Three pre-Christmas cruises on P&O Cruises’ ship Oriana have been cancelled due to work converting the vessel to become adults only taking longer than expected.

Departures on December 9, 12 and 17, when the new-look ship should have re-entered service, have been dropped. The company is providing alternatives to the three short sailings.

Passengers booked on a three-night cruise on December 9 will be offered a similar trip on child-free Arcadia on the same date.

Passengers on the December 12 five-night sailing can transfer to another a cruise of their choice or get a full refund, plus £100 on board credit.

Those due on the December 17 two-night cruise are being offered a three-night cruise on Arcadia on December 6 at no extra cost or £50 on board credit if they re-book on a different cruise.

A spokeswoman said: “Oriana has a scheduled dry dock for November 2011 to convert the ship to exclusively for adults.

“This work is going to take longer than originally expected, and therefore, we have had to extend the dry dock period.

“Regrettably we have therefore had to cancel the three short cruises that followed the refit period (X119, X120N, X121). We and our travel agents are in contact with our passengers to offer alternative holidays.”