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Celebrating 180 years of P&O history


Tracing our roots back to 1837, we’ll be celebrating 180 years of P&O history in 2017. We’d like to thank you for being part of our story, and invite you to come and celebrate with us

P&O heritage image

In 1837 the Peninsular Steam Navigation Company was awarded a government contract to run a weekly mail service between Falmouth and the Iberian Peninsular ports as far as Gibraltar. This date 180 years ago marks the foundation of P&O, the company from which we can trace our roots today. Such an occasion deserves lots of attention, so we’d love you to celebrate with us and join in with many of the events happening across the entire fleet in 2017.


To kick-start the celebrations, Aurora is setting off on a special world cruise on 9 January 2017. Travelling east to echo the mail routes of the 19th-century steamers and taking in over 35 fascinating ports that have played their part in the P&O story, highlights include the ‘rose city’ of Petra (tours from Aqaba) in Jordan, cultural Mumbai, India’s largest city, and the ‘Garden City’ and gateway to south-east Asia, Singapore.


There will be plenty of excitement on board, too, as we take guests on a nostalgic journey through our past. Events include Arabian- and Bombay-themed balls, talks from guest speakers including past Captains, Cruise Directors and naval historians, and gala dinners with a special menu featuring popular historic dishes modernised for today’s tastes. Even our traditional Sail Away party from Southampton will have special surprises. Guests will also be able to enjoy traditional games from the golden era of liners, such as Puff Billiards, Ha’ Penny and Victorian Rings, as well as brush up on their history at the on-board exhibition, with plenty of chances to put that knowledge to the test in heritage-inspired quizzes. It's sure to be a very atmospheric trip and one we can't wait to share with you.


If you’re not joining Aurora’s historic cruise, fear not – we’re planning a year of surprises and delights for every one of our guests across the entire fleet. Join us in 2017 and you can expect some exclusive touches on your cruise. Food Hero Marco Pierre White has been working closely with us to develop his Gala Celebration Menu, including spending time in the development kitchen and working with us to source high-quality, local produce. Guests will also be able to sip cocktails once enjoyed by voyagers of a bygone era, retrace the footsteps of decades of world adventurers during shore excursions and enjoy unique insight into P&O’s history, all created especially for this commemorative year.


We’ve also been busy carefully crafting a collection of seven exclusive bundles that offer the best of the P&O Cruises experience to satisfy the most worldly traveller, luxury-seeker or indulgent diner. Boost that relaxing holiday feeling with ‘The Good Life’ package, where you can indulge in dinner for two in a Select Dining restaurant, Champagne and canapés, and a luxury pamper in the spa. Or go the extra mile and really spoil yourself with ‘The Ultimate 180’ package: a lazy breakfast in bed with Champagne, flowers and chocolates, a soothing treatment in the spa, dinner for two in a Select Dining restaurant and much more. As well as these two packages, we have the ‘You’, ‘Birthday/Celebration’, ‘Wanderlust’ (on selected cruises), ‘Welcome On Board’ and ‘Bon Voyage’ packages, all offering different luxuries for your trip. You can find out more and purchase these packages in advance of your holiday by calling our Contact Centre on 0345 355 5111 (local call charges apply) or speaking to your travel agent after booking your holiday. Or, if you’d prefer to use on-board spending money you can also wait until you’re on board.


We’re going big and, whether you’re marking a special occasion yourself or just enjoying time away on holiday, we’re looking forward to celebrating with you.


Find out more about P&O history >