Middle East Cruise News

Brexit could provide a boost to P&O’s maiden Dubai cruise season

With all the uncertainty surrounding the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union (popularly known as Brexit), British cruise passengers have been left wondering how the politics might affect their travel plans.

More than 2-million Brits go on cruises every year, and P&O Cruises commands a sizeable chunk of the market, roughly 2.4% of passengers globally, but more than a quarter of the UK market.

P&O’s cruise ship Oceana will spend the winter homeporting in Dubai for 2019.

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It also leads in fly-cruise options from the UK in destinations like the Caribbean and Arabian Gulf, making it well-placed to act as a safe haven for cruisers worried about immigration issues in Europe, and the volatility of the pound.

“P&O Cruises operates in British sterling and all holiday, on-board spending and shore excursion costs are in pounds, so our guests are shielded from currency fluctuations and can budget with peace of mind,” says Michele Andjel, director of communications for Carnival UK.

There is uncertainty over whether British tourists will still be given visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to Europe post-Brexit, and the currency fluctuations in the pound are prompting many to hold back on booking holidays in case they become too expensive when it comes time to pay closer to Brexit (the UK is scheduled to leave the EU on March 29th).

“Exchange rates have been on a rollercoaster over the past few months, and continuing uncertainty over Brexit mean they’re set to stay volatile,” says Simon Phillips, retail director at foreign exchange specialist No1 Currency.

P&O Cruises is seen as a safe cruise option for British cruise tourists in the coming months.

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P&O is therefore a solid option for British cruise tourists, and Brexit won’t have any impact on Dubai’s visa-on-arrival customs policy for British tourists, making a fly-cruise in the Arabian Gulf a safe bet for those seeking to go on a cruise in the first two quarters of 2018.

This is backed up by the fact that British cruise tourists this year voted Dubai their favoured luxury cruise destination, and in the first few months of P&O’s Dubai season going on sale, bookings were so robust that it confirmed the ship for a second season for 2019/2020.

“P&O Cruises will homeport in the region for the first time in early 2019,” said Steven Young, Director Port Services & Government Affairs, P&O Cruises and Cunard, Carnival UK.

“It’s taken more than three years to convince our P&O team in the UK to do so, and we think that its going to be a very well-received proposition for British cruise tourists given all this region has to offer,” he added.

“The Arabian Gulf has become an ever-more popular region to holiday in, and the itineraries we are offering are exactly the kind of exotic mix that our guests are going to love,” said Paul Ludlow, President of P&O Cruises.

The British cruise line says UK cruise tourists will make up 99% of its passengers during its inaugural Dubai cruise season next year.

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