Which Cruise Line Is Best For You?
There is no simple answer to this question because it totally depends on what your own particular needs are. So here is the article with a few simple suggestions that may help in making your choice.
First up is P&O.
P&O Cruises’ is the biggest operator serving the U.K. market exclusively, with a fleet of seven ships.
See my earlier posts on the Oriana and the Adonia.
Thirty years ago, the line was best known because of Canberra; that ship served until 1997 and was at one time the only P&O Cruises’ ship based in the U.K. and serving the British market. For a time, Canberra served together with Victoria (earlier Sea Princess and built as Kungsholm of Swedish America Line in 1966). Canberra also, famously, saw service as a troop carrier in the 1982 Falklands War. In 1995 P&O Cruises introduced the 69,000-ton Oriana as the first modern cruise liner designed with the British market in mind.
Aurora — at 76,000 tons a larger and more modern version of Oriana — followed in 2000. In 2003, P&O Cruises became part of Carnival Corp. & PLC, the Anglo-American cruise giant, and at the same time 77,400-ton sister ships Oceana (built in 2000) and Adonia (1998) were transferred to the fleet from fellow Carnival Corp. company Princess Cruises. The latter reverted back to Princess as Sea Princess in 2005, as P&O Cruises introduced Arcadia, at 83,000 tons P&O Cruises’ largest ship and also most modern design-wise.
A second Adonia was named, or rather re-named, in May 2011. The ship was actually built in 2001 as R8, the eighth in a series of vessels commissioned by the now-defunct Renaissance Cruises. In its time, Adonia has sailed both as Minerva 2 for Swan Hellenic and Royal Princess for Princess Cruises. It left the fleet in March 2016 and took on a fourth incarnation — as the flagship of Carnival Corp.’s social impact cruise line, Fathom.
In April 2008, a 116,000-ton new-build, Ventura, entered service aimed at families with children and with a stand-out Italian restaurant by Marco Pierre White, The White Room. Ventura also has a rock school for teenagers, a Scalextric Formula One racing track for all ages and a Mr Man tie-up for the younger passengers. In April 2010, Azura — a sister ship to Ventura — joined the fleet. Azura is geared to couples and has a strong focus on dining with an Indian restaurant created by Michelin-Star Chef Atul Kochhar. Azura also has 18 dedicated single cabins — then a rarity for new ships.
In March 2015, the largest ever ship built specifically for the UK market, the 141,000-ton, 3,647-passenger Britannia was named by HM The Queen in Southampton. Britannia takes the most popular features of the rest of the fleet — such as The Glass House, Atul Kochhar’s Sindhu restaurant and the Crow’s Nest Bar — and adds some brand-new features such as the Cookery Club and a TV Studio. It also has the first solo balcony cabins in the P&O Cruises’ fleet. Britannia is very much aimed at a modern U.K. market — there’s the Strictly Come Dancing link-up, a pub with craft beers from every U.K. county and 20 different gins — all distilled in the U.K. And for the first time a British design company, Richmond International, has overseen the whole of the design, giving it a feel of understated luxury. The ship is based out of Southampton for the summer, where it offers 14-night Mediterranean cruises, as well as short-break cruises to Northern Europe; and Barbados during the winter.
An eighth ship joins the fleet in 2024. Weighing in at 180,000 tons and carrying 5,200 passengers, it will become the biggest cruise ship yet built exclusively for the U.K. market, and also the greenest — running entirely on Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).