If you’re planning a cruise with P&O Cruises, it’s good to know what is included and which things you need to pay extra for. In this post, I give you the full guide to what is included on a P&O cruise.
Things included on a P&O cruise (that you don’t need to pack)
If you’re trying to decide what you need to pack for your P&O cruise, there are a few things you can leave at home. There’s no need to pack these things on a P&O cruise:
- Towels and beach towels – these are provided for you to use onboard
- Hair dryer – there is one available in every cabin
- Soap, shower gel, shampoo and conditioner – unless you prefer to use your own
Drinks included on a P&O cruise
Unlimited water, tea and standard coffee is included in the cruise fare. Fruit juice is also available during breakfast in the buffet and main dining rooms.
There is a kettle with tea, coffee, milk and sugar in your cruise cabin that is replenished daily. You will also receive a complimentary bottle of water in your cabin on arrival.
There are certain events that enable you to snag a free alcoholic drink. Look out for shopping and art gallery events, cocktail demonstrations and Gala Night, when free drinks are handed out.
All other drinks on your cruise will be extra so it’s worth taking a look at my comprehensive P&O Cruises drinks menus with prices to decide if a pre-paid drinks package is worth buying.
If you don’t decide to have a drinks package, it’s worth knowing that P&O Cruises allows each guest aged 18 years (21 years in United States of America and United Arab Emirates ports) and older to bring up to a litre of wine, Champagne, beer, spirit or liqueur on board as they embark the ship for the first time.
Restaurants included on a P&O Cruise
Because each P&O cruise ship is slightly different, here are the restaurants included on each P&O ship.
|P&O Cruise Ship||Complimentary Restaurants|
|Aurora||Horizon Buffet, Lido Grill, Alexandria and Medina (Main Dining Rooms)|
|Arcadia||Belvedere Buffet, Neptune Grill, Meridian Restaurant (Main Dining Room)|
|Ventura||Waterside Buffet, Poolside Grill, Poolside Pizza, Bay Tree, Saffron and Cinnamon Restaurants (Main Dining Rooms)|
|Azura||Venezia Buffet, Poolside Grill, Poolside Pizza, Peninsular, Oriental and Meridian Restaurants (Main Dining Rooms)|
|Britannia||Horizon Court Buffet, Lido Grill, The Pizzeria, Grab & Go, Peninsular, Meridian and Oriental Restaurants (Main Dining Rooms)|
|Iona||Horizon Buffet, Taste 360, Grab & Go, The Olive Grove, The Quays, The Chef’s Table, Coral, Opal, Aqua and Pearl Restaurants (Main Dining Rooms)|
|Arvia||Horizon Buffet, Taste 360, 6th Street Diner, The Olive Grove, The Chef’s Table, The Quays, Meridian and Zenith Restaurants (Main Dining Rooms)|
As you can see, there is a wider choice of complimentary dining venues on P&O Cruises’ newest ships.
There is always a casual dining option available in the evening but you should certainly dine in one of the main dining restaurants to enjoy a three-course meal and attentive service.
If you’d like to try an affordable specialty dining option, I would recommend The Beach House, which takes inspiration from Caribbean and American cuisines. The menu is sure to appeal to families and friends looking for comfort food and hearty dishes. See my review of The Beach House with menu and photos here.
P&O Cruises’ room service breakfast is complimentary from 7.00am to 11.00am. After that, room service is charged per item. Take a look at the room service menus for breakfast, lunch and later.
There is a loophole for suite guests, who can order free room service and items from the main dining room during lunch and dinner but it must be ordered through the suite’s butler. If a suite guests orders via room service, charges will apply.
Do you have to pay gratuities on P&O Cruises?
P&O Cruises includes gratuities in the cruise fare. This means tips are all taken care of before you’ve even got onboard. The good thing about this is that you know that the gratuities will be shared amongst the hard working crew.
Most of the other mainstream cruise lines add the tips / gratuities / crew appreciation on top of your cruise fare.
Flights and transfers are included on a P&O fly cruise
If your cruise starts outside of the UK, P&O Cruises will include flights and transfers in the cruise fare price. This is particularly helpful for long haul flights to the Caribbean because you know everything has been taken care of.
Once you drop your bags off at the airport, you won’t see them again until they’re outside your cabin door.
There is plenty of entertainment to enjoy onboard P&O ships throughout the day. You can expect the entertainment team to play games and music on the lido deck in the daytime. Also on the Lido Deck are sailaway parties and special themed parties to enjoy on certain evenings of the cruise.
At night, there’s live music in the atrium, lounges and bars. Every evening, you can also expect a show in the theatre. Theatre shows feature the cruise ship performers and guest acts such as comedians and singers.
The only entertainment venue that isn’t included in your cruise fare is the Limelight Club. The Limelight Club on P&O Cruises is your classic ‘dinner and a show.’ The price of The Limelight Club differs depending on the caliber of the entertainment act and ranges from £25 to £35 on average.
Kids clubs are included on a P&O cruise
There are kids clubs for children aged two to 17 years old, organised into four sections:
- Splashers (2 – 4 years)
- Surfers (5 – 8 years)
- Scubas (9 – 12 years)
- H2O (13 – 17 years)
These clubs are included in the cruise fare and are a great way to keep the children busy with fun age-appropriate activities.
Parents will also be happy to know that there’s night nursery service available for young ones of four years and younger (the kids clubs typically open until 11.00pm) for no additional fee.
Complimentary Activities on a P&O Cruise
There is so much to do on a P&O cruise and I’d challenge anyone to do it all. On sea days there are activities that you can join in from first thing in the morning until late at night.
Here are just some of the activities you can expect on a P&O cruise:
- Sports and competitions
- Dance classes
- Quizzes and trivia
- Enrichment talks
- Cinema screenings
- Family bingo
- Drinks tasting
- Guest choir
To give you an idea of the other activities available onboard, I’d recommend you take a look at the 50 free things on Britannia.
Access to the adults-only area
If you’re looking to escape to a quieter area on the ship, there’s no need to pay extra. Whilst you pay extra for exclusive access to The Retreat, the complimentary alternative is the Serenity adults-only area.
Here it’s a quiet zone, just for adults with sun loungers, a pool and bar.
The P&O Cruises’ website states that the Serenity area is ‘for a little extra’ which is misleading. The only thing you pay for in this area are the drinks at the bar. Access to this adult-only space is complimentary.
Access to the gym
The gym onboard P&O ships is free to use and has a good range of machines and free weights.
If you’re a regular gym user, it’s very convenient to squeeze a workout into your day. If you are not familiar with gym equipment and machines, be careful as gym induction are not offered.
Some of the cardio machines are positioned in front of the windows so you can exercise whilst gazing out at the ocean.
The best thing about the launderettes on P&O Cruises is that the machines are free to use! You will find them on your stateroom deck so there should be one fairly near your cabin. If you don’t want to return home to a pile of laundry, this is a handy option. Just remember to pack your own washing powder/tablets.
Each launderette has washing machines, dryers, a sink and an ironing station. Machines and irons are totally free of any charge. Machine cycles last approximately 45 minutes. It’s best to check the duration so you don’t leave your clothes in a machine after the cycle has finished. You may return to find your clothes have been removed for the next person to use it.
Take a look at my full guide to P&O Cruises’ Laundry.
Recap of what is included on a P&O cruise
- Towels / toiletries / hairdryer
- Water, tea and coffee (fruit juice at breakfast)
- Room service breakfast
- Food in complimentary dining venues
- Flights and transfers for fly cruises
- Daily activities
- Kids clubs
- Adult-only area
- Gym use
- Self-service laundry access
If you wanted to, you could quite easily pay your cruise fare and nothing more. There are two things that I wish were complimentary on P&O cruise ships: fruit juice throughout the day and ice cream. Even so, the value you get on a P&O cruise is excellent in comparison to other cruise lines in the same price bracket.