P&O Cruises have some absolutely amazing deals for families. Plus, their family-friendly ships are fantastic for kids. (No, I’ve not been paid to write this!)
I’ve managed to find a 7-night cruise in the school holidays with P&O Cruises for under £1200 for a family of four. That’s less than £43 per person, per night, which is amazing value when you consider how much is included. And that my kids won’t need to miss any school whatsoever.
If you’d like to book a cruise but are put off by the price of cruising with children in the school holidays, please read on to find out how you can find really cheap cruise deals in the school holidays with P&O Cruises…
Why P&O Cruises?
Whilst there are many family-friendly cruise lines around, P&O Cruises is the one which stands out as offering exceptional value for money for British families. Here’s why…
Reduced child prices
From time to time, P&O Cruises offer discounted child places. This can drastically reduce the cost of your cruise if you’re cruising as a family of three of four sharing one cabin.
At the time of writing, P&O Cruises are offering child places from just £99, but if you book with a good travel agent you may be able to get kids places for £49. In the past, I’ve got child places for £1, which has halved the overall cost of my cruise!
P&O Cruises is one of the few cruise lines not to add on gratuities (also known as tips). Gratuities with a cruise line such as Royal Caribbean would cost £46 per day for a family of four.
P&O Cruises include this in the price that you pay upfront, which immediately saves you over £300 on a seven-night cruise compared to some other cruise lines.
A lot of the extra that people spend onboard their cruise is on drinks. This can soon mount up, and even if you’re not a heavy drinker you can easily spend an additional 30% of your cruise fare on drinks.
P&O Cruises bar prices are very reasonable – similarly priced to your local pub and around half the price of some of the American cruise lines. Drinks packages are also available if you’d like to turn your cruise from full-board to all-inclusive.
Suggested read: Is the P&O drinks package worth it?
Plus, if you want to put some wine or gin in your suitcase to drink on your balcony, they don’t mind at all.
What’s the catch with P&O Cruises reduced child places?
The majority of discounted child places are on term-time cruises. This is great for anyone with pre-school age children. Also, babies under two sail for a set fee of £49 or £99 on many P&O Cruises, even in the school holidays.
However, if you really don’t want your older children to miss any more school than they have already, or perhaps you work in education yourself, it’s quite possible to find reduced prices in the school holidays such as Easter, summer and half term.
A step-by-step guide to finding the cheapest cruises in the school holidays
Want to find the cheap school holiday deals? Here’s what I do…
1. Get a list of your school holiday dates
Firstly, get hold of a list of the exact term dates. The most accurate place to get this from is your child’s school. If they don’t have it far enough in advance, you can usually find a copy on your local council’s website and confirm with the school that it’s correct.
2. Search for all cruises and filter to only those with reduced prices for children
Next, go onto the P&O Cruises website and find the cruises with the reduced prices.
After doing a search, to filter the results to just those with cheap kids prices, you’ll need to click “More filters”, then “THEMES”, then “Extra guests sail from £99 on this cruise”.
Next, order the results by date order, next departures first.
3. Cross-reference the cruises on offer with ones in the school holidays
Now you have a list of school holidays and a list of reduced cruises, you just have to work down the list, looking for matches.
The idea behind this is that school holidays differ so much between schools that there will be some dates that your kids are off school AND the fares are reduced.
Cruisers living in Scotland or Northern Ireland will probably have more choice than those in England and Wales, but most people should find at least one discounted date to take advantage of.
In my case, the February half term dates are a week different between P&O Cruises dates and the actual school holiday dates for our school. In the past, I’ve seen the same for October half term.
4. Save any matches to favourites
If you spot any reduced dates that your kids aren’t in school, click the little heart on the P&O Cruises website to save it. When you get to the end, go to the homepage and click the heart at the very top of the page to see your cruises.
Bear in mind that, sometimes, there may be a slight overlap, so that a reduced cruise would mean missing one or two days of school, but the total price is less than half of what it would be in the school holidays.
You can use your own judgement on whether you’re comfortable with this given your own circumstances. Here are some things to consider if you’re thinking of taking your kids out of school.
5. Book your cruise as soon as you can
The best time to book your cruise is as soon as the itineraries go on sale, which can be up to two years before the sailing date! Not only will family cabins sell out much more quickly than cabins that sleep two, but the prices will certainly go up. If you see a cruise that you want, it makes sense not to wait.
I will be booking my cruises at 8.30 am on the day that they are released. I’ve missed out before by waiting until the second day and I don’t want to risk that again!
If you’d also like to be the first to book and get an exclusive discount, you can click here to get a quote from the travel agent that I use.
Want to cruise for less?
For more tips on how to get the best price for your cruise, award-winning blogger and YouTuber, Emma Cruises offers an excellent series of videos that tells you everything you need to know.
Emma’s ‘How to Cruise for Less‘ course promises to help you save up to 60% on the cost of your cruise. I’ve had a good look at the course myself, and would definitely recommend it.