P&O Cruises are the quintessential British cruise line that caters for British holidaymakers looking for intrepid adventures at sea.
The well-known, and much beloved, cruise line offers a plethora of fun-filled activities at sea and excellent customer service that has attracted an incredible amount of returning passengers and legions of fans.
Whether you want a quick weekend away or a 100-plus-night world cruise, you can wake up in a different port in the epitome of style and comfort onboard a P&O Cruise. This is your definitive guide to P&O Cruises: here is everything you need to know…
Is There a “Typical” P&O Cruiser?
With a history of cruising dating back to 1837, P&O Cruises know a thing or two about how to make passengers happy and how to give them a holiday they’ll never forget!
They serve more British passengers than any other cruise line departing out of the UK, all announcements on-board are made in English and all transactions are in sterling. Other British touches include tea and coffee-making facilities in every room, your classic afternoon tea and British restaurants with British chefs available for cooking demonstrations.
P&O Cruises caters to both family and adult-only audiences, ensuring that everyone has a cruise tailored to their taste. Whilst P&O Cruises are suitable for anybody (whether they have a hundred cruises under their belt or none) they still offer a particularly great insight into cruises for first-timers by showing new sea travellers everything the cruising world has to offer with style.
The typical P&O Cruises traveller is someone wanting a home away from home with a British cruise line known for their quality, service and activities. If you want an experience modelled on British tastes, whether that be cuisine, excellent levels of customer service or stylish entertainment, then P&O Cruises are the cruise line for you!
Meet The Fleet
Unlike other cruise companies, whose ships are fairly identical in all but name, P&O Cruises offer a unique fleet with ships that each have an individual personality…
The newest ship in the fleet Arvia joined P&O Cruises in December 2022. Like Iona, Arvia is another Excel class ship, with even more freedom, innovation, and variety in store than ever before. Built for sunshine-chasing cruises, Arvia has 30+ bars/restaurants, six theatres/lounges and five pools.
Sister ship to Arvia, Iona accommodates 5,200 passengers and 1,800 crew. Iona offers the ultimate cruise experience for families, with a range of stellar entertainment, superb dining options and excellent spa and wellness facilities.
Featuring innovative features and high-quality amenities, Britannia is a firm favourite for its variety of dining options, kids’ activities, boutique-style rooms and a starburst chandelier in the Atrium.
This family-friendly vessel carries up to 3,100 passengers to splendid destinations across the Mediterranean and Canary Islands. With plenty of unique features including an open-air cinema “SeaScreen”, and a spectacular Manhatten show lounge, there is plenty of glamour to be had on the Azura.
This large, family-friendly vessel also has exclusive features for independent travellers. Ventura has a delightful selection of onboard shops and offers a glittering variety of daytime and nighttime entertainment – from golf nets and splash-tastic pools to interactive gameshow Wavelength and magical theatre shows.
A mid-sized ship that is instantly recognisable by her elegant tiered stern. Designed as a classic ocean-going vessel, Aurora is perfect for world cruising and has a very “classic” feel, with a waterfall statue in the atrium and marble flooring, alongside comfortable accommodations and slick bars.
This adult-only cruise ship caters to a larger audience with up to 2,094 guests. It offers a relaxed yet extravagant feel with signature features including glass-fronted lifts and an expansive art collection. Ideal for spa and pamper lovers, Arcadia has plenty of places to while away an hour or two in a sophisticated atmosphere.
Style and elegance don’t have to mean boring; you won’t find a shortage of things to do with P&O Cruises.
All of the ships have swimming pools, whirlpool spas, saunas and steam rooms (at Oasis spa and salon), hosted deck games, a library, a bookshop, a gym, golf nets, dance classes and shops. P&O Cruises ships also have a cinema which shows a range of classic British films, family favourites and the latest blockbusters.
Comedy performances are a regular occurrence and many impressive stage shows are performed onboard ships. Shows really vary from musical spectaculars, such as the Greatest Days Musical, the official Take That musical by Tim Firth, Centrestage, another toe-tapping extravaganza showcasing some of the most renowned musicals in the world, and Mr Tickerton’s Clockwork Circus, a wow-worthy theatrical circus experience.
On Iona, guests can also see awe-inspiring tricks and stunts performed by the massively talented entertainment team Creativia, which has designed shows just for the ship’s SkyDome and Grand Atrium.
For something a little more nail-biting, guests on Arvia can race against the clock to overcome danger in Mission Control – a two-hour interactive, immersive adventure experience.
Other entertainment options include a chance to enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour of the ship hosted by senior members of staff. It’s an opportunity to get up close and personal with different departments below deck, but does cost a little extra.
When P&O Cruises claims to suit British tastes they also mean that quite literally! Many of their restaurants showcase menus developed by British celebrity chefs such as Marco Pierre White, Jose Pizarro and Shivi Ramoutar.
Cuisine is tailored to the British palate, with a cosmopolitan twist, serving everything from fine dining to tapas, authentic Indian dishes to great British favourites.
P&O Cruises shops have numerous informal and casual dining options, from vast buffets, poolside grills and pizzerias to more ice cream shops and sit-down eateries, such as The Beach House which serves American and Caribbean-inspired eats and drinks.
In addition to these styles of dining, you also have the choice of Food Heroes experiences and speciality restaurants if you’re keen to splurge a little extra on gastronomic activities onboard!
Sindhu serves tasty Indian cuisine with a British twist (available on Arvia, Iona, Britannia, Ventura, Azura and Arcadia), 6th Street Diner offers hearty American flavours in a bright and colourful setting (exclusive to Arvia), and Epicurean delivers modern British cooking in a refined and sleek restaurant.
Onboard P&O Cruises ships, Food Heroes will join special sailings to cook up a storm with guests, hosting exclusive demonstrations, wine tastings, book signings, special tasting menus and Q&A sessions
P&O Cruises offers great additional extras to make your holiday a little bit more seamless; on cruises that sail to and from Southampton, your only baggage allowance is the amount that you can fit into your cabin (but must not weigh more than 23kg)! Perfect for when you unexpectedly splurge in the shops when out on an excursion.
If you’re worried about taking a young infant on board then rest assured that they will be well catered for, with facilities for bottle warmers and sterilisers, travel cots, pushchairs, and baby baths available on request. Parents can also request food, formula milk or children’s favourite foods at the time of booking.
Wi-Fi is available onboard, and laundry services too – which is perfect if you have a young family and are in constant need of new clean clothes!
Standard facilities in every room include a daily steward service, TV, radio, telephone, hairdryer, refrigerator, safe, tea and coffee making facilities and air-con.
P&O Cruises hosts a range of engaging nurseries and kids’ clubs onboard for those aged six months to seventeen, and are split into six different age groups.
For little cruisers aged six months to two years old, they can get stuck into colourful toys and games in the nursery but must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. P&O Cruises does also provide night nursery services too.
“Splashers” is for two to four-year-olds, and includes activities like drawing, storytime, puppet shows, ball pool play and climbing apparatus. “Surfers” caters for five to eight-year-olds and consists of video games, arts and crafts, and soft play.
“Scubas” is for nine to twelve-year-olds and gets kids involved in computer games, air hockey, pool and more. “H2O” is for the oldest children aged thirteen to seventeen, and offers retro arcade games, pool and a fun place to hang out with new friends.
As for dining, P&O Cruises hosts a special early dinner laid out with kid-friendly cuisines and favourites. Families can also dine freely at the buffet day and night, and sit down to eat at the Freedom and Club dining restaurants.
During the day casual wear is permitted although fancy dress, aside from the assigned themes, is now banned e.g. novelty t-shirts and slogan wear.
At night, during non-formal evenings, guests can keep it casual or bring out their best shirt. However, on Celebration Nights, guests are free to dress up to the nines in their very best cocktail dress, ball gown, tuxedo or suit!
As well as Celebration Nights, P&O Cruises also hosts an array of delightful themed nights, from 70s disco evenings to seasonal Christmas or Halloween events! Guests are of course encouraged to dress in accordance with the theme of these special events.
So there you have it – P&O Cruises provides so many amenities and activities for a great cruise holiday, with plenty of added extras, fun, and entertainment!// END - About the Author ?>