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  #1  
Old July 30th, 2012, 12:50 PM
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sez809 sez809 is offline
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Question Honest advice comparing P&O & Princess

Hi. I am new to the P&O forum, having sailed with Princess several times, and with RC just the once. I thoroughly enjoy the style and service of Princess, however would like to broaden my cruise experiences, as it were.

We are considering booking the Oceana for next summer, as the itinerary is appealing, for myself, my husband, 13 yr old daughter and possibly our 18yr old son.

Could any of you please give me honest, warts and all opinions and comparisons between Princess and P&O? I personally love the style of Princess, the service received and the formal evenings! Are there any of those on board P&O, for example?

So sorry to be a nuisance, but any info would really help in our decision making!

Thank you,
Sarah
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  #2  
Old July 30th, 2012, 01:29 PM
Thejuggler Thejuggler is offline
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  #3  
Old July 30th, 2012, 03:25 PM
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Thank you! I thought I had searched, but obviously not! (It's been a trying day!)

regards

Sarah
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  #4  
Old July 30th, 2012, 05:00 PM
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As you can see we have tried both cruise lines and can say the food on Princess is way beyond the food you get on P&O, the menu is far larger, their steak/beef/lobster is amazing but rubbish on P&O, ok the drinks are cheaper on P&O but the ambience on board a Princess ship is fantastic.
I must say we pay a lot more on a P&O ship for alternative dining so it all balances out in the end, it just works out what you want out of a cruise, P&O is now attracting a lot of football shirts!!!! but they never go in the dining room!
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  #5  
Old July 30th, 2012, 05:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sez809 View Post
Hi. I am new to the P&O forum, having sailed with Princess several times, and with RC just the once. I thoroughly enjoy the style and service of Princess, however would like to broaden my cruise experiences, as it were.

We are considering booking the Oceana for next summer, as the itinerary is appealing, for myself, my husband, 13 yr old daughter and possibly our 18yr old son.

Could any of you please give me honest, warts and all opinions and comparisons between Princess and P&O? I personally love the style of Princess, the service received and the formal evenings! Are there any of those on board P&O, for example?

So sorry to be a nuisance, but any info would really help in our decision making!

Thank you,
Sarah
Oceana is an ex Princess ship so the design will feel very familiar. We loved the Crown Princess and have also really enjoyed Oceana. Formal nights are more formal on P&O than Princess (and a lot more formal than RCI). Both have afternoon tea in the MDR. The food is better on Princess (the presentation was always fantastic) but still good on P&O.

Advantages with P&O are as follows:
  1. free shuttle buses at ports
  2. no service charge on drinks
  3. pub prices of drinks so no need for soda cards etc
  4. much lower recommended tips
  5. unlimited wine and spirits allowed to be brought onboard to drink in cabin.
  6. ability to bring alcohol from ports and keep it for consumption in cabin.
  7. more vegetables with main courses
  8. fantastic hanging and drawer space in cabins despite compact design.
  9. padded chairs on the balcony
    Main dining room open for lunch everyday not just in port
P&O has a largely British passenger base and this is reflected in the MDR and entertainment.


Disadvantages of Oceana:
  1. no indoor pool
  2. cabins are small and the balcony cabins are cut out of the metal rather than have transparent glass.
  3. buffet layout is poor
  4. theatre space is insufficient so you need to arrive early in order to guarantee a seat.
I hope this helps.
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Last edited by Jo and Rob; July 30th, 2012 at 05:07 PM.
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  #6  
Old July 30th, 2012, 05:24 PM
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Thank you everyone!

Football shirts....hmmmm!! Food for thought!

Sarah
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  #7  
Old July 30th, 2012, 11:38 PM
Sutho Sutho is offline
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I have always found the service, entertainment and food far superior on P&O to what I have experienced on Princess.

The cabin stewards on P&O are much more friendly and have a very perceptive mind and work the cabin around your routine and are always willing to help where ever they can. Same goes for the dining stewards they get to know your eating habbits and suggest and have sides for your meal ready without you even asking.

I have found the cabin stewards on Princess to be extremely rude and want to do things in their time and they have no time management and ability to work around your holiday routine.

Having said that I find the Princess ships have better facilities than P&O.

I know others see things differently but all I can say is that I have experienced the best P&O have to offer and think it has always been far superior to Princess in many ways. P&O is my preffered line over Princess.
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  #8  
Old July 31st, 2012, 02:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SueFrankuk View Post
P&O is now attracting a lot of football shirts!!!! but they never go in the dining room!
That may be true in the case of Ventura, but there are seven very different ships in the P&O fleet. That IMO is P&O's problem. They offer a different experience (to some degree) depending upon which ship you choose. Choose carefully and you will have a great time, with fabulous service.
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Ships sailed on:
Vistafjord, Caronia, QE2, Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth Maiden Voyage, Aurora, Arcadia, Oriana, Oceana, Artemis, Ventura, Balmoral, Adonia, Discovery, Royal Princess (2013 ship), Nautica
Also Rhine and Dutch river cruises

Ships visited:
Independence of the Seas, Azura, Artania, Prinsendam, Maasdam, Crystal Symphony, Saga Sapphire, Saga Pearl II


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  #9  
Old July 31st, 2012, 04:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Host Sharon View Post
That may be true in the case of Ventura, but there are seven very different ships in the P&O fleet. That IMO is P&O's problem. They offer a different experience (to some degree) depending upon which ship you choose. Choose carefully and you will have a great time, with fabulous service.

We are considering the Aurora to the Canaries. Any thoughts? We are a family of three, poss four if we decide to take our 19yr old with us!

Thanks again.
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  #10  
Old July 31st, 2012, 07:17 AM
Slow Foxtrot Slow Foxtrot is offline
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..That may be true in the case of Ventura, but there are seven very different ships in the P&O fleet....
Don't base the P & O experience on the Ventura. As Sharon says, P & O's ships are very different.
The Oriana is a classic ship with a superb theatre and Crows' Nest, and the best dance-floor and dance-bands in the P & O fleet. The staff are brilliant, the food excellent, and the formal nights are 98% formal. Having spent several months on board in the last couple of years I have never seen any of the 'football shirt brigade'.
It all depends what you are looking for; there's no rock-climbing walls and no ice-skating rinks etc but as most of the passengers are on the wrong side of fifty they don't need them. With all cruise lines, the shorter and cheaper the cruise the more chance there is of attracting bargain hunters and the more chance there is of seeing the dreaded football shirts.
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  #11  
Old July 31st, 2012, 09:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sez809 View Post
We are considering the Aurora to the Canaries. Any thoughts? We are a family of three, poss four if we decide to take our 19yr old with us!

Thanks again.
A lovely traditional style ship with superb theatre, showlounge/ nightclub/ dance floor and dedicated cinema. Loads of open deck space and choice of eating venues, althgouh no freedom dining option.

Whether she will suit you though depends what you want or need. Personally - my next favourite in the fleet after Oriana.
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Ships sailed on:
Vistafjord, Caronia, QE2, Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth Maiden Voyage, Aurora, Arcadia, Oriana, Oceana, Artemis, Ventura, Balmoral, Adonia, Discovery, Royal Princess (2013 ship), Nautica
Also Rhine and Dutch river cruises

Ships visited:
Independence of the Seas, Azura, Artania, Prinsendam, Maasdam, Crystal Symphony, Saga Sapphire, Saga Pearl II


To come:
Oriana - Northern Lights 2014
Adonia - Iberia and N Africa 2014
Queen Victoria 175 voyage May 2015

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  #12  
Old July 31st, 2012, 10:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sez809 View Post
We are considering the Aurora to the Canaries. Any thoughts? We are a family of three, poss four if we decide to take our 19yr old with us!

Thanks again.
We have not been on either Oceana or Aurora, but I imagine the Oceana experience would be closer to Princess than Aurora; however Oceana is getting old and, as has already been commented upon, the cabins are quite small and so are the balconies, but on Aurora A & C deck balconies are also small cut outs without glass panels.
Our favourite Princess ship is Emerald, which is very similar to Azura and Ventura with the same excellent evening entertainment venues. We have been on both and IOHO you can safely ignore the football shirt and lager lout comments, we saw none of this on our Canaries and Norway & Iceland cruises.
The only downside in comparing P&O with Princess, is that, again IOHO, there are far too many Brits on P&O, and virtually no North Americans.
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Previous Cruises
March 92 - Carnival's Carnivale - Bahamas . October 97 - Thomson's Emerald, Med. Nov 2000 - Superstar Gemini, Straits of Malacca. Jan 2004 - Coral Princess - Panama-Carib. June 2005 - Island Princess - Alaska. Jan 2006 - P&O Arcadia - East/southern Carib. Feb 2007 - Celebrity Millenium - Eastern Carib. June 2007 - Tahitian Princess - Honolulu to Papeete. Feb 2008 - Sapphire Princess - Sydney to Auckland. Sept 2008 Emerald Princess - Mediterranean. March 2009 - Coral Princess - Panama Canal. Feb 2010 Celebrity Solstice - Eastern Caribbean . Aug 2011 P&O Azura- Canaries. June 2012 P&O Ventura Iceland & Fjords. Sept 2012 Celebrity Eclipse - Western Med; Apr 2013 P&O Azura Western Med. June 2013 Celebrity Eclipse - Baltic. Oct 2013 P&O Azura - Central Med.
Future cruises,
May - 2014 Emerald Princess Spain & France.
Sept. 2014 Celebrity Eclipse - Canaries & Azores.
Apr. - 2015 P&O Britannia - W. Med (Pre-reg)
June - 2015Celebrity Eclipse - Iceland & Fjords
Sept - 2015 Celebrity Eclipse - Canaries & Azores.
Jan - 2016 P&O Ventura - No Fly Caribbean. (pre-reg)

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  #13  
Old July 31st, 2012, 11:31 AM
Slow Foxtrot Slow Foxtrot is offline
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Originally Posted by terrierjohn View Post
......The only downside in comparing P&O with Princess, is that, again IOHO, there are far too many Brits on P&O, and virtually no North Americans.
Too many Brits on P & O ? Hardly surprising seeing as Southampton is P & O's home port. What's the downside of too many Brits and the advantage of more North Americans?
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  #14  
Old July 31st, 2012, 12:03 PM
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I found the onboard experience pretty identical on the two lines. The difference was the irritation caused by the high cost of drinks, photos, gratuities and shuttle buses on Princess. Even if I have to pay a higher initial price for P & O, I can enjoy my holiday better when the onboard costs are lower.
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  #15  
Old July 31st, 2012, 01:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slow Foxtrot View Post
Too many Brits on P & O ? Hardly surprising seeing as Southampton is P & O's home port. What's the downside of too many Brits and the advantage of more North Americans?
It is only our opinion, but having sailed both lines we find the onboard ambience of a Princess ship is more friendly and relaxed than the somewhat stuffier and class consciousness of P&O.
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Rules are for the guidance of wise men and the observance of fools. (Douglas Bader 1910-1982)

Previous Cruises
March 92 - Carnival's Carnivale - Bahamas . October 97 - Thomson's Emerald, Med. Nov 2000 - Superstar Gemini, Straits of Malacca. Jan 2004 - Coral Princess - Panama-Carib. June 2005 - Island Princess - Alaska. Jan 2006 - P&O Arcadia - East/southern Carib. Feb 2007 - Celebrity Millenium - Eastern Carib. June 2007 - Tahitian Princess - Honolulu to Papeete. Feb 2008 - Sapphire Princess - Sydney to Auckland. Sept 2008 Emerald Princess - Mediterranean. March 2009 - Coral Princess - Panama Canal. Feb 2010 Celebrity Solstice - Eastern Caribbean . Aug 2011 P&O Azura- Canaries. June 2012 P&O Ventura Iceland & Fjords. Sept 2012 Celebrity Eclipse - Western Med; Apr 2013 P&O Azura Western Med. June 2013 Celebrity Eclipse - Baltic. Oct 2013 P&O Azura - Central Med.
Future cruises,
May - 2014 Emerald Princess Spain & France.
Sept. 2014 Celebrity Eclipse - Canaries & Azores.
Apr. - 2015 P&O Britannia - W. Med (Pre-reg)
June - 2015Celebrity Eclipse - Iceland & Fjords
Sept - 2015 Celebrity Eclipse - Canaries & Azores.
Jan - 2016 P&O Ventura - No Fly Caribbean. (pre-reg)

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  #16  
Old July 31st, 2012, 03:25 PM
Thejuggler Thejuggler is offline
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Originally Posted by marylizcat View Post
Even if I have to pay a higher initial price for P & O, I can enjoy my holiday better when the onboard costs are lower.
For a couple of hundred quid I may pay extra for P&O as on board savings may be possible to this level, but our last cruise was with Princess and the P&O trip leaving the same day, same length of trip, similar cabin, similar ship was £2,000 more. That's a lot of shuttle bus trips, photos and even more drinks as prices aren't that different if you choose wisely.
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  #17  
Old July 31st, 2012, 03:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terrierjohn View Post
....than the somewhat stuffier and class consciousness of P&O.
As an Aussie -- I can't say that I have noticed "class consciousness" as such on P&O UK ships. "Stuffiness" -- yes! Maybe some would identify the two things as being one and the same?? But anyway, the "stuffiness" is limited to only some Brits - others are ordinary normal human beings

Barry (an Anglophile)
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  #18  
Old July 31st, 2012, 04:52 PM
marylizcat marylizcat is offline
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Originally Posted by Thejuggler View Post
For a couple of hundred quid I may pay extra for P&O as on board savings may be possible to this level, but our last cruise was with Princess and the P&O trip leaving the same day, same length of trip, similar cabin, similar ship was £2,000 more. That's a lot of shuttle bus trips, photos and even more drinks as prices aren't that different if you choose wisely.
Well, yes, clearly for that much difference, Princess would be preferable. But that would probably only apply on last minute special offers, not normal brochure prices. Usually the prices are pretty similar.
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  #19  
Old July 31st, 2012, 04:54 PM
marylizcat marylizcat is offline
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Originally Posted by bazzaw View Post
As an Aussie -- I can't say that I have noticed "class consciousness" as such on P&O UK ships. "Stuffiness" -- yes! Maybe some would identify the two things as being one and the same?? But anyway, the "stuffiness" is limited to only some Brits - others are ordinary normal human beings

Barry (an Anglophile)
No, can't say I have noticed any 'class consciousness' on P & O! What form would that take anyway? Do people sit around saying 'I'm lower middle class and you're only working class!'?
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  #20  
Old July 31st, 2012, 05:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Host Sharon View Post
That may be true in the case of Ventura, but there are seven very different ships in the P&O fleet. That IMO is P&O's problem. They offer a different experience (to some degree) depending upon which ship you choose. Choose carefully and you will have a great time, with fabulous service.

I don't understand this negativity towards Ventura we had a two week cruise on her and thought it was wonderful, I didn't see one football shirt, the whole holiday from beginning to end was exceptional in my opinion.

Last edited by magpieman; July 31st, 2012 at 05:06 PM.
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