise to the eastern Mediterranean; and Britannia will also be doing a mix of seven and fourteen night cruises.

No news yet of Adonia’s itinerary for any dates after March 2019. Surely she can’t be leaving the fleet again?!?

Nothing has really caught my eye, except perhaps a 12 night cruise on Arcadia in June 2019 to Norway. Interestingly, it sticks to the fjords; although it’s longer, the itinerary goes no further north than Trondheim. So lots of penetration of the long fjords as well as the expected calls at Stavanger and Bergen, and a possible return to Alesund. But we may well have other plans for 2019….

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It’s almost time for us to head off to Southampton for this year’s cruise. We’ll be on A716, Azura to Norway, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, and Northern Ireland.

Normally, as regular readers will know, I buy internet minutes and blog from the cruise. This time, however, I don’t think that’s going to be possible – or at least not to the same extent. The daily cost using P&O’s current internet deals would be prohibitive – I’d certainly need the £10 a day package (£12.50 for odd days), and possibly the £20/£24 a day package, and that’s just too much money. There is the 65p per minute option, but that would quickly add up. In any case, I have a feeling that at those northern latitudes – we’ll be within a whisker of the Arctic Circle when we’re at Akureyri in northern Iceland – the satellite communications get very dodgy.

What I think I’ll do is prepare draft posts off-line and post them when we’re in port, by tethering my iPad to my phone. Thanks to the relevant EU legislation there are no longer any roaming charges within the EU and I have a 12Gb monthly data allowance which I should be able to use without additional charges. So hopefully I’ll still be able to post text posts even if images may have to wait until we return home.

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