Christmas 2020 might be disappointing for avid cruisers but P&O Cruises’ cruise experts are already planning for next year’s bumper Christmas-New Year festive season with a three-ship fleet and in anticipation of a return to cruising in 2021.
In a further sign of guests’ desire to again spend the holiday season at sea, P&O's Christmas and New Year 2021 cruises have more bookings compared to this time during previous years. They are also two of the most popular 'searched-for' pages on P&O's website.
With better days ahead, the cruise line’s food and beverage and supply chain teams are already building their ‘shopping list’ for next year’s holiday season cruises.
And those better days can’t come soon enough for legendary P&O cruise director Zoltina-J Medwik-Daley who this year is spending her first Christmas ashore in Australia in 23 years after a career lifetime at sea including 19 consecutive Christmases at sea.
“Like our guests, I can’t wait to get back on the water and I am really missing not being at sea for the Christmas-New Year celebrations,” Zoltina-J said.
“I know we have to be patient until the time is right to cruise again but it’s hard knowing what we are missing out on.
“The crew love the Christmas cruises just as much as the guests. There is a really special atmosphere on board.
“Families love it, parents are relaxed and happy and the kids love the magic of Santa, Christmas decorations and carols not to mention the food and entertainment. Everyone goes to bed each night thinking that cruising doesn’t get better than this.”
With the opening of a pathway to the resumption of cruising and with Pacific Adventure and Pacific Encounter joining Pacific Explorer in the first half of the New Year, P&O’s planners are thinking ahead to Christmas 2021.
And that means having ship larders stocked with huge quantities of produce with the anticipated return to normal life as new protocols are introduced and pandemic concerns recede.
Some of the items on the supply chain ‘shopping list’ for guests and crew aboard the three-ship fleet include:
•21,952 bottles of wine (most of it Australian and New Zealand vintages)
•102,375 kg of fruit
•139,125 kg of vegetables
•27,562 kg of beef
•3,146 kg of turkey
•30,765 kg of seafood
•2,683 kg of chocolate
The planned ‘shopping list’ will come as great news for the farming and wine sectors with a large number of suppliers whose livelihoods are linked to cruising.
“Behind the scenes of cruising, there is always meticulous planning going on and we must always be thinking well ahead,” says corporate executive chef Uwe Stiefel.
“In our cruising world where itineraries are planned two years ahead, Christmas 2021 isn’t really that far away, and we have to be ready.
“As we plan menus and the special treats we will be serving, we also know we must go all out to make next year’s Christmas-New Year cruises even more memorable than ever.
“So many of our guests love spending Christmas and New Year at sea and they certainly won’t be disappointed with what we will have to offer.”