P&O Cruises UK has today announced (although we, as passengers, already knew) that for the foreseeable future, P&O ships will not be docking in any ports in Argentina. This is because of the continuing political tension regarding the Falkland Islands.
Recently, Argentina has been turning away ships that have already visited the Falklands and refusing them permission to dock, anyway, so this is purely an extension of their own policy, really. If they don’t want the fairly well-heeled passengers that travel by P&O to spend their money in their country, that’s fine with us.
It’s a shame for some passengers, because Ushaia is the jumping off point for excursions to the Antarctic, but that’s where we stand.
Ironically, I think it’s actually rather hard to dock in the Falklands. Cruise Critic.co.uk explains (Stanley Cruises – CruiseCritic.co.uk), “The area is so windswept and the seas around it so fierce that only about half of the cruise ships scheduled to call at Port Stanley actually make it. Since there is no dock, even if the ships themselves can get into the harbor, the tenders are often unable to handle the wind and high seas. It’s no great surprise, then, to discover that the harbour itself and the areas surrounding it has more shipwrecks from the 19th-century shipping trade than any other harbour in the world … some 20 hulls are actually visible from the town when the tide is out.” So some passengers may end up seeing neither the Falklands nor Argentina!
Mind you, the odds of seeing Port Stanley are still better than for getting into St Helena. I met a man who had visited St Helena four times and had never got ashore, because the swell can reach 40 feet. Forty feet.
South America is a big place, mind you, so I’m sure the passengers will still enjoy their cruises. But it’s interesting to see P&O taking a stand. Bon voyage.