Still your incredible P&O Cruises holiday; a few reassuring changes

We cannot wait to sail again and when the time is right, you can have the confidence to cruise, knowing we’ve been working hard to ensure every element of your holiday experience is covered. Our new protocols ensure you’ll still be able to enjoy the holiday you dreamed of, even though some aspects may initially feel a little different.

The changes are designed to protect the health of everyone on board as well as the destinations we visit, and we hope you’ll find these both comforting and easy to adjust to when we finally take to the sea again.

At this time, we have outlined the necessary measures for when we return to sailing in line with current guidance but as the world evolves, so may our policies and procedures. While it is too early to say how a vaccine may affect our protocols, we will continue to work with the highest levels of government and scientific advisors to continually review our health protocols. Rest assured we’ll be doing everything we can to make sure you still enjoy an incredible P&O Cruises holiday.


As of 17 December 2020


Our assurance to you


Our new protocols

As we prepare to return to sea we’re combining over 180 years’ experience with the expertise of foremost accredited scientists, medical professionals and government advisors to deliver the P&O Cruises holiday you expect.

The framework of enhanced protocols outlined here has been supported by the UK Government; Department for Transport; Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the world’s largest cruise industry trade association; EU Healthy Gateways and public health agencies, and are designed to keep you and our crew healthy and well throughout your holiday.

Carnival Corporation, P&O Cruises parent company, has also been working with a number of world-leading experts to support efforts in developing the enhanced protocols for the return of cruise holidays.

The advisors include:

  • Dr. Vivek Murthy, MD, MBA, author, former vice admiral in the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and 19th Surgeon General of the United States
  • Dr. Simon Clarke, associate professor in cellular microbiology, University of Reading School of Biological Sciences (UK)
  • Michael S. Diamond, MD, PhD, Herbert S. Gasser professor of medicine, molecular microbiology, pathology & immunology; and associate director, Center for Human Immunology and Immunotherapy Programs, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis
  • Michael Z. Lin, MD, PhD, associate professor of neurobiology, bioengineering, and chemical and systems biology; and principal investigator, The Lin Lab, Stanford University School of Medicine
  • Dr. Jewel Mullen, MD, MPH, associate dean for health equity, University of Texas at Austin, Dell Medical School
  • Emil C. Reisinger, MD, full professor of internal medicine, infectious diseases and tropical medicine and director of the Division of Tropical Medicine and Infectious Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Rostock, Germany
  • Dr. Stefano Vella, MD, former director, National Center for Global Health, Istituto Superiore di Sanità (Italian National Institute of Health); and adjunct professor of global health, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (Catholic University of the Sacred Heart) in Rome

Guest and crew well-being

We are committed to delivering the highest standards of health, safety and well-being for our guests, crew and the wider communities we visit. To achieve this:

  • All guests and crew boarding our ships will undergo health screening and testing for COVID-19 before boarding
  • Every area of the ship will be rigorously and regularly cleaned and disinfected
  • We’ll provide additional hand-sanitising stations
  • We have enhanced our on-board ventilation systems to provide improved filtration and increased fresh air
  • We’ll adhere to approved guidance for every aspect of the holiday experience
  • Everyone on board will need to adhere to the most up-to-date guidance regarding the use of face-coverings and social distancing which will be in place in all public areas and we will be operating with a reduced occupancy on our ships
  • We have plans in place, tailored for each ship, to manage medical needs, including dedicated cabin capacity for isolation, should this be required

It is understood that those with certain pre-existing medical requirements or of a certain age may experience more severe symptoms should they contract COVID-19 (coronavirus). We strongly recommend that you review the UK Government guidance prior to making travel arrangements; this can be found here. If you have any existing medical requirements, we advise you to discuss your travel plans with your doctor. We have put together a simple health advisory letter that you can provide to your GP so they can verify if you’re safe to travel.


All our ships have medical centres on board staffed by experienced doctors and nurses available 24/7, to help support your health needs. We are following all latest guidance to evolve our enhanced protocols to protect the health and well-being of guests, crew and the communities we visit once we begin sailing again.

When we return to sailing unfortunately we will be unable to accept guests who have the following medical requirements:

  • Supplementary oxygen (including via oxygen concentrator)
  • Mechanical ventilatory support (except for overnight CPAP for sleep apnoea)
  • Dialysis
  • Within the 14 days prior to the cruise:
    • Have been unwell with confirmed or suspected COVID-19
    • Have been in close contact with someone with confirmed or suspected COVID-19
    • Have been advised to self-isolate under a government Test and Trace system


We are so sorry to have to make this change, but we need to follow new industry procedures for the protection of everyone on board. Any guest that is impacted by the requirement for supplementary oxygen, mechanical ventilatory support or dialysis will be given a full refund of monies paid to date for their bookings.


Booking with confidence


Flexible transfers

For added peace of mind, know that before you pay the balance of your holiday, you can transfer your booking as many times as you like to any holiday on sale, whether it’s higher or lower in value – free of charge!


Future Cruise Credit

If you are unable to cruise due to a positive COVID-19 test within 14 days of sailing, you will be denied boarding but we’re pleased to say you’ll receive a Future Cruise Credit (FCC) to the value of the cruise and we will automatically refund any pre-cruise purchases made through My P&O Cruises*.

If you were part of a linked booking, your friends or family would also be able to opt for the FCC and refund for purchases made. Just ask us to make sure all members of your travelling group are linked when you make your booking.

*If you booked your cruise as part of a wider holiday package please contact your travel provider for information relating to their policies in place should you be denied boarding.


ABTA and ATOL protected

P&O Cruises is fully bonded with ABTA and your fly-cruise holidays are ATOL protected.



You must take out comprehensive holiday insurance when you sail with us. Whilst we hope you never have to claim, the policy will ensure you’re able to relax and enjoy your holiday knowing you’re protected should you need it.

P&O Cruises has partnered with Holiday Extras to offer appropriate, comprehensive travel insurance cover for our holidays.


Your holiday experience


Before you board

Prior to your departure, P&O Cruises will send you the latest public health guidance as well as pre-cruise information about mitigating the risk of COVID-19, along with a health declaration questionnaire. Please read this carefully as this will include what to expect when you arrive at the terminal, time on board, any country specific requirements to be aware of and other relevant protocols while you are travelling with us.

If you’re booked on a fly-cruise, please refer to your airline for their latest protocols and air travel advice. You can take a look at the government’s safer aviation guidance including how to travel safely in airports and on aircraft here.

If you are travelling with friends and family, please let us know at the time of booking so that we can link your parties to form one travelling group up to a maximum number allowed by UK Government guidelines at the time of sailing. This will help to co-ordinate your experience. Please call our Customer Contact Centre or speak to your travel agent to link your bookings before you sail.


Boarding your ship

We have enhanced our boarding procedures, working with our partners in the ports. In the cruise terminal you will be required to adhere to the wearing of face coverings and social distancing, in accordance with all current guidelines.

All guests and crew boarding our ships will undergo health screening and testing for COVID-19 before boarding. If you test positive for the virus, you will be denied boarding but we’re pleased to say you’ll receive an FCC to the value of the cruise and we will automatically refund any pre-cruise purchases made through My P&O Cruises*. If you were part of a linked booking, your friends or family would also be able to opt for the FCC and receive a refund for any pre-cruise purchases made. Guests must link with other travellers at the time of booking.

*If you booked your cruise as part of a wider holiday package please contact your travel provider for information relating to their policies in place should you be denied boarding.


Cleanliness and care

We have always taken great pride in our standards of cleanliness on board. Our enhanced measures will ensure all areas of the ship are even more thoroughly and regularly cleaned, with products which have proven effectiveness against COVID-19. There will be added hand sanitiser and hand-washing facilities available throughout the ship.

We will be initially operating with a reduced occupancy on our ships to ensure we’re able to adhere to the latest social distancing guidelines. Social distancing will be in place in all public areas and lifts will have limited capacity, though still available to those who need to use them. Despite fewer travellers than normal, we’ll still bring the P&O Cruises holiday atmosphere that our guests know and love.


Eating and drinking

We all know that delicious food and drink are a core part of your holiday and this will certainly not change. You may be asked to pre-book a table in the restaurants; the buffets and deck grills will now be served by our waiting staff and you will only be permitted to dine with your household or linked travelling group, up to a maximum number allowed by government guidelines at the time of sailing. We are adapting our restaurants and bars to ensure you can enjoy your experience and maintain social distancing in line with the guidance.



One of the best things about a P&O Cruises holiday is the chance to be entertained around the clock. From theatre shows to live bands, you’ll find the show will go on! Our performances will be adapted so that artistes and audience adhere to the latest guidance.


Activities and leisure

All of your favourites - shops, spa, salon, gym, pools, casinos, activities and children’s clubs will be operating but will be subject to the latest approved guidance to minimise contact, reduce the number of guests in each area and maintain the highest levels of cleanliness. You may see changes including pre-booked appointment slots and additional services such as an on-board retail concierge and selected shops offering a pre-order service on a hand-picked range of products for collection or delivery to cabin.

Certain activities or areas of the ship that would make social distancing difficult may not be in operation when we return to sailing. We will keep all guests aware of any potential restrictions before they sail.



Your cabin steward will maintain the cleanliness and tidiness of your accommodation to our enhanced standards although we would ask that you are not in your cabin at the same time as the steward. We will also be introducing an enhanced in-cabin television service providing essential updates, and an extended room service menu for you to enjoy as you relax in your cabin.


Seeing the sights
on shore

You can explore our amazing destinations, being able to relax and roam, knowing every measure has been taken to protect your health and well-being. Initially this will be enabled through our new range of organised and vetted shore experiences. Port transfer and shore experience operators will be subject to new policies and procedures to reflect the latest approved guidance in line with our on-board protocols, and will comply with all local guidance relating to social distancing and face-coverings.

On top of that, we’ve a whole wealth of brand-new shore experiences available with options to suit every budget and every traveller. We know how much our guests love to get under the skin of each destination and so we’re introducing a new range of affordable options to make sure you have the opportunity to still experience the best of each exciting stop. Our new experiences will help you get to the heart of each port and you can be reassured knowing your well-being is protected.

Unfortunately some of our existing experiences may have to be put on hold at this time if they cannot be run in a COVID-safe environment, but we’ll have plenty of new options to share with you soon, including more accessible-friendly options. Temperature checks and health screening may be carried out again when returning to the ship.


Time to go home –
Test and Trace

All guests and crew will need to complete a guest locator form to adhere to the UK government’s Test and Trace initiative. Local country initiatives may also apply at the time of sailing.