P&O Cruises president answers refunds and suspensions questions

P&O Cruises has asked customers to “bear with us” on refunds as contact centre staff working from home are facing more than three times as many enquiries as normal during the coronavirus pandemic.

President Paul Ludlow posted two videos on Twitter where he answered thousands of questions for the line from customers concerned about refunds, the ongoing sailing suspensions and on board operations after the crisis is over.

On refunds, Ludlow explained that P&O’s 200 contact centre staff were facing roughly 10,000 calls and email a day at the moment, up from a typical 3,000 a day before the coronavirus crisis took hold.

He added that they were working from home rather than the office and apologised for extending the predicted length of time to process refunds from 45 days to 60.

“I understand your frustration at a time when we are all getting used to a very different way of working,” Ludlow said. “We are working through these [refund requests] but given the huge impact upon our business and our contact centre it’s going to take some time.”

Ludlow said he expects P&O Cruises to update customers on the length of its suspension of sailings by the end of the month.

The line has already paused operations until May 15, while the Foreign Office is advising against non-essential overseas travel ‘indefinitely’.

He added: “We can only work with what we know at the moment and I appreciate that that is difficult and disappointing, but we have only announced our intention to pause operations for sailings until May 15.

“We now need to work though the various restrictions and expected guidelines and come up with a realistic plan for the phasing of our ships back into service.”

Ludlow admitted the current climate was “pretty bleak” as he also thanked the customers who had sent messages of support.

A second video was posted shortly later, where Ludlow answered questions on new ship Iona, P&O Cruises’ crew and safety on board ships.

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