P&O Cruises is withdrawing from Dubai amid continuing tensions over shipping in the Arabian Gulf.
The cruise line said that following close monitoring of the situation within the Straits of Hormuz, P&O Cruises has cancelled its planned Dubai and Arabian Gulf programme from October until at least March next year.
Last month, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard seized the British-flagged oil tanker Stena Impero in the Strait of Hormuz, which lies between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.
The majority of the 49 departures between October to next March on Oceana were due to pass through the Strait.
P&O Cruises president Paul Ludlow said in a statement, “The increased tension in the region highlighted by the attacks on tankers in the Straits and the detention of a British-flagged tanker by the Iranian authorities means as a British company flying the Red Ensign it is not advisable for us to maintain our planned Dubai and Arabian Gulf programme this winter season.
“We have therefore taken the unusual step of withdrawing Oceana from the region for the upcoming season.
“While we appreciate our guests will be disappointed, the safety of our guests and crew is absolutely paramount and given our UK status, coupled with the uncertainty in the region, we have had to make this difficult decision.”
All bookings will be cancelled, and guests will be given a full refund, P&O said.
The news comes at the end of Dubai’s 2018/2019 cruise season with a record 51% increase in cruise tourists and a 38% rise in cruise ship calls.