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Arvia at dock in Southampton ahead of its maiden Caribbean cruise (Photo Adam Coulter)
Arvia at dock in Southampton ahead of its maiden Caribbean cruise (Photo Adam Coulter)

Exclusive: First Look at P&O Cruises' New Ship Arvia Ahead of Maiden Caribbean

Arvia at dock in Southampton ahead of its maiden Caribbean cruise (Photo Adam Coulter)
Arvia at dock in Southampton ahead of its maiden Caribbean cruise (Photo Adam Coulter)
U.K. Executive Editor
Adam Coulter

Last updated
Jan 10, 2023

Read time
4 min read

(8:45 a.m. GMT) -- P&O Cruises new ship Arvia opened the gangways to press and trade partners in Southampton ahead of its maiden Caribbean cruise.

main atrium on P&O Cruises Arvia (Photo: Adam Coulter)
main atrium on P&O Cruises Arvia (Photo: Adam Coulter)

The 5,200-passenger ship set sail on Friday for Tenerife where it is due to arrive today (Jan 10), before setting sail for Barbados.

Arvia is a sister to P&O Cruises' Iona, and will spend winter months in Bridgetown, offering Caribbean cruises, and the summer in the Mediterranean.

P&O Cruises' President Paul Ludlow was on the ship for the day, together with the line's "food (and wine) heroes" -- Marco Pierre White, Jose Pizarro, Olly Smith and newcomer to the line, Shivi Ramoutar.

"The great thing about this ship is people can come onboard for seven- or 14-nights and choose over 30 places to eat and drink," said Ludlow.

"You can't do it all in the time that you're with us -- you've got to come back. And that's what we really want to do -- hook people in and ensure that the P&O Cruises proposition remains relevant.

"P&O Cruises is the "best of Britain"… and I think what Arvia demonstrates is that we remain contemporary, relevant and salient to the P&O Cruises customer today."

P&O Cruises Arvia Has a Number of New Eating, Drinking And Entertainment Venues

I M G 0387
I M G 0387

To that end, the line has introduced a number of new-to-the-line eating, drinking and entertainment venues onboard.

This includes P&O Cruises first vegetarian and vegan restaurant at sea -- Green & Co. featuring a sushi bar, Mizuhana.

Mission Control on P&O Cruises Arvia (Photo: Adam Coulter)
6th Street Diner on P&O Cruises Arvia (Photo: Adam Coulter)

And an American-style casual eatery -- 6th Street Diner -- which features burgers, hot dogs, nachos and wings.

Shivi Ramoutar on P&O Cruises Arvia (Photo Alun Callender)
Shivi Ramoutar on P&O Cruises Arvia (Photo Alun Callender)

The line has also teamed up with Ramoutar, who has selected a range of dishes from the Caribbean, South America and Mexico for the Beach House.

Pizarro meanwhile continues to offer dishes in the Olive Grove as well as tapas in the Glass House where Smith oversees the wines. And Pierre White prepares a special menu in the main dining rooms for "Celebration Nights".

Anderson's Bar Rum Distillery on P&O Cruises Arvia (Photo: Adam Coulter)
Anderson's Bar Rum Distillery on P&O Cruises Arvia (Photo: Adam Coulter)

In terms of drinking venues, Anderson's Bar, which on Iona features the first gin distillery at sea, now specializes in rum and features the first rum distillery at sea.

Arvia also sees new entertainment onboard in the form of Sunset bar entertainment with live DJ sets.

Swim up bar on P&O Cruises Arvia (Photo: Adam Coulter)
Swim up bar on P&O Cruises Arvia (Photo: Adam Coulter)

The ship also features the line's first swim-up bar and infinity pool.

Mission Control on Arvia (Photo: Adam Coulter)
Mission Control on Arvia (Photo: Adam Coulter)

Arvia also debuts the first immersive escape room for P&O Cruises -- Mission Control.

Altitude Sky Walk and Mini Golf on P&O Cruises Arvia (Photo: Adam Coulter)
Altitude Sky Walk and Mini Golf on P&O Cruises Arvia (Photo: Adam Coulter)

On the top deck Arvia has P&O Cruises first ropes course at sea, above a mini-golf course.

Gary Barlow's Take That Musical to Debut Onboard P&O Cruises Arvia

The line linked up with ex-Take That frontman, Gary Barlow, on Iona in the form of the 710 Club, which highlights young, up-and-coming musicians hand-picked by Barlow.

Arvia will see the debut of Greatest Days, the Take That musical, which premieres on the ship in a few weeks' time, Ludlow confirmed.

Barlow -- who played two concerts onboard Iona last year -- is likely to perform on Arvia too: "Undoubtedly he'll be onboard soon," Ludlow confirmed.

Daytime entertainment includes a link-up with GMTV presenter Ben Shephard for an interactive game show called Wavelength.

The Keel & Cow restaurant on P&O Cruises Arvia (Photo: Adam Coulter)
The Keel & Cow restaurant on P&O Cruises Arvia (Photo: Adam Coulter)

All of the line's favourite venues make a return including Brodie's Pub, The Crow's Nest, Epicurean, Sindhu and The Keel & Cow.

Addressing the issues that took place on Arvia's maiden cruise over Christmas, Ludlow said:

"We operate this ship with 5,000 guests onboard and typically we would not have planned the maiden cruise at Christmas, but because of issues at the shipyard, the ship debuted a couple of week's late and therefore the maiden was at Christmas.

"And as ever there were a few bugs in the system and there were a handful of guests who had some problems at Christmas lunch.

"I am more than confident that the next sailing that those problems will be ironed out."

He added: "Unfortunately the news agenda was a little light at the time, so the coverage might not otherwise have been as strong as it was."

Arvia sets sail for Barbados this evening, on an eight-day crossing to its new homeport, where it will be christened in March at a beachside ceremony -- the first P&O Cruises' ship not to be named in Southampton The godmother has yet to be announced, but according to Ludlow that announcement will be "epic".

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