Our assurance to you

 

As of 30 September 2021

 
   
 

Our assurance to you

 

Our new protocols

As we 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. We’ve developed enhanced health and well-being measures to protect everyone on board and all guests and crew are required to follow these.

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 procedures. We've also gone beyond those protocols by asking guests to complete a Health Declaration 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.

To ensure you can continue to enjoy your incredible P&O Cruises holiday, our new measures include:

  • A robust vaccination and testing policy for all guests
  • Pre-boarding health screening
  • The highest levels of cleanliness throughout the ships
  • Adherence to approved standards for the service of food and drink, entertainment and experiences on board and on shore
  • Enhanced on-board ventilation systems to provide improved filtration and increased fresh air
  • Enhanced sanitation measures
  • Appropriate social distancing in line with latest guidance for cruise lines
  • The requirement to wear a face mask that covers your mouth, with no exceptions, in specific areas including the terminal, when moving around indoors on board, and when seated in the theatre. You’re free to remove your mask when seated elsewhere around the ship, when out on deck and when exercising. We’d always recommend guests regularly clean their masks and choose a good quality, ideally medical grade, standard. Please note that visors and face shields will not be accepted as a substitute for a face mask
  • We are operating initially with a reduced occupancy on our ships to support our new protocols
  • Crew also undergo a strict testing and quarantine regime as well as regular testing during their time on board
  • If you have travelled internationally within seven days of your cruise, you will still be able to sail with us if all the required protocols have been adhered to and all necessary tests have been negative. From 25 September onwards, back-to-back bookings are once again allowed.
  • For your peace of mind, we will not visit a country on the UK government’s red list at the point of travel. We always do our best to visit all of the destinations on our itineraries but if for any reason we’re unable to visit, we will either spend an additional day in another port, add in a new port, or if neither is possible, you’ll get to enjoy an additional day at sea where you can soak up the charms of your ship as well as unbeatable sea views
  • We have plans in place, tailored for each ship, to manage medical needs, including dedicated cabin capacity for isolation and quarantine, should this be required.


These protocols are subject to change as we continue to work with our experts and with government bodies to ensure all of our practices evolve in line with latest advice. Rest assured, our primary focus is always to protect the health and well-being of our crew and guests and the communities we visit. 

Working with Bureau Veritas

In line with Chamber of Shipping guidance, Britannia and Iona have achieved external validation of their health and well-being protocols from Bureau Veritas (BV), a world leader in testing, inspection and certification.

President Marine and Offshore, Bureau Veritas, Matthieu de Tugny said:

“Our passenger ship experts have been supporting P&O Cruises with the verification of health and well-being standards to enable a return to service in line with the UK Chamber of Shipping’s guidance and Bureau Veritas guidelines. The ships were exceptionally well prepared and we give full credit to the entire ships’ crew and management.”

 

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 is rigorously and regularly cleaned and sanitised
  • We have provided additional hand-sanitising stations
  • We have enhanced our on-board ventilation systems to provide improved filtration and increased fresh air
  • We 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 is in place in certain areas
  • We are operating initially with a reduced occupancy on our ships to support our new protocols
  • Crew 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 and quarantine, 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. 

DOWNLOAD HEALTH ADVISORY LETTER

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.

Unfortunately we are 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 and testing policy*

For holidays to the Caribbean from 22 October 2021 - 27 March 2022

Given the long-haul destinations and the number of different countries visited combined with the current health protocols and entry requirements in the Caribbean, all guests (irrespective of age) must have completed their vaccination course at least 14 days prior to travel. This can either be two doses of the currently approved COVID-19 vaccines or the approved single-dose Janssen COVID-19 vaccine (approved by the MHRA). A single dose of any other vaccine will not be accepted. All guests of all ages must meet the requirements of the COVID-19 vaccination policy. 

All guests on a Caribbean fly-cruise will also need to organise and pay for a private PCR test within 72 hours prior to travel. The test must be administered at an accredited or recognised laboratory by a healthcare professional. You’ll present your negative PCR result at the airport as well as complete a complimentary antigen test organised by P&O Cruises.

For guests setting sail in Southampton, you will complete a complimentary antigen test at the terminal and must pay for a PCR test on board within 72 hours of arriving in the Caribbean.

For all other holidays from 25 September 2021 - 27 March 2022

All guests aged 18 years and over must have completed their vaccination course at least 14 days prior to travel. This can either be two doses of the currently approved COVID-19 vaccines or the approved single-dose Janssen COVID-19 vaccine (approved by the MHRA). A single dose of any other vaccine will not be accepted. All guests aged between five and 17 years old will need to have completed their vaccination course a minimum of 14 days prior to sailing or will require a negative PCR test within 120 hours prior to travel. Guests four years old and younger will be permitted to travel providing their travelling parents/guardians meet the above requirements. 

All guests will also require a negative COVID-19 test at the terminal (the cost of which will be complimentary). As mentioned above, if you are travelling with children aged between five and 17 years old who are not vaccinated, they will need to take a PCR test within 120 hours prior to travelling to the terminal (again, this will be complimentary). Please register with our service provider, Prenetics, and order a PCR pre-cruise testing kit for every unvaccinated guest aged between five and 17 years on your booking. Registration opens five weeks before sailing and closes six days before your embarkation date.

We also organise testing that may be required to go ashore in various destinations on your itinerary. These tests will be available to purchase on board at a cost of £18 per antigen test per person and £25 per PCR test per person. Currently, the majority of ports we visit this year do not require entry testing. For the latest information on the requirements of the ports we visit, click here. All requirements are subject to change. During your holiday, destinations on your itinerary may have various documentation requirements. You are responsible for meeting the entry requirements of each destination you plan to visit, regardless of whether you have booked a P&O Cruises shore experience or are exploring independently; however, we will be happy to guide you through all testing and documentation needs on board. P&O Cruises cannot accept responsibility if you are denied entry to a country because you do not meet its entry requirements.

You must also organise a COVID-19 test to take within 48 hours after returning home. This is a requirement of the UK government and applies to all guests aged five years and over who are staying in the UK after their holiday. It is essential that you book your day two test in advance of your holiday as you need to provide the booking reference on the Passenger Locator Form (PLF). You must complete a PLF prior to arriving in the UK. TOP TIP – you can complete and submit the form 21 days prior to your planned arrival date back into the UK. If you’re travelling on a fly-cruise holiday, you must complete the PLF within 48 hours prior to arriving in the UK. You can set up an account before your holiday and enter some of your details giving you a head start. You’ll need a data-enabled device (e.g. smartphone or tablet) to complete the form. We do have some facilities for those that don’t own a suitable device.

This vaccination and testing policy is reviewed on a regular basis as the global situation continues to evolve. At the time of travel, some ports of call may stipulate specific vaccine or testing policies for guests going ashore that differ from this policy.

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

We also recommend you follow the government’s advice of testing yourself regularly at home. If you were to test positive within 14 days of departure, you would need to call our Customer Contact Centre on 0344 338 8003 (local call charges apply) and not travel to the terminal/airport. You’ll receive a non-refundable Future Cruise Credit (FCC) to the value of the cruise which is not ABTA or ATOL protected until a new booking is made and we will automatically refund any pre-cruise purchases made through My P&O Cruises. If you booked your cruise as part of a wider holiday package, please contact your travel provider for information relating to their policies.

It is the responsibility of any guest travelling from the Common Travel Area to adhere to the local travel restrictions that apply when travelling in and out of England for departures from Southampton. If you embark the ship at a port outside of the UK it is your responsibility to ensure that you meet all entry requirements for that country at the time of sailing. P&O Cruises cannot accept responsibility if you are denied entry to a country because you do not meet its entry requirements.

Proof of vaccination status

In line with our vaccine and testing policy, all guests are required to show proof of vaccination status at the terminal/airport prior to boarding which will be checked against the guest’s photo ID. This can be either in digital or printed format (a screenshot is fine) and must be an official certificate of vaccine status issued by your local health authority (e.g. NHS England). Please visit your relevant NHS or local health authority website for full details of how to obtain an official record of your vaccine status in advance of your holiday (please note that some authorities require up to 10 days to process applications to receive postal certificates).

Guests in England can download the NHS app, register with their NHS number and photo ID and gain access to ‘Get your NHS COVID Pass’ – this allows you to download a PDF copy of your vaccine record and/or request to receive an offline copy by email. Alternatively, to prove your vaccination status you can show a screenshot of your vaccination details which appear below your unique 2D barcode within the app. This shows the details of each vaccination and the date given – please note that there are two different screens for vaccination 1 and 2. We are unable to scan the 2D barcode within the app; the teams at the terminal/airport need to see the information shown below the 2D barcode which confirms the dates of vaccination. Please register for the NHS app well in advance of travel as NHS app accounts can take up to 14 days to approve. If using the app, in case of any connectivity issues we’d recommend taking a screenshot so that you can easily show this at the terminal/airport. Please note that the record card that is given out at the time of vaccination will not be accepted as proof of your vaccination status. Unfortunately, failure to provide proof of vaccination at the terminal/airport will result in denial of boarding at your own expense.

Please see the following FAQs for more information relating to the acceptable formats for proof of vaccination.

Vaccine policy infographic

We will update this page as necessary and update all guests prior to their holiday departure date. Please do ensure that your preferences and contact details are up to date in the My Account section of our website.

Frequently asked questions