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P&O Cruises Reveals Launch of New Ship Iona Will be Delayed, Ionafest to be Rescheduled
P&O Cruises Sees "Unprecedented" Demand for Domestic Cruises, Crashing Website
Iona (Image: P&O Cruises)

P&O Cruises Sees "Unprecedented" Demand for Domestic Cruises, Crashing Website

P&O Cruises Sees "Unprecedented" Demand for Domestic Cruises, Crashing Website
Iona (Image: P&O Cruises)

March 22, 2021

Adam Coulter
UK Managing Editor
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(5:15 p.m. GMT) -- P&O Cruises has had so many bookings and enquiries for its domestic coastal cruises that its website crashed this morning.

The three-, four- and seven-night cruises, on flagship Britannia and new ship Iona, will set sail from Southampton between June and September.

The systems are fixed now, but for a time this morning, passengers were left frustrated trying to make bookings.

The line tweeted the following statement this morning: "We are very sorry but an unprecedented demand for our UK coastal cruises has caused technical issues with our systems on the website and through our contact centre."

A few hours later, P&O Cruises president Paul Ludlow Tweeted: "We’re so sorry if you’ve experienced difficulty booking our new UK getaways this morning. This has been due to incredible demand. We've made a number of changes to allow more guests to book online so we’re pleased to say, you can now book via our website."

In a statement, Ludlow added: "We always hoped that these domestic cruises would be popular, given the uncertainty around holidays abroad, but we have never before seen such significant and immediate demand and it certainly shows the effects of lockdown and everyone's need for a holiday."

Iona's maiden voyage to the Scottish islands, including the island after which she was named, is "very well sold", he added.

The line cancelled all international summer sailings earlier this month, then announced a season of round-Britain cruises last week.

It joins a number of other lines. including Viking, Princess, Fred. Olsen and MSC Cruises, which are all doing the same, starting with MSC Cruises on May 20.

P&O Cruises, along with Princess, is mandating vaccines for all passengers; Viking and MSC are not.

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