Back to main site

2018 in review


So much can happen in a year. For us at P&O Cruises, 2018 has been full of new beginnings and exciting changes. Here, we look at nine reasons why this year was one of our best ever

Look back at a great year with us

1. Introducing Iona

2018 was a year of big news and big buzz. The planning, designing and building of our new ship Iona, which launches in 2020, is well underway. The steel-cutting ceremony in April kicked off the build and from there, it’s been all systems go.


In May, after receiving more than 30,000 entries to our competition, we announced the name of our new ship. Gillian Crooks of Dundee chose the winning name, inspired by her daughter, Iona.


Throughout the year, we gave you a look inside some of the ship’s key spaces, including the cabins, Grand Atrium and SkyDome. We also introduced you to some of the experts behind Iona’s design; the makers who are bringing the ship to life one step at a time, from major spaces to finishing touches.


Of course, a P&O Cruises holiday is just as much about the destination as it is how you get there, and in August, we announced that Iona will spend her inaugural season in the incredible Norwegian Fjords. From the cultural gems of Bergen to the natural beauty of Geiranger, it’s the perfect place to kick off Iona’s star turn at sea.


See Iona spring to life with an immersive 3D virtual tour or to see the Iona story so far in video here


2. Fantastic fleet news

Beyond Iona, the rest of the fleet gave us plenty to talk about. Ventura enjoyed a refit in March, just in time to celebrate her 10th birthday in April.


After a refit in April next year, Aurora will make the move to cater exclusively for adults from cruise R905 onwards. We also announced that a second new ship will be joining the P&O Cruises fleet, arriving in 2022.


3. Delectable dining

We’re always striving to bring you the best on-board dining experiences, and 2018 was no different.


Our Food Heroes were certainly busy. Eric Lanlard crafted new menus for his decadent Afternoon Tea, inspired by his travels around the globe. Olly Smith was delighted to introduce his new-look menus in The Glass House, which now include wine pairing recommendations. We also announced that Food Hero Marco Pierre White has taken over as patron of The Cookery Club, where guests can learn how to make some of his best-loved classic dishes, as well as new favourite recipes inspired by Britannia’s ports of call.


Our on-board pubs have had an upgrade, too: our ‘Best of British’ snack offerings, all sourced or handcrafted in the UK with the finest quality ingredients, provide a selection of first-rate artisan nibbles.


4. Amazing entertainment

It was a big year for entertainment. In June, we launched Astonishing, a revolutionary magic and illusion show produced by BAFTA-winning presenter and entertainer Stephen Mulhern and performer Jonathan Wilkes. The premiere was attended by celebs and VIPs including ITV’s Declan Donnelly and singer Chesney Hawkes. Since then, the show has been wowing crowds on Azura, Britannia and Ventura.  


Astonishing, a revolutionary magic and illusion show produced by
BAFTA-winning presenter and entertainer Stephen Mulhern and performer Jonny Wilkes

New for 2018 and exclusively for P&O Cruises, the Legends at Sea programme saw top-flight professionals from a variety of sports join us to share the wisdom amassed during their glittering careers. The programme brought in renowned British sports personalities including rugby player Scott Quinnell, cricketer Geraint Jones MBA and footballer Rachel Yankey OBE for coaching sessions, Q&As and hosted dinners.


5. Sensational shopping

On-board shopping got even better this year with the addition of fabulous new brands offering womenswear, menswear and accessories. We welcomed Mulberry on board in January, followed by more brilliant brands including French Connection, Lacoste Men, Studio 8 by Phase Eight, FatFace and Kallati.


6. Service Charge changes

In August, we announced we’re eliminating the daily discretionary Service Charge, so you can relax knowing it's all taken care of. From May 2019 onwards (for cruises departing on or after cruise numbers A911, B912, E911/A, J903, N910, R907, X907), good service, good value and good times are all part and parcel of your holiday.


7. Online updates

In April we launched My Account, an easy-to-use online hub for P&O Cruises guests. It’s a convenient way to update your personal details and tell us how you’d like to be contacted in the future. You can also confirm your P&O Cruises Peninsular Club membership, check your cruise history and loyalty status and more.


8. Giving back

While an exotic escape is always welcome, there’s something to be said for coming home. In March, the Ocean Brothers (aka Jude Massey and Greg Bailey), who rowed across the Atlantic in 53 days to raise money for the British Skin Foundation in memory of their late father, were brought back to the UK in style on board Britannia. While on board, they carried out various fundraising events and held Q&A sessions with guests. To date, they’ve surpassed their fundraising target and raised more than £100,000.


9. Incredible itineraries

As always, we’ve worked hard to bring you exciting new itineraries with the best range of on-shore experiences, and are delighted to have helped to create so many happy holiday memories in 2018. We can’t wait to see what 2019 will bring.


Don't miss out in 2019, find out about our great cruise deals >