P&O Cruises Cancels Upcoming Arabian Gulf Program Amid Gulf Tensions

August 07: P&O Cruises on Wednesday announced it will withdraw from Dubai this winter amid continuing tensions over shipping in the Gulf.

The cruise tourism giant said that following close monitoring of the situation within the Straits of Hormuz, P&O Cruises has cancelled its planned Dubai and Arabian Gulf programme from October until at least March next year.

The move follows a number of British-flagged vessels being seized in Gulf waters recently, raising security fears.

P&O Cruises president Paul Ludlow said in a statement: “The increased tension in the region highlighted by the attacks on tankers in the Straits and the detention of a British-flagged tanker by the Iranian authorities means as a British company flying the Red Ensign it is not advisable for us to maintain our planned Dubai and Arabian Gulf programme this winter season.

“We have therefore taken the unusual step of withdrawing Oceana from the region for the upcoming season.

“While we appreciate our guests will be disappointed, the safety of our guests and crew is absolutely paramount and given our UK status, coupled with the uncertainty in the region, we have had to make this difficult decision.”

All bookings will be cancelled, and guests will be given a full refund, P&O said.

The news is a blow to Dubai which earlier on Wednesday announced the conclusion of its 2018/2019 cruise season with a record 51 percent increase in cruise tourists and a 38 percent rise in cruise ship calls.

Dubai welcomed through Mina Rashid Cruise Terminal a total of 846,176 cruise visitors via 152 ship calls during the season, compared to 558,781 visitors onboard 110 ships in 2017/2018.

An additional 211 ship calls are now confirmed for the upcoming 2019/2020 season, a statement said.

Source: Arabian Business /Sam Bridge

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