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When the summer 2020 schedules were released in early September I did a post about them. While we were on the Oceana cruise we got a bit more information about these itineraries during a presentation by a member of the on-board loyalty/future cruises team. There’s no real change to the information I presented earlier, just some clarification about Ventura’s schedules, and the appearance of a new term – “Track Itineraries”.

This is the term P&O are using to describe the repeating itineraries that most of the ships will be following in summer 2020, i.e. where the ship will be following the same track (or very nearly) thought the season. So Iona will be repeating the same 7-night fjords cruise throughout that summer; Britannia will be doing a succession of 14-night itineraries to the western Mediterranean, all of them very similar; Azura will be alternating 14-night itineraries to the Baltic and the western Mediterranean; and Oceana will be doing another season of fly cruises out of Malta, alternating between the central Mediterranean, the Adriatic, and the Aegean.

I’ve made sense of Ventura’s schedules. She’ll be on a 21-day cycle, consisting of i) a 2-night party cruise; ii) a 12-night Canary Islands itinerary; and iii) a 7-night Iberia itinerary; add them up and you get to 21 nights; i.e. every three weeks the sequence will start over again. She’ll 9 such iterations during the summer. The detailed pattern is complicated somewhat by the fact that after doing two ‘2-12-7’ iterations (18 April to 29 May), she’ll then switch to a ‘2-7-12’ pattern for one iteration, and then switch to six ‘7-2-12’ iterations, with a final 7-nighter at the very end of the season. (Although you could also interpret the sequence by describing it as nine ‘2-12-7’ repeats, with an extra 7-night itinerary slipped in between the third and fourth iterations…)

The only two ships not following these Track Itineraries will be Arcadia and Aurora. Instead, they’ll be doing a mixture of itineraries, varying in both length and destination, and will each cover the range of voyages found in the other ships’ itineraries. Thus, at some time during the season each of them will visit the Western Mediterranean, the Baltic, the Canary islands, and Norway and the fjords. Aurora will also be visiting Iceland. Additionally, they’ll be doming some unique voyages following itineraries not followed by any of the other ships. Both will be doing voyages to North America starting in September and lasting for 24 nights (Aurora) and 30 nights (Arcadia). Arcadia will also be doing a 12-night British Isles itinerary starting on 9 August.

Many of these cruises are of quite long duration – of Arcadia’s 13 itineraries, 8 are longer than 14 nights, and of Aurora’s 14 itineraries, 7 will be longer than 14 nights. A number of the cruises on these two ships are labelled in the brochure as “Discovery Cruises” – I assume because they are longer in duration and visit lesser-known ports. For example, on 31 May 2020 Arcadia will undertake a 16-night voyage to St Petersburg, calling at Gothenburg, Gdansk/Gdynia, Klaipeda, Visby, Bornholm, Warnemunde and Copenhagen as well as St Petersburg, so there are some lesser-visited ports there. On 5 June 2020 Aurora will do an 18-night Western Mediterranean itinerary including calls at El Ferrol, Gibraltar, Olbia (Sardinia), Santa Margherita, Civitavecchia, Naples, Salerno, Mallorca (Palma?), Almeria and Lisbon, which will give a good mixture of familiar and less-familiar ports. (We were so attracted by this itinerary that we booked it while on Oceana, in fact.)

Overall, I think this is a good mixture, and makes sense. The larger ships will in any case be constrained as to which ports they can call at, so why not use the smaller ships in this way. Though it’s odd to think of Arcadia (80,000+ tons) being thought of as a ‘smaller’ (or at least ‘medium-sized’) ship.

 

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