5 Things That P&O Cruises Does Better Than Other Cruise Lines

I’ve cruised on all five of P&O Cruises’ family-friendly ships. So, why do I keep coming back to this cruise line?

P&O Cruises Sign

In this post, I list some of my favourite things that make P&O Cruises great for families and why I would recommend that you definitely should consider P&O Cruises for your next cruise holiday.

1. The Night Nursery

Child asleep in a tuxedo

For anyone cruising with children under five, P&O Cruises’ night nursery is an absolute godsend!

Open from 6 pm until 2 am each evening, parents can drop off their kids in a dark, quiet room, leaving two qualified members of staff to watch them while they sleep.

Nothing quite beats the feeling of skipping away from your happy children, with a glass of wine in your hand, knowing that you’re free to do whatever you like! Leisurely five-course meal? Theatre? Casino? Late-night comedy? Yes to everything!

Sitting around the dinner table, sipping wine with our new-found friends each evening, the conversation would usually turn to our children. “Where are they?”, our fellow diners would enquire.

“Oh, they’re asleep”, We’d reply.

“I bet that’s quite expensive, isn’t it?”, They’d ask.

“Nope! It’s free!”

Cue smug looks from us as we pour more wine.  

The night nursery opens at 6 pm, and children must be silent in there so as not to wake the others. Unless they’re old enough to understand that they must NOT wake the babies, they need to be either asleep or very sleepy when you settle them in to bed.

We’d usually leave our two in the kids’ club next door until around 9 or 10 pm (it’s open until 11), where they’d drift off watching a film, before moving them over to the night nursery.


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2. Children’s Tea

Kids tea on P&O

P&O Cruises offer a special children’s tea at 5pm each evening. An area of the buffet is open just for families, with a whole host of daily-changing children’s favourites such as pizza, spaghetti, fish fingers, potato letters, fruit and vegetables.

Of course, children are welcome to eat at any other time, and in any of the restaurants, but we found the kids’ tea to be so convenient. We’d make sure the children enjoyed a decent meal around 5pm, before sending them off to the kids’ club at 6pm so that we could enjoy our evening in peace.

“You’re not allowed in kids’ club until you’ve finished your vegetables” always seemed to work well to get them to eat the green things too!

Suggested read: P&O Cruises Menus

3. The Breakfast Buffet

Buffet breakfast with P&O

Another highlight of our cruise was the breakfast buffet! I particularly liked that it was open from 6am until 12pm. That’s six full hours of breakfast time! I even had two breakfasts some days!

As I get up at the crack of dawn with the kids almost every day of the year, I hate the thought of them wanting to sleep in on holiday (which they often did, thanks to the evening fun of the kids’ club) only for me to have to set an alarm to not miss breakfast. No such worries with P&O Cruises!

Breakfast was also served in the main dining room for those who fancy a more formal affair. Or you can also have room service free of charge, delivered at a time to suit. Just hang a card on your door when you go to bed saying what you want and when.

4. The In-room Television

TV in Britannia cabin

Now I’m never one for watching TV on holiday, but the in-cabin televisions on board Britannia are worth a mention.

For starters, on the newer ships they’re really big! And you’ll find so much on there – cartoons, news channels, all kinds of movies, sports, weather, lots of radio stations and even a map showing where the ship is.

I also liked the bridge cam channel. If, like us, you’re in an inside cabin, switch the TV to the bridge cam to create a virtual window and to help you decide how to dress for the weather!

5. The Price!

Family with cruise ship in Barcelona

I work in the cruise industry, so spend a lot of time looking at cruises, and P&O Cruises seem to always come out cheaper than other cruise lines offering similar itineraries.

Whilst you won’t find water slides, rock-climbing walls and ice-rinks on board P&O cruise ships, the quality of service, food, entertainment and accommodation is just as good.

So, if you’re conscious of your budget or have been saving for a while for your cruise, I’d definitely recommend this cruise line as one to try.

Read more: How To To Find Family Cruises With Free Child Places

What’s more, P&O Cruises don’t add on a charge for tips (also known as gratuities) as most other cruise lines do.

Tips can cost anything up to £15 per person, per day – so with P&O Cruises you’re saving up to £420 on a two-week cruise for two people just on the cost of tips! Of course, if you still want to tip any members of staff they won’t refuse it, but this is in no way expected.

Alcohol Policy Changes

Bottle of Kopparberg Gin

P&O Cruises is one of the few cruise lines to let you bring your own alcohol on board. But the policy is nowhere near as good as it used to be, so I’ve removed this from the main list above!

Guests are permitted up to 1 litre of wine and Champagne onboard per person, to be consumed in your cabin. But you used to be allowed to bring a litre of spirits too – and me and my husband would often bring a bottle each with us, along with soft drinks for mixers.

Each evening, we’d call room service and ask for some ice (free of charge) and enjoy a couple of drinks whilst getting ready to head out for the evening.

Had we ordered all these drinks individually, based on 40 single measures in each litre bottle, it would have cost us £364!

So it’s a real shame that P&O changed the policy in May 2024.


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Cruise Mummy

Jenni Fielding is the founder of Cruise Mummy. She has worked in the cruise industry since 2015 and has taken over 30 cruises. Now, she helps over 1 million people per month to plan their perfect cruise holidays.

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19 thoughts on “5 Things That P&O Cruises Does Better Than Other Cruise Lines”

  1. We stopped cruising with pando some years ago. They never listened to our comments. It looks as if some things have changed. You were never allowed to bring on your own alcohol, perhaps it’s just 1 bottle? On our last cruise you had to ask for a flannel!! Also you don’t mention the cost of their internet!! I could list dozens of things they get wrong

  2. I only have one grumble with P&O. I use a mobility scooter to get around on shore as I am unable to walk long distances. I do not need to use it in my cabin etc. Because of this I am only allowed to book a cabin that is for someone with a disability and have to book my cruises well in advance as these cabins go very quickly. Sad when the cabin could be used by someone who really needs it. I also have to have an evac chair in the case of emergencies even though I can get up and down stairs etc on my own.

  3. New to cruisemummy.co.uk and even though we are both in our late 60’s finding the tips invaluable.
    Looking to book a Caribbean cruise to celebrate my husband’s 70th birthday in January and sure the information we have had regarding cabins etc will be most helpful.
    Thanks Jenni

  4. I went on P&O’s Norwegian Fjords cruise on Britannia in June 2023.
    They only had shower gel and shampoo in the cabin. They did not have conditioner, soap, body lotion or shower cap in the cabin. A lot of other passengers had the same complaint.
    Cabin Stewards said these items are only given on request! P&O website does not say this anywhere!

    • Hi Nisha. Yes, you’re right, this is a fairly recent change due to cutting costs. The items are still available but you do have to request them now rather than them being there for everyone. Jenni

  5. Good read. We are cruising on Iona in September with our 3 year old. Hoping to make use of the night nursery but just concerned she won’t be ready for sleep. You mentioned dropping your kids at the kids club until later, would that be a suitable strategy for a 3 year old? What would you recommend? Thank you 🙂

    • They do have to be sleepy so as not to wake the babies so maybe go for a walk around deck in a pushchair until she gets drowsy? That worked for us.

  6. Hi have you been on a P&O recently? We usually travel with RC on Anthem but were looking for a cost effective but nice enough, change.

    • Yes, I’ve been on Arvia, Azura and Iona this year and all were lovely. Definitely give them a go! Jenni

  7. Recently went on staycation which was great, a couple of comments though. No afternoon tea in buffet lunch served till 5! Tea bookable only in mdr and limited numbers. No white toiletries, not even a bar of soap for sink in bathroom, in shower there was dispenser. No beach house, no grab and go, you had to book everything. Felt a bit regimental, hope they don’t decide this is the way to go in the future.

    • Thanks for the recent feedback, Elaine. I’m hoping these changes are only temporary.

      • Hi I’ve been on p&O Arvia and Iona last year and this year they don’t do a grab and go fridge since covid they have a fridge but its not being used. And in the shower there is only shampoo and conditioner now nothing else. Only small issues .I know the cruise was great.

  8. We enjoy cruising with P&O. We prefer to eat all our meals in one of the main restaurants, rather than the buffet. No extra cost and far more civilised. That said, if we are in a hurry we do use the buffet. Over lockdown we have had several cruises cancelled, so have phoned P&O several times. Although it often takes them a while to answer we have always been treated courteously and professionally. NO COMPLAINTS HERE!

  9. Apart from the toiletries these are all reasons not to travel with P &O in my opinion. If you think it’s great then good I am happy for you but sounds awful to me.

    • Luckily, there’s a cruise line for everyone! What’s your favourite, Linda?

    • If you drive to Southampton, what’s your advice on parking?

      • We stay in the chilton Manor best western, bed & breakfast the night before, then either drive to dock or leave car there they organise a cab to take us & pick us up brilliant service done both about 8 times Pat Grove

  10. Love your blogs, they are amazing and really helpful. We have just been on Britannia in an Inside Cabin, but the web cam was dirty so we couldn’t decide to what to wear.

    • Thank you! Sorry to hear that the outside camera wasn’t useful on your cruise! Even with it I sometimes went on deck in shorts and vest only to quickly return for a hoody.

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