P&O: All you need to know

P&O Cruises are an all-time-favourite cruise line in the UK, offering exciting itineraries to a variety of destinations. Whether you’re new to cruising or a seasoned expert, here is a small guide on what to expect on a cruise with P&O.

Before you sail

What does P&O stand for?

P&O is an abbreviation of the company’s full name, The Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company. Established in 1837, the cruise line was initially used to carry mail by sea, with the ‘O’ added for Oriental in 1840 as the company extended its service to Egypt and Asia.

Can I take a solo cruise on P&O?

Yes, solo cabins are offered on Azura, Arcadia, Aurora, Britannia, Oriana and Ventura. These range from Single Inside Cabins to Single Sea View Cabins and Single Balcony Cabins.

Solo cruising on-board P&O

What is included in my fare?

There are three fares to choose from when booking with P&O: Select, Early Saver and Saver. With all guests receiving:

  • Full-board accommodation
    – Dining includes breakfast, lunch and five-course dinner, meals and snacks from 24-hour buffets and informal restaurants, as well as afternoon tea
    – Drinks include tea, coffee, water and juices
  • Entertainment
  • Sports facilities
    – Full use of football, tennis and basketball courts
    – Use of swimming pools and whirlpool spas
    – Fully equipped gym
  • Children’s Clubs
    – Full access to age specific children’s clubs
    – Night Nursery for under 5’s
  • Flights
    – These are offered from London, with flights from other regional airports available on selected cruises
    – Coach transfers between the airport and ship on embarkation and disembarkation dates are also included

Do you get better deals with P&O if you book last minute or early?

With a last minute deal, you’ll be able to take advantage of a good price, but won’t have as many options when it comes to when you want to travel, your itinerary and choice of stateroom. Booking early means you’ll have more choice and you’ll often be able to take advantage of early booking savings.

How much luggage can I bring with me?

When sailing round-trip from Southampton the luggage limit is 23kg. Fly cruises are slightly different, due to the airport restrictions. With these options, your luggage limit is between 20kg and 23kg, but you will need to confirm this with your airline beforehand.

On-board your ship

Couple enjoying lunch aboard P&O

What facilities are in my cabin?

Standard facilities include:

  • Daily steward service
  • TV, radio and telephone
  • Hairdryer
  • Refrigerator
  • Safe
  • Tea/coffee making facilities
  • Air conditioning
  • Vanity/writing desk and chair
  • Wardrobe and drawer space
  • Toiletries pack (including shampoo, conditioner, moisturising lotion, soap and shower cap)

There are ironing stations in each of the laundrettes on-board P&O and a pressing service. However, ironing and ironing boards are not permitted to be brought on-board with you.

If you’re looking to charge mobile devices on-board, standard UK three pin plug sockets are in every cabin across the P&O fleet.

What’s the difference between Freedom Dining and Fixed Dining?

Epicurean Restaurant - P&O Cruises

Freedom Dining means that there’s no fixed seating or meal times, whereas fixed dining means that you’ll have the same table at the same time each evening.

Is there free Wi-Fi on-board P&O?

All of P&O’s ships are Wi-Fi enabled, allowing you to access the internet when sailing. Packages can be purchased pre-cruise or on-board, starting at £6.75 for the Connect Package.

How much does The Retreat cost on P&O?

Azura, Britannia and Ventura each offer spa packages, where you can also utilise the open-air facilities of The Retreat. These start at £20 per day, with access to the Thermal Suite also included.

Is there an adults-only pool on-board P&O?

There are three P&O ships which are exclusively for adults: Arcadia, Oriana and Aurora. Additional ships, which are open to children, also offer adult-only pools including Azura, Oceana and Ventura.

Couple on-board P&O

What is the dress code on-board P&O?

The dress code only applies to the evenings, during the day is the same as any other holiday. There are two dress codes on-board P&O:

  • Evening Casual
    – Stylish resort or leisurewear including dresses or casual separates for ladies and open-neck polo shirts and long trousers for men. No trainers, football shirts or tracksuits.
  • Black Tie
    – Ladies wear cocktail dresses, ball gowns or smart trouser suits, while men wear dinner jackets, tuxedos or a business suit.

As of January 2018, guests are no longer allowed to wear fancy dress, novelty items or inappropriate personalised clothing on-board. Swimsuits are not permitted in the lounges, interior bars, restaurants or reception areas, and a shirt and suitable footwear are required while indoors and using the buffet restaurants.

Destinations you reach

Does P&O offer world cruises?

Yes, Arcadia offers a 99-night circumnavigation of the globe sailing to 23 countries. Whilst, Aurora sails on a Grand Tour to South America, the USA and Caribbean.

P&O also offers exotic fly-cruises on a schedule that suits you, spanning 17-42 nights, and the cruise line also offers Classic Southern Hemisphere sailings where you’ll visit as many as 20 ports up to 61-nights long.

P&O Cruises - Ship destination

Where does a P&O mini cruise to Guernsey stop?

Mini cruises to Guernsey stop at the St Peter Port, a pretty town with fine architecture, terraced gardens and winding streets.

How much do excursions cost on P&O?

There are excursions for everyone’s budget on-board P&O, ranging from a paddle boarding experience in Bilbao (£55 per adult / £35 per child), golf on the slopes of Mt Etna (from £175) or exploring Dubrovnik by tuk-tuk (£49 per adult / £42 per child).

Book your cruise with P&O

When sailing on-board, P&O make it easy to enjoy every moment. Whether that’s relaxing, discovering a new hobby or rekindling an old one, tasting new culinary dishes or simply kicking-back with a good book – P&O have it covered.

Here at Cruise118.com we offer a variety of P&O cruises to choose from, with something for everyone to look forward to.

For award-winning service and assistance with your P&O booking, call our Cruise Concierge team on 0808 1234 118.

Emma Smith
Emma has more than seven years' experience as a writer and has been in the travel industry for nearly five years. She loves learning about new places and cruise ships coming to market, as well as discovering fun and exciting activities to do while you sail. She has cruised with Princess Cruises, Cunard, Celebrity Cruises, Virgin Voyages, Avalon Waterways and Royal Caribbean and is looking to get something in her diary for 2024! Her favourite things to see on a ship include excellent entertainment, a delicious cocktail menu and extraordinary dining venues.

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