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I blogged not long ago about the cancellation of Azura’s world cruise, planned for the early months of 2013. This was cancelled a couple of weeks or so ago, and P&O have now published a replacement schedule. It’s now intended that Azura will do a program of fly-cruises in the Caribbean, book-ended with a couple of transatlantic crossings to get there in January and to get back in April. The majority of the cruises will start on Thursday (e.g. 31 Jan 2013; 7 Feb 2013; etc) with a flight to Barbados, and the cruise will depart from Barbados in the late afternoon. Flights back will depart from Barbados on Thirsday afternoon, landing at UK airports early on Friday mornings.

As with Ventura’s Caribbean program in 2013, there will be weekly departures for a fortnight’s cruise, so both ships will be calling at Barbados every week. The itineraries will then take the ships away from Barbados on loops that each take a week to complete, but there will be two different loops for each ship. So a cruise beginning on one week (on either ship, in fact) might do loop 1 the first week, then loop 2 the second; passengers joining in the middle will do loop 2 on their first week, and loop 1 on their second. As a result passengers won’t visit the ports of call more than once, apart from Barbados which will not only the port of embarkation and disembarkation at the beginning and end of the cruise, but will also be a port of call in the middle of everyone’s two week cruise.

Azura’s loops will be different from Ventura’s. Whereas Ventura will head northwards out of Barbados for both her loops, Azura will head westwards on one loop and call at Aruba, Curaçao, St. Vincent and Grenada before turning northwards from Barbados for the other loop which will include St Maarten, Tortola, Guadeloupe and St Lucia. This is perhaps a more international flavour than Ventura’s destinations: St Maarten, Aruba and Curaçao are Dutch islands, while Guadeloupe is French.

I think these are attractive itineraries, and appeal more to me than Ventura’s. But I’m not sure about that Thursday departure – that makes the cruise about two and a half working weeks, which would probably rule it out for us.

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