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How does P&O fare against its competition?

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In my cruising experience, I have travelled with Princess Cruises, Royal Carribbean and Carnival, with Carnival being my favourite cruise liner without a doubt (the food, the evening experiences, the activities etc).


I have never been on a cruise with P&O and back in the day I recall P&O having quite a sub-par reputation. P&O remains very affordable and I have recently heard that in past years it has picked up in quality.


I am now looking to book my honeymoon for early next year and I am wondering, for those that have sailed on P&O (in the last 3 years) and other cruise liners, how did P&O stack up against the others?

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Hi vw97,

I have cruised with P&O, Royal Caribbean, and Carnival so far.


To me, P&O is pretty much on par with the other two, the best shows I have seen at sea have been on P&O, I really wish they would put a made to order omelette station in the Pantry, but who knows what may change by the time we get back on board.


To be fair, RC and Carnival probably have more free food options but I have never gone hungry on a cruise yet! For drinks packages, Carnival is definitely last on my list, every time I have cruised with RC, I have found the drinks package on special a couple of months before and never paid more than $65AUD per day, P&O charge $79AUD for theirs and Carnival want $129AUD per day!


The entertainment crews have been fabulous on all my cruises, but I must admit to remembering those on the P&O ships the best, they seemed the most fun and energetic to me. (That may be helped by the fact that the ED on Pacific Explorer has been an Aussie for the last couple of cruises I have done). 

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We went on the Pacific Explorer & thought it was just as good as the Carnival Legend & RC Vision of the seas.  We’ve booked another P & O cruise for November this year.  If you’re happy with the price & itinerary offered by P & O... just book it.  I personally don’t think there is much difference with any of the ships that cruise out of Australia.  We’re also booked on RC Ovation of the seas next March 2022.  
My preference order for booking a cruise is:

1. Date

2. Itinerary 

3. Ship

4. Price

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I've sailed a few times with P&O and had the best time. Sometimes the ships have been a bit older but that's about the only difference. Drink prices are good, entertainment is good. The staff are happy. And they do the best sail away party of all the lines, especially if you sail from White Bay in Sydney and go out under the bridge. 

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I have sailed mainly with P&O but done a cruise with Carnival and Princess.  For me P&O is good value for money and offers a good product.  It is the 3 star line - the ships are older but well kept, the entertainment is certainly on par with the others.  Food was the difference for me - I certainly never went hungry and I do like the pantry from a choice and hygiene perspective.  However the menu choices are a little more limited - e.g. 3 mains not 5 or 6 and the meat is more braised (e.g. casseroles) than steaks. 


While I found the quality of the food to be better on Carnival I don't like seafood so actually struggled more with the food on them.... 


I have both a Princess and P&O cruise booked for the future - P&O is half the price so we can always pay for the premium food and still come out with money to spare.  

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I would have no hesitation booking on P&O


Just be aware of the following - 

- Free food option is generally more limited and you might run into the same food at both MDR and buffet (but it still tastes good)

- More people onboard, as P&O generally cramps more people with more 4-bed rooms

- And as others mentioned, generally older ship but well maintained. Their current fleet is all ex-Princess.


I've travelled on Princess, P&O and Carnival and would not hesitate to book another cruise on either of the former two - not Carnival again for me tho.



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I'm usually a Princess cruiser but went on my second P&O cruise in August 2018 to check out the revamped Pacific Explorer (ex Dawn Princess) and was impressed with the new look of the ship.

The entertainment was great and would book another P&O cruise anytime.

I have sailed once on Carnival and enjoyed it, especially the comedy club. P&O doesn't offer this but it does have a cabaret show which I enjoyed.

I thought the food wasn't as good in the dining room as Carnival (not as many choices) but I enjoyed the pantry more on P&O than the buffet on Carnival.

The food I paid for on P&O was very nice. We really enjoyed the afternoon tea and the cafe selections.

As it's your honeymoon, if you are booking a suite I would think that the rooms would be nicer on Princess. Check out suites on both ships on online videos (YOU know where to go to) if you are thinking of booking one. The suites are a good price on P&O.

The rooms haven't changed much since they were Princess ships but the public areas are very modern now.

All the best for your upcoming wedding.

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