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wowzz

P&O suite vs premium cruise line.

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First of all, apologies for a slightly convoluted title.

As I wrote on another thread, yesterday was our wedding anniversary. In two years time we will reach a significant number,  and I have just started to do some research as to how we should best celebrate this momentous occasion, bearing in mind that cruuse prices are not yet available for May 2022.

In essence, we are trying to decide between a suite on P&O versus a "standard" balcony cabin on an upmarket line such as Viking or Oceana.  Our thinking at the moment is that the premium line would be preferable,  as it is unlikely that we will ever be able to afford to do a similar cruise again. Also, the famous property adage that it is better to be in the worst house in the best street, rather than the best house in the worst street, comes to mind.

If anyone has any experiences that they would care to share, Mrs W and I would be most grateful. 

 

 

 

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I’m afraid I have no experience of premium cruise lines, but having discovered the pleasure to be had from a suite, even with P&O, I’d be reluctant to take an ordinary cabin now.  It’s a bit like moving from black and white TV to colour back in the day -  the old TV was fine, but once you discovered colour you wouldn’t go back.

 

The extra space is the main draw for us, plus the breakfasts in The Epicurean. Priority boarding and disembarking good, too, and the ability to dine in the suite courtesy of the butler service.  Not a lot else of any great consequence, but those factors were enough to keep us rebooking.

 

You and I both know the disadvantages of P&O, but to us the accommodation and the food are the key parts of the package, and the suites, for us at any rate, made up for the downside.  Some of them could do with refurbishment though.

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I suppose it depends on your own priorities and your lifestyle onboard.

Going P&O in a suite would get you more personal space on a larger ship with more facilities and entertainment. And more crowds and queues. Useful if you spend a lot of time in your cabin during the day and like lots of entertainment in the evening; less so if you don't.

Going Oceania, Azamara, Viking, Regent etc in a balcony cabin would get you less personal space but a better standard of cuisine and service on a smaller ship with less people. Virtually no queues but less entertainment. Fine if you prefer to socialise in public areas during the day and are not really bothered about formal entertainment; not so if you are.

Another aspect is the perrennial one of dress codes. All the up market lines mentioned operate a smart casual dress code every evening with no requirement for jackets or ties, let alone black ones. Great if you prefer not needing to pack a dinner suit, not so if dressing up for formal nights is for you a major part of the cruise experience.

Personally I would go down the up market ship route.

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Sadly, I have not been on a Premium Line such as the ones you mention. I guess however that my take on it is that it depends how important a cabin is to you you and how much time you think you will spend in it. The cabin is completely unimportant to me so if I were making that decision it would be done in a minute - Premium all the way. I would choose nicer surroundings, better service and food of a higher quality above a big cabin, a nice breakfast room and a butler I wouldn't use any day. Obviously you will take itinerary and likely need for flights into account.

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I think it depends entirely on what is most important to you. The itinerary is important to us but also the cabin is we don't mix particularly well with other folk so we spend a bit of time in our cabin. We did a week around the Caribbean with Silver Sea and visited many smaller islands, but the cabin was small for a balcony cabin and the butler was mostly not around. Booze was free and very nice, the food was average and the entertainment very limited.

 

We have cruised with P&O a lot but the only time we had a suite was on Adonia and that was very nice but sadly P&O sold it off before we could take our next cruise on her.which I thought was a shame.

 

For us though the best suites have always been in Queens grill on Queen Victoria, the food was fabulous and the suites very comfortable and the entertainment first class. We found the Cunard butlers were great, nothing was too much trouble.

 

As everyone has said its what's important to you, not to anyone else. As they say, you pay your money and you takes your choice!

 

Whatever you choose make sure you enjoy the cruise.

 

Peter and Jenny

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We are long-time cruisers with P&O (Caribbean loyalty level) and new P&O before the Carnival takeover. A few years ago, we tried Viking.  And again.  And again.  How to describe the difference?  "Chalk and cheese" comes to mind.  Viking have beautiful modern ships (only 930 pax), all cabins have balconies, and which P&O ships have heated bathroom floors?  Included are wifi, specialist restaurants, real coffee/tea, drinks with lunch and dinner, free excursions, etc, and excluded are photographers, casino, children, junk tables and black ties.  We tried P&O again last year but were really not impressed (especially with the free addition of norovirus).  On the subject of virus, no Viking Ocean ships suffered from/with coronavirus.

 

So, in my mind, there is no comparison, especially as the comparative final cost delta is relatively small.  For a special occasion, try Premium.  And they do do river cruises too, to the same quality.  A drawback is that your lady will not allow you to return to P&O in future.  Mine doesn't.

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I have p&o experience. 35 cruises since 1997 (honeymoon). By the end we were paying for suites but started off in inside cabins.  
 

 Stopped in 2012 and moved to Seabourn, with whom I’ve done 160 days.  Most cabins there are the same.  They’re really mini suites.
 

 I said I’d never go back but last year came back to p&o for a winter northern lights cruise and loved it.  in an inside cabin.  Cheap as chips.  
 

This was followed by 2 more P&O cruises and 1 Seabourn.  

 

All I can say is you probably get what you pay for.  I like making my own entertainment.  Nice drinks, fantastic food, good company.
 

 I can have nice drinks by buying a bottle or two of champagne in Anderson’s etc. The price with the generous 10% discount is good.    Food is more problematic but the glass house and a nice bottle is ok. With what I save on cabins I can have the experience I like up to a point. 
 

The luxury experience is great.  Marvellous personal service. People know your name from the second day ship wide. No showing your card for anything.  But it’s not cheap.  
 

With Seabourn we’ve been to Alaska, Greenland, Antarctica etc
 

So I’d say try it.  You will probably enjoy it. Might decide you prefer it. But won’t be disappointed by either in the future. At the moment we’d give anything for a wet weekend in Whitby! 

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Thanks folks for all your replies.

  To an extent your answers have reinforced my preconceptions.  Suites on P&O have advantages,  but at the end of the day you are still on a mass market ship (nothing wrong with that),  but giving preferential boarding,  seperate breakfast venue etc, is just trying to put a veneer on the experience. 

We also enjoy smaller ships,  so again the premium lines  have an advantage.

We have (hopefully) a 7 day taster cruise booked on Saga next year. At the moment we are tending towards a Viking cruuse in 2022, as we think the passenger may may be more interesting.  Thanks Rawmac for you input.

Now it's just a matter of saving, but it doesn't  look like any of us are going anywhere soon, so that helps a great deal.

Once again, we are grateful for your replies. 

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1 hour ago, galeforce9 said:

At the moment we’d give anything for a wet weekend in Whitby

Or, even better, Robin Hoods Bay! 

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Ive cruised with P&O and Oceania.

 

There really is no comparison I am sad to say. Oceania service from the moment we got out of the taxi at the Port at Athens to the time we got off the ship it was a pure joy to cruise. The food was sublime, no queues for anything, we had a Deluxe Oceanview on Marina (1250 pax) and the cabin was lovely, the bed was amazing and the bathroom was super lovely. If you are into a lot of entertainment then maybe PO win over Oceania, but we enjoyed the trivia and bingo and the ents team was around and doing stuff but we didnt go to the shows, but they were well attended. 

 

There’s absolutely no comparison with the food - you will be astounded at the quality of the buffet (if they still exist) - there is no pushing and shoving - all food is served to you on the Oceania Buffet - lobster and steaks cooked to order at night and the pool bar has wagyu and lobster on the menu!

 

Afternoon tea is lovely The speciality restaurants are included in the price and are excellent. As long as the drink doesnt have alcohol in it it is free - that includes speciality coffees. If you choose an “O Life drinks package” as part of your perk for booking then you get wine and beer with lunch and dinner - if you upgrade that it is $20 a day extra - an absolute bargain - also you dont have to have the same package in the cabin so if one doesnt drink then no problem. 

 

No photographers, no art gallery (although the art on the ship is lovely), no nickel and dining, the internet is functional for one device per cabin at one time for no extra cost. 

 

Free drinks at Captains Happy Hour which was twice in 10 days for us - we were the only people in the casino bar at that time, so we were plied with free drinks!

 

Tours can be expensive with Oceania - but if you have cruised before thats not an issue. 

 

I absolutely adored my cruise on Oceania - it is head and shoulders above PO. If money were no object then I would cruise with them all the time. 

 

My next cruise is PO in a suite in March 2022, with hubby so we can make an informed choice about whether we want to do a world cruise in a Suite on PO or go for a lesser cabin on Oceania. Hubby is averse to the 180 day itin on Oceania, and the cruising from Soton is a big draw, but if I had my way it would be Oceania all the way. 

 

I have a soft spot for Aurora as she is a lovely small ship, but I dont think even a suite on PO can compare to Oceania in terms of food and service. 

 

Go for the Oceania cruise - I promise you that you will not regret it. 

 

 

 

 

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Have you thought about Celebrity. We went to the Baltic on Eclipse in an inside cabin. The cabin had a settee and large tv. The bathroom was much larger and nicer than P&O's with it taking a few steps to the toilet (short legs but still a good couple for longer legs) and the large shower cubicle had a small gap between it and the toilet. 

 

The ladies toilets had attendants in at busy times and small towels to dry hands. At certain times of the day they had tea pots in the buffet. Loads more choice for the food, large ham on the bone, cavair, minute steaks that is really a small steak, a lovely sandwich station, British dinners, pizza, international food etc. Ice cream is free in the buffet and from a machine on deck. We don't do speciality dining as food not to my taste but some of the rooms looked lovely. The choice of food in mdr probably wouldn't be much to impress foodies not a lot to choose from but was very nice. I did think P&O won here.

Of course though the drinks cost a lot more.

 

There seemed to be less people milling around during the day, but that was probably down to the weather. I had a whole deck to myself.  There was lots of nice places to sit inside. there is a lovely lounge with the big windows can't remember the name but something like Sky lounge. No formal night but have evening chic where some people did do black tie.

The entertainment in the theatre was very good even allowing for the cultural type due to the nature of the cruise.

 

So it might be worth you looking into what their balcony cabins are like. I believe they also have an exclusive club Aqua or Blu not sure of the name. The ships have less passengers than P&O's do.

 

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2 minutes ago, emam said:

Have you thought about Celebrity. We went to the Baltic on Eclipse in an inside cabin. The cabin had a settee and large tv. The bathroom was much larger and nicer than P&O's with it taking a few steps to the toilet (short legs but still a good couple for longer legs) and the large shower cubicle had a small gap between it and the toilet. 

 

The ladies toilets had attendants in at busy times and small towels to dry hands. At certain times of the day they had tea pots in the buffet. Loads more choice for the food, large ham on the bone, cavair, minute steaks that is really a small steak, a lovely sandwich station, British dinners, pizza, international food etc. Ice cream is free in the buffet and from a machine on deck. We don't do speciality dining as food not to my taste but some of the rooms looked lovely. The choice of food in mdr probably wouldn't be much to impress foodies not a lot to choose from but was very nice. I did think P&O won here.

Of course though the drinks cost a lot more.

 

There seemed to be less people milling around during the day, but that was probably down to the weather. I had a whole deck to myself.  There was lots of nice places to sit inside. there is a lovely lounge with the big windows can't remember the name but something like Sky lounge. No formal night but have evening chic where some people did do black tie.

The entertainment in the theatre was very good even allowing for the cultural type due to the nature of the cruise.

 

So it might be worth you looking into what their balcony cabins are like. I believe they also have an exclusive club Aqua or Blu not sure of the name. The ships have less passengers than P&O's do.

 

Yes,  we've been on Celebrity and they are a class above P&O.  However,  even if you are in Aqua or whatever, at the end of the day you are still on board a large cruise liner,  most of which actually have more pax than the likes of Arcadia,  Oceana or Aurora. 

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Just now, wowzz said:

Yes,  we've been on Celebrity and they are a class above P&O.  However,  even if you are in Aqua or whatever, at the end of the day you are still on board a large cruise liner,  most of which actually have more pax than the likes of Arcadia,  Oceana or Aurora. 

 

Tend to agree here, been on Eclipse twice, and while she is a lovely ship, not in the premium luxury level of Oceania/Viking. 

 

 

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42 minutes ago, BillieJeanKaraokeKing said:

To throw a curveball in, is there not somewhere in the world you've particularly fancied visiting? Perhaps let that take priority? 

Good question. We've been to lots of places (Asia, Australia,  US,  Caribbean etc) plus I travelled a lot with work, and we lived in Spain for 10 years or so, but obviously there are lots of places we haven't seen.

However, we now are less bothered about crossing off countries  and tourist sites on our "bucket list". We still will continue to have our "land holidays" , renting accommodation and living in the local community, but conversely, we also enjoy the odd touch of luxury  now and again, hence my question.

 

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All these luxury or premium cruise lines are fine, however very few of them offer round trip sailing out of Southampton, which is the major drawback once you decide, due to age, infirmity or just being fed up off flying, that this is the option you need.

However Saga's new ship, or ships if the Adventure is completed, might be the way to go for us once cruising restarts, but we might have to make do with only one cruise a year, rather than 3 with P&O.

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1 hour ago, terrierjohn said:

All these luxury or premium cruise lines are fine, however very few of them offer round trip sailing out of Southampton, which is the major drawback once you decide, due to age, infirmity or just being fed up off flying, that this is the option you need.

However Saga's new ship, or ships if the Adventure is completed, might be the way to go for us once cruising restarts, but we might have to make do with only one cruise a year, rather than 3 with P&O.

We also are trying to avoid flying these days, but would make an exception for a special occasion.

You may recall we have booked a 7 day "taster" cruise on the new Saga  Adventure in March next year, which leaves from Southampton and arrives back to Dover.

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12 minutes ago, wowzz said:

We also are trying to avoid flying these days, but would make an exception for a special occasion.

You may recall we have booked a 7 day "taster" cruise on the new Saga  Adventure in March next year, which leaves from Southampton and arrives back to Dover.

It is still sitting in the assembly hall at Meyer Werft at present, but it looks as though it is close to being ready for float out, assuming it is still having work carried out on her.

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30 minutes ago, terrierjohn said:

It is still sitting in the assembly hall at Meyer Werft at present, but it looks as though it is close to being ready for float out, assuming it is still having work carried out on her.

Yes, the last update I saw from Saga was that she would be delivered slightly behind schedule, but probably by the end of this year.  I imagine Saga are not too worried about the delay, given the current state of affairs!

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On 5/22/2020 at 8:43 PM, Rawmac said:

We are long-time cruisers with P&O (Caribbean loyalty level) and new P&O before the Carnival takeover. A few years ago, we tried Viking.  And again.  And again.  How to describe the difference?  "Chalk and cheese" comes to mind.  Viking have beautiful modern ships (only 930 pax), all cabins have balconies, and which P&O ships have heated bathroom floors?  Included are wifi, specialist restaurants, real coffee/tea, drinks with lunch and dinner, free excursions, etc, and excluded are photographers, casino, children, junk tables and black ties.  We tried P&O again last year but were really not impressed (especially with the free addition of norovirus).  On the subject of virus, no Viking Ocean ships suffered from/with coronavirus.

 

So, in my mind, there is no comparison, especially as the comparative final cost delta is relatively small.  For a special occasion, try Premium.  And they do do river cruises too, to the same quality.  A drawback is that your lady will not allow you to return to P&O in future.  Mine doesn't.

Totally agree with everything Rawmac says.  Our last P&O cruise was in 2015 - we'd regularly cruised with them for 15 years and had also tried several other mass market lines; Cunard, HAL, Princess, Fred, NCL and Royal Caribbean. Mostly in balcony cabins, but on a couple of occasions we upgraded to suites.  

 

In 2016 we took a Viking river cruise and realised just how superior their product was.  

Since then, we've had three fabulous Viking Ocean cruises, with another four booked - though sadly I feel that we may have to postpone some of them due to the pandemic.

 

On a mass market cruise line we spend a large proportion of the holiday on our own balcony, avoiding the noisy crowded bars and decks.  On Viking we spend hardly any time in our cabin - there is ALWAYS somewhere pleasant to sit and watch the sea, you'll find yourself saying 'where is everybody?'

 

Viking is premium, but unpretentious.  Modern and comfortable, not flashy.  I can't think of a single thing I would change on their ships.  We have found our perfect fit, and I hope you do too.

There is one drawback... you won't want to go back!

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21 minutes ago, Jammy Bun said:

Totally agree with everything Rawmac says.  Our last P&O cruise was in 2015 - we'd regularly cruised with them for 15 years and had also tried several other mass market lines; Cunard, HAL, Princess, Fred, NCL and Royal Caribbean. Mostly in balcony cabins, but on a couple of occasions we upgraded to suites.  

 

In 2016 we took a Viking river cruise and realised just how superior their product was.  

Since then, we've had three fabulous Viking Ocean cruises, with another four booked - though sadly I feel that we may have to postpone some of them due to the pandemic.

 

On a mass market cruise line we spend a large proportion of the holiday on our own balcony, avoiding the noisy crowded bars and decks.  On Viking we spend hardly any time in our cabin - there is ALWAYS somewhere pleasant to sit and watch the sea, you'll find yourself saying 'where is everybody?'

 

Viking is premium, but unpretentious.  Modern and comfortable, not flashy.  I can't think of a single thing I would change on their ships.  We have found our perfect fit, and I hope you do too.

There is one drawback... you won't want to go back!

Thank you for that. We are coming to the same conclusion.  On P&O we have to have a balcony cabin to escape to some peace and quiet. Not bothered about the extra space in a P&O suite - at the end of the day, you are still on a mass market cruise ship  - nothing wrong with that, but we are looking for something special. 

Looks like Viking or Seabourne are favourites,  although Seabourne prices are eye watering expensive.

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Having said earlier that maybe the new Saga ships could replace P&O if we want a little more luxury and fewer passengers, I had a look on YouTube at a couple of ship tours of discovery, and gosh but it does look boring, in fact it even makes Britannia look a bit swish.

So probably not for us after all. 

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1 minute ago, terrierjohn said:

Having said earlier that maybe the new Saga ships could replace P&O if we want a little more luxury and fewer passengers, I had a look on YouTube at a couple of ship tours of discovery, and gosh but it does look boring, in fact it even makes Britannia look a bit swish.

So probably not for us after all. 

I know what you are saying, but we are talking about a few days on a cruise, not buying a house. If the service, food and public spaces are fine, I'm not too bothered if the wall paper is a bit boring. We are looking  to be pampered,  not critiquing the decor.

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11 hours ago, wowzz said:

I know what you are saying, but we are talking about a few days on a cruise, not buying a house. If the service, food and public spaces are fine, I'm not too bothered if the wall paper is a bit boring. We are looking  to be pampered,  not critiquing the decor.

I am looking for at least 2 weeks on a cruise, so I do want exciting and interesting.  Also on checking the deck plans there seems far less public room space than on Aurora, which is about the same beam although 35m shorter. 

I think we will wait for your review wowzz, if your cruise goes ahead, before making any moves in Saga's direction.

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I’ve heard exceptionally good reports of Saga from friends who’ve switched from P&O and won’t now go back.

 

Saga’s handling of their recent Norovirus (seems almost a triviality now, doesn’t it) outbreaks has rather dampened their enthusiasm though, and I can see why.

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