Your holiday experience

While we’ve new protocols in place to protect the well-being of all on board, you’ll still find an incredible P&O Cruises holiday in store. After months of lockdown life, everything you’ve missed is waiting on our ships. Set sail from Southampton and you could be slipping into holiday mode, sipping a cocktail on deck in no time. You can lick your lips over an I-want-it-all menu and enjoy waiter service, with all of our bars and restaurants open. You can swap endless nights of TV and Zoom quizzes and take a seat in the theatre or listen to a live band. You can relax in the pool or melt into a massage in our on-board spa. You’ll find all of the joys of your cruise ship, and for peace of mind, a few reassuring changes…

Your holiday experience


As of 25 July 2021


Before you board

We can’t wait to welcome you on board. To ensure check-in is as quick and easy as possible, we’ve a few new measures in place. Prior to your departure, we’ll provide pre-cruise information about mitigating the risk of COVID-19 and we will ask you to complete a Health Declaration questionnaire. Please read this pre-cruise information carefully as this will include what to expect when you arrive at the terminal, your 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 and/or have a City Stay, please refer to your airline/hotel for their latest protocols and 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. This means that you’re able to dine, meet in a bar, watch shows and go on a shore experience together without the need for social distancing. Please call our Customer Contact Centre or speak to your travel agent to link your bookings before you sail. 


Boarding your ship

Before your holiday can begin, we’ve enhanced our boarding procedures working with our partners in the ports. In the cruise terminal you will be required to wear a face mask and maintain social distancing, in accordance with all current guidelines.

When we first return to sailing with our UK coastal cruises (departures from 27 June until 24 September 2021), all guests will need to provide proof of vaccination and the dates given. 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 to request to receive an offline copy by email. Alternatively to prove your vaccination status you can show a screenshot of your vaccination details which show 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. 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.

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 will result in denial of boarding at your own expense. The same applies for providing proof of suitable travel insurance.

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

The vaccination and testing policy has been updated for all sailings on Britannia and Iona departing between 8 July and 24 September 2021. These cruises are still for UK resident COVID-19 vaccinated guests only (irrespective of age) but for these cruises the definition of “vaccinated” will now be a minimum of 14 days following the second dose of the currently approved COVID-19 vaccines being administered or 14 days following the recently approved single-dose Janssen COVID-19 vaccine being administered. All guests will still also require a negative COVID-19 test at the terminal (the cost of which will be complimentary).

The vaccination and testing policy for all cruises departing from 25 September to 31 December 2021 requires all guests 18 years old and over to have completed their vaccination course a minimum of 14 days prior to sailing. All guests 17 years old and below will need to have completed their vaccination course a minimum of 14 days prior to sailing or will require a negative PCR test within 72 hours prior to travel. All guests will also require a negative COVID-19 test at the terminal; the cost of both the COVID-19 test at the terminal and the PCR test will be complimentary.

This vaccination and testing policy will be 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 guests and crew boarding our ships will undergo health screening. If you test positive for the virus, you will be denied boarding, but we’re pleased to say you’ll receive a non-refundable FCC to the value of the cruise which is not ABTA or ATOL protected 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.

As the guidance evolves, so may our policies and procedures. 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.


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.

All P&O Cruises ships are already fitted with HEPA air filtration in appropriate areas. Ahead of our sailing restart we will be further enhancing existing filtration, further maximising fresh air circulation and also fitting ultraviolet light disinfection across all our ships. These ship-wide upgrades to on-board air systems are based on the latest indoor air quality guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).

For added peace of mind, 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 guests than normal, we’ll still bring the P&O Cruises holiday atmosphere that we know you love.

We require guests to wear a face mask, 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 you wash your mask daily 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.


Eating and drinking

All of our restaurants and bars will be open and we can’t wait to dazzle you with our devilishly tempting menus. From fine dining to a light lunch, stopping for ice cream or grabbing a slice of poolside pizza – there’s a world of variety on board. You will just need to pre-book a table in the restaurants or join a virtual queue while we prepare your table. This will also apply to the buffets and deck grills which will now be served by our team. You can dine with guests travelling in other cabins if you wish to but please note, shared tables will only be available when requested, otherwise you will have a table to yourself. 



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! All of our entertainment venues will be open throughout your holiday, and while you will need to pre-book some performances, we’ll have plenty of show times to ensure you don’t miss out. To protect the well-being of everyone on board, 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. Fancy a soothing spa treatment or a yoga class? A wander in the boutiques or a flutter in the casino? It’s all waiting for you. We will have new measures in place to minimise contact, reduce the number of guests in each area and maintain the highest levels of cleanliness. Only activities or areas of the ship that would make social distancing difficult will not be in operation. For example, you can dance with someone you’re travelling with as part of a hosted dance class, however the dance floors in our lounge bars / night clubs will not be open. 



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.


Time to go home –
Test and Trace

All guests will need to adhere to UK regulations after disembarking their ship, including completion of 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.


Solo travellers

Solo travellers will be able to enjoy delicious dining, world-class entertainment and adventures ashore. We know solo travellers love to make friends on board and we’re pleased to say guests travelling alone are welcome to join others for dining and all hosted activities such as workshops, dance classes and shore experiences.