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
|Where does it sail to?|
- New Zealand
- Pacific Islands
- New Zealand
- Pacific Islands
- The Caribbean
- Central America
- South America
|Does it have Wi-Fi?||Yes, for a fee.||Yes, for a fee.||Both|
|Does it provide towels?||Yes.||Yes.||Both|
|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
- American Express
- Carte Blanche
- Diners Club
|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|
|Book||Book 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.
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.
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.
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:
- Sails to more locations worldwide
- Has ATMs on board
- Offers free room service
- Better Cruise Critic rating due to its exceptional service