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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We picked P & O for the itinerary, visiting so many islands including Antigua, St Kitts, St Maarten, Aruba all via Barbados. Firstly so glad we booked a Premium flight from Newcastle, great service and good food and drinks. ... Read More
We picked P & O for the itinerary, visiting so many islands including Antigua, St Kitts, St Maarten, Aruba all via Barbados. Firstly so glad we booked a Premium flight from Newcastle, great service and good food and drinks. Embarkation in Barbados was swift. We were met on the tarmac by mini buses and we were on the ship in 50 minutes! Our cases were delivered at about 9pm. So about 4 hours later but we had a meal and wandered around the ship so it was not a problem. Brittania was a beautiful ship, took us a day or two to get used to the ares but a bit of effort and patience ( with lifts especially) was all that was needed. Our balcony cabin E610 was lovely. Balcony was big enough to sit out and watch other ships sail away and to sun bathe. Fabulous bed so very comfortable and big! Great to have tea and coffee making facilities in the cabin and a fridge with cold drinks payable locally. Our steward took good care of us. We had Freedom dining and always got a nice table for two around 6.50pm in either restaurants. The food was absolutely gorgeous, I really don’t know who would rate it down! Choice was always good and service very quick. The evening entertainment was enough for us, resident band Pulse were ok, shows were of a fair standard, musicals and a well known illusionist act. But best by far was La Voix in the Limelight club. Hilarious. Around the ship on sea days was busy as was to be expected but we always got beds round the pool, although the music was very repetitive and sometimes loud. But cooling off in the pools was fab. The entertainment crew put on an aqua robics class which looked exhausting but fun. We had booked to swim with stingray in Antigua and it was spectacular! A must for nature lovers. Speedboat our to a landing bay and then a good hour snorkelling with them. Very cool! We were able to hold them too. Best beach was Barbados and St Maarten. Both by taxi and both worth the trip. In St Lucia we did the Rainforest trip which was great and it did rain! Didn’t spoil the wonderful views or spotting the hummingbird! Aruba was the nicest port we thought and had a lovely morning walking round the town. We celebrated Brittania’s 4th birthday with a great party on Lido Deck it was great fun, all of us singing and waving our Union Jacks!! The Captain made a nice speech and cut a big cake. It was very easy to leave the ship at every port, some town centres were further than others but walkable. Taxis galore and very reliable. We had a lady drive us to a beach in a Mercedes 4 x 4, very elegant!! Disembarkation was easier for us as we booked a day room, we were leaving at 2.55pm and had the room till 3pm so we were able to shower and change comfortably. But overall a bit of hanging around, to be expected, when 5 flights leaving. Barbados airport easy and a fab flight home to a freezing morning in Newcastle! we would highly recommend this cruise, go and chill out, have fun and eat plenty! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Balcony cabin A510, deck 15. Barbados- St Lucia- St Kitts- Antigua-Ponta Delgada-Southampton. We chose this cruise as we have always wanted to sail across the Atlantic. This is our second P & O cruise, previously on Azura. Flew ... Read More
Balcony cabin A510, deck 15. Barbados- St Lucia- St Kitts- Antigua-Ponta Delgada-Southampton. We chose this cruise as we have always wanted to sail across the Atlantic. This is our second P & O cruise, previously on Azura. Flew on the included flight from Gatwick to Barbados with TUI on 15th March. flight was good with all drinks, including the bar service, as complimentary. Transfered from the airport directly to the ship (the first night was spent on the ship in port at Bridgetown before sailing the following evening; this gave us a day to look around Bridgetown). Check-in was fairly swift. Upon boarding the ship there was the usual photographer but other than that, no welcome drinks or anyone to direct everyone to the lifts for the cabins, in contrast to our previous experiences. None of the warm welcomes we have received with a number of other cruise lines. First impressions was of a ship that was rather plain and dull in appearance; the atrium could be any hotel or shopping centre and the long aisles on the passenger decks were totally devoid of any art work or decoration making it look very clinical. Our cabin was clean and adequate, everything in good working order an the bed was comfortable. I like the open wardrobe area on P & O that is made separate from the main cabin area; a good idea! I couldn't help but feel it seemed like a Premier Inn room (not that there is anything wrong with that!) Our cabin steward was excellent throughout the cruise; she was very welcoming, friendly and gave an excellent service throughout; always knowing when we were out of the cabin to do her work. She also gave us lots of advice about the ship. The cabin stewards probably work harder than anyone else on the ship and deserve recognition. The sailaway party on the upper deck was well organised but had a completely British feel and the music played was very predictable! Not sure what foreign guests made of it all, although, I guess 99% of the guests were British anyway! We had chose Freedom Dining at the time of booking. We stuck this for the first 3 nights but were very disappointed with the service in both the Meridian and Peninsular dining rooms at night. Eventhough they were not busy, the staff seems totally disinterested in us. Very poor and not our experience on any of our previous cruises or other cruise lines. We asked to be transferred to Club Dining at the 1830 sitting to which they agreed and we were put on a table of 4 other people. In the Oriental Restaurant ther service was very good and efficient; the food in the evening - I though was just ok (better some days than others) but all the menus had a very British feel! One night we booked the Epicurean Restaurant which was £28 per person. The food and service in there was excellent, almost hard to believe it was on the same ship! This felt like the cruises of yesteryear and was the highlight of the dining experiences. We also tried the Horizon buffet on one evening and the food was generally very good. The Horizon buffet restaurant is a bit noisy and chaotic. To me, the layout and appearance of the Horizon Restaurant, with the tables all neatly arranged in rows, almost gave the feel of being on a large ferry rather than a cruise ship; just lacking the style and sophistication of other ships. One thing I noticed is that they never seemed to wash the outside windows of the public areas when in port eventhough there is an automated system to do this. It was done after arriving back in Southampton obviously since everywhere had become salted-up after the trans-Atlantic crossing. The Headliners theatre company and the Albion Band performed to a very high standard in all of their performances; they are all very competent professional vocalists, dancers and musicians. Enjoyed all of the performances despite the fact that most were of a very British theme! The other music gigs were all very good and some exceptional. I went to the series of talks on the sea days about the British SAS. It became a bit drawn out, a couple of talks would have been sufficient with the speaker's incessant pacing to-and-fro across the stage. Good thing the audience was essentially British as for an International audience this topic could have been bordering on the unacceptable level! The crossing over the Atlantic saw calm seas for most of the time. There was one day, after the Azores where there was moderate seas (as described by the captain) that lasted for about 24 hours; I thought that Britannia sailed the rougher waters very smoothly without much disruption (but it should be noted that I enjoy this anyway, lol!) There was a medical emergency a few hours after departing Ponta Delagada and the captain took the decison to return to port, keeping everyone well informed of the situation (a very unfortunate and worst case scenario for the person that took ill; thank God that this did not occur mid-Atlantic). Taking everything into account - I enjoyed the cruise, particularly the Atlantic crossing. My favourite port of call was Ponta Delgada in the island of Sao Miguel, Azores. Lovely place and we were blessed with unbroken sunshine and a calm day. For me, Britannia lacks the buzz, style, sophistication and wow factor of other ships or other cruise lines. I know that P & O can easily fill their cruises with the British public but the experience is just .....too British. Surely travel is about new cultures and experiences? I don't know what foreign guests would make of this? Maybe cuises are just becoming like any other package holiday as that is what Britannia feels like to me, not really a flagship of the company. I will continue to use P & O as they offer some great itineraries, year-round from Southampton. Indeed, we have already booked several more trips over the next year and a half. Britannia - luxury flagship? No! Good value holiday cruise ship? Yes! Hoping that Iona will signal the start of P & O becoming an International cruise line rather than the British cruise line at present. The guests in our adjacent cabin mentioned to us that it felt like a holiday camp such as Butlins. I have never been to Butlins but I will take their word for it! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
This was the end of 2018/2019 Winter Caribbean Season repositioning cruise, as Britannia returned to Southampton on the 29th March leaving Barbados on the 16th evening. The price (at least for us) included a Thomas Cook charter flight ... Read More
This was the end of 2018/2019 Winter Caribbean Season repositioning cruise, as Britannia returned to Southampton on the 29th March leaving Barbados on the 16th evening. The price (at least for us) included a Thomas Cook charter flight from Gatwick to Barbados, transfer to ship and at the end of the voyage in Southampton, a free coach taking us back to Gatwick to collect the car. This also applied to those who had flown from Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle and Bournemouth. The transfers worked very well. We paid the extra £149 pp to turn left at the top of the stairs when getting on the aeroplane and this was worthwhile but why they then charge for you to book your preferred seats defeats me. We had an obstructed LARGE balcony cabin on Deck G. The large cabins have a sofa to sit on rather than a single chair and are about 14sq. ft. bigger. Barbados/Bridgetown. We opted for the 14-day cruise option, that is arriving in Bridgetown on Friday 15th March, the day BEFORE Britannia sailed for St. Lucia. This meant we had time to sample the delights of Bridgetown on the Saturday. Some opted for excursions, but there is enough to do and see in Bridgetown independently. The town is approx. a 20-minute walk from the cruise terminal. Cave Shepherd has two stores in Bridgetown, the larger having excellent free WIFI in its café on the First Floor. St. Lucia. We did our own thing walking from the ship into the town, finding a café with free WIFI and doing some shopping. Many from the ship either walked to the nearest beach, or took a taxi. Ship excursions were (anecdotally) more expensive than making a bargain with one of the numerous taxi drivers just outside the terminal gates. St. Kitts. We had a ship’s excursion (Best of St. Kitts) including the Wingfield Estate and Romney Manor plus the Brimstone Hill Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. At each place the inevitable market stalls were in abundance, but all worthwhile and easy enough. Could have probably done with more time at each stop. Antigua. We had another ship’s excursion to, broadly speaking, Shirley Heights and English Harbour with its Nelson’s Dockyard, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This was an excellent tour, but again with limited time at Nelson’s Dockyard and its inevitable market stalls. If we went again, we would only go here and spend half a day - there are numerous bars and restaurants and quite a lot to see, or just pass the time. Ponta Delgada. Again, did our own thing walking to the botanical gardens and the covered newish shopping centre set above the lower town, about a 35-minute walk from the quay. Britannia? Much has been written before about the weird central lift and stairs arrangements where you cannot go from top to bottom by the stairs alone. We understand this is being rectified in her late-2019 refit. Food in the main restaurants (Freedom Dining for us) was only Harvester or Holiday Inn standard to be honest. On the two Marco Pierre White themed nights, they just about managed to do a decent Beef Wellington, but the second so called half-lobster offering was dismal. It seemed they had scooped the meat out of the shells, mixed it into a sort of saucy potato mash and re-inserted - very poor. If you wanted something rather more exceptional for dinner, then you had to pay and that seemed to be the general conclusion. Sindhu, The Glass House and The Beach House were all used by us and are extremely good value and super food in all of them. We did not try The Epicurean, which seemed very expensive in comparison to the other alternatives. Buffet was decent enough. At least you could get a made to measure omelette rather than the cardboard variety dished-up in the seated dining rooms and what they did to the ‘Kedgeree’ was absolutely disgusting. My wife rarely complains, but it looked like someone had vomited over the plate when served in the seated dining room. Entertainment was generally so-so, but the FlyRights guest act was very good. The speakers included a decent enough ex-SAS guy who regaled us with stories of daring, training etc; someone else who seemed obsessed with discussing murders, murderers and hangings such as Ruth Ellis, Crippen, Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe etc., and a guy who talked mainly about what made a good pop star. In other words, apart from the SAS guy, not exactly scintillating. Cabin was kept spotless and our steward was well worth the personal tip on disembarkation day. On the sunny hot days – yes, sun loungers were reserved when they shouldn’t be and P&O did nothing about it (probably too few crew members now?). Formal Nights – most made the effort to match the dress code but some did not, perhaps trying to make a statement about their independence? Service in the bars – excellent in the Crow’s Nest, but could be slow elsewhere unless you were sitting in a prominent place. In summary, it was what we expected. Definitely in terms of catering not up to Cunard standard and the bar and restaurant service not so good or as quick either generally, but it was value for money, we did not starve or become ill and the ship went where we wanted to go and we made it ‘work’ for us. We are booked on Ventura (again) later this year for the Canaries having booked that cruise last year. It is now much dearer we note. Booking another cruise onboard? Be careful as P&O like others, adjust prices according to demand so if you are booking something major, you can find its price later drops significantly if they are having trouble filling a ship, but it could also go up. We have in the past cancelled and rebooked, writing-off the 2 x £50 booking fee because the same cruise and an adjacent cabin was later offered at £100’s less or with an additional huge amount of on board spend. If you want 5* dining included in your standard fare, then you won’t get it on P&O, but if you want a holiday on a ship with mostly British guests, then it is fine and generally what I would call of a ‘Holiday Inn Plus Standard’. Good enough for us! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and dates. We have never cruised with P and O before and are unlikely to do so again. We upgraded our flights with TUI which was money well spent. We were through check-in and security at Gatwick in ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and dates. We have never cruised with P and O before and are unlikely to do so again. We upgraded our flights with TUI which was money well spent. We were through check-in and security at Gatwick in no time at all and the flight was very good. Transfer to the ship was also good. Our cabin was ok,the balcony and bathroom were smaller than we have experienced on other ships. The muster drill was a complete shambles. This cruise has people embarking at different times and in two different ports, therefore when we were called for our drill there were people trying to enjoy a drink in the bar area that we had been assigned to. This was exacerbated when we tried to get back to our cabin. Everyone was trying to get to the lifts at the same time, and there are no stairs by the middle set of lifts. The design of this ship is frustrating, having to go up a couple of floors and then down again to get to another part of the same deck is beyond belief. Dining was a mixed experience: the Horizon self service or the 'push and shove' as we called it was poor, food selection was poor, very few staff available for drink orders, therefore we rarely ate in there. Peninsular was ok for lunch, Meridian was ok for dinner, Oriental was our choice for breakfast, service however was slow. Epicurean was not worth the money, chewy steak! Sindhu was excellent. Limelight club was very good and the Glass House was excellent. The entertainment in the Headliners theatre was not to our taste. Shore excursions were very good, enjoyed the bike ride in St. Maarten, and the Caribbean cuisine in St. Kitts.Overall an enjoyable cruise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Travel TUI were very strict at check in with both Hand and Hold Baggage £18 per kg excess. Flew TUI, from Birmingham to Barbados which was excellent. Free dinks on route we were offered 3 Alcoholic Rounds of drinks and 2 Hot/Cold ... Read More
Travel TUI were very strict at check in with both Hand and Hold Baggage £18 per kg excess. Flew TUI, from Birmingham to Barbados which was excellent. Free dinks on route we were offered 3 Alcoholic Rounds of drinks and 2 Hot/Cold Drinks with our meals. The main meal was good and the afternoon tea was a small roll and a scone, staffs were very helpful throughout the flight. There was enough on screen games and films to keep us both happy, 5/5. Transfer to the ship was delayed but quick and easy boarding when we got there. Bags handed in at BHX delivered to our door before we returned from Diner at 2100. Room First impression of the room was poor, we paid for what we thought was a good cabin but this turned out to be a cramped area with totally inadequate storage, one rail, 4 small shelves and three small drawers. The bathroom was functional but again lacking any space. The balcony is very cramped. We did get used to the room but not to the extent of suggesting it is worth the cost. Facilities and Dining This is a huge ship with lots of venues, bars, casino, Spa and Gym, 4 main dining rooms, and 4 specialty restaurants. We had freedom dining and ate mostly in the Peninsular 4/5 Waiter Service, which was very good all white table cloths and a good menu selection for all three meals a day, tried the Beach Hut 5/5 (£22), Live Lounge 5/5 (£50) and Glass House 5/5 (£32) extra charges all per couple. The Horizon Buffet was poor compared to Celebrity very British with heavy Indian and Asian Bias, great if you like curry. The Salad Bar rarely varied. Breakfast was very much full English with the usual Fruits and Yogurts, very much a good canteen service 3/5. Entertainment was excellent with three great resident bands moving round the venues, Headliners Theatre Group put on some outstanding shows, with five great singers and a brilliant dance troupe, we also had Revolvers, DNA and The Britones flown out to entertain us, all great but the Revolvers are an exceptional group who should go far 5/5. Excursions Best advice is do not book ships excursions which are much more expensive than local tours and taxis. Barbados We walked to the Harbour by the bridge in the Centre of town and had a few drinks in the Waterfront, 3 beers $6 Rum Punch $6, good wifi, and a very friendly service. Taxi back to the ship was $5. Expensive compared to other ports we visited. Curacao It was a Public Holiday so everywhere was closed. We walked from the Port into town over the floating bridge and had a few drinks by the Harbour. The few shops that were open were expensive but it was one of the cleanest and most welcoming ports we visited. Good free WIFI in the Cafe next to the floating bridge. Aruba The ship docked in the central area and there are good local tours, $25 for the open window bus ride lasting 2 hours with a beach stop if you wanted at no extra cost. Nice Bars and Cafes round the harbour. We walked to the Wilhelmina Park at the end of town to see the iguanas. Again a friendly place to visit. Good free open WIFI in the hotel/shopping mall in the centre of the harbour. St Vincent We did a Ships tour £43 each, but the weather was against us and we saw little of the island, the visit to the Fort and Botanical Gardens was very interesting but seeing two birds in cages should not be described as an Aviary Visit. The city is very rough and a bit of a shock to those less travelled, several guests we spoke to, started off into town but returned to the ship when they got to Front Street. This was a low point in our cruise but on reflection it was worth the visit, following the trip we complained to the on board excursion staff and had a very poor response, the guy didn’t even bother to ask my name or room number, as a result of which I cancelled the other trips we had booked with P&O. St Georges, Grenada Did the Hop on Hop of Trolley Ride $20 each which has 4 stops/pick up points 45 minute trip up to the fort and round the seafront. Lots of folks took the water taxi to Grand Anse Beach $20. We bought our duty free here as it was half the price of other ports $38 for 10X50g packs of Tobacco but shop around as the main duty free was much more expensive. Barter when you buy your spices you will get some good offers we went to the open market and had 15 nutmeg $2, Bag of Cinnamon $2 and Bag of Cinnamon Sticks $2 ($5 for all 3) Spice Necklaces $3 (4 for $10). Castries, St Lucia One of the Gems of the trip we did a full day tour with Cosol Tours, Cassius was our guide and I think the owners of the company which had about 10 nice air conditioned minibuses. $80 is a lot of money but the trip is virtually the same tour as the By Land and Sea Tour offered by P&O at £76. First stop is the Banana Plantation for short talk and a taste of Banana Ketchup, Banana BBQ Sauce and Spiced Rum. Our 2nd stop was a view point and our first drink of the day (Water, Beer, Soft Drinks or Rum Punch offered at all stops). We then move on to the breakfast stop where a wide variety of local buffet food was on offer, more of a taster event with 30 + items on offer (Curry Goat, Lamb Stew, Bread Balls, Meat Balls, Cakes, Coconut Ice, Spicy Toffee, Fudge, Candies) I suggest you get in quick and have a little taste of everything because it was sufficient rather than plentiful with some lovely treats to experience. Drinks were freely available. Our next stop was at Anse for A photo at the fishing village, then on to Soufriere where we boarded a speed boat to Golden Beach which is right between the Pitons, here I hired a snorkel kit with flippers $10 and swam in the reserve which has a wide variety of fish (Best $10 I spent on the whole trip). We had an hour on the beach before the return boat trip; a drink was waiting back at the bus. We then set of to visit the Mud Pools to bathe or the optional Volcano Tour, swimwear is a must, and you are invited to keep on your wet gear for the short drive to the waterfalls, for a second chance to rinse the mud of. The final stop on the tour is a stop for hot local bread and cheese with more drinks. The trip is expensive but everything bar the snorkel gear was included in the price and it has got to be the best way to see and enjoy sights of St Lucia. I can only add my thanks to our outstanding guide Cassius, and add another totally unreserved recommendation to the many which Cosol Tours have on Tripadvisor, Cruise Critic etc. St Maarten The port is across the bay from the beach and town centre, we decide to go local and caught the water taxi $7 all day return. There were lots of tours on offer and the round the island is worth a tour. I turned tourist catcher by asking fellow passenger to join a tour as prices reduced depending on the number of people, between the Downtown Taxi Driver (Sorry no name) and I we managed to get 10 people and had a 3-4 hour tour for $20 each ($60-80 for 2hrs for 2). We had an extensive tour and the devastation caused by the 2017 hurricane is everywhere, the amazing work being done to bring the island back to an upmarket paradise is astonishing. We visited the Nude End of Orient Beach, A Public Housing Development, and French Capital Margot for a lunch stop and Maho Beach for a short stop to see a few planes land. The driver provided a running tour on all aspects of Island life. Before departing on the tour we prebooked sun loungers and a brolley on the beach $25 which included 5 drinks, we left our towels on the beds in the front of the beach. (Others paid $20 for the same deal). Great visit. St Kitts First place as we got of the boat wanted $34 for a tour and beach stop, we picked up the same tour at the pier exit for $20, Del was our guide and he is a colourful character, the tour stopped at the last working Sugar Factory, Bloody River and The Plantation Museum. Del’s commentary was as colourful as his character and he kept us amused and gave us a few drinks on the route, we stopped at the ridge between the Caribbean and Atlantic for some pictures and refreshment. At the Beach a trolley and chairs cost $30 but the facilities were excellent. Beers were $3 and Burger and Chips $22, so a bit expensive. We had 2 ½ hours on the beach before being picked up at 1530. Antigua Our final tour was a shared tour prearranged with Gordon’s Tours on the internet with two ladies. The cost was $30 each and Jerome met us as arranged at the pier. We had a running commentary on all aspects of the history flora and fauna. The tour passed the Cricket Grounds, Abandon Sugar Factory and many villages. We visited the historic barracks and lookout post, for $8 we visited Dows Museum and saw a presentation tracing the history of the island, Shirley Heights, followed by The Blockhouse and Nelsons Dockyard foe a Rum Punch $5. The tour lasted well over 4 hours and Jerome gave us an excellent insight into life on the island. Well worth booking on the internet prior to your visit. On our return trip cases were collected the night before departure and we didn’t see them again until we picked them up in Birmingham, there were no hand baggage weight check on the return flight. Barbados Airport was comfortable and the duty frees booze was good $25 for two litres of popular brand spirits, $14 for Mount Gay room. The flight back was uneventful with an evening meal and a breakfast muffin, neither of which we enjoyed. Only 1 alcoholic drink was offered and wine with the meal. On summary we had a great holiday, were disappointed with the standard of food, and size of cabin onboard Britannia, given the £5200 price paid. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose the cruise for the itinerary. We are experienced cruisers having cruised with Princess, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity frequently over the last 20 years so feel qualified to make a fair comparison. Britannia, unfortunately, is ... Read More
We chose the cruise for the itinerary. We are experienced cruisers having cruised with Princess, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity frequently over the last 20 years so feel qualified to make a fair comparison. Britannia, unfortunately, is nowhere near being in the same league. It is overcrowded and understaffed. There was a definite ‘end of season’ feel to this cruise. The crew seemed tired and unmotivated. Service in the restaurants was poor, slow and unapologetic. Food was unadventurous. Public areas were less than clean, open decks were sticky underfoot and there were noisy blowers drying damp-smelling carpets every day, even in the buffet restaurant during lunch. Entertainment was dire, downmarket and very holiday camp in style. P&O’s customer satisfaction survey seemed to focus on questions around whether customers were bothered about dressing up/ did we really expect to be called ‘sir’ or ‘madam’, we’re we looking for a more informal pub style experience? Perhaps P&O are looking to cater for customers who are looking for a floating Butlins/ Benidorm style holiday. If so, they are on the right track. We, however, will be returning to those cruise lines who know how to provide good quality, excellent service and proper cruising. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
the chosen cruise was for ports of call. The weather did not fail to please. Found entertainment lame. found food mediocre. Also, the baby prawns should have been peeled as they were on the buffet with poo still in them Tomatoes not ... Read More
the chosen cruise was for ports of call. The weather did not fail to please. Found entertainment lame. found food mediocre. Also, the baby prawns should have been peeled as they were on the buffet with poo still in them Tomatoes not available after the first week. Did not like the look of the beans.Also cauliflower cheese mushy. You should steam cauliflower not boil it. laundrette not available in the night. Only in use when everyone wanted to use it. Crowded. Mayonnaise and vinegar in sachets should bein containers as very mucky to tear open. Onshore was fine found friends and guides. Out on deck late looking at the star's, the staff treated you like a weirdo, walking past and saying hello in a worried voice. asked to have a ball to throw through the net in netball court not allowed. Yet staff where allowed. Asked for a large size tee shirt for deck walk, only small size avail, as they could not be bothered to go and fetch larger tee shirt from the stock room. Gym nice. On leaving the ship. disembarkation, we were taken to the airport and herded like cattle past customs. Had to wait 3 hours at the airport for plain stuck in departures no chance for a smoke or a cheap drink. Onshore great onboard not so good if you are single you tend to get patronized I am an independent lady. I love to dance and sing along. In my own way. Only here they like puppets dance and everyone to do the same dance. Sorry did not like and also pool light turned off as I was playing on my own late. Could not sleep in the dismal cabin so I was out and about, up late. Lots more to depress me but onshore made up for the dirty old ship. Also, the customers were the best. Nice friendly lot. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
I have been on 12 previous cruises with most of the other cruise lines. This was my first P & O cruise. First the positives. Good flight. I loved the fact you check in and don't see your suitcases until they arrive at your ... Read More
I have been on 12 previous cruises with most of the other cruise lines. This was my first P & O cruise. First the positives. Good flight. I loved the fact you check in and don't see your suitcases until they arrive at your cabin. Likewise on the return trip. Cases taken the evening before and next time we saw them was at Gatwick. I also like the process of getting off the plane, onto a coach and not going through the hectic Barbados immigration process. The embarkation process was quick and efficient and on the ship in no time at all, despite there being queues on arrival. Furthermore the disembarkation process was painless. I also liked that we could stay on board until our afternoon pick up. So could enjoy the day at the pool. I have been on the RCL Ovation so the size of Britannia wasn't as awesome as it was to my family. (It was the biggest ship they have been on). The deco in the cabin was average although fully equipped and spotlessly clean. Our steward quickly introduced herself and said if we require anything not to hesitate to ask. The beds were comfy and we had a good night sleep. Although, my only grip was, there were only back lights and no individual bedside lamp. In order to read I had to have all the lights on at night. This I found awkward particularly as my other half doesn't read at night. I was surprised there was no USB ports especially as it's only 4 years old!! Our food was great and ate mainly in the Horizon buffet or the Peninsular. Our service in the Peninsular was outstanding and nothing was too much trouble for our waiter Nasir. Especially as the other half is a fussy eater. We had Freedom dining and there was 10 of us at every meal. We only had to wait 15 mins on one occasion. Our Waiter was fantastic. The gym was well equipped which members of our party who are regular gym goers said it was great. We liked the pools, however, this is where things become a bit fraught. My first negative, in our party we had four thirty year olds and 4 children, ages 4,5,8 and 14. The elderly regular cruisers didn't like the younger children. My grandchildren played all day in the pools and if they dared splashed they were told off by the elderly women. Now, I could understand if they were laying on the sunbeds but they were sat at the edge of the pool. The first few times we ignored them but on one occasion I had to remind them that the pool is for everyone and if they didn't want to be around children they should go to the adults pool. This didn't go down well. Another elderly gentleman told my son off for splashing his little daughter in the pool. Apparently his wife didn't want to get her hair wet!!! What do you expect sat at the edge of the pool with your feet dangling in there!! There seems to be a quota of elderly elitist that wanted a very traditional cruise and obviously were regulars with P & O and consequently felt they owned it. This also showed on sea days. The poolside entertainment was at best poor. Old fashioned back ground music, not that that's a problem but they should be catering for all ages. There was very little entertainment except the quizzes, which was dull and mundane. I also felt the quizzes were something to pacify us. The sail away parties were good fun. They would start at 5pm and finish on the dot at 6pm. Despite the party being in full flow it stopped dead an hour later. I understand the entertainment team has other jobs but it all felt it was going through the motions. One of the sea days I even went to see a film as I was that bored on deck. On other ships the evening entertainment have had spectacular various shows every night. Apart from Astonish show the rest of the time was the same group singing songs from different decades. If you wanted a good show you really had to book the Limelight club and pay £25-£35 per person for the privilege. So for me it would be £70 extra just to see Gareth Gates! So for our party we felt that the entertainment team was VERY poor for the size of the ship. The next grip is the midship lack of stairs. How was this thought out? Lucky for us we were on deck 14 so it was only 2 decks to the lido. If we had stairs we would have walked to this deck but unfortunately the forward and aft stairs were too far away. I understand this is being rectified in the October refit. I feel P & O are missing a younger audience. Their adverts are targeting an older customer. Unlike RCL, Carnival etc who are targeting families. My family have said their next cruise will be on a fun ship and not a geriatric ship. So that's 6 adults and 4 children they have lost. We had a lovely cruise, fantastic ports, good food but in comparison to other cruise lines poor entertainment. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Although we took a 1 week cruise on P&O Britannia last year to Northern Spain in order to tailor our expectations….even with this knowledge the ship did not live up to our expectations. With the exception of St Vincent the ... Read More
Although we took a 1 week cruise on P&O Britannia last year to Northern Spain in order to tailor our expectations….even with this knowledge the ship did not live up to our expectations. With the exception of St Vincent the itinerary was excellent and we thoroughly enjoyed the islands that we visited. The ports were really easy to navigate whether we took local taxi’s privately or were on a P&O excursion. As with every holiday at whatever price it is normal to question if you had value for money. Did the holiday provider deliver on what was advertised and does it stack up compared with similar holidays. It is clear that the holiday operator is not responsible for the climatic conditions or anything that is outside their control. The tricky part is writing a review that is balanced: For instance I would not mention that the bed-sheets were clean (they were) but if they were dirty (they were not) it would be amiss of me not to mention this. Therefore the comments in this long review may appear only negative. Flights Lets start at the very beginning of the holiday and the Thomas Cook flight. We decided to upgrade to Premium for the journey as I am tall and really struggle with the economy class seat pitch for longer flights. The cost of this was a not inconsiderable £300.00 each……and then they wanted a further £60.00 each to pre-book particular seats! I was away on business when the midnight timeslot came around to pre-book the seats and when I then looked many had been blocked off. No problem I thought as there are others….however despite frequently looking they never released the ones that appeared to be free and then all of a sudden they had mostly been booked…….how so I will never understand! I do not remember seeing an email reminder stating when seats became available…..but perhaps it was sent but I missed it under a pile of other P&O emails selling a variety of cruise related products. The upshot of this is that we couldn’t actually pre-book seats and arrived at the airport to find we had been pre-allocated Row 1 window and aisle seats. These are the ones directly behind the bulkhead and have very little legroom. Despite paying the same price as the seats from Row’s 2 to 7 we had a far inferior product. We did not receive what had been advertised and even suffered shorter legroom than the economy bulkhead seats (we were able to see these when we disembarked the aircraft and walked in front of these seats). In fact the middle bulkhead Premium seats had between 3-4 inches more space than our seats as they were set back a little further from the bulkhead. Food and service on the flight were good and we landed in Barbados only 30 minutes later than the advertised time…..for long haul this is not too bad. The great news is that you leave the aircraft stairs and only walk a few meters to the bus that takes you directly to the port where you check in and straight onto the ship thus avoiding the airport ….. and your luggage is taken directly to your cabin. Embarkation was easy with quick service at the check in and we were on the ship in less than 10 minutes from arriving at the port. We were able to secure 2 Retreat passes at £450.00 for the 14 days. We like the Retreat as there is some shade and the sunbeds are bigger and far more comfortable than those around the pool areas. The only real issue we had was that the Retreat opens at 09.00 and a line forms about 20 minutes before. On sea days this line is rather long as each person wants to secure sunbeds in the area they particularly like. On one occasion once the door was opened and we were filing in, one of the passengers worked his way around the sunbeds to gain a few places and push in like a weasel……of course being English we didn’t say anything but unfortunately you will find people like this scattered over the ship; pushing into the lifts or pushing you out of the way at the buffet. Food. This was our biggest gripe. The quality of the food included was a little less than average. Lets take average as the quality of food in a Harvester. The food in the buffet was cooked using the cheapest ingredients and mostly lacked flavour and was mostly over-cooked. Food in the MDR was average and if you are in anyway a “Foodie” you may not like to eat here often. We only ate twice (one lunch and one dinner) in the MDR as the food was ok but for my mind not the standard of a reasonable restaurant and we also had difficulty getting a table. I know it is hard to cater for many hundreds of passengers at the same time and mass catering is never easy especially when there are a number of options and they are trying to offer something different every day. Freedom dining proved to be on both this and our cruise in September 2018 anything but. It appears that Freedom dining should be renamed “Top up dining” Our experience is that if the MDR’s are full then of course you cannot get a table. They will give you a bleeper that will vibrate and flash when a table is ready. The evening that we did eat in the MDR this was approx. 40 minutes. On another occasion we tried to go approx. 30 minutes before the 2nd sitting and again was advised that the wait would be approx. 40 minutes….so we scurried off to the Glasshouse as it would have been approx. 1 hour before the food would have arrived at the table. Our advice would be to book one of the set dining times as we saw the same thing happen to a number of other guests. We heard reports that the waiters did not have enough jam at breakfast or equipment and had to wait until other diners had finished before being able to issue jam or marmalade. Apparently the new Head Chef is looking to make a mark with Carnival and the only one the bean counters understand is that of reducing costs, which would account for the quality of the food. By taking this approach the line has steered passengers into paid restaurants, which in turn increases revenue and reduces costs by eliminating meals that were included in the ticket price. We ate in Sindhu once that had food with flavour (hooray) …..although it appeared that we got lucky as other passengers reported that flavour was absent on other days; which was in line with our September cruise observations. In the Limelight Club the food was fine and Gareth Gates was finer with a lovely voice that was worth the entrance fee. All other times we ate in the Glasshouse that had great service and freshly cooked (and not over-cooked) food. We were not the only people to frequently eat here as we saw the same faces many times….. perhaps they also didn’t rate the included food. The Retreat also served food at breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea but whilst this sounds wonderful the choices were limited and ran with the usual theme of poor quality and little flavour. On occasions the offering was different to what was advertised on the on table menus. The cakes were not sweet and the cream was tasteless. I would often pass rather than eat something for the exercise of jaw chomping whilst receiving no excitement for my taste buds. We scrummed down for breakfast and lunch on occasions in the Buffet and found this to be the most disappointing venue. Again the cheapest ingredients with breakfast bacon very salty and cooked in a steam oven (that is why it has no browning and the fat has not rendered). The eggs station was over-whelmed with guests and even if you asked for an omelette to be soft the chef did not understand and still gave you one over-cooked. Breakfast pancakes were cold. Watered down juice at breakfast and nothing other than water at lunch (we didn’t venture into the Buffet in the evening). There was no ice-cream in the buffet or on the decks and if you wanted ice-cream branded products were available at an extra charge. Another thing that was watered down was the salad dressings. Very thin and rarely was there a blue cheese dressing. Room service breakfast was on time (30 minute window which is understandable) and warm but using the same poor quality ingredients. Cabin. Lets talk about something more positive. We had a Superior Balcony Cabin that delivered everything the brochure advertised. Bottle of Champagne; box of chocolates; binoculars and un-expectedly a good range of magazines. Plenty of movies to choose from and you can pause and go back to the same movie a day or so later. Comfortable bed and an invisible cabin attendant (this is a good thing) who whilst being stealthy did a great job and the cabin was scrupulously clean throughout the voyage. Just a couple of little issues: the outside balcony windows were not cleaned for the entire fortnight: we had a power cut (all power on the ship) one night for approx. 15 minutes the cabin emergency lighting came on (yep it works) and the announcement chime was sounded but no announcement. Another night there was an emergency called through the tannoy and an assement team was sent to one floor but this was apparently a false alarm. On another night we had no water in the bathroom….but this was at 03.00 so no real issue and another night our (and a lot of the other cabins) A/C was not working……but after reporting the next night it was fine and to their credit they handled this very well with feedback etc. Ship General Appearance; For a ship that is only 4 years old the condition of the ship was poor. The hull had various rust spots and we were surprised to never see anyone painting as other cruise lines do! Further to this you can see where they have previously painted as the paint is not the same colour white and therefore looks patched. Not once in the 2 weeks did we see any of the windows being cleaned and some of the windows of the Buffet were so dirty you couldn’t make out the view. If you look in the corners on the decks you will see that these areas are not cleaned properly and the Serenity Swimming Pool has some of the little tiles missing (not many but they were still missing) the LED strip lighting around the Serenity Pool under the seating around the pool was dropping down and an attempt to hold this up with white tape was failing as the tape was hanging down. Functionality: The Gym was a disappointment. I cycle and wanted to keep up some fitness whilst away. Only 2 fixed bikes for over 3,500 guests meant that it was difficult to get on one. The only time that I did the screen did not work effectively and therefore the session was not what I needed. This issue was exacerbated by a poor administration situation. I read in the daily that there was a Spin Class the next day at 08.30 and to book in at the Gym. I arrived at 07.55 to find at the end of the Gym a table with 8 or 9 clipboards. One was titled “Tour de France” and I put my name on the list and was approx. 3rd down. Got seated on a spin bike…..2 late arrivals and only one bike spare so the instructor read out the list. My name was not on it. It transpires that the clipboard that I had signed to was for a couple of days later. However I did not spot this as the date was in small print (opposed the title) and the clipboard for that days spin class was not on the table! If it had been I would have seen that it was full and had a wait list. Of course I wouldn’t have placed myself in that position and been embarrassed by being sent away. Much has been written on the lift system and deservedly so. Clearly there is an issue with the programing of the lifts……but despite much customer frustration this has not been resolved. Brace yourselves for this as it start as a pint of amusement but it will soon beyond a joke. Entertainment: The quality of entertainment was very mixed. The theatre must have gone over their budget as they reply on the theatre company for many shows but have not yet found a male lead vocalist who can hold an audience. The staging is good with some excellent sets. DNA and the Russian Acrobats were good and held our attention however The Brit Tones really need to watch a video of their performance……or really listen as they didn’t harmonize together……and the higher range Artist sounded like the moment Norman Wisdom collided with Donald Duck…but at least it gave us a laugh…for a few days. The Theatre is a pretty dull place to wait in your seat for the show to start. Other Cruise lines have waiters serving drinks (missed that one Carnival Accountants) and always entertain with video quizzes or videos relating to the act that you have sat down to see…. although this did happen on one occasion. Looking at the demographic of the ships guests it is most likely that most of them avidly watch “Strictly Come Dancing”. Britannia has built the lovely “Crystal Room” to enable people to floor dance. Unfortunately very few people used or sat in the room; which in turn must be so demoralizing for the live band that played there each evening. Why oh why didn’t the dance professionals have a slot each evening to present a show of each of the dance genres. Music around the internal public areas of the ship is rationed. The Crows Nest is a beautiful cocktail bar with the best views on-board. Paul the Pianist must have been on a work to rule. If he did arrive before 18.00hrs he waited until his time to tickle the ivories and did not start before 18.00…….and certainly would not play for more than 30 minutes. On at least one occasion he was late. Once he had left it took a while for piped music to be played. The Atrium for most of the early evening is pin drop quiet with no music at all. Lets have a little bit of atmosphere…..we are not talking Prodigy or Led Zep and even Supermarkets have canned music between BOGOF announcements. P&O Staff The crew on the P&O Britannia work hard and clearly engaged with their positions. I have already mentioned the cabin steward and the waiting staff in the Glasshouse who were worthy of an extra tip. In every other area the crew were good efficient and friendly……especially if you give them recognition and engage with them. I would like to say the same about the Officers but sadly cannot. We never saw the Captain around the ship…..perhaps our paths did not cross. The white shirts we did see never engaged with any guests……although I have to be honest that one night a white shirt did speak to me in the Glasshouse (no not the old joke of “get out of the way”) but asked if I was enjoying my meal. However I could see this was not his forte as he did not want to continue to speak when I did start to engage and moved away whilst talking …….more of a McDonalds “have a good day” moment. Disembarkation Leaving the ship was well organized. A few days before we were due to leave we received an envelope with a variety of paperwork including the baggage labels and customs forms. There was a very well written guide to filling out the customs forms and a prescribed time to take them to the Live Lounge for these and your passports to be checked and stamped by Barbados officials. Leaving the ship is the same as any other time and the bus was waiting to take us to the Airport Shore Excursions Curacao: we took a taxi to Mamboo Beach. This beach is man made but is a short taxi ride from the port and they arrange to also pick you up. Whist this is man made the beach is clean and the water warm and safe as there is a breakwater that protects the beach. The Vibe is good and the sun-beds are reasonable to rent. Aruba; another taxi to Palm Beach. Although this is a commercial beach with large hotels adorned along the beach….its a beautiful beach with good swimming and facilities…..and lots to watch. Not all the sun-beds are for rent but if you see Sandra at the pier by the Hilton you will get shade and 2 sunbeds for $35.00 St Vincent: We attempted to book the “Escape to Bequia” P&O trip but it was fully booked many weeks before the cruise. Decided to have a walk around Kingstown. Not the pretty destination you may think but rather downbeat and smelly. Grenada: We took the Water Bus close to where you leave the ship to Grand Anse Beach. £7.00 each way and worthwhile. Great beach…. Sunbeds and shade (or in out case rain shelter) was worth $20.00 St Lucia: P&O Excursion: Catamaran to The Pitons. A quick run into Marigot Bay was lovely before reaching the Pitons for pictures and then onto a lovely beach. Fabulous crew who worked hard to get us in the mood for dancing and we rocked the boat (lubricated by the correct amount of Rum Punch: Great value at £48.00 per head St Maarten: we booked the P&O Excursion Zipline Sky Explorere and Surf Adventure. Great fun and the Flying Dutchman is brilliant and certainly the only thing that will hold you back is that “top of the diving board” feeling. Worth the £99.00 from P&O as the park is more expensive independently. St Kitts: Another P&O Excursion: Cockleshell Beach Break. We were picked up at 11.15 and driven to Cockleshell Beach with a stop to see the view of where a strip of land sits between the Atlantic and the Caribbean Sea. Our ticket price included a fruit punch (small plastic cup upon arrival) and a beach chair. However a Celebrity ship was also in port and they had arrived sometime before us and taken almost all the sun-beds (there were no chairs on the beach). I had to go in search of sunbeds that had not been taken and drag them to the only shaded area behind all the other sets of sun-beds and parasols. We went snorkeling to discover the underwater was dirty and littered with cans, bottles and paper. Worst still was that there is a raised underwater area that the sea grass grows on. Fun to stand on but beware as there were spiky sea urchins that would really do some damage if you accidently stepped on one. There was no warning in the bus or at the beach. On the upside the food at the Spice Mill was good. Cost of £30.00 pp was not value…..take a taxi privately and perhaps to another beach. Antigua: P&O Excursion: Caribbean Sailaway. Catamaran to 2 beaches. Have to say a little disappointing. Crew were not so interactive and dumped us at Turners Beach for 1.5 hours (some drinks were available onshore free of charge) whilst they prepared lunch. Not something we have seen before as this type of trip the catamaran usually stays on the beach so that you can leave your bags etc. Lunch was ok but no fruit or deserts offered. Onto Deep Bay Beach where the catamaran did stay with us on the beach. £70.00 pp was not good value. Summary In summary we have very mixed feelings due to a number of factors that really should be improved. Our assessment is that P&O are confused which market they should be targeting. They have caught themselves between the new generation traveller who is aspirational and is moving up to cruising from a land based perhaps all inclusive holiday and the old guard that have sailed on P&O for decades. P&O don’t want to miss either markets and have also narrowed their target market to the UK (how many French would like to travel on a ship with a whopping great Union Jack on the side). The accountants have penny pinched to a point that it manifests in the quality and service. Did we enjoy ourselves? Despite the above criticisms we did. The itinerary was good and the Caribbean Islands are wonderful. We ate well in the evenings and enjoyed the sea days. However it is unlikely we will travel P&O again as we believe from experience there are cruise lines that deliver a package that is more suited to us. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose Britannia for Caribbean cruise, as it was visiting islands we hadn’t see before. Flights on the Dreamliner were excellent. But the ship oh dear! P&O just haven’t got this one right. There are too many people crowded into ... Read More
We chose Britannia for Caribbean cruise, as it was visiting islands we hadn’t see before. Flights on the Dreamliner were excellent. But the ship oh dear! P&O just haven’t got this one right. There are too many people crowded into public spaces. The staff all seem to work extremely hard but there aren’t enough of them for the number of passengers. This was apparent on Freedom dining which was not good, long queues and even though we could see empty tables ready, people were turned away with a pager. Probably because either not enough waiters or cooks to cope with the numbers of tables Several times we gave up and ate at the speciality restaurants which were extra cost. The evening entertainment was poor in comparison to Azura. Specialist acts that used to be included in the main venues are now chargeable in the ‘limelight Club’. You have a beautiful Crystal room but hardly anyone in it. The cabin was adequate and kept clean by our lovely steward, but bed linen is now only changed once on a 14 day cruise. The air con is awful. We were both ill with chest infections that continued after returning home . Certain areas of the ship appeared unhygienic. We never saw any wiping down of the stair rails or encouragement to use antibacterial spray when entering dining rooms. We missed the promenade deck that is available on other ships. There was no outside space to sit other than if you went up to the lido deck. We did enjoy the gallery talk about LSLowry. It would have been lovely to have taken part in the tour of the Bridge & engine room but at £75 each it seemed expensive. The cabin account is not visible on your tv any more and I would suspect that many passengers got quite a shock on check out as There were many ‘chargeable extras’ that would soon mount up. Read Less
Britannia Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 5.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 5.0 0.0
Family 5.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 5.0 0.0
Enrichment 4.0 0.0
Service 5.0 0.0
Value For Money 5.0 0.0
Rates 5.0 N/A

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