Our assurance to you


As of 17 March 2021


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.

All guests and crew will be required to follow enhanced health and well-being measures to protect everyone on board. These have been developed with guidance from our global medical and public health experts and scientists and in close coordination with UK government agencies. These protocols include enhanced sanitation measures, appropriate social distancing and the mandatory wearing of face masks in certain areas of the ship. All guests will need to comply with this face mask policy in order to travel. Crew will also undergo a strict testing and quarantine regime as well as regular testing during their time on board. Our protocols are subject to change, as we will continue to work with our experts and with government bodies to ensure all of our practices evolve in line with latest advice, with our primary focus always being to protect the health and well-being of our crew and guests and the communities we visit.

Although the exact measures may change as the advice continues to evolve, you can have the confidence that we will have in place pre-booking and boarding health screening, the highest levels of cleanliness throughout the ships, as well as approved standards for the service of food and drink, entertainment and experiences on board and on shore.

For years, we have had in place many of the protocols now considered advisable for other social gathering venues, such as hand-sanitising stations and rigorous cleaning and disinfecting procedures. For years, we have also gone beyond those protocols by asking guests to complete a health declaration form and having a comprehensive medical facility on board each ship providing 24/7 medical care and treatment and this will, of course, continue across the fleet.

Working with Bureau Veritas

Bureau Veritas is a world-leading provider in marine and offshore testing, inspection and certification. To ensure the highest level of independent and specialist expertise on all health and hygiene standards, Bureau Veritas has partnered with the Cleveland Clinic which is recognised as the leader in this field.

P&O Cruises is working with Bureau Veritas to conduct a comprehensive review of our operations before we resume sailing.

This will help ensure we are fully compliant with the UK Government, UK Chamber of Shipping and other recognised and relevant standards as required to protect the health and well-being of crew and guests and the communities we visit.

The programme will include simulation exercises to audit all aspects in practice. 


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:

  • 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, up-to-date guidance for every aspect of the holiday experience including the mandatory use of face masks and social distancing which will be in place in certain areas
  • We will be operating initially with a reduced occupancy on our ships to support our new protocols
  • Crew will undergo a strict testing and quarantine regime as well as regular testing during their time on board
  • We have plans in place, tailored for each ship, to manage medical needs, including dedicated cabin capacity for isolation, should this be required.


Pre-existing medical requirements

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.

Vaccine policy*

When we first return to sailing, we will be offering a series of UK getaways on board Britannia and Iona. Given the advanced progress of the UK vaccination programme, and strong expressed preference on the part of our guests for this limited series of UK coastal cruises, these sailings on Britannia and Iona will be for UK resident COVID-19 vaccinated guests only.

For these cruises the definition of “vaccinated” is a minimum of seven days following the second dose of the currently approved COVID-19 vaccines being administered. Proof of vaccination and the dates given will be required (approved forms of evidence will be confirmed closer to time of departure) and this will be required to be shown at the terminal prior to boarding. Failure to provide this evidence will result in denial of boarding. There is no age restriction on this series of UK coastal cruises but all guests of all ages must meet the requirements of the COVID-19 vaccination policy.

All other P&O Cruises holidays on sale do not currently require guests to be vaccinated.

As the vaccine roll out progresses and the government has announced its intended roadmap for the future, the guidance is continually evolving. Pre-embarkation COVID-19 tests may be required as part of our framework of protocols and will be complimentary in the price of your holiday. We will update this page as necessary and update all guests prior to their holiday departure date. Please do ensure that your preferences and details are up to date in My Account.