Last year we went on our first ever cruise with P&O. It was a last minute decision to go on the cruise as our last holiday had been cancelled. We were not sure what to expect and as a result we were slightly nervous. I was worried that I was going to be seasick, that the kids would be bored and that all of the other passengers would be 70 years old plus. Oh how wrong I was. Last October we found ourselves on the Britannia, P&O’s biggest and newest ship and wow did she impress. A masterpiece of engineering with an amazing stunning atrium that wowed even my two into silence. We were very happy to call the Britannia our home for two weeks as we made our way to the Caribbean. I will give you a full review of our experience on the Britannia in another post but first I thought I would share my tips for cruising with a family on a P&O boat.
- We were worried about booking an inside cabin as we thought it would be too small. We got it at such a good price that I was actually convinced we would be sleeping in the cleaning cupboard. I was proved very wrong. We found it perfectly adequate for a family of four so I wouldn’t let this put you off. It also had some lovely touches, like welcome packs which included helium balloons for the girls. Also we hardly spent any time in the cabin so it would have been a waste of money to get a room with a balcony or window. Another advantage to the cabin was that by not having a window it meant that the room was really dark with lights off and therefore the kids slept really well. In fact I also slept amazingly well and haven’t slept that well since.
- The kids’ clubs are fantastic. They are really well organised and the staff are enthusiastic and lovely. The kids will want to be in them all of the time so make sure that you enrol them in the club on the first evening. You will then be given a timetable of activities for the kids club during your holiday. Every day has a theme. I can honestly say that I couldn’t fault the kids’ club. Oldest always wanted to go and would come back regaling us with fantastic tales of what she had done. Mr C also fancied going to kids’ club for the Playstations!
- There are washing machines and dryers on board that are really good. Take your own washing powder in your suitcase as it can be expensive to purchase on board.
- Don’t be scared of going in the formal restaurants with your children. The waiters and waitresses are lovely and really good with the children and as a result you will feel at ease.
- Get the Costa card if you are a big coffee fan. It is money well spent and you also get a lovely cake with your coffee. However, there is also unlimited filter coffee, tea and water.
- You can take 1 bottle of wine/spirits on board in your hand luggage per adult.
- Don’t worry about thinking you need to bring an iPad or laptop with you so that the kids have films to watch in the room. The tv in your room has loads of free movies.
- The organised shore trips are fantastic and worth it for peace of mind. However, if you join up to the free forum Cruise Critic you will be able to find other people who are on your cruise. We did this and as a result organised our own trips amongst ourselves to save money. However, you can book your shore trips on board. However, if you leave it to the last minute then you run the risk that they might have sold out.
- If you are going somewhere hot you might want to buy the ice-cream card but be aware that you can only get soft ice-cream with the card.
- On the days you are on shore you can come back on board to get your lunch or even get a late lunch as there is also afternoon tea that runs from 4pm. However, it is nice to spend money on shore so that the local economy benefits.
- Every day you will get a newspaper with the activities for the day and they are useful for planning your day. It also tells you what the dress code is for the night formal or relaxed.
- You don’t need to bring any towels or pool towels as they will all be provided.
- You also get White Company shower gel, shampoo and conditioner. I love anything White Company so I was very happy.
- On board they will have daily spa special offers. Fantastic treat for Mum. I had one morning in the Spa as a birthday treat and it was money very well spent. I left feeling really energised.
- You will be offered various opportunities to have your photo taken. Embrace it. We did and there was no pressure to buy the photos. We were so impressed with our photos that we decided to buy some. They were a very good price too.
- At dinner time you may want to take colouring books, games etc for your children. Again this is ok and nobody bats an eyelid.
- On shore days you can take some snacks off the ship for your children.
We really had a fantastic time. So much so that we are looking into booking another cruise for this year. If you are thinking on going a cruise then please feel free to get in touch and ask me any questions that you may have.