Pod Problems Interfere with P&O's Arcadia

August 14, 2008
P&O's Arcadia -- which has been experiencing problems with its propulsion units, resulting in itinerary tweaks this summer -- will continue making alterations to planned cruises throughout the fall. A total of 11 cruises between June and November will ultimately be affected, including six more between now and the fall.

While a P&O spokeswoman downplays changes in the voyages, noting that in most cases arrivals and departures may be off by 30 - 60 minutes, one passenger booked on the 83,000-ton, 1,952-passenger ship's 14 November cruise tells us the trip he booked has been downgraded from two weeks to 12 days. As well, ports have been significantly changed. Instead of stops at Monte Carlo, Almeria, Cadiz, Lisbon and Vigo, the ship will go to Calvi, Civitavecchia and Gibraltar.

As well, P&O has sent a letter to passengers booked on that cruise, saying the ship will sail from Barcelona half an hour earlier than advertised and Civitavecchia an hour earlier, plus it will arrive at Gibraltar half an hour later than advertised. The cruise will end in Southampton on 26 November.

After this sailing, Arcadia will enter a previously scheduled dry dock and repairs will be made.

“One of Arcadia's propulsion units is not currently operating at its maximum capacity, and I very much regret that we will be unable to make the necessary repairs until Arcadia enters dry dock in late November for her scheduled refit,” said Nick Burrows, head of consumer services, in a letter to passengers booked on the 14 November trip.

P&O confirmed that Arcadia has been suffering from propulsion problems. “Although there are no safety issues whatsoever relating to this limitation of speed, we have had to make some minor itinerary amendments by shortening a few port calls. All passengers traveling on Arcadia have been advised of any changes either directly or through their travel agent," a spokesperson said.

--by Kari Reinikainen. Reinikainen, based in the U.K., is a regular contributor to the cruise industry's top business publications, from Fairplay to Cruise Business Review.