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Will my P&O Cruise be affected by P&O Ferries sackings?

EconomyWill my P&O Cruise be affected by P&O Ferries sackings?

My friends and I have a trip booked in May with P&O Cruises, travelling around Scandinavia for two weeks.

It has been postponed and rescheduled multiple times since 2020, so we are keen to finally get our holiday – but having seen recent news about P&O Ferries sacking many of its staff, I am concerned about whether the trip can go ahead.

First of all, are P&O Ferries and P&O Cruises connected?

It appears that trips on P&O Ferries are all cancelled and customers are being diverted to other carriers, causing long delays in many cases.

P&O Cruises, owned by Carnival UK, has no connection to P&O Ferries which is owned by DP World. It said its holidays would not be impacted by the mass-sackings of staff

P&O Cruises, owned by Carnival UK, has no connection to P&O Ferries which is owned by DP World. It said its holidays would not be impacted by the mass-sackings of staff

If the two firms are part of the same parent company, I also feel morally dubious about paying money to a firm that has treated its staff so badly.

Can you explain what the situation is here and whether our holiday is likely to be affected? M.L, Leicestershire

Emilia Shovelin of This is Money replies: Before we go any further, the first thing that needs to be said is that, aside from the shared name, P&O Cruises and P&O Ferries are two separate, unconnected entities, owned and operated by different parent companies.

When you booked your dream holiday in early 2020, none of us could have foreseen the next two years of constant rescheduling and Covid cancellations.

When restrictions eased, it seemed only natural to start to get excited for our holidays again.

But for those planning to travel by boat, the news of P&O Ferries letting go around 800 staff members in March has potentially put travel plans in jeopardy yet again. 

What happened to P&O Ferries?

On March 17, P&O Ferries handed 800 members of staff immediate severance notices to replace them with agency staff who would be paid 50 per cent less.

They subsequently called all of their ships back to port, leaving thousands of customers stranded abroad.  

Bosses said the job losses were necessary to keep P&O Ferries afloat after losses of £100million each year over the past two years. 

Its Dover to Calais services remain suspended, but customers are being transferred to other operators. 

Since then, lots of holidaymakers have been concerned about what this mass-sacking means for their trips.

Will P&O Cruises be impacted by the Ferries sacking?

Other than the damage from people being worried by the name, there is no impact on P&O Cruises from the P&O Ferries debacle. The two companies are totally unconnected, as we explained above.

P&O Ferries is owned by DP World, which is an Emirati logistics company based in Dubai, while P&O Cruises is owned by Carnival, a British-American cruise operator. 

There has been enough customer concern, however, that P&O Cruises has ebenn taking out full page newspaper adverts to reassure customers and explain it has nothing to do with P&O Ferries. 

The name P&O comes from the company it used to be a part of, which was originally called the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company, dated from the 19th century. 

P&O first introduced passenger services in 1844 with the launch of a cruise from Southampton to the Mediterranean, and it began operating ferries in the 1960s.

The brand P&O Ferries was created in 2002 through mergers within P&O, but in 2006, the P&O Group, including P&O Ferries was sold to DP World, while P&O Cruises was taken over by Carnival UK.

As a result, the two brands are run completely independently, and while connected historically, the operations at P&O Ferries should not impact P&O Cruises.

A spokesperson for P&O Cruises told This is Money: ‘Historically the two companies were owned by the P&O Steam Navigation Company (P&OSNCO) but were run separately.

‘In 2000 the cruises division was de-merged from P&OSNCO into a new business which included P&O Cruises and Princess Cruises. 

‘This new business merged with Carnival Corporation in 2003 to create a worldwide portfolio of market-leading cruise brands.’

So with regards to your concern that you would rather not financially support a company which sacked hundreds of employees, you can rest assured knowing that P&O Cruises and P&O Ferries’ only shared feature is the legacy of their brands. 

P&O Ferries made a controversial decision to sack 800 staff members to reduce costs after losing £200m in the last two years

P&O Ferries made a controversial decision to sack 800 staff members to reduce costs after losing £200m in the last two years 

Is there a risk of my cruise being cancelled? 

Although it seems unlikely that our reader’s holiday will be affected by what is happening at P&O Ferries, the last two years have taught us that it pays to prepare for the worst when it comes to travel plans being cancelled.  

Unfortunately, we are becoming more used to having our holidays and plans interrupted, rescheduled, or downright cancelled. 

While many firms will offer vouchers or refunds for trips cancelled by events outside the customer’s control, these can be a headache to secure and the process can be a long one. 

If you are concerned about your holiday getting cancelled for reasons outside of your control, it’s best to ensure you are protected. 

Depending on the type of trip, that could mean making sure to book ATOL-protected package holidays, or taking out comprehensive travel insurance and checking the policy small print carefully. 

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