Your holiday experience


Your holiday experience


As of 17 March 2021


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.

When we first return to sailing, we will be hosting 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.

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 masks and social distancing, in accordance with all current guidelines.

When we first return to sailing with our UK coastal cruises, all guests will need to provide proof of vaccination and the dates given (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 at your own expense. This also applies to providing proof of suitable travel insurance.

All guests and crew boarding our ships will undergo health screening and pre-embarkation COVID-19 tests may be required as part of our framework of protocols. If required, it will be complimentary in the price of your holiday. We will update ‘Our Assurance to you’ 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.

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. That way, you can enjoy your break when the time is right. Guests must link with other travellers at the time of booking.

*If your cruise is part of a wider holiday package booked through a tour operator please contact your tour operator 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.

The wearing of face masks in certain areas of the ship will be a mandatory requirement. 


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. You may be asked to pre-book a performance in key venues.


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 applicable procedures 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. For the time being, you will only be able to go ashore 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.

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. Additional health screening may be required when you return 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.