Best of 2019
As we enter a new year – and a new decade – we reflect on ten major milestones that helped make 2019 a banner year for P&O Cruises.
It’s amazing how much can happen in a year. 2019 brought big changes and exciting updates for us at P&O Cruises, and we’re so glad we got to share it all with you. Here, we look at ten reasons why this year was one for the books.
1. Our biggest launch ever
In September, we launched our biggest-ever holiday collection: more than 400 cruises visiting 186 unique ports in 68 different countries across the summer 2021 and winter 2021/2022 seasons. From refreshing Short Breaks in cities such as Bruges and Amsterdam to a 99-night World Cruise that takes you to all four corners of the globe, your dream holiday has never been within easier reach.
2. Iona takes shape
Iona’s keel-laying ceremony in May was a major milestone that marked the next phase in her construction. In August, SkyDome – one of Iona’s defining architectural features – was put into place, and with this, our new ship truly started taking shape. In March, we announced that Captain Wesley Dunlop would be at the helm of Iona for her maiden season in the Norwegian fjords. We also launched her winter itineraries, which include sunshine in Spain, Portugal and the Canary Islands and adventures in spectacular northern European cities.
3. Appetising new partners
We also served you details of Iona’s fantastic food offering, including partnerships with Snowflake Luxury Gelato and Salcombe Gin. Snowflake will scoop up their range of luscious gelato aboard our new ship, while Salcombe Gin will create exclusive gins from a custom-made on-board still (the first at sea).
In May, we introduced you to our Local Food Heroes– José Pizarro, Kjartan Skjelde and Marte Marie Forsberg – who will bring the flavours of Spain and Norway to Iona. The chefs are passionate about their nation’s cuisine, using local ingredients to bring authentic tastes to our new ship – think croquetas and jamón Ibérico from Spain and kvaefjord cake and trout from Norway.
4. Your holiday, your way
My P&O Cruises launched in November. Our new pre-cruise website, which replaces Cruise Personaliser and will be available to all guests from April 2020, helps you manage your travel information, book unique experiences on shore and tailor your trip with those little extras. As soon as you’ve booked your cruise, you can start exploring all the things you want to discover on board and ashore. It’s the perfect way to get excited and sprinkle your itinerary with personal touches.
5. Britannia gets a makeover
2019 was a big year for Britannia. The Market Café enjoyed some enhancements in April, courtesy of a new menu and stylish new décor. And in October, Britannia had her first refit after nearly five years sailing the globe. We refreshed key areas on board, from the Atrium to the shops to the spa. Our flagship returned to Southampton looking fresh and ready to deliver the ultimate holiday experience.
6. So long, service charge
2019 saw us wave goodbye to the service charge. With no tipping needed on board, you can relax in the knowledge that the P&O Cruises standards of service you’ve come to expect are all part and parcel of your holiday.
7. A refreshing announcement
In May, we launched our new drinks packages: four fabulous options that are sure to hit the spot. Whether it’s a Costa coffee to start your day or a cooling cocktail at sundown, you’ll find your favourite drinks in great-value packages.
8. Music to your ears
In December we announced Ionafest, a spectacular 7night music festival at sea. From July 4-11, we’ll be bringing top musical acts – including Clean Bandit, Sara Cox and Trevor Nelson – on board for a party like no other. Guests can also be part of Iona’s naming celebration and enjoy street food pop-ups and enthralling events, all with the Norwegian fjords as a backdrop. Stay tuned for more info and announcements next year.
9. A new online experience
The new pocruises.com launched in April, delivering a user-friendly experience on desktop, mobile and tablet. It’s now easier than ever before to discover the inspiring destinations you can visit, find out about life on board, and book your next dream holiday.
10. Fun times ashore
We upped our on-shore offering in 2019. We introduced bespoke group shore experiences, which give you the chance to create your perfect day ashore in any destination we visit, with expert help from start to finish. Whether you want to book a private catamaran for a snorkelling expedition in St Vincent or tour to the Great Wall of China from Shanghai, we can help make it happen.
We also partnered with global tour operator Urban Adventures to bring you experiences that take you beneath the skin of your destination, from eating your heart out in Valencia to discovering all things hygge in Copenhagen.