A 50-night cruise has been cancelled by P&O Cruises due to “technical maintenance” required for the ship Oriana.

The 1,880-passenger vessel was due to depart Southampton on January 6 for the voyage to the Caribbean, Mexico and US, returning on February 25.

But the line today issued an apology for cancelling the Caribbean and America Discovery itinerary due to Oriana requiring three weeks of maintenance.

Agents will still receive commission and have been advised to try and re-book their customers on one of four similar cruises early next year.

“We apologise to guests due to travel on Oriana’s X801 but our technical team has advised us that it’s necessary for Oriana to undergo a 3 week technical maintenance from Jan 6, 2018,” the company tweeted. “As a result we will be cancelling this cruise.

“We have contacted all those affected guests today and we are extremely sorry for the late notice and disruption.”

Alex White, VP sales, Carnival UK, said: “We understand how disappointing this is for our guests but our ships sail 365 days a year and they do occasionally require unplanned maintenance, the only available slot for us to undertake this work is in January.

“Via agents, we have written to guests and advised that there are four other similar cruises that sail to the Caribbean from Southampton early next year, including all of the information and itineraries for these departures.

“As a result of this cancellation we are giving guests a 5% Future Cruise Credit of the fare paid on the original Oriana cruise, which is available to use on one of the cruises mentioned or any other P&O Cruises holiday booked before December 31 2019. We will also honour the 500 Peninsular Club loyalty points they would have earned from the original Oriana cruise.

“We have asked them to contact their travel agent by Friday December 8 2017 if they wish to transfer to another cruise. If, by this date they have not done so then the booking for the Oriana cruise will be cancelled and all monies paid will be refunded.

“If they do not wish to book an alternative cruise at the moment, the 5% Future Cruise Credit will be applied to their P&O Cruises unique reference number (URN) until they the new cruise booking is made.”

“P&O Cruises will be paying agent commission on X801 cancelled sailings. If agents are able to transfer guests on to an alternative sailing they will also receive their standard commission on the new booking plus the commission on the X801 booking.”