P&O Australia vs Princess

Discover the differences both small and large between P&O Australia and Princess cruise lines.

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Cruise holidays don't come cheap, so you want to make sure you book with the cruise line that's best for your needs.

If you’ve got your eye on both a P&O Australia and a Princess itinerary, here’s a guide to how the lines compare – on everything from dining to overall cost.

TL;DR: Our verdict

The winner: This honestly comes down to what you want out of your cruise. For a cheaper, local experience where the kids will have plenty to do, P&O Australia comes out on top, with more budget friendly sailings that don't require you to tip, and feature fun activities such as waterslides. For something more luxurious where you can travel further and there's less likelihood of running into families, Princess works best.

P&O vs Princess

FeatureP&O AustraliaPrincess CruisesWinner
Where does it sail to?
  • Asia
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Pacific Islands
  • Asia
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Pacific Islands
  • Canada
  • The Caribbean
  • Central America
  • Europe
  • South America
Does it have Wi-Fi?Yes, for a fee.Yes, for a fee.Both
Does it provide towels?Yes.Yes.Both
Contact options
  • Email
  • Phone
  • Email
  • Phone
Is it all-inclusive?No.No.Both
How much is the deposit?$75 to $400 depending on cruise length.Deposits start at 5% of the cruise cost.Both
Does it have a gym?Yes.Yes.Both
Does it have hairdryers, laundry services?Both are available. Charges apply to self-service laundry.Both are available. Charges apply to self-service laundry.Both
Does it include food?Yes.Yes.Both
Does it have casinos?Yes.Yes.Both
Does it have an ATM?No.Yes.Princess
Does it have formal nights?Yes.Yes.Both
How much are drinks?$4 to $6 for a beer and $6 to $7 for a wine.Around $5 to $6US for a beer and $7US to $11 for wine.Both
Is it good for families?Yes.Yes.Both
Does it have childcare?There are kids’ clubs on some ships and group child minding.Yes, group kidsitting.Both
Does it have virtual balconies?No.No.Both
Does it have a waterslide?Yes.No.P&O
Does it have a promenade?Yes.Yes.Both
Does it have free room service?No.Yes.Princess
What are my payment options?
  • American Express
  • Mastercard
  • Visa
  • BPAY
  • PayPal
  • American Express
  • Mastercard
  • Visa
  • Carte Blanche
  • Diners Club
  • Discover
  • JCB
Can I price match?No.No.Both
Does it allow for cancellations/changes?Some fares come with cancellation penalties.All fares come with cancellation penalties, from losing the deposit up to the full cruise cost.P&O
How much are airport transfers to the departure port?Prices vary. Brisbane Airport to port (around 16km) costs $18.Prices vary. Most transfers cost around $18 for a 16km trip.Both
How much are gratuities?Tipping is optional.A discretionary gratuity of between $13.50 and $15.50 is added to all on-board accounts every day.P&O
Has a ship ever sunk?No.No.Both
BookBook your Princess cruise

Who offers the best price?

To settle the argument of cost, we looked at similar cruises by route and journey length on similar dates to see which came out on top price-wise.

The cruise we chose was a 12 night / 13 day trip from Melbourne to New Zealand. We checked prices on 5 April 2018. The costs are shown in the screenshots below.

The verdict?

Princess Cruises came out significantly more expensive than P&O Australia, even with its cruises on sale.

In its defence, Princess is renowned for being a more luxurious cruise line and its itinerary includes more ports of call, though this might not be significant enough for such a large price difference.

Is this cruise line good?

P&O Australia is ranked as 3/5 on cruise review website Cruise Critic. Reviewers talk about how the ships are great for families and about how the onboard entertainment is fun.

Princess Cruises is also ranked as 3.5/5 on Cruise Critic however it's lauded more for its service and friendly staff.

The verdict?

Princess Cruises inches out slightly better than P&O with a 3.5-star rating. It is a more luxurious ship after-all and therefore understandably delivers better service.

Any other differences worth noting?

P&O Australia is more likely to offer themed nights and cruises. This includes Melbourne Cup and comedy cruises which Princess does not.

Latest P&O and Princess deals

P&O Australia offers limited period sales that offer perks like $600 onboard spending money, free premium drinks packages, $1 deposits and $250 cash back.

Princess Cruises offers limited-period deals like 40% off launch fares, $400 onboard spend and deposit offers of as little as 5%.

See below for the latest deals.


Brisbane cruises from $249

Verified Today Expires 30 Nov 2021
Available for travel from 2022-2023. Destinations include Cairns, Port Douglas, Hobart, Melbourne, Wellington, Tauranga and more. Sample rate is for a 2-day cruise to Sydney.

P&O vs Princess: Who won?

By the numbers, P&O edges ahead but in all honesty, the winner for you is going to be dependent on your style of travel as P&O and Princess' are quite varied.

On one side, P&O is a more youthful cruise ship offering activities such as waterslides and comedy cruises and coming up as budget-friendly in price and fees.

On the other side, Princess is a more luxurious experience that offers world cruises to the Caribbean and Canada, free room service and has a better Cruise Critic review rating due to its exceptional onboard service.

For a quick sticks look, here's a list of both of their winning points:

P&O wins

Princess wins

  • Sails to more locations worldwide
  • Has ATMs on board
  • Offers free room service
  • Better Cruise Critic rating due to its exceptional service

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2 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    MaritaSeptember 20, 2019

    In relation to 2 ships Sapphire Princess and P&O Pacific Explorer, I would like to know some details.
    What currency is used onboard?
    Are gratuities included?
    What are their respective cancellation policies?
    are both co-owned by the same company?

      Default Gravatar
      NikkiSeptember 21, 2019

      Hi Marita,

      Thanks for getting in touch! As both ships travel worldwide, it will support mulitple currencies. A discretionary gratuity of between $13.50 and $15.50 is added to all on-board accounts every day for the Princess cruises while for P&O, tipping is optional. For Princess cruises – all fares come with cancellation penalties, from losing the deposit up to the full cruise cost. While for P&O, only some fares come with cancellation penalties – please inquire with P&O further. Both cruises are owned by Carnival Corporation & plc.

      Hope this helps!


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