Lisbon Port Welcomes Largest Ever UK Cruise Ship

Lisbon Cruise Port welcomed P&O’s newest ship, Arvia, on her inaugural visit to the port on January 3. Port officials said they expect 2023 to be a record-breaking year for the port, and presented a plaque to the Arvia’s captain to mark what they called a momentous day.

A ‘Momentous Day’ and Big Year Ahead

Duarte Cabral, general manager of Lisbon Cruise Port, along with port authority and customs officials and the harbor master, presented the welcome plaque to Arvia Captain Robert Camby.

Cabral said: “This will be a record-breaking year with the number of calls surpassing even 2019, prior to Covid. Our award-winning port and terminal are ready to serve all the passengers that go through our gates with exceptional health and safety protocols.”

He said the Lisbon port is expecting about 650,000 cruise guests to visit the city, with an “increase of 95% in turnaround passengers” this year.

Arvia Cruise Ship in Lisbon
Photo Courtesy: Lisbon Cruise Port

Lisbon Cruise Port is an award-winning facility. In 2021 it was named by the World Travel Awards as Europe’s Leading Cruise Port for the seventh time and for six consecutive years. Global Ports Holding operates the port, and a new cruise terminal was opened in 2017.

P&O Cruises’ Arvia, an Excel-class ship and the second vessel in the fleet, after Iona, to be powered by LNG, called at Lisbon during the tail-end of her maiden voyage. The 184,700-gross-ton vessel departed December 23, 2022, from Southampton, sailing a 14-night roundtrip itinerary to the Canary Islands, Spain, and Portugal. The 5,200-guest ship is due back in Southampton on January 6, 2023.

It’s Been a Rough Start for Arvia

The new ship has had a few setbacks since P&O took delivery in early December. It was originally scheduled to sail its maiden voyage from Southampton on December 9 but was delayed and forced to cancel the cruise.

P&O Arvia Cruise Ship
Photo Courtesy: P&O Cruises / James Robinson for Christopher Ison

After departing on December 23, the ship experienced a series of technical problems onboard, affecting internet connections and onboard reservations. As a result, there were long lines for Christmas Day dinner and snafus with other shipboard services.

Arvia to Begin Winter Series in the Caribbean

Arvia will depart Southampton on January 6 and reposition to the Caribbean for a series of winter cruises from her homeport in Barbados.

The ship’s naming ceremony is set for March 16 in Barbados. In what the line is calling a spectacular event featuring some of Britain’s most popular performers and presenters, the christening will be broadcast live online to a global audience.

Once in Barbados, the ship will sail a series of 7- and 14-day cruises. Seven-day sailings will call at Tortola, Dominican Republic, St. Maarten, and Antigua-Barbuda, while 14-day cruises will visit those ports and also call at St. Kitts and Nevis, Martinique and St. Lucia.

There are 20 dining options onboard, and four cabin categories: inside, sea view, balcony, and suite. Entertainment venues include the Limelight Club and Headliner’s Theater, plus an escape room.