Honest advice comparing P&O & Princess

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#1
205 Posts
Joined Apr 2011
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
#4
Amersham UK
244 Posts
Joined Nov 2004
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
Suffolk, England
3,056 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
Originally posted by sez809
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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2012 cruises: P&O Oceana, P&O Azura
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2014 Cruises: Emerald Princess,MSC Splendida, Celebrity Infinity
2015 Cruises: P&O Britannia, P&O Ventura, Royal Princess, Caribbean Princess
2016 Cruises:Anthem of the Seas, Celebrity Reflection, Navigator of the Seas

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#7
1,333 Posts
Joined Oct 2011
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.
#8
West Country, UK
4,269 Posts
Joined Sep 2007
Originally posted by SueFrankuk
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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#9
205 Posts
Joined Apr 2011
Originally posted by Host Sharon
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.
#10
England
617 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
Originally posted by Host Sharon
..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.
#11
West Country, UK
4,269 Posts
Joined Sep 2007
Originally posted by sez809
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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Cruise Photos:
https://photos.google.com/albums
http://www.flickr.com/photos/sharonsshiptravels/
Blog: http://sharonp-shipsinmylife.blogspot.com/

Ships sailed on:
Vistafjord, Caronia, QE2, Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth Maiden Voyage, Aurora, Arcadia, Oriana, Oceana, Artemis, Ventura, Balmoral, Braemar, Adonia, Discovery, Royal Princess (2013 ship), Nautica, MV Funchal, Zaandam, Saga Pearl, Anthem of the Seas, Norwegian Escape, Harmony of the Seas. Also Rhine and Dutch river cruises

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Independence of the Seas, Azura, Artania, Prinsendam, Maasdam, Crystal Symphony, Saga Sapphire, Saga Pearl II, Marco Polo



To come:-
Saga Sapphire Xmas Markets 2017
Aurora circumnavigation of South America 2018

Oriana - Iceland & Greenland July 2018
Arcadia - USA & Canada Sept 2018


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#12
West Yorkshire UK
3,156 Posts
Joined Jul 2004
Originally posted by sez809
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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#13
England
617 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
Originally posted by terrierjohn
......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?
#14
England
1,209 Posts
Joined Sep 2008
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.
#15
West Yorkshire UK
3,156 Posts
Joined Jul 2004
Originally posted by Slow Foxtrot
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)
The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries. (Winston Churchill 1874-1965)
Future cruises --- Sept 2017 - RCI Navigator OTS - Canaries & N Africa.,Feb 2018 Ventura - Caribbean & USA., June 2018 Ventura - W. Med. Sept 2018 Azura - CanariesJan 2019 Ventura - Caribbean
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. May 2014 Emerald Princess N. Spain & France. Sept. 2014 Celebrity Eclipse-Canaries & Azores, Apr 2015 P&O Britannia - W Med. June 2015 Celebrity Eclipse - Iceland & Fjords. Sept 2015 Celebrity Eclipse - Canaries & Azores. Jan 2016 P&O Ventura - No Fly Caribbean. Jun 2016 Eclipse - Baltic. Aug 2016 - Britannia Fjords, May 2017 - Azura W. Med.



#16
1,284 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
Originally posted by marylizcat
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.
#17
SE Queensland, Australia
5,357 Posts
Joined Oct 2007
Originally posted by terrierjohn
....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
England
1,209 Posts
Joined Sep 2008
Originally posted by Thejuggler
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.
#19
England
1,209 Posts
Joined Sep 2008
Originally posted by bazzaw
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!'?
#20
Nottingham
96 Posts
Joined Sep 2011
Originally posted by Host Sharon
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.