P&O cruise passenger stunned by $18.50 packet of chips on board

Aussies have shared their disappointments with recent cruising experiences, but it seems we can't get enough of the ever-popular ocean liners.

Love them or hate them, cruises are a popular holiday choice for many people with almost one in every 20 Aussies taking an ocean cruise over the last year.

One of the reasons people choose to take their trip to the ocean is the claim of reasonably priced deals that may be found with some cruise lines when all the meals, accommodation and transport are combined — which is why one young Aussie mum was left gasping when she saw a small packet of Red Rock Deli chips selling for $18.50 on her cruise.

Dana, who called her four-day P&O Cruise experience a "terrible cruise saga" and "the cruise from hell", had gone to buy the chips after catching what she believed was gastro on the first night of the cruise, leaving her out of action the two days prior. "No chips for us on this cruise," she said alongside footage of the startling price tag.

Left image of the label on the packet of Red Rock Deli chips showing $18.50. Right image of chips stacked on a shelf behind glass.
Dana could not believe the chips on her P&O cruise was labelled at $18.50. Source: TikTok/dana_meganelsie

P&O Cruises has since told Yahoo News Australia the label was a mistake, with the number one accidentally being added in front of the eight. "Red Rock Deli chips are available to purchase on board for $8.50. We apologise for any confusion," a spokesperson said.

But, that did not stop the onslaught of responses with many saying they bring their own snacks on board to keep prices down.

"We took on all of our own snacks — totally allowed — filled a beach bag with chips, lollies, chocolate etc," one said. "You can bring your own snacks on the cruise," another agreed.

Others who have their own experiences with overpriced goods agreed the cost of buying items on cruises is "inflated", sharing the examples they had come across.

"I was on a Royal Caribbean cruise in Feb and forgot the toothpaste… cost me about AUD 12. I’ll never forget it again," one shared. "I paid 19.99 for 2 packs of TimTams on our cruise," a second claimed.

"A box of favourites Cadbury chocolate on my Royal Caribbean cruise was AUD 34," a third said.

Image of the top of a P&O Cruises ship with it's logo.
1.25 million Australians took an ocean cruise in 2023. Source: Getty

More Aussies are taking cruises than ever

Dana may not have loved her cruise experience, and buying certain items on the ships may break the bank, but according to the recent report from the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), this is not stopping people from cruising now more than ever. In fact, a whopping 1.25 million Australians took an ocean cruise in 2023, which is higher than prep-pandemic levels.

Of the rising passenger numbers taking a cruise, the figures also showed a drop in the average age from 50.4 in 2019, to 48.4 years in 2023 — while almost one-third were aged under 40.

"Australia has long been one of the world’s most passionate cruise source markets, and these figures confirm an enduring love for cruising among Australian travellers," CLIA Managing Director in Australasia Joel Katz said of the findings.

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