P&O Cruises can trace its roots back to 1822 with the formation of the Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company. Initially a postal runner operation delivering mail to the Iberian Peninsular (Spain, Portugal, Andorra, Gibraltar) and later Alexandria, Egypt. It was only a matter of time before the simple mail delivery shipping lines evolved into passenger carrying routes as the world began to expand commercially. Although P&O introduced their first passenger liner in 1844, it is not until 1977 some 133 years later that P&O decided to rebrand their passenger shipping division creating P&O Cruises. In 2000, P&O announced that all cruise ship operations were to be de-merged, making P&O Cruises an independent company.
In 2003 P&O Cruises merged with cruise industry juggernaut Carnival Corporation & plc, retaining their own unique brand within the corporation yet benefiting from the experience and resources that a large corporation can offer.
P&O Cruises remains a distinctly British cruise line, the oldest cruise line in the world in fact. P&O Cruises are real experts when it comes to cruising and navigating the globe, they are true masters of the seas continuing the tradition that Britannia really does rule the waves.
Oriana was the flagship of the P&O Cruises fleet, she is the fastest and longest serving ship with P&O Cruises, she currently holds the golden cockerel award (visible on her starboard bow) for being the fastest ship in the fleet, as well as third fastest ship in the Carnival Corporation. The current flagship is Britannia, a Royal-class addition to the fleet in 2015.
All eight ships have Southampton, UK as their home port, however all eight ships have Hamilton Bermuda as their registry port, this is so that the ships Captain can marry couples on-board or renew already made vows. This is just a fraction of the endearing charm you should expect from any P&O Cruises voyage.
P&O Cruises have a long history of returning customers, they have achieved the right blend of hospitality and friendliness mixed with professionalism and genuinely hard working staff, and this seems to have struck a chord with British holiday-makers making P&O Cruises the natural choice for many of the nations cruisers.
P&O Cruises cater to all cruise markets and passenger demographics, their current fleet is more than adequate to designate entire ships – Oriana and Arcadia as ‘adult-only’ for example. As well as at the same time catering to family orientated cruises on-board ships Azura, Britannia & Ventura.
P&O Cruises offer a range of different voyages, from intimate British coast small cruises, to week-long Mediterranean cruises, to long World Cruises. There is a type of cruise for all passengers looking to voyage with P&O Cruises.