P&O Cruises review

Affordable cruises with a British — or Aussie — bent.

Budget travelers can get from point A to point B with P&O Cruises, visiting many wonderful port cities along the way, and will likely be satisfied as long as they’re not expecting white glove service. The food, service and accommodations may not be 5-star, but they’re usually good for the value.

These budget cruises tend to have a British or Aussia flare, depending on your point of departure. Otherwise, the onboard experience is most comparable to what you’d find on its sister line, Princess Cruises — both are owned by Carnival Corporation, and share ships with similar designs.

7 ships

Number of ships



Price matches


Target demographic Families, Adults, Teenagers, Toddlers, Honeymooners, Singles, Young Adults, Kids, Disabled
Number of ships 7 ships
Contact options Phone, Email
Payment options Visa, Mastercard, American Express
Deposit required Deposit at checkout
Deposit required No price matching
Food Food included
Drink Alcohol included
Room service No free room service

Review by

Amy Stoltenberg is a staff writer covering all things travel, shopping and lifestyle. After earning a BA at Savannah College of Art and Design, she worked as technical designer in corporate fashion before opting for a career with unlimited travel time. When her laptop's closed, you can find her wandering around Los Angeles looking for hole-in-the-wall eateries and plotting her way to all 50 states (she's currently at 28).

Expert review

P&O Cruises offers affordable vacations above the waves to delicious destinations, from Copenhagen to Dubai and beyond. But if you’re looking for something a little different — a luxury cruise, perhaps, or a more family-friendly adventure — browse cruise lines to find one that better suits your needs.

What’s the difference between P&O Cruises UK and P&O Cruises Australia?

P&O Cruises Australia is a sister company to P&O Cruises UK. If you’re looking to book a cruise that starts and ends in Australia or New Zealand, it’s worth browsing through its site to see what it’s got to offer.

The amenities, reputation and onboard experience are pretty similar between P&O Cruises UK and P&O Cruises Australia — the biggest difference is simply where you’ll begin and end the voyage.

Where do P&O cruises depart from?

P&O Cruises is pretty particular in its departure locations — you’ll find the most itineraries leaving from Southampton, UK and Sydney, Australia. San Francisco is often the only US departure port. Here’s where you can begin your P&O cruise:

  • P&O currently sails from:Baltimore, Barbados, Barcelona, Bermuda, Charleston, Copenhagen, Dover, Fort Lauderdale, Galveston, Honolulu, Jacksonville, London, Los Angeles, Miami, Mobile, New Orleans, New York City, Norfolk, Port Canaveral, San Diego, San Francisco, San Juan, Tampa, Tampa/St.Petersburg, Vancouver, Venice

P&O cruises destinations

You can sail to plenty of bucket list destinations with P&O Cruises, from the tropical Canary Islands to the Norwegian Fjords.

  • Here’s where it sails to:Alaska, Bahamas, Baja Mexico, Canada and New England, Eastern Caribbean, Europe, Hawaii, Mexican Riviera, Panama Canal, Southern Caribbean, Transatlantic, Western Caribbean

Why you should — or shouldn’t — cruise with P&O Cruises

The biggest pro is that P&O Cruises doesn’t charge gratuities — the mandatory tip that most cruise lines charge to your account after disembarkation — and you’re not required to pay staff anything above the cost of booking. This could save you a big hunk of cash, compared to cruise lines that charge $10-$20 per passenger, per day.

That being said, perks like room service and fitness classes, which are included with many mid-tier cruise lines, cost extra on a P&O cruise. Shore excursions, alcoholic drinks and Wi-Fi all cost extra, too.

On a P&O UK cruise, most of your fellow passengers will be Brits, likely over the age of 55. That could be a pro or con, depending on your personal preference.

Here’s a snapshot of the pros and cons to consider before booking a P&O cruise:


  • No service charges or gratuities
  • Fare is low compared to other cruise lines
  • Atmosphere is relaxed and tends to be friendly
  • Multiple entertainment options each night, from stand-up comedy to live music and theatrical productions
  • The Peninsular Club, its loyalty program, rewards frequent cruisers
  • Some cruise deals include flights and airport transfers
  • Complimentary children’s programs for ages two to 17


  • Alcoholic drinks, Wi-Fi and shore excursions cost extra
  • Afternoon tea costs extra
  • Fewer organized onboard activities than most cruise lines
  • The quality of entertainment can be hit-or-miss
  • Cruise ships can feel outdated, unless new or recently renovated
  • Food isn’t exactly gourmet, and the buffet is smaller than what you’d find on Royal Caribbean or Carnival
  • Few itineraries depart from the US

P&O adults-only cruises

P&O Cruises UK has two ships devoted entirely to adults-only cruises: Aurora and Arcadia. If you’re looking for some R&R away from family crowds, consider booking your trip on one of those.

However, even on ships that do allow kiddo passengers, there are adults-only pools, bars and lounges for grown-ups to get away.

What currency does P&O Cruises use on board?

On board a P&O UK cruise, you’ll pay in pounds sterling. If you’re stopping at European ports and would rather not deal with exchanging euros, you can purchase shore excursions from P&O to avoid the hassle.

If you’re sailing on a P&O Australia cruise, the onboard currency will be in Australian dollars.

Frequently asked questions

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