My friends and I booked a trip in May with P&O Cruises, traveling through Scandinavia for two weeks.
It has been postponed and rescheduled several times since 2020, so we really want to finally have a vacation, but after seeing the recent news of many P&O Ferries layoffs, I’m concerned if the trip can take place.
First of all, are P&O Ferries and P&O Cruises related?
It appears that all P&O Ferries flights have been canceled and customers are being redirected to other carriers, causing long delays in many cases.
P&O Cruises, owned by Carnival UK, has nothing to do with P&O Ferries, owned by DP World. He stated that mass layoffs of employees will not affect his holidays.
If these two firms are part of the same parent company, I also feel moral qualms about paying money to a firm that treats its employees so badly.
Can you explain what is the situation here and will it affect our holiday? ML, Leicestershire
Emilia Chauvelin of This is Money replies: Before we go any further, the first thing to say is that, apart from the common name, P&O Cruises and P&O Ferries are two separate, unrelated entities owned and operated by different parent companies.
When you booked your dream vacation in early 2020, none of us could have foreseen the next two years of constant rescheduling and Covid cancellations.
With the restrictions eased, it seemed only natural to start enjoying the holidays again.
But for those planning to travel by boat, the news that P&O Ferries laid off about 800 employees in March could put travel plans in jeopardy again.
What happened to P&O Ferries?
On March 17, P&O Ferries gave 800 employees immediate layoff notices to replace them with agency employees who would receive 50% less pay.
They subsequently recalled all their ships back to port, leaving thousands of customers overseas.
The bosses said the job loss was necessary to keep P&O Ferries afloat after losing £100m each year for the past two years.
Its flights from Dover to Calais are still suspended, but customers are switching to other operators.
Since then, many vacationers have been concerned about what this massive layoff means for their travels.
Will the layoff of Ferries affect P&O Cruises?
Apart from the damage from people concerned about the name, P&O Cruises was not affected by the P&O Ferries fiasco. The two companies are completely unrelated, as we explained above.
P&O Ferries is owned by Dubai-based Emirati logistics company DP World, while P&O Cruises is owned by Carnival, a British-American cruise operator.
However, customer concern was so great that P&O Cruises even pulled out a full-page ad in the newspaper to reassure customers and explain that it had nothing to do with P&O Ferries.
The name P&O comes from the company it was once part of, which was originally called the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company and was founded in the 19th century.
P&O first introduced passenger service in 1844 with a cruise from Southampton to the Mediterranean, and began operating ferries in the 1960s.
The P&O Ferries brand was created in 2002 through a merger within P&O, but in 2006 the P&O group, including P&O Ferries, was sold to DP World and P&O Cruises was taken over by Carnival UK.
As a result, the two brands operate completely independently, and although they are historically linked, P&O Ferries’ operations should not affect P&O Cruises.
A spokesman for P&O Cruises said: “It’s the money”: “Historically, the two companies were owned by the P&O Steam Navigation Company (P&OSNCO) but operated separately.
“In 2000, the cruise division was spun off from P&OSNCO into a new business that included P&O Cruises and Princess Cruises.
“This new business merged with Carnival Corporation in 2003 to create a global portfolio of leading cruise brands.”
So, as to your concern that you would rather not financially support a company that has laid off hundreds of employees, you can rest assured knowing that the one thing P&O Cruises and P&O Ferries have in common is their brand heritage.
P&O Ferries has made the controversial decision to lay off 800 employees to cut costs after losing £200m over the past two years.
Is there a risk of my cruise being cancelled?
While it’s unlikely that the events taking place at P&O Ferries will affect our readers’ vacations, the past two years have taught us to brace for the worst when it comes to canceling travel plans.
Unfortunately, we are becoming more and more accustomed to the fact that our holidays and plans are interrupted, postponed or completely canceled.
While many firms will offer vouchers or refunds for trips canceled due to events beyond the customer’s control, securing them can be a headache and the process can be lengthy.
If you are concerned that your holiday may be canceled due to reasons beyond your control, it is best to take care of yourself.
Depending on the type of trip, this could mean booking mandatory ATOL-protected tour packages or taking out comprehensive travel insurance and carefully checking the fine print of the policy.
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