P&O Cruises president says talks ongoing over Caribbean airline partner

P&O Cruises says it is still in the process of confirming a second airline partner to supply flights for its next season of Caribbean cruises alongside Tui Airways.

Speaking on a video on X, formerly known as Twitter, the line’s president Paul Ludlow did not reveal if it would continue to work with Maleth Aero, which has been criticised by some customers and travel agents for its lack of premium service.

But he alluded to issues with the carrier and apologised to consumers who had experienced flight problems this season.

Maleth Aero is contracted to provide some of the cruise line’s direct flights from Gatwick and Manchester to Barbados and Antigua to join its Britannia and Arvia ships until March 23, 2024.

In the video, posted on February 20, Ludlow said: “I know that we’ve had some flight issues this season and for anyone who has been impacted by those, we are so sorry.

“We are delighted to be partnering again with Tui next season and we are also confirming our other airline partner and will update you as soon as possible.”

A spokeswoman for the cruise line said customers had already been informed about its partnership with Tui and reiterated that agents and guests would be told of the other airline partner once it was confirmed.

Some travel agents have reported that clients have held off booking fly-cruises for later this year or next year until they know whether their flights will be with the Maltese airline, which does not offer premium seating or inflight entertainment.

In December last year the cruise line said it would advise agents “as soon as possible” of its flight programme and in October it admitted there were “lessons to be learnt” in how it communicated with agents.

P&O Cruises recently announced hat it has enjoyed record-breaking sales in its strongest January ever, with the Caribbean highlighted as one of its most popular destinations.

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