Passenger Research Guides
P&O's ships steamed over thousands of
miles of ocean carrying a significant number
of people all around the globe
From 1929 the pasted-up and amended sailing schedule are supplanted by a series of foolscap notebooks detailing sailings and the different routes operated by the company, although in some years some files have not been completed. Records of cruises and pleasure voyages are in the form of pasted-in itineraries from brochures and with handwritten amendments as necessary. During the Second World War there are extensive records of trooping voyages operated by the company, using its own or other companies’ vessels. These are available in the P&O Archive housed at the National Maritime Museum. Additional details regarding specific manuscript numbers can be found in the P&O Archives at National Maritime Museum research guide.
After 1959 the P&O and Orient Line operations were completely merged. Although sailing schedules continued to be produced, the file copies have been lost. Some schedules relating to the UK/Australia services have been reconstructed by Mr Rob Henderson in Australia. P&O Cruises is now owned by Carnival plc and you are requested to please contact them directly for further information. There are broken files of sailing schedules for P&O’s General Cargo ships in the 1970s and full details of sailing by its Bulk Ships (tankers, bulk carriers and gas carriers) in the early 1980s giving in each case the last port of call and the intended future movements.
The P&O Archives include what are called ‘Nautical Reports’ which are digests of ships’ logs, the latter of which were not retained by the company. (For more information about ships' log books, please refer to the Crew Agreements, Lists and Official Logs research guide). Nautical Reports exist for the period 1847 to 1957, however there are substantial gaps between 1916 and 1939, broken by only a few records in the mid-1920s. For most voyages over this period the Nautical Reports give dates and ports of call, the identities of the Master and Chief Officer (or equivalent), and noteworthy events such as births and deaths on board and incidents such as groundings, collisions or wrecks. Additional details regarding specific manuscript numbers can be found in the P&O Archives at National Maritime Museum research guide.