Middle East Cruise News

P&O Cruises to sail classic ocean liner route from Dubai to UK in 2023

P&O Cruises will recreate the Middle East to Europe route undertaken by its ocean liner forebearers in 2023, with Arcadia departing on an 18-night voyage to the UK.

Arcadia will sail from Dubai on March 27th, 2023, but will board passengers the day before and spend the first night of the cruise in port.

The repositioning cruise comes at the tail end of Arcadia’s 99-night World Cruise and is the final leg of a 52-night Sydney to Southampton voyage.

P&O’s cruise ship Arcadia

Prices start at £2,479 per person sharing for an inside cabin, while a balcony cabin goes for £3,519 at the time of writing. All other cabin categories are sold out.

P&O Cruises invites passengers to “fly to dazzling Dubai and discover a sparkling desert city. Then, begin a relaxing sailing home with time to visit exciting destinations, work on your tan and enjoy all the entertainment on board.”

The ocean liner-esque itinerary from Dubai is heavily slimmed down in terms of port calls, with the ship only calling in Muscat, Malta and Cadiz before arriving in Southampton.

There will be a total of 13 days at sea, with almost two weeks sailing between Muscat and Malta alone, although a full day will be spent navigating the Suez Canal on April 4th.

The cruise is largely similar to that undertaken by P&O annually from Dubai, with Arcadia having sailed a near-identical itinerary in 2018.

These voyages are reminiscent of those operated by British passenger shipping lines prior to the establishment of the jet airliner as the primary mode of travel.

Dubai served as an important re-provisioning and passenger port on the three-week roundtrip services from the UK to India and the Arabian Gulf.

Like the ocean liners of old, the Suez Canal transit aboard Arcadia will be a highlight of the voyage. The waterway linking the Red Sea and Mediterranean represents a feat of engineering, as well as one of the most important pieces of infrastructure in the world in geostrategic terms.

“As the ship goes through the Suez Canal, guests can be out on deck throughout the transit, as it is one of the world’s most fascinating maritime experiences, creating the bizarre impression that they are sailing right through the dry heart of the desert,” says P&O Cruises.

Muscat, Oman

The first port of call however is Muscat, the ancient capital of Oman. The city sits amid the Hajar mountains, with a plethora of Indian Ocean beaches and a history that includes influences from Asian, African and Arabic civilizations.

The old port area, enclosed by gated walls, is where visitors will find the Sultan’s Main Palace, while two well-preserved 16th-century Portuguese forts, Al Jalali and Mirani, guard the entrance to Muscat. The city walls contain the original beautifully carved gates.

Beyond the city natural freshwater pools in the mountains, parks, and nature reserves on the edge of the desert, and unspoilt, soft sandy beaches.

From Muscat, its a week-long cruise for Suez, and then another two days at sea before the ship reaches the historic fortified port of Valetta in Malta, a city that endured so much punishment during the Second World War that it was awarded the George Cross.

Valletta, the capital of Malta.

After another two days at sea Arcadia arrives in Cadiz, Spain, where the ship cruises right into the heart of the historic city, as immediately across the busy Avenida del Puerto from the Spanish port is the main square and shopping area.

Three days later, Arcadia arrives in Southampton, the primary cruise port in the UK, and the historic arrival and departure port for the iconic trans-Atlantic ocean liners of old.

During the voyage, guests will find plenty of ways to keep themselves amused aboard Arcadia, one of the cruise line’s adults-only ships, with 4 restaurants, 11 cafes and bars, a three-level theatre, casino, spa, gym, two lounges, and even an art gallery and small retail area.

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