(8:30 a.m. EST) -- P&O Cruises' Oriana will be a child-free ship from November 2011, the cruise line has confirmed.
Next winter the 69,000-ton, 1,818-passenger ship will begin operating as an adults-only ship and cruises from 30 November, 2011 are now being sold exclusively to adults.
The reason? P&O Cruises has said in a statement that with the 45,000-ton, 1,196-passenger Artemis, currently a no-kid-zone, leaving the fleet in May 2011, the number of cruises available just for adults will be reduced. The British line is of course bringing in a replacement, Adonia (currently sailing as Princess Cruises' Royal Princess). It will also be geared to an adult demographic. However, the 30,200-ton, 710-passenger ship is a great deal smaller than Artemis -- hence the need to add another adult-only offering.
There is already ready chatter about the news on the Cruise Critic forums, one member Tom_UK said: "Is there any information on what they are going to do with the space currently occupied by the children's facilities? There's an opportunity there for another restaurant, perhaps, or something special."
We asked P&O Cruises this question and we were told by a spokesperson that the line hasn't confirmed what will go in the inside space currently occupied by the children's club but that it is looking at "a number of options".
Another member, Elderflower was excited by the news.
"Great news for us - a refit and child free in time for our world cruise in January 2012. Didn't expect too many little ones on this cruise anyway but it looks as if P&O are in the process of redefining their ships to fit their varying clientele. Wonder if they have realised that "one size fits all" does not really work."
Families will still have the choice of Aurora, Oceana, Ventura and the newest ship to join the fleet this year, Azura. Although P&O Cruises originally promoted Azura as a ship for couples (although not exclusively), it has expansive facilities for youngsters, like its sister ship Ventura -- which is already family focused.
What do you think of this news? Have you and your family travelled on Oriana?
--by Kelly Ranson, U.K. Editor