As yet another blow to the cruise industry, P&O Cruises made the sad, but somewhat unsurprising, announcement today (Wednesday 17 September) that it is cancelling all of its sailings until 2021.

This means that all of P&O’s Caribbean cruises have been cancelled until the end of January 2021 and all cruises from and to Southampton are cancelled through February as well as Arcadia and Aurora, which have already been cancelled through to the end of their spring world cruises.

P&O Cruises’ Paul Ludlow blamed the latest string of cancellation on the “evolving restrictions on travel from the UK”.

This year was supposed to see the launch and maiden voyage of P&O Cruises’ brand new ship, Iona, which will be the largest cruise ship ever built for the UK market with a passenger capacity of 5,206 and crew of 1,800.

But of course, with this latest news, it is clear that passengers will not get to enjoy the delights of the new vessel – which will feature a two-level SkyDome venue, world-class entertainment courtesy of musical director Gary Barlow and the first gin distillery at sea – until next year at the earliest.

P&O Cruises Iona
Iona’s SkyDome will transform from a pool in the day to a stage in the evening

The Carnival Corporation-owned cruise line announced in August that it would be taking delivery of the Excellence-class cruise ship “before the autumn”, which under construction at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany, along with her sister ship (yet to be named), which is due to launch in December 2022.

“The final outfitting of Iona is almost complete and is looking stunning and we will take delivery of her before the autumn. We also now know that her sister ship will join the fleet at the end of 2022.

“Both ships are eagerly anticipated by our guests and we are seeing strong demand for the future. The space on these two ships will allow for extraordinary experiences; visual entertainment displays; new dining concepts and many new areas for relaxation and indulgence.”

According to latest reports, P&O Cruises’ Iona is currently located in the North Sea en route to her sea trials.

Visit pocruises.com for more information on Iona.