PA And P&O

December 24, 2009 -

John Heald

It’s Christmas Eve. It’s colder than a French welcome outside. Heidi is wrapping a last few Christmas gifts. Kye is watching the Christmas tree lights flicker and I have absolutely bugger all to do.

So, I thought I would sit down and send you a quick good morning note and hope that you are all well……………..and bring you a fascinating interview with one of the most influential women in the cruise industry. Before that……………lets pop over to Australia.

We all love a great naming ceremony and the excitement of seeing a new ship begin her life is something all of us who love ships revel in. With that in mind I invite you to have a look at this link thingy and a video of the Pacific Jewel’s spectacular launch. Congratulations to P & O Australia and we wish all of you a very happy Christmas…………spent on the beach………in shorts……………lucky sods.

Anyway………….let’s go down under

And now its time to check in with one of the most influential women in the cruise industry …………….ladies and gentlemen……………please say hello to Ms Carol Marlow. I asked Carol to tell us about her new role in charge of the UK’s favourite cruise line and here is her wonderful and exclusive interview.

1. Carol, thanks so very much for agreeing to do this. You must be very excited about your new role.

I was delighted to be joining Britain’s leading cruise line at an exciting time. When I joined we had one new ship on order. Now we also have a second joining the fleet. And of course I used to work for P+O Cruises as Marketing Director and then Sales + Marketing Director around 8-9 years ago, so it’s like coming home.

2. Please tell us about why you think P & O is the UK’s favourite cruise line.

It’s interesting. I have now travelled on all our ships but one, which I will travel on early next year, and when I ask our passengers that question they all say the same thing – because its ‘like coming home’….the Britishness suits them, as the vast majority of our passengers are British, and for those that aren’t they like the British feel. They also tell us they like the friendliness on board, plus the fact that we know what they like to eat, to drink, how they like to be entertained etc.

3. Do you carry mostly British guests?

The vast majority of our passengers are British, as we mostly sail out of Southampton although on World Cruises we enjoy taking a number of overseas passengers from Australia, America, Europe and South Africa mainly. We are completely English speaking on board.

4. Please tell us more about the brilliant P & O fleet.

We have 7 ships and they are physically different, to meet the needs of the diverse British passengers that we carry, but all our ships have that ‘P+O ness’ that binds them all together – the friendliness and Britishness. Our largest ships are Ventura, ideal for families and newcomers – 3100 passengers, and Azura, which will join the fleet in April. She will be a sister ship to Ventura, but catering for the real P+O Cruises heartland passengers, with a classic British cruise experience of tried and tested cruising traditions. Our smallest ship is currently 1,200-passenger Artemis, a traditional ship built in 1985, catering mainly for those that have travelled with P&O Cruises many, many times. In 2011 she will leave the fleet to be replaced with Adonia, a delightful 710 passenger vessel, which will also be ideal for our most regular passengers and those that love small ships – a traditional feel but with all the modern amenities you would expect from a 21st century ship. Our itineraries are largely from Southampton in England, to the Med, the Baltic, the fjords, Atlantic Isles and Caribbean. In addition we do operate fly cruising to the Caribbean on some of our ships in the winter, and world cruises on others.

5. I know you are so looking forward to the arrival of your new vessel. What can you tell us about her?

This is Azura, which I mentioned above. She will be a wonderful P&O Cruises ship, with some really sophisticated and indulgent spaces, like Atul Kochar’s ‘Sindhu’. A great Indian restaurant from Atul, the first Indian born British chef to be awarded a Michelin star for his restaurant in London called Benares. All the traditional Indian tastes, but combined with some interesting flavours. It’s delicious. She also has The Retreat – a super outdoor spa area with luxurious sunloungers, pool and cabañas for those spa treatments. In addition Azura has our first P&O Cruises SeaScreen, an outdoor cinema to show classic British films, as well as concerts, sporting events and host classic James Bond and Oscar evenings. We also have The Glasshouse, a modern but classic British wine bar, with a huge range of wines by the glass, plus some great food. Seventeen is our really indulgent, classic, fine dining restaurant, plus she has the normal spread of bars and restaurants and a traditional, but contemporary British pub. And unusually for a new ship, we have a number of well located, spacious single staterooms, for those travelling alone. She will therefore be a great addition to our fleet, and we have a super Godmother for her – she was Britain’s prima ballerina, when she took the decision to retire 2 years ago at the ripe old age of 38! Darcey Bussell CBE. So sophisticated, glamorous, yet a very contemporary mother of 2 young daughters.

6. Last year I got to spend a day on the Ventura and I was so very impressed with the entertainment options you offer your passengers on this ship. Can you tell us about them and what you will have to offer the guests on the Azura.

Ventura has plenty of entertainment options, as you would expect on a ship for 3,100 passengers. We have our Theatre Company who perform a whole selection of great dance and musical shows in our theatre. We have show lounge entertainers – comedians, musicians, tribute bands, as well as classical musicians, talks on all sorts of different subjects, Cirque Ventura shows in the 3 deck atrium, which will take your breath away, parties up on deck, quizzes, deck games, bungee trampolining for the young, or young at heart (!), scalextric car racing and a whole host of other activities for the children. I’m sure I must have left some out!

Azura will have an equal breadth of entertainments, but of a more classic nature, geared towards a slightly older audience, including theatre shows featuring music and dance of the 40s, 50s and 60s, classical musicians, guest speakers covering a range of subjects, including speakers from The Tate art gallery in London.

7. Recently I highlighted your announcement about another ship that will be joining the P & O fleet . This one is a bit different though yet is being met with so much excitement by the P & O faithful. What’s happening?

Our latest announcement is regarding Adonia, another addition to the fleet, which will join us in 2011. As I mentioned above she will carry those of our passengers who like the small ship feel. She came into service in 2001, and has very well appointed accommodation and a real traditional British feel to her public rooms. She will have a traditional Anderson’s Bar – a club like bar lounge named after one of the founders of the company, which we have on several of our ships, a wonderful Crows Nest forward observation lounge, again featured on several of our vessels, and a beautiful lounge with a large dance floor – and our passengers love dancing! She will have some particularly interesting itineraries, calling in at smaller ports of call, where other larger ships can’t access.

8. Us Brits love our food so please set our taste buds going and tell us about P & O’s food…….glorious food options.

Yes our food is very important to our passengers, and we have just introduced a number of new menus to our ships. The popular dishes of roast beef, steak, and lobster continue, with new favourites emerging such as sea bass and other types of fish, and of course P&O Cruises is well known for its lunchtime curries – of which we have a large variety . We have also recently reintroduced a classic British tradition which is a savoury after the dessert. We also have speciality restaurants on most of our ships overseen by Gary Rhodes or Marco Pierre White, who are well known British chefs, as well ass Atul Kochar’s Indian restaurant on Azura. Oh and yes we do serve some very tasty traditional British puddings, as well as afternoon tea!

9. As a new Dad I am now looking at the family options more closely and I remember some super kids’ facilities during my Ventura visit.

Families are very important to us, with 5 of our ships welcoming children with some excellent facilities. (The other two are adult only ships). We find we attract families mostly in the school holiday periods, when we can have up to 700 children on, say, Ventura. The great news is that with our dedicated youth staff, they can go off and have a wonderful time in some of the best kids areas you will have seen – with lots to see and do. They have a ball! And so do their parents….. So families can do as much or as little together as they wish.

10. Will there be a traditional British Christmas atmosphere on board your vessels?

Christmas is always a great time on our ships with carols, decorations and a very festive feel. It’s a great place to party and don’t forget – you don’t need to cook the turkey…..or do the washing up!

So there we are John. Hope that’s ok. And many thanks.

Happy Christmas!

Kind regards. Carol

Carol, on behalf of all of the bloggers may I say a huge thanks you to you for taking the time to write exclusively for us. I know many of us have seen a P & O ship in port and now we know more about these brilliant ships.

I wish you much success and of course I hope you will allow me to visit The Azura and tell all the readers about her. Merry Christmas Carol and thanks again.

By the way, don’t forget to check in with P & Os regular blog written by their Executive Chief Purser James Cusick . He is back onboard the Arcadia and writing about his Christmas on board. Here is the link thingy.

By the way, there will be another blog from Butch about Christmas on the Carnival Liberty on Monday………….you may want to have a box of tissues ready for that one.

Well, why I am sitting here (not in my underpants as Heidi’s Mum is staying with us and I don’t want to ruin her Christmas or make her wonder how I managed to make Kye) the world of cruising of course goes on. Yesterday, in Mahogany Bay, Isla Roatan both the Carnival Valor and the Carnival Triumph docked alongside each other and their guests had a wonderful time there. Here are some “wish you were there” photos

Now, in the UK people who have true passion for cars are called Petrol Heads and people who have a true passion for Megan Fox’s bottom are called………..ummmm……..John.

So, what are you called if you have a true passion for all things cruise ship…………..Funnel Heads maybe? Well, whatever the collective name our Super Spy PA 007 is certainly one. Here is his or her Christmas e mail to you all and as you can see he or she has included some fascinating facts.

Hello John and Hello Bloggers

I am writing from our Miami HQ. My cubicle is decorated with tinsel and a $5 Wal-Mart plastic tree and later today my department has our secret Santa gift party. I had picked a lady who is actually one of my supervisors and I bought her a basket of bath bubbles etc from Bath and Body Works. I don’t like her very much and that’s why I only spent $30 on her instead of the $50 we were supposed to.

I thought you might like to know that even though things are quiet here in the office that it is still very busy on board and I came across these facts I thought you would enjoy reading.

Today was the first day we had two ships at Mahogany Bay in Roatan.

We obviously had 2 ships at Puerta Maya, like every other 2 ship day five days a week in season.

At Grand Turk for the first time, Carnival Corporation had 3 ships (of which one is the Seabourn Spirit).

The day record ended up working well in all three ports with all seven ships.

Mahogany Bay:

Triumph – 3,430

Valor – 3,559

Total passengers – 6,989

Puerta Maya:

Crown Princess – 3,261

Carnival Legend – 2,559

Total passengers – 5,820

Grand Turk:

Grand Princess – 2,704

Noordam – 1,981

Seabourn Spirit – 180

Total passengers – 4,865

For a grand total of 17,674 passengers for all three ports.


I hope to have some breaking news for you this January and I wish John and all the bloggers a very merry Christmas and happy holidays.

PA 007

Thanks PA 007. Is there a clue…………..Bath and Body Works? Sounds like a girly store to me. Is therefore PA 007 a lady………….mmmmm……….I wonder?

Anyway, I hope you have enjoyed this impromptu blog and my thanks to the 343 Stephanies and Vance for taking the time to post this for me and a special thanks to Ms Carol Marlow for that wonderful interview.

See you all on the 28th.

Your friend

Hi, I’m John, and this is my blog. So please don’t mistake my opinions — or those of my dear friends, fans or commenters — for those of Carnival Cruise Line or Carnival Corporation. My apologies in advance for anything I may say that upsets you, but this disclaimer covers Carnival and puts the blame directly on me………….. bugger.