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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
I have put this review on here rather than send to P.O. as P.O. would take no notice, and it would be filed away as it’s not what they want to hear, but more people will see it on this site. We picked the Jan 2019 cruise to the ... Read More
I have put this review on here rather than send to P.O. as P.O. would take no notice, and it would be filed away as it’s not what they want to hear, but more people will see it on this site. We picked the Jan 2019 cruise to the Caribbean as our first time on the Britannia. Flights were good, getting transferred was good. To finish off the good points, the sun shone and the food was good. First problem we had was having a shave, the electric sockets on ship don’t take UK razors or tooth brushes. Nothing in the brochure or any literature on the ship. We were told by reception to buy an adapter from the shop (sold out, of course) or they would charge it up for you. Not good news if you have a travelling razor that needs to be plugged in all the time. Then we encountered the lifts which, long with the set up of the ship leaves a lot to be desired. Basically there are too many floors of just cabins, and insufficient lifts for the amount of people on board. So if you need a lift, you stand there for ages, and by then the floor is full of others wanting to get aboard the lifts. It became the normal to get into any lift that turned up no matter what direction it was going. We also found there are no quiet corners to hid in, no matter where you go on Britannia you have mind numbing music playing all over the ship. When we asked if it could be turned down, no one knew how to do it. Too many places to charge you extra to use or go to. We went as a group of 6 who love Dancing, and as this is the Flag ship of the company we were expecting an enjoyable time. What a shock we got. We had a dance band that played the music they wanted to play, not music to dance to. One evening they had a night of playing Jazz all night. That emptied the ball room. On their night off we got local band playing again their type of music, that again emptied the ball room. ( I could write war and peace on that subject only) When the instructors came on they were only interested on the group of novice dances they had nurtured on the cruise. So the floor was literally full on novices, no problem with that but anyone who could dance could not get on the floor to dance. They should have played 2 of each, but they didn’t. The male instructor danced with the same passenger nearly every dance for the 2 weeks we were there. Their knowledge of sequence dances seemed minimal, as some requests were met with “we don’t know that one” then they would not play a sequence dance as only 3 or 4 couples knew it. The next minute they would play a Viennese waltz, and only 2 couples would get up for, so double standards there. To us they were more interested in selling private lessons and their dancing week ends away than doing what they should. So to me we had a disappointing time on this ship and I would not recommend to anyone. God help anyone who has booked a cruise on the next overgrown monster being built at the moment. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We were looking for a 7 day cruise to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary with our family. Having cruised on Britannia twice before, we would have preferred another ship but the dates and costs fitted our budget. It was evident ... Read More
We were looking for a 7 day cruise to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary with our family. Having cruised on Britannia twice before, we would have preferred another ship but the dates and costs fitted our budget. It was evident from the moment we embarked that we would not be disappointed with our choice. The atmosphere was friendly and welcoming and after a quick drink in the atrium we proceeded to our cabin where all our suitcases were awaiting us. We had three consecutive cabins and the steward opened the balconies to share. There were also two other cabins in our party of 12. The meals were of a consistently high standard no matter which restaurant you chose. We were Freedom Dining but had no problems at all in seating the party of 12 at one party. The shows were a good standard, although somewhat repetitive. However, for us, the highlight of the cruise was the ship's musician, Adam Allison. This man was so talented and professional. Not only was he the pianist in the Crow's Nest where he played songs by request to perfection but he orchestrated a choir from the passengers who performed Songs from Les Miserables in the Atrium on the last day. I missed the opportunity to sing with the group but very much enjoyed the performance. The deck entertainment was difficult as it chose to rain at the scheduled times, so the laser light show was cancelled and the final sail away party was moved indoors to the Atrium. However the Sail Away Party was still to the same standard with so much fun and song. We love them! We only purchased one excursion to the Glacier. We very much enjoyed it although it was really only a coach transfer to the foot of the Glacier, where we were given an hour and a half to climb. We had a baby in our party but we did not use the Reef Club. My only criticism of the whole cruise was that there was no where to wash her bottles. I spent an hour with a bag of bottles to try and find somewhere to properly wash them, so I would recommend anyone else in a similar position to bring a little washing up liquid. Disembarkation was a bit chaotic as there were grumbles and complaints on the system used. Great cruise and having said that this would be the last time on Britannia, I could easily book it again next year. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2017
This wa a Strictly themed cruise although the reason we chose this cruise was the destination ports being none we had visited before. We have embarked at Southampton several times before and this was the longest time for getting onto ... Read More
This wa a Strictly themed cruise although the reason we chose this cruise was the destination ports being none we had visited before. We have embarked at Southampton several times before and this was the longest time for getting onto the ship, I suspect because this was the largest ship we have ever been on. From arriving in the port by car to being in our cabin took almost two hours with a lot of that spent sitting in the departure area waiting to be called forward to register. Indeed, our cases arrived at our cabin before we did, a first for us. We were impressed with the ship and its facilities. The fact that the staircases from deck 4 to deck 17 were only forward and aft made no difference to us, I have read reviews where others have complained about there being no stairs midship - walking is good exercise and it always astounds me why perfectly able passengers chose to wait for lifts rather than leave them for those less able. Food on board was good whether that be in the main dining rooms or buffet. I have to say that Britania's buffet was one of the best we've encountered for space, we did not once have to fight to get a seat there even on the busy breakfast days. Entertainment was excellent, even the Strictly stuff which was not a priority for us. We used the Limelight Club on three occasions - excellent for a night's entertainment. We saw the cabaret acts of Cheryl Baker, Dean Andrews and Claire Sweeney. Only complaint about any of the ports would be the disembarking and embarkation at St Petersburg although the long delays were caused by the Russian authorities and their snail like manner in vetting each passenger. Having said how slow embarkation at Southampton was, disembarkation was one of the quickest. We chose to self disembark meaning we kept our suitcases in our cabin and carried them off ourselves. This method also happens between 7 and 8, so before all other passengers, meaning we were back to our car and on the road within 15 minutes of leaving our cabin. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
I have been wanting to see London, and also Norway (The Fiords) for quite awhile. I was going to do a land tour, but since my health is now working against me sometimes, I realize that I need to slow down (74ys), and a widower on top of ... Read More
I have been wanting to see London, and also Norway (The Fiords) for quite awhile. I was going to do a land tour, but since my health is now working against me sometimes, I realize that I need to slow down (74ys), and a widower on top of it. I love the people of Great Britain as they are polite and have a special way to be proud, so I put all of that together and I decided to sail on the newest ship and also visit the Norway coast and Fiords. I arrived early so I could spend 4 days visiting London and having a great time. I had to find a way to get to Southampton, but it is only about 2 to 2 1/2 hours from my hotel near the Victoria Bus Station to the station in Southampton in a comfortable bus. The crew of the ship were polite and efficient and took my luggage and got me on the ship very fast. The ship was beautiful, and my table mates were so nice, as they were from all over England, but did not hesitate to include me in all the festivities. The entertainment was excellent and the music and dancing was just wonderful. The food gave me a chance to sample British style, and I really loved it. We had to cross the North Sea to get to Norway, and the water was calm as a lake and I was glad as it could be rough if there were storms. We stopped at the main locations and had great tours as we headed toward our last stop in Bergen. The country was lovely and the Norwegian people are alos polite and glad to see everyone as we got to explore the views and shops. This was definitely a trip to remember. I was glad I sailed on the P&O line and someday will go back and sample other ships from the line. When we disembarked on the last day, I was amazed how smooth and fast, and how they had people in the large terminal area where you picked up your suitcases who were able to assist you and get you out very fast. I must say Great Ship and Captain and all the crew I met were the best personally and efficiently. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
Hello. Last year I had the pleasure of going on my first ever cruise. This was on P&O Britannia for two weeks sailing around the Mediterranean to and from Southampton. The ports of call were Cadiz, Barcelona, Livorno, Civitavecchia, ... Read More
Hello. Last year I had the pleasure of going on my first ever cruise. This was on P&O Britannia for two weeks sailing around the Mediterranean to and from Southampton. The ports of call were Cadiz, Barcelona, Livorno, Civitavecchia, Cartagena and St. Peter Port in Guernsey. We were originally meant to go to Gibraltar instead of Guernsey but a few months before the cruise this got cancelled and changed to Guernsey by P&O. We were also meant to go to Monte Carlo after Barcelona but due to poor weather conditions we couldn't dock there and it would have been unsafe for the tenders. As compensation we stayed overnight in Barcelona and were allowed to go out in to Barcelona for the evening if we wished (we didn't). Before I give my review I will give a brief background into who I went with and the reason why. I went with my Husband, my Mother-in-Law and Father-in-Law. This cruise was booked by my in-laws for my Husband's 30th Birthday. Both my Husband and myself were 30 last year and my in-laws paid for my Husband for his Birthday and my Husband paid for me for my Birthday. As I previously said this was my first cruise, I didn't really know what to expect. My Husband did a couple of cruises as a child/teenager but nothing else since then, but my in-laws are frequent cruisers and love it. I don't wish to upset people by my next comment, but I wouldn't have particularly chosen to do a cruise if it hadn't have been booked for me. My in-laws went on the Maiden Voyage for Britannia and booked this cruise whilst they were on board. This is not me being ungrateful, quite the opposite, I couldn't be more grateful, but cruising didn't majorly appeal to me. However, I got excited and started planning things for the cruise. For Christmas 2015 I made up a cruise hamper for my in-laws for their Christmas present, which consisted of essentials needed for a cruise such as hand gel, alarm clock, extension cable, note pad, pens, highlighters, travel water bottles, laundry bag, emergency ponchos, and so much more, and draped a Union Jack flag inside it to represent Britannia. I also made up gift bags for the day we left for Southampton (we stayed overnight in a Holiday Inn in Southampton the night before the cruise as my Husband has family who live in Southampton so went to visit them as well), and that consisted of things such as sweets, a bottle of water, tissues, hand gel, a keyring made up about the cruise, and a t-shirt that I had made up for each of us on Vistaprint to wear when embarking on the ship (everyone actually wore them too and we had good comments too, which was good). It was booked 16 months beforehand, and about 2-3 months before the cruise I started to get nervous. I worried more about being ill and getting sickness. I was still excited don't get me wrong but was nervous as well, and I believe the nerves took over somewhat. Anyway, back to the cruise. We arrived in Southampton the day before and checked in to the Holiday Inn on the docks. We took advantage of the cruise and stay package, which included bed, breakfast and parking for the two weeks of the cruise, as well as taxi transfers to and from the cruise terminal. I would recommend this if anyone is thinking of staying overnight the night before their cruise and are driving down to Southampton. It meant as well that we could pack a very small overnight bag purely for the hotel in Southampton and throw all the dirty things in the boot of the car and not take them on board with us. The Holiday Inn was pretty good too, and would stay there again. The room was ok, staff were friendly and the breakfast was buffet but again ok. We checked out of the hotel around 10.30-11.00am on the morning of embarkation. We waited for our taxis to take us to the cruise terminal (I honestly didn't realise how close it was- if I had walked to the end of the hotel I would have seen the ship!). We went completely mad on luggage! For four people for a two week holiday there was a total of around 9 items of luggage, not to mention our carry on bags! This was our fault really as we took so much with us because we weren't really sure what we should take! A lesson we have learnt for future reference! We got in to the departure lounge by around 12.00pm. We sat waiting for a while then my Mother-in-Law requested assistance for boarding, so we got checked in a little quicker and was on board before 1.00pm. Checking in was relatively quick once we were allowed to go to the checking desk. We went to board the ship and as silly as this is going to sound we stepped on board and I didn't realise straight away that we were actually on board! I thought for a minute that we were in a little section between the gangway and the ship! As it was my first cruise my Husband filmed my reaction to stepping on board and I think this was the point that I didn't click on that we had actually stepped foot on to the ship! First impressions of the ship (once I realised that I was on board) were fantastic! What a beautiful ship! Britannia herself Britannia was a beautiful ship. I loved the Atrium and Starburst, the shops were good (there was a Pandora on board so I was happy!), and we loved The Live Lounge, Headliners Theatre, Brodie's, The Limelight Club and The Crow's Nest, and the entertainment that was in them. We used the quiet area on the top deck at the front of the ship for sunbathing on sea days, except for one day when we were on the Lido Deck by the main pools because it was windy and the top decks were closed off. We used the cinema, which was a nice bonus and found reception to be very helpful. Food: For food we were on Club Dining and allocated first sitting for our evening meal (6.30pm) in The Oriental Restaurant. Our waiters and wine waiter were brilliant and very accommodating. We also used The Oriental Restaurant for breakfast, which again was excellent, used the Horizon Restaurant (buffet), which was also good, room service, which was prompt and fresh, The Peninsular Restaurant a couple of lunchtimes, which again was good and went to The Limelight Club for dinner and a show (this cost £22 per person, but was worth the money). We also tried the grab and go/burger bar a couple of times, and had no problems with this, but I wasn't too impressed with the burger as it had mayonnaise on, which I don't like and didn't know until I took it back to my table, but if I knew I would of asked for one without mayonnaise and I think they would do it for me, so I'm not putting them down for this. You wont go hungry on Britannia! All waiting staff were good and the drinks staff were good around the ship. Cost wise drinks were similar to that in some pubs, maybe slightly more expensive, but not by much. Entertainment: For entertainment we used mainly Headliners Theatre, The Live Lounge (night club) and Brodie's (the pub). We loved the venues and their acts. We also used the on board cinema (I saw part of the latest Dad's Army film (I've seen before but didn't find it that good) with all the family, and my Husband and Father-in-Law went back to see (I think) X-Men Apocalypse, which they enjoyed. Pulse, who were the resident band in The Live Lounge were brilliant, as were the Britannia Show Cast who we saw in Headliners Theatre, but the one we weren't so keen on were The High Tides Duo, who were the resident duo in Brodie's. We saw Sam Bailey (X Factor winner) and Jimmy James (soul singer) in Headliners Theatre, who were both brilliant, and we saw Peter Piper (comedian) in Headliners Theatre and The Live Lounge, who I thought was brilliant and so funny. We also saw comedian and impressionist Mark Walker (Roy Walker from Catchphrase's son), who was also funny. We saw Dean Andrews in The Limelight Club who did singing, but is famous for his acting in The Last Tango in Halifax, Being Eileen, Ashes to Ashes and Life on Mars. He is definitely worth seeing, he is brilliant. He needs to make an album! We took part in the big money bingo at the end of the cruise and also went to some talks between us. Me, my Husband and my Mother-in-law went to An Audience with Captain David Pembridge, who was the captain of Britannia whilst we were on there. He was a great captain and was funny too. He made the best decisions on the ship and made us all feel welcomed as well. Whilst waiting for this talk to start there was a talk by a lady who was on Human Planet, so we caught the end of it, which was interesting, and my Husband went to another of these talks the next day and said it was good. Can't fault the entertainment on board really. Me and my Husband went to Marco Pierre White's book signing and got our photographs taken with him by the on board professional photographers. Marco had signed these as well and they were put up on display in the photo gallery for us to purchase, which we did. We went to the Captain's Gala Party on the first formal night, which was good, the first Sail Away Party, which got us in the spirit of the cruise, and the Great British Sail Away Party, which was when we were leaving Cartagena. The Captain held an additional cocktail party as compensation for not going to Monte Carlo, which we popped along to and thought was good too. My in-laws are in the Petunis Club (think that is right but please forgive the spelling!), so went along to a cocktail party for Petunis Club members, which they enjoyed, and got free Gin and Tonics! The Chef's Parade on the final but one evening was a good atmosphere (not a Baked Alaska Parade, which was stopped a few years ago), and I got to try Baked Alaska for the first time too, and enjoyed it, but didn't eat all the meringue. Spa: Me and my Mother-in-Law went to the spa on our second sea day, which happened to be the day of our first formal night. We both booked and paid for this a few months before the cruise. We both had a fire and ice pedicure with our toenails being painted at the end. My Mother-in-Law had a problem as the lady who was meant to do her treatment was sent off the ship in Southampton due to breaking her fingers and they had no replacement for her. They weren't sure whether they were getting a replacement for her, and we didn't find out if she got replaced. They managed to squeeze her in just before my treatment so we were in the room having our treatments together for part of it. The staff were good and we felt for them as they were being pushed to the limit after being one staff member down. They were friendly enough but were a bit cheeky too, which we didn't really mind as we have a laugh and a joke, but some people may not like this. We really enjoyed the treatment though, and loved the colours of our toenails. The Cookery Club: The biggest highlight for me on the cruise, taking away the ports of call/shore days was The Cookery Club. Me and my Husband were booked on to the Masterclass with Marco Pierre White, which was such an amazing experience! Marco was such a nice man, so friendly and polite, and even had a laugh with us. I was sort of dreading this because I am not a big fan of cooking and don't like handling raw meat or fish, but in the end I loved the class (I can't say the same about handling raw meat and fish though!). Everything was all prepared for us and got out at our stations for us. We got to work in pairs, so me and my Husband worked together. We had paper hats and material aprons at our workstations to wear, and as soon as we walked in and gave our names we were instructed to wash our hands first before taking a seat at the table (we were encouraged to wash our hands regularly throughout the class). We had recipe packs with what we were going to do, which Marco signed at the end when having a photograph taken by the professional photographers on board, and could take home with us to try them out at home, which we will do. There were two dishes we did in total, and Marco demonstrated one, we all tasted, then went to make it ourselves and then eat it, then the process was repeated for the second dish. The first dish was Lobster Spaghetti, which was in a tomato sauce. (I did everything until the lobster, which was pre prepared and brought out later, and let my Husband handle it with the lobster!) and the second dish was Parmesan and Saffron Infused Risotto. They both tasted delicious, but I didn't have any lobster. My recommendation with the risotto is that if you are not a massive fan of Parmesan Cheese don't use so much as I found it was too much for me. I love Parmesan Cheese but there was too much of it for me, but that is just personal taste and nothing wrong with the food. We are planning on making these dishes for friends and family (maybe substituting the lobster for king prawns due to the cost of lobster and being able to get it). The on board professional photographers came and took photographs throughout, and we were allowed to take photographs ourselves whenever we liked. The cost of this was £100 per person, but I had mine for free as compensation for P&O cancelling a chocolate class that I had booked and paid for. They called me up a day or so after I booked it to say it was cancelled and as compensation they had refunded my money and gave me the Masterclass with Marco Pierre White for free. I was so glad I did this in the end! On Shore: We did two P&O Shore Excursions each, me and my Husband did Easy Pisa and Panoramic Rome, and my in-laws did a pasta and wine trip in the Tuscan Hills I think, and went to a beach when we were in Civitavecchia. Easy Pisa was good, and involved a coach trip to Pisa, a road train to Miracle Square to see the buildings and The Leaning Tower of Pisa, then the road train again around Pisa to see the buildings before taking us back to the coach to go back to the ship. Very good, and well worth doing, especially if you have not seen The Leaning Tower of Pisa. Panoramic Rome was a coach ride around most of the famous sites (not getting off the coach), but part way through going to the Collouseum and getting off the coach for half an hour to take photographs. This was probably my favourite excursion as we saw so much, but I did enjoy Pisa to see the Leaning Tower. Drinks were expensive in Pisa, but we expected it not to be cheap. This didn't stop us from feeling shocked when a can of coke and a bottle of beer came to 10 Euros! On the rest of the shore days we did our own thing. We did the open top bus around Cadiz and Barcelona, which we enjoyed. We also went in the cathedral and tapas bar in Cadiz, visited a couple of bars and shops in Cartagena as well as popping in a local church, a bar and shops in Guernsey, and also visited the German War Museum in Guernsey too, which was interesting. We have said we would like to have a long weekend in Guernsey as it was beautiful and there were other places we would like to see such as the War Hospital. We would have liked to have spent longer in Cartagena as we had to be back on the ship by 1.30pm so didn't have a lot of time to explore the area, and would definitely like to go back to Rome to see more of places like the Trevi Fountain and The Vatican. Extras: At the end of the cruise, as is normal practice, we were given copies of the menus from the head waiter and second waiter who dealt with us on the cruise, and a copy of the ship's log in our room, which I thought were wonderful touches and the ship's log is fascinating. I loved the professional photographers and the photo gallery. I could have spent a fortune, in fact I did, but could have spent lots more than I did! I think the professional photographs are things that appeal for first time cruisers, and I especially loved it as it was seen as a once in a lifetime cruise for us and for special occasions, or for those on special occasions. I think if we cruised regularly we wouldn't have many photos if any, maybe just some celebrity or formal night ones. We had the Platinum package, which was £124.50 (or there abouts) and included a photo album, 8 event/celebrity/portrait photographs of our choice, 16 ship and location photographs of our choice and a copy of our cruise DVD. We had extra prints too. Its not cheap I know, but we wanted them for the memories, especially formal nights and the Masterclass with Marco Pierre White. If we did another cruise I don't think I'd have so many photographs and maybe not a package. The Britannia shop with the sweets, Britannia branded goodies, toiletries and medicines was not that cheap really, but most places are not cheap. The duty free places were good and I loved the jewellery and hand bag sales! Negatives: The negatives were the dirty knickers situation in my in-laws' room, but this was resolved and all was well afterwards. Mistakes happen, and I always say as much as they are a nuisance its how they rectify and handle it that matters, and they dealt with this promptly and gave them a bottle of wine as compensation, so all was good. However, I think P&O could have a fairer process with certain things. Two things in particular were The Retreat Spa area where you could pay so much for the day or so much for the whole holiday to go in a private area with separate Jacuzzis, comfortable seating, etc. We couldn't book it before going on board so went down to the Oasis Spa to book it after boarding only to be told that it was fully booked for the whole cruise. We said this was unfair as we boarded early and couldn't get in, so those boarding later had no chance. The other issue was one of the Horizon magazines that we were issued had an advertisement for a tour of the ship. This was about a week in to the cruise. My Husband went straight down to reception to enquire and book on to it only to be told again that it was fully booked and costs £77 per person. Apparently it was advertised on the TV screens, which we never saw, and I don't think other passengers did too, and reception said that passengers that cruise regularly know about it and book it as soon as they board the ship. Again, we were disappointed in this. I think for things like this when you can't book until you board the ship should only be opened for booking once all passengers board the ship to give everyone who wants to do them a fair chance to book. Ok, it may be a rush, but at least its first come first served and everyone gets the same chance. Overall: Overall I loved the cruise, and loved dressing up for formal nights too. As a first time cruiser it took a while to get used to the drunken feeling I was getting when walking around the ship (I don't drink and all I had the whole cruise was a sip of Prosecco to try and didn't like it, so can't blame alcohol!). I also found that high heels don't do you many favours in this department either! I don't think I fully got my sea legs! I didn't like the rough sea day as this was facing my biggest fear of the ship and I couldn't help but worry when announcements of rough sea days were made, but this is no fault of P&O or the ship, in fact the ship handles the sea beautifully, it is an act of God and we have no control, but with Kwells and travel bands it can be handled well. One thing that I felt a couple of times, and it kind of contradicts some of the things I said, but I felt sometimes like there was no escape. There's so much to do so you don't go bored, but I could tell we were on a ship and had no way of getting out or off (not that you would want to get out in open sea!) I told my Husband this and he said maybe two weeks was a bit too long for me, but I quite enjoyed having a two week holiday as normally I only have a week. I have done 10 days with my parents when I was younger, and maybe had two weeks once when I was younger but can't be certain, but otherwise this was the longest holiday I had. I was amazed at how many famous people were on board and how much you could do, and it felt glamorous. Would I cruise again? I think I have the bug, but I did say that I needed to recover from my moments of worrying over rough days, and if I didn't cruise it would be purely for how I cope rather than what a cruise has to offer. However, I have agreed to another cruise and last week we booked up with my in-laws again for a week's cruise to the Norwegian Fjords in August 2017, this time on P&O Azura! I'm looking forward to it, but again I'm worried about the sea! I feel happier about being in the Fjords themselves, its the getting to and from the Fjords that worries me. I'm praying for kind seas and kind weather! Thank you to my Husband and in-laws for a wonderful cruise holiday, and thank you to P&O for your excellent service and making our cruise, and also my first cruise so special. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
First time with P&O and on the whole very happy. The entertainment and activities could have been so much better but I do appreciate that you can't please everybody. The cabins and cleanliness of the ship were excellent. The ... Read More
First time with P&O and on the whole very happy. The entertainment and activities could have been so much better but I do appreciate that you can't please everybody. The cabins and cleanliness of the ship were excellent. The food was, in my view, better than a previous cruise company I had been with. The problem I had was understanding why Gibralter was said to be too busy to call into. The bookings of the ports must be made before the brochures go to press so how could this be the case. Friends of mine were on a different P&O cruise in the same period and they went into Gibralter. Instead of Gibralter the ship called into Guernsey. Guernesy was said to be duty free. Not only was it pretty boring but not cheap either. The ship missed out Monte Carlo, the seas were said to be too rough for the tenders. Cartegena time in port was cut short so that the ship could go to Guernsey. Read Less
26 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
we saw Britannia sailing the other way last year in the Med, it looked stunning so we promised ourselves to try it. We booked direct with P&O and pleased we did< Georgina was excellent, no hard sell, just a very knowledgeable and ... Read More
we saw Britannia sailing the other way last year in the Med, it looked stunning so we promised ourselves to try it. We booked direct with P&O and pleased we did< Georgina was excellent, no hard sell, just a very knowledgeable and approachable person. By booking direct we found we had a very acceptable on board spend allowance plus valet parking. The valet parking was smooth & efficient, the check in was a breeze, even better when I asked when our cabin would be ready I was amazed to find that it already was! One of the striking things about this ship is its décor, it's a cross between contemporary and art deco, no bold "n" brash purples and reds, instead mellow fawns, beiges, browns and greens that make for a calming, tranquil mood and that theme follows throughout the ship. The other most noticeable is the amount of thought that's gone into the public areas, in particular the decks and pool areas, instead of an open sprawl that seems to be the trend of many ships there are carefully sited glass screens and planters, gazebo's and different levels that gives passengers the feeling of privacy and seclusion, it's very good, also, no plastic loungers or chairs on this ship, instead it's a mix of Rattan or bespoke steal seats, The Serenity pool area is a good example of this clever design and it really is quite stunning. The main restaurant is the Peninsular which serves a comprehensive menu of very acceptable, nicely prepared and cooked food, there are several other dining options too, all excellent although some have a modest cover charge, there is a good pub serving many real ales and showing live premier league games pretty much non stop, they hold quizzes, bingo and various competitions too. There is a good sized (and well attended) ballroom, casino, the headliners theatre, the lime light cabaret, the live lounge and the crows nest both feature live music. This ship and its staff are a credit to P&O and anyone who says different should be taken very lightly indeed, in fact it was so good we've booked it twice more this year ! . Read Less
Sail Date: November 2015
Have been on 3 P&O cruises and 2 Celebrity X cruises. Simple summary was that we had a great relaxing holiday but expected more from the new flagship Britannia. Bigger ship with no improved experience for passengers, only more profit ... Read More
Have been on 3 P&O cruises and 2 Celebrity X cruises. Simple summary was that we had a great relaxing holiday but expected more from the new flagship Britannia. Bigger ship with no improved experience for passengers, only more profit for the company I.e. No better cabin space, no increased service in bars and restaurant - automated wine/beer dispensers in buffet area that never seemed to work? Standard restaurant food was very good and with excellent service. Speciality restaurant Ok but on a par with Celeb X including value for money. Ship tour was advertised in paper so I went to reception to book for my wife and told it was £75 p.p!!! Flights are excellent and organisation good for transfers etc. I will cruise again with P&O for the right prices but now Britannia would not be a high priority, Azura is fine. Having said that next 2 cruises are booked with Celeb X. Also steward was excellent but I felt sorry for how busy he was and worst thing about crushing generally is that we pay tips to supplement very poor pay and long hours and these companies charge premium prices. Final moan, Internet is a joke and not usable, how they can charge £0.25 per minute for something that doesn't function I'm not sure. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2015
Friends asked us to try this sampler as we were new to cruising. Since booking we went to the Caribbean with P and O on Ventura which was a good experience so we had a fair idea what to expect. Firstly, we were all impressed with ... Read More
Friends asked us to try this sampler as we were new to cruising. Since booking we went to the Caribbean with P and O on Ventura which was a good experience so we had a fair idea what to expect. Firstly, we were all impressed with Britannia as it is a new ship so all the cabins are clean and fresh. As this was such a short trip it was disappointing that we were unable to board until 3pm on Saturday and had to vacate our cabin at 8am on the Monday and leave the ship by 10am, It felt more like a one day trip. We ate mostly in the Oriental restaurant for breakfast and dinner and the food was generally good, but not the standard we had experienced earlier in the year. The service was always hurried and a few waiters bordered being rude saying they were too busy and we would have to wait. Both evenings we were not offered cheese after our meal. Plates were cleared before all our table had finished. Meals were muddled and we did not always get what we ordered. In the bars we experienced the same poor service. I began to wonder if the wet English weather affected the attitude as it was totally different when we were in the Caribbean in February. I would not recommend a short break with P and O. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
This was our first P&O cruise, and probably our last. The ship has a lovely decor, plenty of different spaces/places to go to, we had an excellent itinerary and to top it all it was a Strictly cruise. However, I cannot help but be ... Read More
This was our first P&O cruise, and probably our last. The ship has a lovely decor, plenty of different spaces/places to go to, we had an excellent itinerary and to top it all it was a Strictly cruise. However, I cannot help but be disappointed with P&O's flagship. Firstly the good bits... The cabin decor was finished to a high standard and in tranquil colours. There was plenty of storage space for our clothes and cases. Yes, it is smaller (in width) compared with the cabins we have had on Royal Caribbean, but during the day it was perfectly formed. There was a large fridge and tea/coffee making facilities and at least 3 easily accessible UK sockets. The TV was flat screen and wall mounted. Although we didn't watch them, there were a number of films and other TV programmes. The shower was massive and the bathroom well planned. The balcony is smaller again than we are used to but enough room for the two of us on the slightly reclining chairs, and the table doubled up as a footstool. The sun deck with the main swimming pools was popular. The grab and go (breakfast snacks, sandwiches, salads, desserts and the odd hot pasty/samosa) was a nice touch if you wanted a break from over eating at lunchtime. The pizza and burger bars situated here were also popular for a quick snack (and they did do salad there too). My son loved the ice cream bar, which was a reasonable price (magnums were £1.80, calippos £1 and ice cream £1.75 for 1 scoop up to £2.25 for 3 scoops). They also did ice cream milkshakes and costa coffee for the parents. As I mentioned above, it was a Strictly cruise and there was a full programme of events from professional demonstration shows to fashion shows, passenger competitions and question and answer sessions. On board, we had Kevin and Karen Clifton, Aljaz Skorjanec and his partner Janette Manrara, then for the second week we had Ian Waite and Camilla Dallerup. We were also joined by Russell Grant and Arlene Phillips. This was in addition to the usual onboard teachers, 4 daily lessons whilst at sea and nightly dancing to a live band. If you love dancing, this was certainly the cruise for you. In fact, the whole entertainment schedule was packed with plenty to do. Unfortunately, you sometimes had to make a hard choice and miss out on something, but c'est la vie. The Beach Hut. If you go on Britannia, do not miss this place! There is a £5 cover charge per person and additional £1.95 or £2.95 for some of the main courses. The food was excellent. The service was up there with the best I have had on any cruise ship with the waiters interacting with all the guests and setting puzzles for the kids with sugar packets between courses. My only negative point - I wish we had discovered this earlier in the cruise. There was a wait every night if you didn't go at the opening time, so get there at 6.30pm (even so, we still had to wait until 6.45pm before we were seated). On to the bad... The cabin at night was a nightmare. We travelled with our son and booked a GB cabin with a sofa bed. Unfortunately, when the sofa bed is out, you cannot access the fridge, hairdryer or the balcony. The sofa bed takes up all the room between the wall and the dressing table, with perhaps an inch or so to spare. To access the fridge or the hairdryer, you have to lift the sofa bed up, and it then gets stuck on the coffee table when lowering it. The tea/coffee making facilities is also in this corner so you have to go without first thing in the morning, which is when you are usually gasping for a cuppa, or lean over the bed and risk scalding yourself or the bed occupant. Poor design P&O. Many people have commented on the lack of a central staircase and this was a big issue, especially on port days as the gangway was inevitably midship when coming back to the ship. Most people also used these lifts to access the freedom dining restaurants, theatre and bars and shops around the atrium. Whilst there are forward and aft lifts/staircases, it was only on deck 7 that you could walk through to the back of the ship, so this really is a poor design feature. It is also quite a big ship with a large 'older' clientele (especially considering this was a school holiday cruise), so I think this should have been thought about more carefully. On the subject of the atrium, this didn't really provide a focal point and lacked in atmosphere. This was a problem in many areas of the ship, whilst it was nice it just lacked a je ne sais quoi. Some of this, I suspect, was related to the indifferent service. On most ships poor customer service is an exception. Unfortunately, on Britannia it was the rule. No-one was rude but they just didn't seem to care. There were exceptions to this - the Beach Hut bring one, a couple of waiters in the dining room and a barman in the Crystal Room - but it really wasn't what I expected. I also visited/spoke to reception about a couple of minor issues. Their response on every occasion was that it wasn't their fault it was someone else's department. Whilst this is true, a better way of dealing with these issues might have been 'Thank you for bringing this to our attention, unfortunately I cannot resolve this but I will pass it on to someone who can' rather than a blame attitude. The ultimate outcome was the same, but I was left feeling that I was being chastised for raising the issue and dissatisfied with my interaction. Food was also not quite up to the standard I would expect. Someone needs to teach the chefs how to cook eggs as they were usually undercooked with unset whites or uncooked centres in the omelettes. The buffet menu choice was limited, although every day there was salad, carvery and themed dishes. There were waiters taking drinks orders and pouring tea/coffee at breakfast and evening meals. However, on many occasions we would be able to eat all our meal and dessert without being asked if we wanted a drink.on the one occasion we did manage to order, my son had finished his meal and dessert before it arrived. It is far easier to get your own. As far as being a family friendly ship, it is certainly less so than Royal Caribbean. The kids club shuts for 1 hour at lunchtime and teatime, and doesn't start until 10am. This can make attending activities without kids in tow difficult as often these would start at 10am or 2pm and you might be queuing up to sign into kids club for 10 minutes or so when it first opens. Kids cannot sign themselves in or out until they are 13. Also, you cannot leave the kids on board in kids club whilst you go ashore. We had a lovely wander around Cadiz, but ended up curtailing it because our son got a bit too hot, tired and bored. It would have been nice to have taken him back to the ship, and then gone back for a couple of hours. Just means we need to plan a long weekend there whilst he stays with the Grandparents... Finally, for a ship that big, the dance floor in the Crystal Room is far too small. In summary, lots of good points but plenty of bad too. The British have a reputation for moaning, and we heard plenty of comments particularly about the lack of central staircase and level of service. The design issues are not major problems and could be overcome with information (and we worked our way around the central staircase issue by going forward or aft). I wouldn't have booked the cabin grade that we had, had I known about the bed issue, and I would have paid more for a higher grade cabin so that we could be. Ore comfortable in the cabin at night. However, it was the general ambience and poor service that let it down for me. There were people who seemed to love it, but also many who didn't (more who seemed to say they would go back to another P&O ship rather than Britannia, but then we do like to moan). It is a bit of a marmite ship. I don't think Britannia was for us. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2015
1st post on Cruise Critic - 7th Cruise so far Just returned from Norwegian Fjords - Nice cruise but sadly not too impressed with P & O "flag ship". Ignored initial negativity to form our own Judgement but unfortunately ... Read More
1st post on Cruise Critic - 7th Cruise so far Just returned from Norwegian Fjords - Nice cruise but sadly not too impressed with P & O "flag ship". Ignored initial negativity to form our own Judgement but unfortunately have to agree with many similar comments in general. Positive Points:- Very clean & tidy Food was very good but not fantastic unless you used a specialty restaurant Drinks prices the cheapest we have seen on cruises and no 15% gratuity on top of other tips Cabins comfortable and well presented (although quite small in comparison to other cruise's) Bar service excellent Shops- good choice and reasonable prices Cabin TV - excellent choice Ship's group "Pulse" very entertaining for all ages! The Limelight Lounge (Jaki Graham) was brilliant, excellent food, service very good - worth the extra Norway was excellent Negative points (Please note it takes a lot for us to complain) :- Understood the contemporary design of the ship, but it was overall very bland - we are in our 40's and don't mind the modern touch, but this was just so beige and unimpressive (sorry P & O) Main theater too small - we had 2nd sitting - set dining - forget getting a seat after this Only show we managed to see was the Overtone's (stood up) but very good show Main Atrium - again very small and no Wow factor - very bland Balconies ARE very small, with large reclining chairs that cannot be moved about in any way Daytime entertainment was very poor - When faced with a choice of a "puffy eyelid seminar" or a "session on back pain relief" for example, it was a good job the bars remained open with reasonable prices ! Could not tell you who the cruise entertainment director was as we never came across him/her - assumed he/she had fallen asleep writing their entertainment itinerary General layout of ship can be deceptive - no continuity having to pass from side to side to get from one end to the other - Oriental restaurant you need to go to deck 7 to get down to it at deck 6 ? Why? Cinema - seats small and cheaply made - restricted view of screen except from the front row. Staring to look like a moaner now, so will leave the list there, but these a genuine points that let the ship & P&O down. Rating in general is average and we did have a good holiday We are booking another cruise for later this year - Would we sail with P&O again.... Maybe if recommended but not on Britannia again which is sad. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
Just returned back from Britannia with a group of family members, 8 of us in 4 cabins, having sailed to Norway and the Fjords on Britannia's maiden voyage there. We were celebrating various family milestones of special birthdays and ... Read More
Just returned back from Britannia with a group of family members, 8 of us in 4 cabins, having sailed to Norway and the Fjords on Britannia's maiden voyage there. We were celebrating various family milestones of special birthdays and anniversaries etc. My wife and I are regular cruisers but have never previously been with PO but have stayed loyal to Celebrity for many years. However my sister who is a regular PO cruiser wanted us to enjoy the delights of the new ship Britannia! Initially we were anticipating a wonderful ship having seen all of the pre-cruise hype with the advertising and promotions etc. However, despite really wanting to be overwhelmed, sadly that did not turn out to be the case! The ship certainly did have some very nice public rooms and the deck area was spacious and well laid out. However it was disappointing that there was no covered swimming area save in the rather expensive spa area. The food was generally of a good standard and as we were a party of 8 we mainly ate in the Oriental Restaurant in the evenings. The menu was quite good but on several occasions we had to resort to the regular/popular section of the menu to find something everyone liked! the food in the buffet for breakfast and lunch were, however, of a very good standard. So in brief the good things: - Embarkation and disembarkation was fine and not a problem. - Food was generally good. - Some of the public rooms were very well appointed. - The outside deck area with the swimming pools was good. - Some of the individual entertainers were very good. Singers/violinist etc. - The destinations were very good and we chose good shore excursions. Now for the reasons I will almost certainly not travel on this ship again sadly: - Movement around the ship. We were on deck 11 midships. There are no stairs in the midships other than on decks 5-7. The lifts are too small; were often full when arriving at your floor or worse; just simply out of order! - The cabin was very noisy and vibrated so much that the water in a glass on the bedside table actually moved! I asked our cabin steward why the noise was so bad and he said he was not able to answer that question! I really have no idea why this is the case. We were on a deck in the middle of the ship and half way up. The ambient noise was so bad that even with ear plugs it was difficult to drown out the incessant humming. It felt like we were in the engine room! We did notice an unnatural vibration all over the ship which I have never experienced on any other ship before. We have sailed some 32 sailings with other lines. The fixtures and fittings seemed to be of an inferior quality and just in our few cabins, (and not from any heavy handedness from ourselves I can assure you), the towel hand rail fell off the door, and in my sister's cabin the shower fitting also came away from the shower! - The bathrooms were extremely small. The shower itself was fine but then you had to turn in to a contortionist to try to dry yourself once out of the shower! I am not a large person - heaven help any one over 12 stone! - There were many 'out of order' signs all over the ship. No doubt there are some serious teething problems going on. The public toilets were regularly affected by these signs with the female members of our group shocked by the lack of available toilets. I myself found that on one evening a toilet was overflowing and spilling out all over the toilet floor and several urinals were blocked. One welsh gentleman remarked that it was usual to see women queuing for toilets but now the men have to as well. (It was funnier in a Welsh accent!). - The Theatre! Don't get me started! It's not big enough P&O! Badly designed by someone who has never been on a ship possibly! - The Crows Nest, a favourite spot in the evening for a pre or post dinner drink was far too small. Nearly always unable to get a table or seat. - The cinema. Unable to get a view of more than 2/3rds of the screen if you're lucky! - The staff we found were generally friendly enough but no-one seemed to want to go out of their way to be engaging. The captain seemed serious but professional. Of course no doubt he has a lot on his mind! It was quite stark to hear almost silence in the theatre when the entertainment host asked if everyone was enjoying the beautiful ship Britannia! I realize I have rambled on a bit here and that this review (the first I have ever felt the need to write) may seem a little disjointed for which I apologise! My sister, who is a staunch P&O fan also was amazed at the problems we had and said that she would not wish to sail on this particular ship again either. Of course they may have to give away cabins at ridiculously low prices eventually to encourage people to go on this ship so who knows! I am not put off P&O completely and would be open to trying one of their other ships possibly - but sadly not this one again! 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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