Thinking of Booking first P&O cruise?


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#1
Cork
1,254 Posts
Joined Jul 2013
Hi All,

Thinking about booking first P&O cruise and have some questions.

On P&O website for the cruise I want there are two options, early saver and one that is more expensive but we do get money on board to spend and choice in cabin and meal times. Is this worth the extra cost?

We have sailed NCL , RCI & Carnival previously, does the entertainment compare?

Is there a drinks package? How much does it cost? Does it include speciality coffee?

Thank you

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#2
West Yorkshire UK
3,592 Posts
Joined Jul 2004
Originally posted by kerryincork
Hi All,

Thinking about booking first P&O cruise and have some questions.

On P&O website for the cruise I want there are two options, early saver and one that is more expensive but we do get money on board to spend and choice in cabin and meal times. Is this worth the extra cost?

We have sailed NCL , RCI & Carnival previously, does the entertainment compare?

Is there a drinks package? How much does it cost? Does it include speciality coffee?

Thank you

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No drinks package similar to those on RCI/NCL etc, they do have wine packages but mainly high priced ones. Entertainment will be similar but slanted toward UK tastes, however on the bigger ships there are more entertainment venues, similar to Princess cruises.
As to whether the higher price select fares are worth the extra depends if you must have a specific cabin and want to secure a certain dining time/type and how many shuttles are likely.
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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 2018 Azura - Canaries. Jan 2019 Ventura - Caribbean. April 2019 Aurora W Med, July 2019 Independence Med Beaches,
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. Sept 2017 - Navigator OTS Canaries & N Africa.
Feb 2018 Ventura - Caribbean & USA.,June 2018 Ventura - W. Med.


#3
West Country, UK
4,414 Posts
Joined Sep 2007
Whether you book select or saver fare really depends on how important meal options/times and cabin location are to you. On the saver fares you will be allocated Freedom, early or late sittings for dinner. As for shuttle buses, you will have to pay for any provided by P&O but where mandatory through port areas, they will still be free - might just get you to the dock gate though.
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Arcadia World Cruise 2019
#4
Cork
1,254 Posts
Joined Jul 2013
We want to go on the Iceland cruise. I've lived in UK and gone there many times for land holidays.

The price of drinks on board are they like UK pub prices or hotel prices?

What the excursions like with P&O?

The other option is a cruise to Iceland with Celebrity. I sailed once with Celebrity 10 years ago.

Do you have an opinion on which line is more enjoyable? I am from Ireland and my travel companion is from the UK. We have been cruising for the past 10 years once or twice a year so are familiar with general cruise experience.

We particularly want to go to Iceland. Any in put to help us make up our minds would be appreciated 😀

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#5
Cork
1,254 Posts
Joined Jul 2013
Ship options are Arcadia & Ventura.

Any opinions on which is the nicer ship?

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#6
West Yorkshire UK
3,592 Posts
Joined Jul 2004
Originally posted by kerryincork
We want to go on the Iceland cruise. I've lived in UK and gone there many times for land holidays.

The price of drinks on board are they like UK pub prices or hotel prices?

What the excursions like with P&O?

The other option is a cruise to Iceland with Celebrity. I sailed once with Celebrity 10 years ago.

Do you have an opinion on which line is more enjoyable? I am from Ireland and my travel companion is from the UK. We have been cruising for the past 10 years once or twice a year so are familiar with general cruise experience.

We particularly want to go to Iceland. Any in put to help us make up our minds would be appreciated ��

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Based on our experiences cruising from Southampton on Celebrity Eclipse and on P&O's Azura, Britannia and Ventura I would comment as follows.
Celebrity will have better food, especially in the MDR, better service, the ship will be kept much cleaner, and IMO it is far better designed that the P&O ships with much bigger lifts resulting in fewer and smaller queues, but the price is likely to be quite a bit higher.
P&O will have better entertainment, more and bigger entertainment venues, lower gratuity costs, cheaper bar prices and free shuttles if you book select fares.
However if you can get a reasonably priced deal which includes a drinks package then Celebrity would be always be my choice.
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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 2018 Azura - Canaries. Jan 2019 Ventura - Caribbean. April 2019 Aurora W Med, July 2019 Independence Med Beaches,
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. Sept 2017 - Navigator OTS Canaries & N Africa.
Feb 2018 Ventura - Caribbean & USA.,June 2018 Ventura - W. Med.


#7
Cork
1,254 Posts
Joined Jul 2013
Thanks for the opinion folks.

Entertainment is important to us and P&O cruise goes to the Faroe Islands which look amazing, so we are probably going to go for that one.

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#8
Lancashire... UK
1,144 Posts
Joined Mar 2010
Hi....only you can decide if it is worth it to you to book Select fare over Saver fare. Sometimes when you have taken in to account the OBC or coach or parking there is little difference with the end cost and sometimes it works out better value to book the Select fare but if not you need to ask yourself what it is worth to you to know which cabin you are getting....what dining arrangements you want.

We have only cruised with RCI out of the three that you mentioned. We found that P&O entertainment to be more subdued than RCI....no parades in the Promenade etc. and on the Formal nights people adhere to the dress code more than on RCI ....at least 90% dress formally whereas on RCI it was much less.

For us when considering a cruise we tend to have itinerary as priority and then see which cruise line is best for us so with that in mind so if P&O are offering the itinerary that you want then I would give them a try....different type of cruise experience but for us enjoyable but we just love cruising so all of the cruise lines have been good but in different ways.
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#9
Surrey, UK
1,673 Posts
Joined May 2006
Originally posted by terrierjohn
Based on our experiences cruising from Southampton on Celebrity Eclipse and on P&O's Azura, Britannia and Ventura I would comment as follows.
Celebrity will have better food, especially in the MDR, better service, the ship will be kept much cleaner, and IMO it is far better designed that the P&O ships with much bigger lifts resulting in fewer and smaller queues, but the price is likely to be quite a bit higher.
P&O will have better entertainment, more and bigger entertainment venues, lower gratuity costs, cheaper bar prices and free shuttles if you book select fares.
However if you can get a reasonably priced deal which includes a drinks package then Celebrity would be always be my choice.
Summed up perfectly (IMHO)
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P&O (22): Old Arcadia, Arcadia, Aurora(2), Azura(4), Britannia(2),Oceana(2), Oriana(6), Ventura(4)
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#10
Staffordshire, UK
1,314 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
We did the Iceland trip on Azura last summer and really enjoyed it, although we didn’t manage to get into Reykjavik due to high winds, which would have been the highlight of the cruise. The Faroe Islands port was nice and scenic.
We’ve done Celebrity a few times and although many folks prefer them to P&O, I’m sorry to say that our experiences with Celebrity has not been good, so probably wouldn’t go with them again but will stick with P&O and Princess.

Others have said about the differences with saver and select fares, but if cabin location and dining choice doesn’t bother you and you’d be happy wherever you end up and at whatever time and table size they give you (or freedom), weigh up the differences between the costs as sometimes there’s hardly anything in it if you factor in OBC etc anyway. We didn’t have shuttles on our Iceland cruise so no gain there for select.

If you’re considering tours, would recommend FAB Travel in Iceland - great tours, smaller group sizes and much less than ship prices.

Whoever you choose to go with have a wonderful time.
#11
Cork
1,254 Posts
Joined Jul 2013
Brilliant thanks for all the feedback. You have certainly given me something to think about

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#12
Glastonbury
250 Posts
Joined Sep 2012
We've mostly booked saver as select was so much more - last year it was £300 more for a two week cruise. However, our recent booking, it was £70 more and came with £70 on board credit, which will go toward the gratuities.

As regards drinks packages, we don't drink. But we did notice RC putting up their prices by a few hundred pounds to cover the cost of the "free drinks", so P&O offer much better value for us.

Entertainment is mostly good. But for some reason, a lot of the comedians perform material that was old in the Seventies, but that's also been true on onther lines.

Main Dining room has generally given good food, but for some reason, Ventura and Britannia could not serve up a decent hot meal in their buffets, but the older Oceana could.
#13
Cork
1,254 Posts
Joined Jul 2013
Thanks😀

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#14
England
139 Posts
Joined Jun 2012
We normally book the normal select fare and make use of the on board spend or car parking, we usually work out which we be the better deal for us, but for the Canaries in May we got both on board spending and car parking. The bar prices are about the same as a London area prices.
We have been to both Reykjavik and the Faroe islands on RCI and really enjoyed both but the weather wasn't great even in July it was only 9 Degrees C, so wrap up warm.
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Past Cruises
Oceana; March 2017
Britannia; November 2016
Azura; May 2016
Azura; April 2015
Brilliance of the seas; July 2014
Ventura; June 2012
Ocean Village; July 2010
#15
lancashire
134 Posts
Joined Aug 2010
terrierjohn and Bee-ess.

I also fully agree with your comments. I am in the same situation as the OP, although I have previously sailed both P/O and Celebrity. I am watching all the Iceland 2019 cruises and waiting, hopefully, for a Celebrity inclusive of drinks package. So far no joy. I am interested in the Arcadia cruise July/Aug 2019 but am slightly wary of Arcadia. We like ballroom dancing and it seems that the dance area on Arcadia somewhat limited. With several sea days we like a busy schedule onboard. Even considered Cunard but prices obviously higher again.
#16
bucks
846 Posts
Joined Apr 2012
Originally posted by kerryincork
Thanks for the opinion folks.

Entertainment is important to us and P&O cruise goes to the Faroe Islands which look amazing, so we are probably going to go for that one.

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Funnily enough I prefer the entertainment on Celebrity - I love the aerial shows and the silent disco, and on my cruises they tend to have had slightly more famous people than P&O
I am also not a big fan of the Headliners and have generally found them a bit screechy. Celebrity also generally have some good classical musicians
All IMHO
Its a personal thing and on the whole entertainment does not make or break a cruise for me

I did Celebrity to Iceland about 3 years ago and loved it. That one went to the Faroe islands and we had a strange day probably because we had the worst tour guide I have ever encountered who was aggressive and political and hostile!

In Iceland we used an excellent private company and I am happy to dig through my records for their details if that would help
#17
Nottingham UK
789 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
We have been on both cruise lines and go by destination
Celebrity is good if you have the higher loyalty levels because you get really good benefits. I find the celebrity ships easy to navigate and very good at absorbing the amount of folk on board.

With P&O we will only do their smaller ships as we did one on Azura (same layout at Ventura) and disliked it. From surly staff to confusing layout and very bland decor.

Price wise on board P&O is a lot lot cheaper - drinks are uk bar prices (and no 18% tip added) and the gratuities are also a lot cheaper. Perhaps a consideration when Iceland is so expensive!

We like Oriana (did 2 last year and have one more booked) and prefer smaller ships as less crowds as you dissembark in ports etc so size wise Arcadia is similar.

Age profile wise I think P&O is slightly older than Celebrity but not a lot in it and neither make me in my 50's feel uncomfortable.

Which ever one you choose I am sure you will love the stunning scenery and amazing experiences Iceland has to offer
#18
Surrey
49 Posts
Joined Sep 2013
Originally posted by miniyorkie
terrierjohn and Bee-ess.

I also fully agree with your comments. I am in the same situation as the OP, although I have previously sailed both P/O and Celebrity. I am watching all the Iceland 2019 cruises and waiting, hopefully, for a Celebrity inclusive of drinks package. So far no joy. I am interested in the Arcadia cruise July/Aug 2019 but am slightly wary of Arcadia. We like ballroom dancing and it seems that the dance area on Arcadia somewhat limited. With several sea days we like a busy schedule onboard. Even considered Cunard but prices obviously higher again.
We've only been once on each of P&O and Celebrity, but we found the ballroom dancing useless on Celebrity. They only had one hour a day, hosted by a very disinterested DJ, who kept playing Viennese Waltzes even though no-one could do it, so the floor was empty most of the time! Contrast that with P&O where we had our first ever dance lessons and went on to take it up on a regular basis. The Celebrity cruise was from the US though. Maybe their UK base ships are better.
#19
lancashire
134 Posts
Joined Aug 2010
Originally posted by AJ22
We've only been once on each of P&O and Celebrity, but we found the ballroom dancing useless on Celebrity. They only had one hour a day, hosted by a very disinterested DJ, who kept playing Viennese Waltzes even though no-one could do it, so the floor was empty most of the time! Contrast that with P&O where we had our first ever dance lessons and went on to take it up on a regular basis. The Celebrity cruise was from the US though. Maybe their UK base ships are better.
AJ22
Unfortunately Celebrity do not cater for ballroom/sequence dancing. We have occasionally managed a couple dances but P/O are much better in that respect. I don't think sailing from Southampton would make any difference on a Celebrity cruise.
#20
Surrey
49 Posts
Joined Sep 2013
Miniyorkie,
Thanks. Interesting to know that Celebrity are no different for ballroom dancing wherever you sail from then. Yes, P&O were good and I'd like to try Cunard at some point.