P&O Cruises has again delayed the restart of its cruise operations, revealing operations will now resume in mid-November 2020.

Along with the pushback, P&O Cruises is also cancelling its long cruises, in a response to Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) guidance.

The cruise line is now aiming to resume operations on 12 November 2020, and has cancelled its two long itineraries due to depart in January 2021.

The cruise line’s ship Aurora was due to embark on a long sailing to the Caribbean and South America, while Arcadia was due to sail a world cruise.

P&O Cruises Iona, cruise ship
P&O’s new ship Iona is set to be delivered this year

“It is clear that whilst the guidance is in place it is not advisable for us to resume operations,” said P&O Cruises president, Paul Ludlow.

“As well as cancelling all cruises up until November 12 2020 we will, sadly, also be cancelling Aurora’s Caribbean & South America Adventure and Arcadia’s World Cruise.”

“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.

“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.

“We continue to work in partnership with public health agencies at the highest level as well as Department for Transport; EU Healthy Gateways and Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the world’s largest cruise industry association.

“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.

Caribbean
Two long-haul sailings, including one to the Caribbean, have also been cancelled

“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 onto P&O’s cancelled cruises will automatically receive a 125 per cent future cruise credit, which can be used on any P&O sailing. Alternatively, they can fill in the website form for a 100 per cent refund.

“We have invested significantly in new systems and technology to speed up the refund process and to date we have refunded tens of thousands of guests, although it is heartening to see that the majority of our guests have opted for the FCC so they have a holiday to look forward to in the future,” Ludlow continued.

Despite the delay in sailings, the cruise line recently announced news on the delivery of its brand new mega-ship, Iona.

P&O has confirmed it will take delivery of the highly anticipated new ship “before the autumn”.