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Credit: P&O Cruises/Shutterstock

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 has returned to sailing but life onboard cruise ships is very different to before Covid struck. What restrictions are in place on a P&O cruise?

P&O Cruises updated its travel advice for holidaymakers in recent days to ensure all guests are fully prepared for life on board 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 on board 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?

Guests sailing on Britannia and Iona from now until September 24, must be double jabbed.

The line details: "The definition of 'vaccinated' will now be a minimum of 14 days following the second dose of the currently approved COVID-19 vaccines being administered or 14 days following the recently approved single-dose Janssen COVID-19 vaccine being administered."

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

For cruises departing from September 25 to December 31, 2021, the above applies to over 18s while young ones aged between five and 17 years old will need to be fully vaccinated a minimum of 14 days before sailing or be able to provide proof of a negative PCR test within 120 hours prior to travel.

Children under four can cruise without restrictions provided the parents or guardians meet the above 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: Guests sailing on Britannia and Iona from now until September 24, must be double jabbed. 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.

- READ MORE: What you need to know about cruise travel insurance -

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.

US holidays: A Covid test will also be needed within three days of departure. Credit: Shutterstock

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

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

Guests are free to remove their masks when seated elsewhere around the ship, when out on deck and when exercising. Visors and face shields will not be accepted.

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

What life is like on board the 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).

Britannia cabin
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 will be available but they will 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 we prepare your table.

- READ MORE: P&O cruise boss on the future of the company and new ship Iona -

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

Guests cannot currently go on shore excursions alone. "Until September 25, you will only be able to go ashore through our new range of organised and vetted shore experiences," states P&O.

"Port transfer and shore experience operators will be subject to new policies and procedures to reflect the latest approved guidance in line with our onboard protocols."

From September 25, guests can go ashore independently.

Couple beach
P&O guests cannot currently explore ashore alone but from September 25 this will be permitted. 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: Review of P&O Cruises new cruise ship Iona -

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

No boogieing the night away with P&O - the dance floors in lounge bars/nightclubs will not be open.

You can still dance via hosted classes (bookable onboard) and independently in certain areas of the ship.

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.