(9:50 a.m. BST) -- P&O Cruises has announced its summer cruise programme for 2019 with an increased emphasis on new-to-cruisers and past passengers alike.
The cruise collection offers nearly 180 itineraries on P&O's eight ships to popular destinations plus longer "Discovery Cruises" to lesser-known places.
Highlights include weekly seven-night Norwegian fjords voyages on Britannia, Ventura and Azura between April and September; fortnightly Western Mediterranean cruises on Britannia, Ventura and Azura between May and October; immersive cruises on Arcadia and Aurora aimed at repeat passengers; discovery-led and scenic cruising on Oriana, and a Malta Mediterranean fly-cruise programme on Oceana.
For the first time P&O will feature the Arabian Gulf. Four new extended repositioning cruises will be added to the programme, sailing from Dubai to Malta via the Suez Canal.
Maiden calls include Le Verdon, for Bordeaux, and Fredericia, Denmark. There will also be more evening and overnight calls so passengers can experience the nightlife in ports including Amsterdam, Boston, Dubai, Madeira, New York, Quebec, Reykjavik, Rotterdam and St Petersburg.
In addition to classic destinations such as Rome (from Civitavecchia), Florence and Pisa (from Livorno or La Spezia), Barcelona and Monte Carlo, itineraries will include calls to smaller and less-frequented destinations, including Sorrento, Propriano, Olbia and Calvi.
Other highlights of the 2019 programme include:
- Strictly Come Dancing and "Food Heroes" theme cruises
- A 13-night British Isles itinerary
- Fly-cruises to see the autumn colours in Canada and North America
- No-fly 28-night Caribbean cruises
- Two- and three-night short breaks ideal for first-time cruisers
- An "event" cruise taking in the Monaco Grand Prix
P&O Cruises' senior vice president, Paul Ludlow, said: "I don’t believe there is another cruise line or indeed travel company which offers this breadth of holiday choice with exhilarating, memorable celebrity trips.
"From the great sights across the globe to intimate one-off dining experiences, the world’s best sporting events or simply a hidden cove in the sun, it is an unparalleled choice."
Pre-registration opened on September 4, with sales opening to Top Tier Peninsular Club members from September 11. The programme will go on general sale from September 12. Prices start from £199 per person for a two-night cruise from Southampton, with a range of discounts on offer for past passengers.
In spring 2020 P&O will see the arrival of its newest ship -- carrying up to 5,200 passengers -- that is set to be the largest ever built for the U.K. market. The line launched a competition earlier this year for customers and Cruise Critic members to name the 180,000-ton mega ship, though the winning entry and name is yet to be revealed.
--By Jeannine Williamson, Cruise Critic contributor