I’m going to upset people, I suspect, with this post. I have written previously about the difficulties we have had trying to book family-cruises with P&O. Yes, some of their ships are intended for adults only, but even booking children onto their family-friendly ships has been a significant challenge. However, recent announcements have made me even more convinced that P&O Cruises has a Quasi Family-Friendly Image.
First, the good news! P&O Cruises has announced a return to cruising this summer. Between June and September, P&O cruises will be operating British Coastal Cruises onboard Britannia and the new ship Iona. Both these ships previously have been heavily marketed as being family-friendly. Iona was originally due to launch in May 2020, and marketing promoted the child-friendly facilities, although the choice of cruises only to the Fjords did raise eyebrows.
P&O Cruises has worked hard in recent years to fight its image as the home of the “blue rinse brigade.” Families who can board a cruise generally give favorable reviews, although Marella Cruises and Royal Caribbean remain top of many family-cruiser lists. We have only sailed with P&O once previously and didn’t particularly enjoy it and found the staff unfriendly compared to other cruise lines. However, many families will be excited for the opportunity to cruise on these two friendly ships this summer after a year of lock-down, but unfortunately you will be disappointed. These cruises are very much for the “blue rinse brigade,” and P&O Cruises has a Quasi Family-Friendly policy for at least this summer.
To board one of these ships, you must be resident in the United Kingdom and have had two COVID Vaccinations at least 1 week before you board. Due to the way vaccinations are being allocated in the UK, many younger adults will not get their second jab until late-summer or autumn. However, even if you have been lucky enough to have two vaccines, there is another catch.
P&O Cruises advertise that children are welcome on the sailings. However, children are not excluded from the two vaccine policies. There is currently no single vaccine available anywhere globally for children, and only high-risk 16-18-year-olds are presently being vaccinated. Even if a future vaccine is approved, there are no guarantees this will routinely be administered to children. So despite the adverts saying children are welcome, they are not and probably not for the foreseeable future. Will this vaccination policy become P&O’s long-term policy? Why is P&O giving the impression children are welcome when clearly they are not?
I’m sorry if this upsets people, but in my opinion, P&O Cruises has a Quasi Family-Friendly Image, and families are not welcome. However, if you do go on one of these summer sailings, have a fantastic time!