No Room At The Inn for 5-8 Age Group?


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#1
UK
112 Posts
Joined Jan 2008
Been looking at coming back to P&O after a break of a few years, doesn't seem to be ANY availability for the 5-8 age group on their Summer 2019 cruises, even though there are plenty of cabins available (and of course its 12 months away!). Was looking at a cruise with them outside of school holidays in Autumn and there's the same problem again.

Seems to be that P&O are really dialling down this age group, which feels v odd. Anyone else found this, or have the inside track on what's going on?
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#2
Carlisle, Cumbria, UK. No Carlisle is not in Scotland
681 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
It's the capacity of the kids club that's causing this. They won't accept bookings for kids if there is not the appropriate staff/kid ratio. This applies even if you do not intend to use it in case of emergency, illness etc.
As for the autumn cruise Presumably P&O assume that only a handful of home schooled kids of this age group will be travelling during term time and scale back the staff accordingly.
#3
Devon, uk
1,736 Posts
Joined Feb 2010
Originally posted by jfhandel
Been looking at coming back to P&O after a break of a few years, doesn't seem to be ANY availability for the 5-8 age group on their Summer 2019 cruises, even though there are plenty of cabins available (and of course its 12 months away!). Was looking at a cruise with them outside of school holidays in Autumn and there's the same problem again.

Seems to be that P&O are really dialling down this age group, which feels v odd. Anyone else found this, or have the inside track on what's going on?
Which ship and cruise number are you looking at? You might find a specialist cruise TA may be able to help..
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#5
Cambridgeshire
3,224 Posts
Joined Dec 2011
Originally posted by jfhandel
Been looking at coming back to P&O after a break of a few years, doesn't seem to be ANY availability for the 5-8 age group on their Summer 2019 cruises, even though there are plenty of cabins available (and of course its 12 months away!). Was looking at a cruise with them outside of school holidays in Autumn and there's the same problem again.

Seems to be that P&O are really dialling down this age group, which feels v odd. Anyone else found this, or have the inside track on what's going on?
There are a number of reasons why a cruise is not available to book. However if cabins are generally available and they tell you that they are not accepting bookings including a 5 - 8 year old child. Then it is safe to assume that they already have full capacity of 5 - 8 year olds in the Surfers section of the kids club.

I think other travel agents who may have block reserved groups of cabins will not be able to help out because cabins are not the issue. If it were me I would look at going on another school holiday period or changing to an appropriate alternate line like Princess. It is more expensive until nearer sailing but their children's clubs have more relaxed rules.

Regards John
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John Watson

Ships cruised on
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#6
St Helens
62 Posts
Joined Aug 2010
Originally posted by john watson
There are a number of reasons why a cruise is not available to book. However if cabins are generally available and they tell you that they are not accepting bookings including a 5 - 8 year old child. Then it is safe to assume that they already have full capacity of 5 - 8 year olds in the Surfers section of the kids club.

I think other travel agents who may have block reserved groups of cabins will not be able to help out because cabins are not the issue. If it were me I would look at going on another school holiday period or changing to an appropriate alternate line like Princess. It is more expensive until nearer sailing but their children's clubs have more relaxed rules.

Regards John
We got off Britannia on Sunday after the 2 week Med cruise and there were more than 700 children onboard apparently. On one sea day my 5 year old was turned away in the afternoon as the club was full for her age. This has never happened before and we have probably sailed about 9 times with our children. It would seem they are now letting more children on but obviously the clubs only hold so many so this will happen more often especially if the weather is poor. It could well backfire on them as this is a big plus for us when the children get board of swimming or it's too hot for them. They love the activities and it's hard for a 5 year old to understand why they won't let her in.

Whilst onboard we tried to book for 17th August 2019 but was told the 5-8 club was full. We were booking 5 cabins in total and 2 children would have been in that club. In the past they have opened up the club after our travel agent called P & O head office and told them we are loyal P & O passengers. They flatly refused to even ask the question onboard. I even spoke to the senior loyalty manager and he said they will not open clubs under any circumstances and if he asked Head Office it would be pointless.

We ended up booking the cruise at the end of July but continued to get flyers in the cabin saying there was availability on the original cruise we wanted so book quickly. It was annoying.
#7
Cambridgeshire
3,224 Posts
Joined Dec 2011
Originally posted by Alan Flett
We got off Britannia on Sunday after the 2 week Med cruise and there were more than 700 children onboard apparently. On one sea day my 5 year old was turned away in the afternoon as the club was full for her age. This has never happened before and we have probably sailed about 9 times with our children. It would seem they are now letting more children on but obviously the clubs only hold so many so this will happen more often especially if the weather is poor. It could well backfire on them as this is a big plus for us when the children get board of swimming or it's too hot for them. They love the activities and it's hard for a 5 year old to understand why they won't let her in.

Whilst onboard we tried to book for 17th August 2019 but was told the 5-8 club was full. We were booking 5 cabins in total and 2 children would have been in that club. In the past they have opened up the club after our travel agent called P & O head office and told them we are loyal P & O passengers. They flatly refused to even ask the question onboard. I even spoke to the senior loyalty manager and he said they will not open clubs under any circumstances and if he asked Head Office it would be pointless.

We ended up booking the cruise at the end of July but continued to get flyers in the cabin saying there was availability on the original cruise we wanted so book quickly. It was annoying.
I have had problems with booking my daughter on cruises for many years. The problem for us is now resolving as she is older. What surprises me with P&O is the minor school holidays, helf term etc. These holidays can amount to a substantial number of consecutive days. I am surprised P&O does not try and co-ordinate better on this issue. At half-term P&O seem to be offering 14 night holidays and cruises which start and therefore previous cruise finish right in the middle of the school break. If they offered 7 night cruises during the period and started the at the right time they would get more business during this part of the year because the cruises would fit in much more readily and reduce the pressure on the main summer holiday.

I think P&O book a set number of children onto their cruises in each age group but this number is greater than the children's club can accommodate at the same time. The number they over book onto the ship is probably not that much higher than the club can accommodate at one time but if you are personally affected it is a big problem.

Realistically as children are special passengers as they need continuous support and supervision either with the family or with appropriate crew members and the latter are limited in supply whereas parents must always be there if needed.

Regards John
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John Watson

Ships cruised on
RMS Queen Elizabeth, SS France, Oronsay, Oceana, Vision of the Seas, Caribbean Princess, Aurora,
Queen Mary 2, Star Flyer, Star Clipper, Grand Princess, Queen Elizabeth, Azura, Ruby Princess, Ventura, Diamond Princess, Britannia, Emerald Princess, Navigator of the Seas, Queen Victoria, Pacific Princess
#8
Carlisle, Cumbria, UK. No Carlisle is not in Scotland
681 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
Originally posted by john watson
I have had problems with booking my daughter on cruises for many years. The problem for us is now resolving as she is older. What surprises me with P&O is the minor school holidays, helf term etc. These holidays can amount to a substantial number of consecutive days. I am surprised P&O does not try and co-ordinate better on this issue. At half-term P&O seem to be offering 14 night holidays and cruises which start and therefore previous cruise finish right in the middle of the school break. If they offered 7 night cruises during the period and started the at the right time they would get more business during this part of the year because the cruises would fit in much more readily and reduce the pressure on the main summer holiday.

I think P&O book a set number of children onto their cruises in each age group but this number is greater than the children's club can accommodate at the same time. The number they over book onto the ship is probably not that much higher than the club can accommodate at one time but if you are personally affected it is a big problem.

Realistically as children are special passengers as they need continuous support and supervision either with the family or with appropriate crew members and the latter are limited in supply whereas parents must always be there if needed.

Regards John
The trouble with half terms is that they are not consistent within England, never mind taking Scotland into account! Neighbouring authorities have different half term weeks. Even within authorities schools can opt to change dates as my nearest primary school has.
#9
Cambridgeshire
3,224 Posts
Joined Dec 2011
Originally posted by FangedRose
The trouble with half terms is that they are not consistent within England, never mind taking Scotland into account! Neighbouring authorities have different half term weeks. Even within authorities schools can opt to change dates as my nearest primary school has.
Whilst this is true. Offering 7 day cruises instead of 14 day cruises means that they would be far more likely to fit for some school areas whereas 14 day cruises will suit no school breaks at this time. Princess seem to offer shorter cruise which fit in better at half term. These tend to be more expensive but their prices seem to plummet late on.. I suspect after incoming transatlantic flight prices to the UK have risen significantly negating this option forcing a price drop to attract domestic passengers to Southampton.

Whilst trying to book P&O at half-term in the past and been thwarted I have ended up on Royal Caribbean round trip from Copenhagen and Cunard Transatlantic on Queen Elizabeth. P&O seem to make things as awkward as possible for anyone trying to stay completely within the school holiday dates.

Regards John
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John Watson

Ships cruised on
RMS Queen Elizabeth, SS France, Oronsay, Oceana, Vision of the Seas, Caribbean Princess, Aurora,
Queen Mary 2, Star Flyer, Star Clipper, Grand Princess, Queen Elizabeth, Azura, Ruby Princess, Ventura, Diamond Princess, Britannia, Emerald Princess, Navigator of the Seas, Queen Victoria, Pacific Princess
#10
UK
112 Posts
Joined Jan 2008
The last time we cruised P&O was on Ventura some five years ago, when our kids were 5 and 2. What turned us off them was the chaos at the kids club, where they had clearly completely understaffed the kids clubs and were turning people away in their droves. You might argue they have reacted to this by heavily restricting the 5-8 year group, but it’s still incredibly frustrating when they sell themselves as a family cruise line only to make it so damned difficult to take families!
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