Line: P&O Cruises
Vessels: 4 by 2010
Star rating: 3 star
Tonnage: 47,000 - 70,310 GRT
Passengers: 1,480 - 1,668
What's included in the price:
- All main meals
- Entertainment and many activities
- All taxes and charges
P&O were first involved in shipping in 1837. Whilst they have not claimed to have founded the cruising industry, they were certainly in at the beginning. The company has two distinct fleets, one centred on the UK and northern hemisphere sailing and the other Princess fleet centred on Australia. Whilst the fleets operate separately, many features are common to the whole line. Not the least of these is that P&O operate large luxurious ships with all the expected amenities.
All P&O ships offer a diverse range of venues for having fun, being entertained and relaxing. There are fitness suites containing the latest equipment, bars, cocktail lounges, swimming pools, show lounges and casinos. On board each ship, passengers will find live bands, deck parties, dramatic musicals, cabaret singers, classical recitals and comedians. Theme evenings are held and include tropical, 1960s, 1970s and Black and White balls.
The fleet is designed to be welcoming to families and runs children’s clubs known as “The Reef.” The club is split into four age groups and is run by fully trained counsellors who go by the name of Reef Rangers. There are special facilities to keep the 2 to 4 year olds entertained with completely different facilities for the older kids who enjoy video games, treasure hunts and karaoke parties.
P&O offer an almost dizzying range of restaurants on their ships. There is Club dining, and select dining in speciality restaurants. There are no fixed dining times or seating plans. Passengers can dine where they like, when they like whist the dining rooms are open. The speciality restaurants need to be booked and carry a small charge. Meals are based on Australian tastes but special diets, vegetarian and healthy option meals are always on offer. There is a special children’s menu and baby food can be provided on request. There is a charge for room service but every cabin is equipped with tea and coffee making facilities. There is no strict dress code in the evenings but men are expected to wear a jacket to dinner.
There is a wide range of cabins to choose from. There are relatively inexpensive inside cabins and outside suites with balconies. Of course, the top of the range staterooms have extra services such as a concierge and fast track check-in and embarkation. There are large cabins for accommodating families as well as smaller ones for couples.
The line has a small number of adult only ships and passengers have to be 18 or over to sail on them. Passenger lists are usually made up predominantly of Australians and New Zealanders. There is always a smattering of North Americans, British and other Europeans. P&O ships are all very modern but the atmosphere aboard tends to be traditional. Whilst there is no formal dress code, many passengers will dress for dinner on designated nights and not doing so will make others feel uncomfortable.
P&O offer cruises operating from Auckland, Brisbane, Fremantle, Sydney and Newcastle. Cruises are very often themed and there is a wide variety to choose, from short breaks to longer cruises. The line tries to offer good value for money and the on board currency is Australian dollars. The line gives relaxing holidays to its passengers and enjoys a considerable proportion of repeat passengers.