March 8, 2017
(9:00 a.m. GMT) -- P&O Cruises will base Oceana in Dubai in January 2019 -- the first time it has based a ship in the Arabian Gulf.
The partial season will run from January 10 to April 4 2019 with Oceana sailing five 10-night cruises from Dubai, calling in at Abu Dhabi, Muscat, Bahrain and the Suez Canal.
If the season proves a success, the line will offer a full season of cruises on the 2,000-passenger ship from October 2019 to April 2020, said P&O Cruises senior vice president Paul Ludlow.
Speaking at an event in London last night, Ludlow said: "We asked our passengers where they wanted to go and, apart from our existing destinations, the overwhelming response was Dubai.
"More than a million Brits travel to Dubai every year, so basing a ship there, especially a family-friendly one like Oceana, makes a lot of sense."
The cruise includes overnights in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and Ludlow expected many passengers to add on a few nights before or after the cruise.
A number of lines offer cruises in the Arabian Gulf, including Royal Caribbean, MSC Cruises and from this year, Celestyal Cruises.
The Oceana cruises are book-ended by two repositioning cruises of 20 and 14 nights respectively, to and from Dubai.
The Arabian Gulf fly-cruise programme goes on sale to top tier Peninsular Club members from March 23, 2017 and on general sale from March 27, 2017. Pre-registration opens on March 13, 2017. Prices start from £1,399 per person with up to £450 per person on board spending money on bookings made before May 2, 2017. Past passengers will also receive a five per cent discount on bookings made before May 2, 2017.
The ten-night Arabian Gulf cruises will be round trip from Dubai and will visit Sir Bani Yas Island, Abu Dhabi; Manama, Bahrain, Khasab, Oman; Dubai, Abu Dhabi, the Suez Canal, Salalah and Muscat, both Oman.
--by Adam Coulter, UK Managing Editor