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I’m late with this story, but I’ve only just learned that Oriana’s planned 50 night cruise from 6 January to 25 February has been cancelled. P&O have instead arranged for Oriana to have some ‘essential maintenance’. I can’t find any real information as to what that maintenance will consist of, but there are suggestions on various forums that it might be for propulsion. (Oriana has a unique propulsion method within the P&O fleet – her engines have a mechanical drive to the propellers. Every other ship in the fleet follows has a system where the diesel engines are directly connected to electricity generators, and the propulsion motors are electrically-powered.)

I gather that there is considerable unhappiness among those who had booked this cruise. This is especially so since the cancellation announcement (21 November) was after the date for final payment which, given the length of the cruise, will have been a not-inconsiderable sum. Further unhappiness seems to have been caused by what is regarded as ungenerous compensation for the cancellation. As far as I can make out, this is as follows:

  • A full refund (of course);
  • A credit of 5% of the amount paid for the cancelled cruise, against the price of a future cruise;
  • Passengers will have until December 2019 to make the booking against which this credit can be taken;
  • Passengers will be credited with the 500 Peninsular Club points that they would have earned on the cancelled cruise.

Although the emergency maintenance is expected to take just 3 weeks (i.e. 21 nights), P&O have not announced any replacement cruises for the period between the end of the maintenance and and the next cruise, scheduled to start on 25 February. It wouldn’t surprise me therefore if there were some additional cruises announced at very short notice in late January – I don’t expect P&O will want to leave Oriana idle for that period. But that’s just a guess.

Coming after the passenger unhappiness caused by the sale of Adonia, this is unfortunate. There are some conspiracy theories swirling around – for example, that the 50 night cruise had sold very badly and was going to make a huge loss – but until I learn otherwise I’m going to assume that P&O are being honest, and that something requiring urgent, lengthy maintenance has indeed arisen. If I learn more I’ll report it here, of course.

Let me finish by saying that I recognise that passengers on the cancelled cruise must have been very disappointed, and have every right to feel very upset. I also think P&O could have been a bit more forthcoming about the reasons for the urgent maintenance.

3 Responses to “Oriana cruise cancellation”

  1. Rosie says:

    Replacement cruises have already been on sale at very very cheap prices. This annoyed people who were on the cancelled cruise as they are already transferred their booking to similar cruises. So unhappy cruises. Mind you if I was booked on a 50 night cruise not so sure I would want a 2 week same as same as cruise…no matter how cheap it was.

    • Tom Burke says:

      Thanks for the comment, Rosie.

      Yes, all in all it’s not a great result. I think if it happened to me I might wait until a real ‘equivalent’ alternative presented itself. But that’s a problem for those who cruise several times a year – the credit will be applied to whichever cruise they book next, I suppose.

  2. Brian says:

    We were booked on this and when it was cancelled we changed to the 35 night on Oceana which I only returned from today, you’re right there will always be conspiracy theories when companies are less than transparent as P&O were on this occasion. Some passengers who had booked a long time ago also lost substantial on board credit which was not transferred. I also heard it had sold badly, had boiler troubles, plumbing problems and stabilizer issues. After having it cancelled and rebooking we saw a very good deal on Oriana just before Christmas for 2 weeks but even on there then everyone, including the captain who we did ask were very tight lipped. Interestingly at one of the cocktail parties on Oceana the captain commented that Oriana was sailing again after her dry dock with both stabilizers working so the mystery seems to have been solved.

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