Line: P&O Cruises UK
Vessels: 8 by 2011
Tonnage: 45,000 - 115,000
Passengers: 1,200 - 3,100
What's included in the price:
- All meals (Selected Restaurants)
- Port taxes
- Government fees
- Room service
- Onboard activities
The old Pacific and Orient cruise line now operates its cruises from Southampton and is unashamedly British. Each of the line’s ships has a different character. For example, from November 2011 Oriana is a child-free cruise ship. Azura, Ventura, Arcadia and Oceana are contemporarily themed and aimed at modern families whereas the other ships of the line are more geared to older passengers who value tradition. The cruises offered by P and O range from two nights to over 100, so each ship will attract varying passenger types. P and O are one of the few lines that conduct world cruises but most of the ships go to the Mediterranean, Northern Europe or the Caribbean. What is consistent throughout the line is that they have a British atmosphere and cater to British tastes. Having said that, the ships attract a wide range of nations from the English speaking world, especially Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada and the United States.
The adults-only ship Oriana joined the fleet in 1995 and is fitted out with an art deco theme. She was launched by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. She has had some refurbishments and a major refit since then, but remains a very popular ship for those of the Baby Boomer generation. Dining on the ship is a wonderful experience, especially in the Rhodes restaurant inspired by celebrity chef, Garry Rhodes. The ship has two other main restaurants which serve a wide range of dishes and an al fresco restaurant for warm weather. For those with a thirst, there are no less than twelve bars to choose from.
The art deco, high standard of fittings and comfort is carried through to the staterooms and suites. The main theme of Oriana is relaxation in the traditional cruise ship way, but there is a fitness centre and three pools for passengers with energy to burn off. She has a theatre, nightclub, cinema and casino as well as plenty of shops, a spa and a beauty centre.
Another ship geared to adults is the Azura. She is unusual in that she has no less than 18 cabins for singles. The ship is run along traditional cruise lines with a strict dress code in the evenings, formal afternoon tea and a lot of ballroom dancing, for which there are classes each day. Dining aboard Azura is of the best and an added feature is the Sindhu Indian restaurant which is extremely popular and needs to be booked early. This venue is also open for lunch when it serves an Indian tapas menu.
The smallest ship of the line is Adonia. She tends to sail much longer cruises with more in-depth itineraries than the other ships. She calls at out of the way places and offers a wide range of shore excursions. She has the same atmosphere of sophistication and luxury as the other ships but her smaller size seems to add to the clubby happiness of passengers and crew.
The other ships of the line such as Aurora are more like the floating resorts of today’s cruising industry. They are designed to attract families but do not have the frantic air of some ships aimed at the American market. There is always plenty to do and live shows in the evenings. Aurora is one of the ships that does world cruises, although not many passengers do a full circumnavigation. Because of this there tends to be a high proportion of retired people on the passenger list. However, the ship is still lively at times and the food and accommodation are of the same high standard as the other P and O ships.
P and O operate out of Southampton. They are a British line marketed to the British. They have short as well as long cruises and have adults only ships aimed at the older generation. Their ships are all extremely well fitted out and have a genteel, sophisticated air about them.