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The Drunken Sailor

Was P&O better before Carnival took over?

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P&O was taken over by Carnival in 2003. I started cruising with P&O in 2004. So I have no before and after experience to draw upon.

I believe anyone who can make the comparison will be comparing chalk and cheese.

RayO

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Hi  There is no right or wrong answer to this question, it all depends upon what you expect from a cruise.   Without doubt the cost of undertaking a cruise has fallen significantly since Carnival took over from P&O and I doubt whether P&O would have invested heavily in modern new build vessels.  On the downside the quality of the product has declined.  If the major factor for choosing a cruise is the ports visited these have not changed greatly but the large vessels cannot access smaller ports meaning that itineraries are less varied.  So in conclusion it depends what you consider more important a cheap mass market voyage or a more refined experience.   On a personal level I no longer sail with P&O, I prefer an more refined imitate cruise experience and this company no longer caters for my tastes.

Edited by Land Ahoy

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I agree with the comments above, opinions will differ greatly and it all depends on when the people answering the question started cruising with P&O Cruises. As OWT has mentioned those who are new to P&O will know nothing different and may love them (or some may hate), and those who are devout followers may say that P&O have gone downhill. There's no right or wrong answer as everyone expects something different from their cruise and you have to take some things with a pinch of salt and just make your own opinion.

Have you cruised with P&O Cruises before The Drunken Sailor? Would be great to hear your thoughts if you have.

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4 hours ago, Oldworldtraveller said:

The answers you receive to this question will very much depend on whom it is addressed to. The devout followers will say it has declined whilst people new to P&O will know nothing different.

Spot on, it's all down to perception and individual opinion which is very difficult to get a decent general measure of. In my own experience, there are pros and cons to it. Would P&O be as big of a brand as they are now without the investment from Carnival? Probably not but would the attention to detail and overall cruising experience be more of the focus rather than full concentration on bringing cash through the door? I would say yes.

You can't fault Carnival for what they have done with P&O. From a customer perspective we'll all have our opinions but from a business perspective, which they are, they've made the decisions they've deemed necessary to ensure P&O remains a profitable part of their portfolio. Some may agree with it, others may disagree, it's the way of the world.

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Or in another word, No..... :).  As has been said, it depends what you want out of cruising.  From my perspective, I think food and service were considerably better back in 2003 and the ships being built then are more to my taste (i.e. Oriana & Aurora as opposed to Azura/Britannia).  Others who prefer multiple dining choices and find it hard to do without a balcony will understandably disagree with my view.  Horses for courses...

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I do wonder if P&O would still be still be sailing if Carnival had not bought them,Like It or not it was America that restarted the  cruise industry ,and in real terms it is cheaper the have a cruise now than it was in the 50s ...Davybe  

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As many have said, it all depends. I can go back over 40 years and the big improvement are the ships themselves. The crew look after you just as well but our expectstions are now much higher due to industry improvements.

My only question is quality of food which, personally, I feel has gone down. Having recently watch Warship on TV I was facinated to note that the Navy chefs were allowed £2.50 per day per person to provide 3 meals a day which they do offering choice. How much is the P&O allowance? 

If folk question P&O so much then why still travel with them"

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9 hours ago, Davybe said:

I do wonder if P&O would still be still be sailing if Carnival had not bought them,Like It or not it was America that restarted the  cruise industry ,and in real terms it is cheaper the have a cruise now than it was in the 50s ...Davybe  

Oh I think it would Davy, prior to the takeover, sorry merger, P&O was in discussions with Royal Caribbean and had signed a heads of agreement letter.  Of course it wasn't P&O that either of them wanted but Princess which was the jewel in P&O's crown. 

Personally I think a takeover by RCI would have been better, but we will never know.  It did of course hasten RCI to invest more heavily in Celebrity instead and IMO they are now ahead of Princess in the Premium main stream sector at least in terms of quality if not yet in stateroom capacity.

If the original merger had gone ahead P&O might now have some Solstice class ships in their fleet which, again IMO, would have been far better than the Grand Princess and Royal class they now have. 

We will never know, but it is fun to speculate.

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On 4/11/2017 at 9:25 AM, The Seven Seas said:

I agree with the comments above, opinions will differ greatly and it all depends on when the people answering the question started cruising with P&O Cruises. As OWT has mentioned those who are new to P&O will know nothing different and may love them (or some may hate), and those who are devout followers may say that P&O have gone downhill. There's no right or wrong answer as everyone expects something different from their cruise and you have to take some things with a pinch of salt and just make your own opinion.

Have you cruised with P&O Cruises before The Drunken Sailor? Would be great to hear your thoughts if you have.

Hello, I am new here, but not new to cruising.  Some of the most enjoyable cruises I have done, have been on P&O but that was before 2000.  My favourite ship was Sea Princess which then became Victoria.  She was just the right size, bigger than Adonia (R ships) but a lot smaller than Oriana, I think about 1200 passengers.  Discounting suites, the top cabin on A deck would cost £2,500pp for 14 nights. No balcony in those days, so didn't miss it.  The food really was something to write home about and the service outstanding.  If you asked for blue stilton, it was brought to you whole and scooped out from the middle.  Entertainment was very good indeed.  The evening shows were cabaret style, which I much prefer to theatres.  You could sit in comfort around your table having a drink - true duty free prices - and enjoy the entertainment.   They also had a lot going on during the day and often you were spoilt for choice and had difficulty trying to fit in all you wanted to do.  Not self entertainment and quizzes as you mostly get now.  In more recent years, we have been on Adonia and Artemis, unfortunately the difference is huge, especially the food and service.  

They do say that what you don't have you don't miss, so for those who only know P&O in more recent times, good luck to them if they enjoy what they get.  Of course, it's also said that you get what you pay for!!

Happy Cruising  

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14 hours ago, BobbieB said:

Hello, I am new here, but not new to cruising.  Some of the most enjoyable cruises I have done, have been on P&O but that was before 2000.  My favourite ship was Sea Princess which then became Victoria.  She was just the right size, bigger than Adonia (R ships) but a lot smaller than Oriana, I think about 1200 passengers.  Discounting suites, the top cabin on A deck would cost £2,500pp for 14 nights. No balcony in those days, so didn't miss it.  The food really was something to write home about and the service outstanding.  If you asked for blue stilton, it was brought to you whole and scooped out from the middle.  Entertainment was very good indeed.  The evening shows were cabaret style, which I much prefer to theatres.  You could sit in comfort around your table having a drink - true duty free prices - and enjoy the entertainment.   They also had a lot going on during the day and often you were spoilt for choice and had difficulty trying to fit in all you wanted to do.  Not self entertainment and quizzes as you mostly get now.  In more recent years, we have been on Adonia and Artemis, unfortunately the difference is huge, especially the food and service.  

They do say that what you don't have you don't miss, so for those who only know P&O in more recent times, good luck to them if they enjoy what they get.  Of course, it's also said that you get what you pay for!!

Happy Cruising  

The crunch comment in your statement is the price "£2500 for 14 nts" when you take it account inflation and oil price increases since 1990s then today cruising is excellent value and a lot cheaper prices today so you cannot expect the same standards something has to give. If you wanted the same standards and food as you were used too and added inflation then cruising would only be available to the very well off because of the constrictive prices.

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First cruised with P&O on Oriana in her maiden season . Things have definately changed in last few year and not for the better but still like P& O experience. Wish food , and dress code were the same tho.

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1 minute ago, *Dancing Queen* said:

Without the 'Yanks' as you put it, P&O probably wouldn't exist ..one things for sure they wouldn't have grown as they have in the last few years.

You are probably right but not Carnival. When the deed was done in 2003 Carnival were only successful because they "trumped" Royal Caribbean at the very last minute. It was virtually all done and dusted with Royal Caribbean when Carnival moved very late in the day. So when anyone criticises Carnival just imagine what Venture, Azura and Britannia would look like with climbing walls lol.

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1 minute ago, sinbad10 said:

You are probably right but not Carnival. When the deed was done in 2003 Carnival were only successful because they "trumped" Royal Caribbean at the very last minute. It was virtually all done and dusted with Royal Caribbean when Carnival moved very late in the day. So when anyone criticises Carnival just imagine what Venture, Azura and Britannia would look like with climbing walls lol.

Yes I know they did in fact we were on QE2 when it was announced, there was a lot of disappointment because as you say it was virtually a done deal with RCI I don't think anyone thought Carnival really stood a chance.

Just as an aside I can remember when Bolsover CC wouldn't touch Carnival with a barge pole .. just about said it all !!

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