What can guests enjoy on P&O Cruises' new ship Arvia?
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It’s a balmy afternoon in Barbados, sun beaming high in cloudless Caribbean skies as I sip rum cocktails, revel in tropical carnival with my fellow cruisers, and wait. An amazing week of dolphin spotting, breathtaking scenery and sailing sun-kissed turquoise seas has been building up to this very moment. The crowd electrifies, the countdown is on. Three … two … one … smashed it!
To euphoric cheers, a 15-litre bottle of rum strikes the newest addition to P&O Cruises’ fleet, anchored proudly off Heywoods Beach for her naming ceremony, as godmother Nicole Scherzinger officially declares her Arvia, blessing the majestic sunshine ship and all who sail in her. Star-studded, sun-drenched, spectacular, it’s a glorious moment for those grooving on the sand with popstar Olly Murs, onboard guests, the thousands watching live around the world and most definitely, for me.
I feel like I’ve got a golden ticket. It’s P&O Cruises’ first ever naming ceremony overseas and DJ Trevor Nelson has whipped the SkyDome crowd into a frenzy, the perfect prelude to a chic performance from Nicole and the glittering main event. What a cruise, what an experience, what truly unforgettable memories. The ceremony will soon be over and animated Arvia on route to Bridgetown, her name bestowed, history made, her pulsating party atmosphere lingering long into the night.
Suite Life on Arvia
My adventure began in Antigua, where I boarded as a solo traveller keen to experience the naming ceremony, shore excursions and all the wonders of Arvia. Retiring to my conservatory mini suite after a night of fabulous food, vino and company in Olly Smith’s Glass House with the jolly wine connoisseur himself, I relished the relaxing extra space my room afforded, enamoured and at one with the sea.
Breakfasts were sensory bliss on the conservatory’s comfy L-shaped sofa, whilst ocean-gazing afternoons and panoramic nightcaps ensured I fell wholly in love with the innovative outdoors indoors concept. After a zen-filled sea day, spa and massage, ship glittering in celebration night splendour, it was fine dining in elegant Epicurean with a few spirited shipmates who – on the thrilling shore excursions to follow – soon became new friends.
St Kitts and Nevis
Vibrant St Kitts and the subsequent ports of Martinique, St Lucia and Barbados were a seduction of sand, sea and scenery by catamaran, speedboat and snorkel. A photographer’s dream, we sailed St Kitts’s idyllic Peninsula Cove on the Game Changer catamaran, anchoring in the crystal waters of Chrishi Beach Club for a chic oceanside lunch before a scenic cruise along the beautiful Nevis coastline and dinner in Arvia’s multi-sensory Indian restaurant, Sindhu. A connoisseur’s choice for stylish tipples, Anderson’s Bar with its very own gin and rum distillery, provided intimacy, intrigue and its signature nightcap, Golden Tidal Rum, ending the day in true sailor’s spirit.
French fancy Martinique whisked us north of the island by water for a dream Tuesday of quaint little churches, markets, beach hopping ... and dolphins! Not one, not two, but dozens in playful pods, cavorting alongside our catamaran before splashing in unison for the horizon, the perfect aperitif for an evening in Arvia’s Green and Co, a fleet first serving spectacular sushi and delicious plant-based delicacies.
Soaking up scenic St Lucia by speed boat, we sped along the island’s west coast, savouring swimming in breathtaking Marigot Bay, a panoramic sail-by of pretty Anse La Raye fishing village and a BBQ lunch with unrivalled ocean views. Soufriere Bay gifted phenomenal photo opportunities of the world famous Pitons, before an exhilarating wave-hop back to Arvia for pre-drinks and piano melodies in the ambiance of the Crow’s Nest and a hearty Prime Minister burger in popular modern gastropub, Keel and Cow.
Buzzing from the pizazz of Thursday’s spectacular naming ceremony, nothing restores tranquillity quite like yoga, rum and turtles! Enjoying lunch, cocktails and al fresco yoga at Coco Hill Forest wellness resort, followed by a tasting tour of Mount Gay Rum, we were oblivious to the delights the sea still had in store. Cue the ultimate sunset cruise, azure waters and a hidden shipwreck alive with turtles, rays and rainbow-coloured fish, plunging us head-first into GoPro fantasy land for the fairytale ending to the trip of a lifetime.
Recreate the magic
A stunning collaboration of timeless classics and inspirational firsts, excel-class Arvia is a 16-deck celebration of the sea with a fresh, nautical feel and wow factor appeal. With over 30 places to eat and drink, a 900-capacity Broadway-style theatre and SkyDome – a revolutionary all-weather entertainment hotspot with pool, stage and retractable glass roof – she dazzles from dawn until long after dusk.
Boasting a glamourous Grand Atrium, infinity pools, swim-up bar, mini golf, Skywalk, cinema, Gary Barlow’s 710 Club, thrilling submarine-style escape room Arvia II and so much more, a kaleidoscope of excitement awaits cruisers of all ages.
How to book
Guests can live their own Caribbean dream booking similar shore excursions with a seven-night Caribbean fly/cruise on Arvia (K405C) from £1,349pp for an inside cabin, departing March 9th 2024 from Antigua. Ports of call are Basseterre (St Kitts), Fort de France (Martinique), Castries (St Lucia) and Bridgetown (Barbados). Flights included. Example shore experiences and prices:
- Saint Kitts: Discover Nevis Island: £113 adult / £74 child
- Martinique: North Discovery by Catamaran with lunch: £141 adult / £105 child
- St Lucia: Cruise to the Pitons: £54 adult / £32 child
- Barbados: Sunset cruise: £51 adult / £41 child
- Turtle snorkel: £62 adult / £35 child
- Rum shop escapade: £86 adult
To book your cruise visit pocruises.com or call 0345 355 5111.