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P&O Cruises Covid restrictions: What rules are onboard? What you can & can't do

Author: Harriet Mallinson

Published on:

Updated on:

P&O Cruises are back in full flow now but life onboard cruise ships is still very different to before Covid struck. What restrictions are in place on a P&O cruise?

P&O Cruises regularly updates its travel advice for holidaymakers to ensure all guests are fully prepared for life onboard the popular cruise lines' vessels.

Passengers now more than ever need to make sure they are ready for cruising, whether it's getting vaccinated or buying extra face masks.

P&O cruise holidays have strict requirements and it's vital travellers know what to expect so they are happy with their experience onboard and the trip goes smoothly.

This is everything you need to know about all the cruise rules and restrictions on P&O Cruises right now.

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What you need for a P&O Cruise

Do you need a Covid vaccine for a P&O cruise?

Adults over 18 travelling up to and including 30 April 2022 must be fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to their holiday.

The line details: "Fully vaccinated can be either two doses of the currently approved COVID-19 vaccines or the single-dose Janssen COVID-19 vaccine (approved by MHRA or WHO EUL)."

- READ MORE: Complete guide to cruise lines' vaccine policies -

Children aged 17 and under travelling to the Caribbean must be fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to the cruise while kids aged five to 17 sailing to all countries excluding the Caribbean and Mediterranean have the option to be fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to the holiday or provide a negative PCR result prior to sailing.

Little ones aged four and under travelling to all countries excluding the Caribbean, and children between five and eleven sailing to the Mediterranean, are able to travel providing parents/guardians meet the vaccine requirements

Passengers are required to show proof of vaccination status at the terminal before boarding, which will also be checked against their photo ID. This can be either in digital or printed format.

P&O Cruises: Adults over 18 must be fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to their holiday. Credit: Shutterstock

Do you need a Covid test for a P&O cruise?

All guests will require a negative COVID-19 test at the cruise terminal - provided free of charge.

P&O stipulates: "If you’re travelling with children aged between five and 17 years old who aren’t vaccinated, they will need to take a PCR test within 120 hours prior to travelling to the terminal (again, this will be complimentary).

"Please register with our service provider, Prenetics, and order a PCR pre-cruise testing kit for every unvaccinated guest aged between five and 17 years on your booking. Registration opens five weeks before sailing and closes six days before your embarkation date."

As for those flying to the Caribbean, guests setting sail in Southampton, "will complete a complimentary antigen test at the terminal and must pay for a PCR test on board within three days prior to arrival in Barbados."

- READ MORE: Top tips for buying cruise travel insurance now -

Do you need travel insurance for a P&O holiday?

All UK guests must have comprehensive cruise-specific travel insurance when they sail with P&O.

Insurance must include medical cover of £2million minimum and cover for emergency evacuations and medical expenses related to COVID-19.

You must also ensure your policy includes cover for repatriation, cancellation and curtailment and full cover for any and all pre-existing medical conditions worldwide, or as a minimum, in the countries you are due to visit.

"You’ll be asked to confirm you have travel insurance at the terminal/airport and you may need to provide proof of your policy," said P&O. Without this you risk being denied boarding.

P&O: All guests will require a negative COVID-19 test at the cruise terminal - provided free of charge. Credit: Shutterstock

Do you need to wear a face mask on P&O Cruises?

Guests are required to wear a face mask that covers their nose and mouth (with no exemptions) in specific areas including the terminal, when moving around indoors on board and when seated in the theatre.

P&O says: "You’re free to remove your mask when seated elsewhere around the ship, when out on deck and when exercising. We’d always recommend you regularly clean your masks and choose a good quality, ideally medical grade, standard.

"Please note that visors and face shields aren’t accepted as a substitute for a face mask."

- READ MORE: Complete guide to cruise lines' face mask policies -

What life is like onboard P&O ships

Do you need to social distance on a P&O cruise?

Social distancing "should be practised throughout your holiday," explain P&O Cruises.

You're recommended to "keep a physical distance of at least one metre from guests outside of your travelling party."

The line asks travellers to not be in their cabin at the same time as the stewards cleaning the rooms. P&O also encourage guests to avoid using public toilets where possible (although these will be available).

P&O asks travellers to not be in their cabin at the same time as the stewards cleaning the rooms. Credit: P&O

Is there a buffet on P&O cruise ships?

The buffets and deck grills are available but they may be served by members of staff.

Restaurants and bars are all open but you will just need to pre-book a table in the restaurants or join a virtual queue while staff prepare your table.

- READ MORE: P&O reveals incredible escape room on new ship Arvia -

Can I go on shore excursions alone with P&O Cruises?

Guests can go to shore independently but must adhere to COVID-19 protocols.

P&O recommends purchasing shore excursions prior to travel to ensure you have the option to explore each city.

If for some reason the ship is no longer able to visit a certain port, they will spend another day at another port.

P&O guests can go to shore independently but must adhere to COVID-19 protocols. Credit: Shutterstock

Are there muster drills on P&O cruise ships?

Muster drills are currently being carried out virtually. Passengers are directed to their muster station upon boarding the ship but emergency processes will be available to view via the safety video in cabins rather than in-person.

"The drills will include important health, well-being and safety information as well as the actions you would need to take in the unlikely event of an emergency, including a life jacket demonstration," says P&O.

- READ MORE: Inside P&O's Iona from entertainment to the distillery -

What can't you do on P&O Cruises?

The nursery and night nursery will not be in operation.

What's more, some spa facilities such as the Hydrotherapy pools and sauna may not be available. P&O advises visiting the spa reception for the latest updates.

There are also no professional photographers onboard for the time being.

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