We’re still reeling from the news that Oceana, a P&O Cruises fleet favourite for decades, is to leave the cruise line later this month. The small ship has left a wave of good holiday memories in her wake, but what’s a cruise fan to do if they loved Oceana when it comes to looking ahead?
First thing’s first, there’s a sea of other P&O Cruises alternatives…
Saying farewell to Oceana broke avid cruiser hearts but that great British service we all knew and loved lives on in the rest of the fleet. If it’s small ship cruising that kept you coming back to Oceana, Aurora and Arcadia hover around the same number of passengers and promise the same friendly community feel to sailings. That said, both are exclusively for adults. If you’re holidaying with kids, P&O Cruises Iona looks set to be the ship of the summer next year when it cruises from Southampton following its delayed arrival. It goes without saying that the new addition to the fleet is much bigger than Oceana – Iona will be the largest ship in the P&O Cruises fleet – but that brings a host of new possibilities in terms of eating, drinking and activities, not to mention tons more space to move around the ship.
But what if your small ship loyalties leave you looking at other options too, now that Oceana is no more? Here are some of our favourite alternatives, from the luxury upgrades to the boutique ships that are as compact yet bijou as Oceana was in her day.
Fred Olsen’s New Arrivals
Fred Olsen shone some light in the midst of a dark pandemic with the announcement that they would be adding not one but TWO new ships to the fleet this year. Bolette and Borealis were formerly Holland America Line ships, and with both coming in under 1,500 passengers, they’re perfect for small ship cruise fans. We’re waiting with baited breath for an update on exactly when we’ll be able to get on board, but both ships are expected to debut in the Fred Olsen fleet later in 2020.
Saga’s Spirit of Discovery
One for the adult-only market, Saga’s Spirit of Discovery brought boutique small ship cruising exclusively for the over 50s when she launched in Dover last year. Having spent some time on board, we can confirm that she is a stunner – modern, stylish and with some of the best food we’ve eaten at sea to boot (the cheeseboard is what after-dinner dreams are made of – miss it, miss out!)
Spirit of Discovery will be joined by near-identical sister ship, Spirit of Adventure, in November 2020. It’s worth mentioning that Saga cruise fares include an awful lot, from door-to-door chauffer service (no buses, hurrah!) to optional inclusive travel insurance, drinks, speciality dining and more.
Oceania’s fleet varies in size from 684 to 1250 guests and the luxury fleet shares much of what you came to love so much about Oceana. The service is impeccable and ships smaller in size aren’t just friendly, they can slip into some of those lesser-visited ports of call too. If you have been toying with giving a luxury cruise line a go, Oceania could be just the ticket for a 2021 holiday with a classic appeal that long-time cruisers will appreciate.
How about getting over a P&O Cruises ship by holidaying on an Azamara ship that used to be a P&O Cruises ship? Still with us? Perfect. Adonia left the P&O Cruises fleet way back in 2017 and once we’d dried our tears, we were thrilled to hear that the ‘R class’ ship was in for a new lease of life in the lap of luxury as Azamara Pursuit. Fast forward a couple of years and the ship has become well known for its destination intensive itineraries, with the one-time P&O Cruises ship exploring everywhere from Greece and Italy to South Africa and New Zealand in 2021.
Still not sure which ship is for you? Give one of our Cruise Experts a call on 01246 819819 and let them help find the perfect one for your next holiday.