P&O Cruises, the UK focused contemporary market unit of Carnival Corporation & plc, said that the 1995 built Oriana of 69,840 gross tons would leave its fleet in August 2019.
It is the smallest and oldest unit in the seven strong fleet of the company. In the summer of 2020, the first of two180,000 gross ton newbuildings is due to enter service, followed by another one in 2022.
At the same time, P&O Cruises has launched a guest experience programme will cover three key areas of investment in shore excursions, dining and entertainment across mid-sized ships Arcadia and Aurora and Oceana as well as the larger ships Britannia, Azura and Ventura.
Aurora will be refitted next spring, prior to her re-launch as a ship exclusively for adults, when new cabins will be added as well as fixtures, fittings, soft furnishings and enhancements to public spaces throughout the ship.
P&O Cruises senior vice president, Paul Ludlow, said: “With the introduction of Iona in 2020 followed by a similar ship two years later, it is also imperative that we continue to elevate the standards of the rest of the fleet."
“Our research with current and prospective guests shows that their holidays need to give them a vital boost to their everyday lives – they tell us that they want ‘to live life at ‘100%.' Cruising today is perceived as a contemporary and aspirational holiday yet it is still one which has very small penetration in the holiday market as a whole. Our vision is to break these barriers by listening to feedback from our loyal guests whilst expanding the audience of new cruisers."
“The additions will include new excursions across our itineraries, new dazzling theatre shows and daytime activities which reflect today’s trends. We will be investing in Aurora’s refit next year; Food Hero Eric Lanlard has devised an entirely new afternoon tea for all the ships, which will be very special, as well as refreshed menus and cocktails across the fleet,” Ludlow said in a statement.
Rollout of these enhancements will coincide with the departure of Oriana from the fleet in August 2019.
Ludlow added: “Oriana is an original, and a much loved P&O Cruises ship. Whilst we will miss her, her departure will allow us to focus on our remaining mid-sized and larger ships as the fleet expands with Iona and her sister ship in 2020 and 2022 respectively.
“Oriana will be with us until August next year so there will be plenty of opportunity to celebrate her time with us. Those guests who have sailed on Oriana will then be able to enjoy holidays on Aurora and Arcadia, both of which are exclusively for adults and have a very similar on board feel, and experience the re-vitalisation taking place over the next year.”
Ludlow continued: “Detail is everything. It may be exhilaration from exploring an off the beaten track port, experiencing local flavours and cultures, having an evening of wine-tasting, dancing until the early hours to a great band, the freshest seafood lunch on shore or the perfect espresso martini before dinner. It is an escape from busy lives and allows guests to have indulgent time to themselves which will literally give them boosted vitality and memories to last until the next holiday.”
A special final sailing on Oriana will be announced shortly. Further details of the new guest experiences will be announced over the next year.