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Compulsory offshore excursions due to Covid with P&O


angeliquer
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I just saw on P&O's website that they are making few changes on their cruises due to the pandemic which I guess is fair enough.

However the one that is sticking out for me is that they will not allow passengers to get off the cruise ship in ports unless they are booked on one of P&O approved excursions!!! 

 

What I like most about cruises is being able to get off the ship and explore and get lost in the cities on my own. Not only will I not be able to do what I want on the cruise but they will charge me a premium to have to go on excursions which I have no interest in!

 

My cruise is booked for November 2021 and if this new rule is still applicable I will be cancelling.

 

See below the link to P&O website: 

https://www.pocruises.com/cruise-with-confidence?otprrf=direct

 

I have also copied and pasted a couple of their FAQ from their website

 

Why can't I explore independently? Why can't I leave the ship without booking a shore experience?

In line with the approved health protocols all shore experiences will be on organised excursions only using vetted operators who will be subject to regular testing and ongoing guidance.

Our shore experience operators will be subject to new screening and guidance/ temperature checks/and or health screening may be carried out prior to boarding the ship after time on shore.

As guests can only go on shore on an organised excursion, does this mean the tour is included in the cost of our holiday or is it an additional charge?

We are currently working on a new programme that will be available including options at a lower price and available to purchase via My P&O Cruises eight weeks prior to departure.  The new programme and additional options will ensure that we have options available for all guests to travel ashore.

Edited by angeliquer
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Welcome to the friendly P&O forum. 

This protocol was announced some time ago, and is in line with all other cruise lines. Just a sign of the times, I'm afraid.   Only you can decide if the cruise experience outweighs the lack of independent shore visits.

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5 minutes ago, wowzz said:

Welcome to the friendly P&O forum. 

This protocol was announced some time ago, and is in line with all other cruise lines. Just a sign of the times, I'm afraid.   Only you can decide if the cruise experience outweighs the lack of independent shore visits.

Thank you Wowzz.

I understand the need to change some practices and that cruising will be different than before. However this is a really major change in my eyes and I am just a bit shocked to be honest. I booked the cruise 15 months ago before the the pandemic started, and I just stumbled upon this new T&C. I never received any email or letter advising about this, and this is going to be a deal breaker for me. I have until August to pay the remainder of my cruise so I will wait till then and hope they reconsider this new rule. Otherwise I will be cancelling I am afraid, which is a shame as the whole family had been looking forward to it 😞 

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8 minutes ago, angeliquer said:

they reconsider this new rule

To be frank, in the current environment I doubt that P&O, other  cruise lines or indeed any of the ports,  are likely to alter the policy for the forseeable future. 

You do know that you can transfer your deposit to a cruise further in the future, in the hope that things will gave improved, with no penalty? 

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2 minutes ago, wowzz said:

To be frank, in the current environment I doubt that P&O, other  cruise lines or indeed any of the ports,  are likely to alter the policy for the forseeable future. 

You do know that you can transfer your deposit to a cruise further in the future, in the hope that things will gave improved, with no penalty? 

I think you are correct and it is unlikely that the rules will change by November 2021. And yes I am waiting for P&O winter cruises 2022 to come out and then I might change the dates ... hoping there will be a bit more freedom in 2022 🙂 

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6 minutes ago, Windsurfboy said:

I presume you can ask for a 100% refund, if you are forced to buy P&O excursions or stay on board.

No you can't, because, as was discussed at length when the policy was announced, the new restrictions are not considered to be a significant change to the T&Cs. You might not like the policy, but you will face a long and costly battle if you want a refund. 

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Totally agree this would not suit us at all.  The thing I can't quite get my head around is this.  If cruising restarts, then presumable foreign holidays will also restart.  Therefore, people going to Spain to lie on the beach or Italy or France, will obviously be allowed to wander around.  So if that is the case, why not the same on a cruise?

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23 minutes ago, Windsurfboy said:

I presume you can ask for a 100% refund, if you are forced to buy P&O excursions or stay on board.

Yes you can stay on board, but that would be a bit boring in my opinion. However standard cancellation policy will apply as P&O reckon that albeit a few changes guests will still have a wonderful holiday.

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1 minute ago, angeliquer said:

Yes you can stay on board, but that would be a bit boring in my opinion. However standard cancellation policy will apply as P&O reckon that albeit a few changes guests will still have a wonderful holiday.

They are releasing new, and lower cost excursions to suit the pandemic restrictions and lower budgets 8 weeks before each cruise if yours still has this restriction in place. 
P&O have made the right decision with this, they have to protect the safety of everyone onboard so if they aren’t going to add protocols whilst you’re on board and then let you do as you wish when you go ashore. That would just be silly in this climate. As soon as they can drop this they will, they know people aren’t happy but it’s the only option. 
 

Me personally, I am more than happy with it. 

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12 minutes ago, jeanlyon said:

Totally agree this would not suit us at all.  The thing I can't quite get my head around is this.  If cruising restarts, then presumable foreign holidays will also restart.  Therefore, people going to Spain to lie on the beach or Italy or France, will obviously be allowed to wander around.  So if that is the case, why not the same on a cruise?

I understand their thinking in a way as one of P&O requirements is you can only board the ship at the beginning of your cruise with a negative Covid test. And everytime a passenger leaves the ship in one of the ports, he risks contracting the virus from somewhere and P&O doesn't want Covid to be brought onboard half way through the cruise. However this not a holiday for me. 

 

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Yes but what about all the people who will be going on holiday by air and walking around independently.  I don't see it.  Imagine a trip to Rome with a tour guide and all the other hundreds of people walking around.  What's the difference?

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1 minute ago, angeliquer said:

I understand their thinking in a way as one of P&O requirements is you can only board the ship at the beginning of your cruise with a negative Covid test. And everytime a passenger leaves the ship in one of the ports, he risks contracting the virus from somewhere and P&O doesn't want Covid to be brought onboard half way through the cruise. However this not a holiday for me. 

 

Understand that logic, but if you are wandering the streets with a tour guide, you are walking amongst others, loads of whom won't be wearing masks.  No, not for me either.  Have to make a decision by July.

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Just now, jeanlyon said:

Yes but what about all the people who will be going on holiday by air and walking around independently.  I don't see it.  Imagine a trip to Rome with a tour guide and all the other hundreds of people walking around.  What's the difference?

The difference is P&O are accountable for your safety on an excursion whereas when you DIY they are not and so right now, in the eyes of the media, they need to over see everything. They are probably 2 steps ahead of what they have released anyway. As I’m sure Moley would agree, they will be thinking of all possibilities. 
 

If this new T&C doesn’t suit at all then I would just transfer. 

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2 minutes ago, joeecco said:

They are releasing new, and lower cost excursions to suit the pandemic restrictions and lower budgets 8 weeks before each cruise if yours still has this restriction in place. 
P&O have made the right decision with this, they have to protect the safety of everyone onboard so if they aren’t going to add protocols whilst you’re on board and then let you do as you wish when you go ashore. That would just be silly in this climate. As soon as they can drop this they will, they know people aren’t happy but it’s the only option. 
 

Me personally, I am more than happy with it. 

Do you know how much the excursions will be? At the moment an excursion is £40 per person on average. We are a family of 4 and have 10 ports during our cruise. Total £1600. Even if they slash the price of excursion it will still be a big budget just to be able to get off the ship.

Also while on shore, most passengers I guess would respect the current social distancing and hygienic rules and where a mask to minimise the risk of infection. I am not sure the P&O organised excursions will be safer than me walking around town on my own.

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7 minutes ago, jeanlyon said:

Understand that logic, but if you are wandering the streets with a tour guide, you are walking amongst others, loads of whom won't be wearing masks.  No, not for me either.  Have to make a decision by July.

Totally agree with you. I have to decide by August.

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Just now, angeliquer said:

Do you know how much the excursions will be? At the moment an excursion is £40 per person on average. We are a family of 4 and have 10 ports during our cruise. Total £1600. Even if they slash the price of excursion it will still be a big budget just to be able to get off the ship.

Also while on shore, most passengers I guess would respect the current social distancing and hygienic rules and where a mask to minimise the risk of infection. I am not sure the P&O organised excursions will be safer than me walking around town on my own.

They say they will be lower price. I’m not an insider so I’m not sure of costs sadly. I appreciate it’s an added cost that builds rapidly with a family of 4 but P&O doesn’t have any other options until restrictions lower. Hopefully this rule is lifted before your cruise but if it isn’t then it’s either endure it or transfer. 
 

The ‘I can get off with an excursion where it’s unsafe but I can’t on my own’ discussion is wasted breath unfortunately. P&O have to be responsible for everyone’s safety onshore and onboard at the moment.  If requirements don’t allow for walking tours then P&O will cancel such trips. 
 

I believe each country will have a different approach, Italy may say you can explore independently off cruise ships if you are tested when disembarking whereas other countries will perhaps enforce bubbled excursions only. 

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20 minutes ago, jeanlyon said:

Yes but what about all the people who will be going on holiday by air and walking around independently.  I don't see it.  Imagine a trip to Rome with a tour guide and all the other hundreds of people walking around.  What's the difference?

The difference is that cruise ship passengers are effectively living in a closed community, and the virus likes a close community as it can spread with ease. Therefore, if everyone goes ashore in Rome and does their own thing, there is a greater chance of people picking up the virus. Then they get back on board, they have the rest of the cruise to spread the virus around the closed community. The risk is even greater now that there are different variants that are spreading, and some of the variants are even more infectious 

 

 

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9 minutes ago, joeecco said:

They say they will be lower price. I’m not an insider so I’m not sure of costs sadly. I appreciate it’s an added cost that builds rapidly with a family of 4 but P&O doesn’t have any other options until restrictions lower. Hopefully this rule is lifted before your cruise but if it isn’t then it’s either endure it or transfer. 
 

The ‘I can get off with an excursion where it’s unsafe but I can’t on my own’ discussion is wasted breath unfortunately. P&O have to be responsible for everyone’s safety onshore and onboard at the moment.  If requirements don’t allow for walking tours then P&O will cancel such trips. 
 

I believe each country will have a different approach, Italy may say you can explore independently off cruise ships if you are tested when disembarking whereas other countries will perhaps enforce bubbled excursions only. 

For lots of reasons,this made me smile. Well done

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17 minutes ago, angeliquer said:

I am not sure the P&O organised excursions will be safer than me walking around town on my own.

I think you'll find that P&O tours will allow virtually no interaction with the "locals" and the amount of free movement will be extremely limited,  so totally different to walking around on your own. 

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2 hours ago, angeliquer said:

I just saw on P&O's website that they are making few changes on their cruises due to the pandemic which I guess is fair enough.

However the one that is sticking out for me is that they will not allow passengers to get off the cruise ship in ports unless they are booked on one of P&O approved excursions!!! 

 

What I like most about cruises is being able to get off the ship and explore and get lost in the cities on my own. Not only will I not be able to do what I want on the cruise but they will charge me a premium to have to go on excursions which I have no interest in!

 

My cruise is booked for November 2021 and if this new rule is still applicable I will be cancelling.

 

See below the link to P&O website: 

https://www.pocruises.com/cruise-with-confidence?otprrf=direct

 

I have also copied and pasted a couple of their FAQ from their website

 

Why can't I explore independently? Why can't I leave the ship without booking a shore experience?

In line with the approved health protocols all shore experiences will be on organised excursions only using vetted operators who will be subject to regular testing and ongoing guidance.

Our shore experience operators will be subject to new screening and guidance/ temperature checks/and or health screening may be carried out prior to boarding the ship after time on shore.

As guests can only go on shore on an organised excursion, does this mean the tour is included in the cost of our holiday or is it an additional charge?

We are currently working on a new programme that will be available including options at a lower price and available to purchase via My P&O Cruises eight weeks prior to departure.  The new programme and additional options will ensure that we have options available for all guests to travel ashore.

Thanks for posting.

This seems to be the way the ship protocols are going to be with all cruiselines.

Now we have vaccines hopefully these rules will change as part of the cruise experience is getting off independently in ports and exploring on your own.

Graham.

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1 hour ago, jeanlyon said:

Totally agree this would not suit us at all.  The thing I can't quite get my head around is this.  If cruising restarts, then presumable foreign holidays will also restart.  Therefore, people going to Spain to lie on the beach or Italy or France, will obviously be allowed to wander around.  So if that is the case, why not the same on a cruise?

 

totally agree a plane of ho!iday makers can walk around towns, beaches, resturants, so what the difference. 

If we can't get of the ship independently on our Norway cruise end August and Med end September we won't be going 

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2 minutes ago, Tikka234 said:

 

totally agree a plane of ho!iday makers can walk around towns, beaches, resturants, so what the difference. 

If we can't get of the ship independently on our Norway cruise end August and Med end September we won't be going 

A lot of these holidaymakers will be in hotels mingling with other guests as well as sunbathing around the hotel swimming pools and swimming in the pools with hundreds of others.

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All the arguments here just make me (even) more sceptical that the summer holiday season can go ahead in anything like the manner we are accustomed 

 

I hope I’m wrong; I fear I’m right.  Sorry

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9 minutes ago, grapau27 said:

A lot of these holidaymakers will be in hotels mingling with other guests as well as sunbathing around the hotel swimming pools and swimming in the pools with hundreds of others.

And that is the hotel’s responsibility to keep everyone safe. And so it’s P&Os responsibility to keep us safe. It really isn’t the same. 

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