Editorial Team


50 cameras, countless takes, one iguana and endless patience. The shoot for our latest TV advert was the most complicated, painstaking one yet, and we think the dazzling result was well worth the effort.


Launching our Holiday Like Never Before campaign, we wanted this advert to invite people to rethink what they believe they know of the cruise experience and expect more from their holiday, going beyond the obvious, into the extraordinary. 

Shooting in bullet time

Made in collaboration with creative agency Pablo London and director Adam Hashemi, Production company Arts + Sciences as well as the post-production company, Untold, the ad uses a combination of cinematic techniques to craft a series of hyper-visual frozen moments. These moments are all connected to whisk us from a tropical rainforest to P&O Cruises ship Arvia, via a Caribbean beach and the glistening sea. We then cut back through the scenes as they play out in normal speed, capturing the full energy and excitement of each moment to give us a taste of the surprise, fun, vibrancy, luxury and laughter that awaits on a P&O Cruises holiday.


You might recognise the frozen-moment effect from Hollywood movies. Also known as ‘bullet time’, this filming technique uses sophisticated time-slice camera technology to slow down or completely pause time in a scene. For the Holiday Like Never Before ad, we used a custom-built 50-camera rig, and to capture each shot, all cast had to perform their action at the exact same time. If anyone made the slightest error or went too late during a take, the scene would have to be reset and started again. 

“And, action!” 

To make each moment feel as real as possible, many of the special effects for the ad were created in-camera rather than in post-production – making the shoot even more tricky. And while it’s difficult to capture ‘frozen moments’ in a film studio, it becomes extra challenging to do so on location – especially when the location is moving! The on-board scenes were filmed among guests on Arvia as she sailed in the Mediterranean and you can see real P&O Cruises crew on-screen, including the aerial performer whose acrobatics light up the Atrium. All the action ashore was shot in beautiful St Lucia where we even managed to recruit an iguana from a local zoo.

How do you keep an aerialist still while she’s hanging from an umbrella on a moving ship? How do you stop Champagne from swishing around in a flute, or suspend vegetables in mid-air before they drop back into a wok?


“From fishing wire to special resins. A whole host of different materials was used to help achieve the frozen effect” 

- Joshua Merchant, P&O Cruises Advertising team

Joshua let us into the tricks of the trade, “custom-made props helped us create the frozen effect, these included Champagne flutes and wine glasses filled with special resins, sunscreen bottles with fake lotion squirting out, an electric fan with strings of paper to create an airflow look and vegetables suspended on super-thin wire from the chef’s wok,”

The final version premiered on prime-time TV on Christmas Day 2023 and has received fantastic feedback. And just in case you were wondering, no iguanas or aerialists were harmed in the making of this advert!

Good night St Lucia. Good morning Barbados

Caribbean cruise holidays