P&O Cruises has extended its suspension of sailings until mid-November and cancelled a pair of long-haul itineraries next year following Foreign Office guidance.
The line has paused operations until 12 November and also cancelled two longer sailings due to depart in January 2021 – Aurora’s Caribbean & South America Adventure and Arcadia’s World Cruise.
In his latest video update, P&O president Paul Ludlow said that while the FCO’s advice against ocean cruising was in place “it is not advisable for us to resume operations”.
“Given long-term planning, combined with the complexity and length of these long-haul itineraries and evolving border restrictions, we need to ensure that we adhere to the guidance as it stands,” he said.
“I know that these January cruises, in particular, are holidays of a lifetime and we are so sorry for the disappointment that these cancellations will cause.”
In acknowledgement of FCO guidance we’ve extended our pause until 12 November 2020 and cancelled a number of longer duration cruises sailing before 31 March 2021. We are so sorry for the disappointment that these cancellations will cause. Here’s P&O Cruises president Paul Ludlow: pic.twitter.com/hPZ0IVypFa— P&O Cruises (@pandocruises) August 11, 2020
Ludlow said P&O would “continue to work in partnership” with public health agencies “at the highest level”, as well as Department for Transport, the EU‘s Healthy Gateways programme and Clia.
“We will follow all applicable guidelines to enhance our already stringent measures to keep our guests and crew healthy and well and we will not resume sailing until this approved framework is in place. Fundamentally, we will be adopting best practice within the travel industry,” he continued.
“The good news is that confidence in cruising is strong and we are seeing increasing and significant demand from our guests. We know that the FCO guidance is under constant review and we are hopeful that, as they are aware of the work the industry is doing, this will change before too long.”
Guests booked to sail on cancelled cruises will automatically receive a 125% future cruise credit or they can opt for a 100% refund.
Ludlow said P&O had “invested significantly” in new systems and technology to speed up the refund process and had so far paid out to tens of thousands of customers.
Last week Ludlow announced the line will take delivery of its newest ship Iona “before autumn”.