P&O Caribbean cruises are among the line's most popular itineraries. Most of the line's Caribbean cruises are fly cruises with Brits able to reach the region's blue sky and turquoise sea in less than nine hours.
P&O Caribbean cruises are not available year-round. Typically operating between October and March, when the line has two ships in the Caribbean -- including its gleaming new mega-ship, Arvia -- for the full winter season. Two further ships also offer ad-hoc no-fly cruises from Southampton.
Here's everything you need to know about P&O fly cruises to the Caribbean.
Unlike fly-cruise holidays that require travellers to make their own flight and transfer arrangements -- leaving passengers in a pickle if there are delays or other flight disruptions -- ATOL-protected flights are included within the cost of a P&O Caribbean cruise. As standard, return transfers are also included to and from your ship in the port of embarkation and debarkation.
Flights are available from London and a selection of regional airports, including Belfast, Birmingham, Bournemouth, Bristol, Cardiff, East Midlands, Glasgow, Manchester and Newcastle. Flights, both charter and scheduled (TUI Airways, Virgin Atlantic and British Airways), are inclusive of luggage weighing between 20kg and 30kg per person. However, one thing to note is that P&O Cruises request that passengers limit their luggage to 23kg so crew can safely handle baggage.
Once passengers arrive in their destination airport -- Antigua or Barbados -- they're met by a P&O Cruises representative and directed to their designated transfer coach. On charter flights, passengers wave goodbye to their luggage at their UK departure airport and are reunited with it again once onboard in their cabin. On scheduled flights, however, passengers will need to pass through immigration and collect their luggage from Baggage Reclaim before proceeding through to Arrivals.
This airport-to-ship service is one of the big draws for P&O Cruises' passengers, since not all cruise lines offer this. If you're left to book your own flight and transfer and something goes wrong, unfortunately that's on you.
If you're considering a P&O Caribbean cruise, you've up to four ships to choose from. Two offer fly-cruises, including the line's newest ship, Arvia. The 5,200-passenger ship, a sister to Iona, even had its official naming ceremony in Barbados in March 2023. Nicknamed the line's "Sunshine Ship", Arvia is set to spend every winter in the Caribbean.
There's also Britannia, the line's former flagship vessel, which debuted in 2015 and carries 3,647 passengers. While two of the line's older ships, Aurora (debuted 2000) and Ventura (debuted 2008) also sail the Caribbean, though they're based on no-fly cruises on longer sailings from Southampton.
This variety means there is a P&O Caribbean cruise for every type of traveller. Aurora is strictly adults only, while Arvia and Britannia are more geared towards the family cruise market. Not to say couples won't enjoy these ships, too, with adults-only areas, and plenty of bars, lounges and restaurants to choose from.
Ventura also draws a mix of couples and families. Although it doesn't boast the show-stopping features of Arvia, it has kids' clubs, three pools and a mini-golf course.
Arvia has some jaw-dropping features specifically tailored to a warmer climate, including Altitude Skywalk -- a high-ropes course that sees participants dangling from the top of the ship -- and a gorgeous infinity pool with a swim-up bar. There's also a fun yellow submarine-themed escape room, a multiplex cinema that debuted on Iona and a rum distillery.
All ships feature the line's popular wine bar and tapas-style restaurant The Glass House, where Olly Smith oversees the menu, Sindhu Indian restaurant, as well as Horizons Buffet and the main dining rooms. Britannia and Arvia also have The Limelight Club for live music, food and drinks.
Britannia has The Cookery Club, which doesn't feature on Arvia.
Reached via a nine-hour flight from the UK, P&O Caribbean cruises are available as seven- and 14-night voyages and are usually available to book from two years out.
Both Britannia and Arvia sail from Bridgetown, Barbados, while Arvia offers embarkations in Antigua. A seven-night P&O Caribbean cruise departing Antigua typically feature calls to Grenada, St Lucia and Barbados. A 14-night sailing, departing from Barbados, also feature calls to Curacao, Bonaire, St. Vincent, Dominican Republic, Saint Kitts and Nevis and Saint Maarten.
Itineraries are subject to change, though with P&O Cruises skipping the Caribbean's hurricane season, there's less reason for ports to be switched.
P&O Caribbean cruises have arguably become more exciting with the launch of Arvia -- both onboard and in port thanks to a selection of exclusive shore excursions the line has launched.
Passengers can whizz around St Lucia on an electric scooter tour, enjoy a five-star all-inclusive day at a beach resort in the Dominican Republic and join a craft beer and rum tasting in Barbados and St Maarten.
Updated March 16, 2023