P&O Cruises’ final ship at sea is due to arrive in Southampton over the Bank holiday Easter Sunday (12 April), much to our relief.
The cruise ship has certainly had quite a time of it over the past weeks.
Following the global suspension of sailings, the British cruise line announced on 18 March that its 2,388-passenger cruise ship Arcadia, which had been sailing on a World Cruise and a 99-night circumnavigation, would be forced to travel more than 8,000 miles from its current location near the southern tip of Africa to the UK to get passengers off the vessel.
South Africa denied the line’s request to let passengers disembark in Cape Town.
Arcadia then travelled to Durban where she made a technical stop for fuel and stores, and then on to Tenerife for a further technical stop, before she headed back to the UK.
Due to international Coronavirus precautionary measures, all guests are remaining on board until Southampton, where Arcadia is due to arrive on Sunday 12 April as per the original itinerary. (2/2)
— P&O Cruises (@pandocruises) March 27, 2020
Rather than the usual welcome wagon, passengers travelling on board Arcadia will be greeted with an unusual disembarkation process when they arrive in Southampton with the UK now in lockdown.
Posting the measures on social media, P&O Cruises said: “In order to adhere to social distancing measures the disembarkation process for Arcadia in Southampton this weekend, will not be conducted in the usual way.
“We have contacted guests on board and advised them to have their onward travel arranged before they leave the ship.
“Anyone collecting a guest will be required to wait outside the City Cruise terminal building to adhere to social distancing guidelines.
“To limit the number of people at the terminal, please do not arrive earlier than you have been advised to do so by guests, as they have been allocated a specific time to disembark.
“Toilet facilities will be available at the terminal but refreshment facilities are unavailable at the current time.”
Passengers will no doubt be relieved to return to their families, but will of course now be faced with lockdown along with the rest of the UK.
Last week, P&O Cruises announced that its new ship Iona’s maiden voyage had been postponed following the cruise line’s decision to extend its suspension of sailings. No date has yet been given for the launch.
All guests with a holiday booked up to and including 15 May will receive a future cruise credit of 125 per cent, which will automatically be applied to passenger accounts for use on holiday departing before the end of March 2022.
For everything you need to know about P&O Cruises ship before she launches, read our review.
Visit gov.uk for the latest coronavirus travel updates.