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We took a family cruise on P&O ship Arvia – this is what happened

P&O Cruises ship Arvia has plenty to offer families on holiday, Sailawaze went to find out what the experience of a P&O family cruise is really like with two children in tow.

Words by Laura Lyon

What’s it like to take a family holiday aboard the latest addition to P&O Cruises’ fleet, Arvia? My husband and I, our 5-year-old and 3-year-old, and my in-laws tested the waters (sorry) to see for ourselves.

What's a P&O family cruise holiday aboard Arvia like?

Enjoy plenty of memorable moments

At our table in Arvia’s Horizon restaurant pancakes are mainlined and faces are smeared with chocolate. In between bites we’re gazing out across the vast expanse of glassy, deep-blue Mediterranean Sea… and spot a fountain of water that shortly disappears and reappears again. A whale sighting!

Then later, while taking a late afternoon stroll on the Promenade Deck, the kids start to jump around and holler: “Dolphins!”. And, sure enough, we peer through the shiny glass panels to spy a school of the creatures frolicking in the glistening water.

The next day, on our balcony at first light, we admire the earthy, warm tones of the ancient Spanish port city of Cadiz come into view. That afternoon on our P&O family cruise we are delighted to discover the beach is a trove of beautiful, round-edged sea glass which we set about collecting.


– READ MORE: 7 entertainment gems to discover on Arvia

Get your kicks with thrills, skills and chills

With a top deck high-ropes course and mini golf, as well as an escape room, aerial acrobatics and a three-screen multiplex cinema, Arvia has lots to keep all ages on P&O family cruises entertained.

Our gang loved The Sooty Show – it provided a generous dollop of nostalgia for adults and the giggles and squeals of delight from our children gave us all the feels.

We also really enjoyed early-evening shows in the Headliner Theatre that we squeezed in between an early dinner and kids’ bedtime. You can book these online before travelling but we found there was always availability.

After all the excitement, our kids chilled out on their bunk beds (a real source of delight!) watching Wallace and Gromit. Us adults? We flopped on the balcony to enjoy a good sunset.


– READ MORE: Inside children’s activities on P&O Cruises

Choose from three pools for kids

One Arvia swimming pool has a retractable roof so you can make the most of sunny climes and the other two are infinity pools with stunning views out the back of the ship – again, delighted kids!

The pools can get busy on sea days on P&O family cruises, but if it gets too much there’s the option for children to relax on a lounger and take in a film on the big poolside screen.

Fussy kids can fill their tummies

Arvia proves its child-friendly cruise chops with its 5pm kids buffet tea – and a couple of times we were lucky enough to meet Wallace and Gromit while we were tucking in, too. Another evening we were entertained by a magician while we ate!

All Arvia restaurants offer early sittings for dinner – which we booked in advance to be sure we had the opportunity to try them before our kids got hangry!

The Horizon buffet often started to get busy by the time we were finishing so do try to get there early doors; trying to navigate a crowded buffet with little ones isn’t very relaxing!

We were particularly taken with 6th Street Diner restaurant during our P&O family cruise on Arvia. With its dishes inspired by the American South, a jukebox for the kids to feed, and souvenir pin badges to collect, it offered something different and exciting for all of us.


– READ MORE: What to expect in P&O’s 6th Street Diner restaurant

Make the most of a multigenerational cruise on P&O Cruises’ Arvia

With everything from live entertainment, a casino and quiz nights to bingo, a gym and a gin distillery (yes, really!), adults are spoilt for choice on the ship.

You can also expect a pub, bars (including a swim-up joint!), speciality restaurants, 20 whirlpool spas and a zoned wellness spa.

Another option to really get away from it all (read: the little ones) is The Retreat, an adult-only sanctuary which includes loungers, a pool and ocean views.

Relish some kid-free time

P&O kids clubs and the Night Nursery, which offers free babysitting for younger cruisers, are included in the price of the holiday. These come highly recommended; however, we travelled during school holidays and there was a scramble to book sessions.


– READ MORE: What can adults do on P&O ship Arvia?

10 best cruise lines for families

Feeling inspired and considering a family cruise holiday? Want facilities including kids’ clubs, water fun, theatre shows, escape rooms and climbing walls? These lines have the best cruise ships for families:

Royal Caribbean International
Disney Cruise Line
P&O Cruises
Norwegian Cruise Line
Carnival Cruise Line
Princess Cruises
MSC Cruises
Celebrity Cruises
Marella Cruises

Published 05.04.24