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Poor P&O…

It’s not been an especially good week for P&O.

First they had the embarrassing experience of Arcadia suffering a delay in starting her “world voyage” (Southampton to Asia & Australia and back, via the Med in both directions). She was supposed to leave on 5 January but was delayed until 4pm the following day. The problem was a failure of her ’emergency backup generator’, and the delay was caused by the need to fly parts to Southampton from the manufacturer in Italy. Passengers had boarded on the 5th, of course, and during the delay on the 6th they were offered the opportunity of a tour of Southampton, or at least transport into Southampton city centre. I understand that nearly 1/3 of them took up this offer…. Arcadia is now on her way but as a result of the delay calls at ports for the first couple of weeks or so will be one day later than published. The half-day call at Salalah (Oman) on 20 January will be missed altogether, and after that she should be back on the published schedule.

More worryingly for P&O is this story: ‘Ocean cruise ends in almighty brawl‘. This is not the sort of story P&O want about their current flagship. Of course, it might be that it has been blown up out of all proportion; I’ll be looking for first-hand accounts from this cruise on the various bulletin boards with interest. It may well be that many other passengers will have been completely unaware of the problems – Ventura is a big ship and if you weren’t actually in the vicinity of the incident you wouldn’t know anything about it.

Nonetheless, it may be that as a result of their strong marketing of Ventura as a family ship, P&O is attracting families who are not familiar with cruising, and with whom P&O itself is not familiar. Culture clashes are bound to result in this situation. It also highlights the fact that P&O’s next ship, Azura (which will be a sister to Ventura) is not being marketed as a specifically family-based ship. I await more information about Azura with interest. In the meantime I have to point out that we enjoyed our autumn cruise on Ventura very much; however, it was during the school term. Click here for the posts I did from Ventura during our cruise.

My conclusion is that I suspect that the ‘Ventura experience’ varies with the time of year more than most.

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