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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
We booked a family cruise, 4 adults and an 18 month old, we had two superior balcony cabins of which we could not fault. Our cabin man Romel was amazing, as was the lady that did my son’s cabin. The car drop off and embarkation was easy ... Read More
We booked a family cruise, 4 adults and an 18 month old, we had two superior balcony cabins of which we could not fault. Our cabin man Romel was amazing, as was the lady that did my son’s cabin. The car drop off and embarkation was easy and very quick, the cases were outside our cabins when we reached them. Sadly getting around the ship was incredibly difficult with a buggy as the lifts were constantly full due to there being no stairs in the middle of the ship, why? How much easier would life on board be for everyone if it had been possible to move easily around it. Lifts would have been freed up by able bodied people walking places. Bad design definitely. The Horizon buffet was hit and miss, not the best food I have encountered on a ship, breakfast was the best, afternoon tea was served from 3 to 5, followed by children’s tea at 5, this caused lots of confusion, surely they could have a section for children at all meals, common sense really. We had freedom dining, avoid the Peninsula restaurant, they do not like people going in there, the staff are rude and very unhelpful. However the Meridian restaurant was lovely, the staff were great, cheerful and very helpful. Avoid the Beach House, set in a corner of Horizon, next to the empty buffet stands, food mediocre, Meridian miles better and no extra charge, service charge, discreetly hidden, 7.50 per person. Staff on the rexception of the ship were equally unhelpful, as was the IT lady, wi if a disaster and very expensive. Choosing not to do excursions we did our own thing, coming back on staff were helpful and attentive, letting parents with babies and small children get priority, I also witnessed them be very kind to the ‘older’ people letting them effectively jump the queue. All in all there were some very good points but also some very poor bits. Bingo and quizzes in a very small bar next to the casino, a big noise issue, the timing of lots of things for 530, not a lot of good to parents with children who were eating tea at 5. Also it meant you had to make a choice of what you missed. Not sure about the Headliners, I am tone deaf, genuinely thought they were too! Gervaise Flynn talk was amazing, loved it. To sum up I would not go on the Brittania again, it lacked atmosphere, interest and at times appeared like an old people’s home, just look in the crows nest on a sea day!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
I chose this cruise for the beautiful scenery of the Norwegian Fjords. Due to strong winds we were unable to embark straight away as it was dangerous to use the air bridge but we were kept informed and I actually boarded 15 minutes ... Read More
I chose this cruise for the beautiful scenery of the Norwegian Fjords. Due to strong winds we were unable to embark straight away as it was dangerous to use the air bridge but we were kept informed and I actually boarded 15 minutes before my allotted time. First time using a mobility scooter but very helpful staff helped me to board by a conventional gangplank. No trouble disembarking, off within 15 minutes. Luggage found and out of the terminal within 30 minutes. I did not do any organised trips as it was my first cruise on my own, since losing my husband and having to us a mobility scooter. Self serve Horizon restaurant has plenty of staff wearing "Happy to Help aprons" and they were indeed helpful (although wanted to give me more food than I wanted) carried it to the table for me. All areas are accessible to disabled travellers and if you want to eat in the other restaurants they will park and bring it back afterwards. The Eric Lanlard afternoon tea in the Epicurean is to die for. The glad house has amazing wines (Selected by Ollie Smith). Try a wine flight if you want to sample. These is plenty of seating even on a sea day it wasn't hard to find a place. Overall a beautiful ship with absolutely wonderful crew. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
We chose the Fjords again as we cruised there last year in late July. This time, we wanted to see the snow on the mountains and we were not disappointed. Our check in was very quick due to using the online check in service a few days ... Read More
We chose the Fjords again as we cruised there last year in late July. This time, we wanted to see the snow on the mountains and we were not disappointed. Our check in was very quick due to using the online check in service a few days before we left. Once on board, we located our cabin on deck nine. We opted for an inside cabin this time. It was clean and cozy, the mattress and pillows were very comfortable and we slept really well. The only down side was the air conditioning. Every morning, we both woke up with very dry throats, not down to alcohol I can assure you. Also, my wife's asthma was really bad in the mornings. Our cabin steward was always smiling, very polite and helpful. We opted for freedom dining and ate mostly in the buffet on deck 16. It was good to see the staff were much more proactive in ensuring that passengers made use of the hand sanitising facilities before entering the dining venues. This was sadly lacking last summer and there was an outbreak of norovirus towards the end of the cruise. Overall, the food was good and the menus were varied. We also ate in the peninsular restaurant as well, again, no complaints. We chose this time around to make our own arrangements with excursions as the P and O excursions are ridiculously expensive. The best thing about the ports we visited, you did not have to go far to see stunning scenery or find gift shops though eating or drinking out in Norway is extremely expensive. After last year, we didn't bother with the entertainment as it was not to our taste. I think that the amount of money P and O are pulling in, they could get far better guest acts on board instead of has beens. The service we received on board was very good, I must pay tribute to the bar staff on the sun deck who had to endure very cold conditions whilst wearing nothing else apart from their thin uniforms. They still kept smiling whilst they served us. However, the photography department was like something off Fawlty towers. We ordered some photos from the gala night which they managed to lose twice, this after waiting for an hour in the queue. We did complain to reception and finally got our photos delivered to our cabin. I must add, we did get some four for the price of two as compensation. We discovered that others had encountered problems also. Disembarkation went smoothly, no problems at all. Even our coach got away on time. Would we go with P and O again?. Yes, having cruised a few times with them now, we are getting wise to all these little extras that are supposibly good value, and this includes the on board shops who claim that goods cannot be purchased ashore cheaper, when in reality, they can. But overall, yes, a pleasant relaxing time, very satisfactory Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Myself, partner and parents in law went on this trip as it suited all of us with the timing and leaving the UK. I've cruised a lot almost entirely Cunard with a couple of CMV, this was our first P&O for all of us. We would go ... Read More
Myself, partner and parents in law went on this trip as it suited all of us with the timing and leaving the UK. I've cruised a lot almost entirely Cunard with a couple of CMV, this was our first P&O for all of us. We would go back on P&O if the right deal came up but wouldn't seek it out. Couldn't really work out where it was trying to fit in. Food / Dining We both had inside cabins, had booked on the saver and were allocated late dining although on different tables. The head waiter quickly put us together with no fuss at all. Waiters were very attentive in the dining room and also the lunch dining rooms. Food improved throughout the cruise I would say but we had a couple of disappointing meals. Tough steak (quickly replaced in fairness) and a fish that was very bland. The buffet was nicknamed the canteen by us. Hit and miss, some of the food was lovely, some was fodder. Uninspiring but not likely to starve! For us eating is an important part of a holiday and we like to savour not just eat for the sake of it so that was a little disappointing. We stopped using the canteen and opted for Costa and muffin breakfast and MDR for lunch and dinner. My partner and I went to the Epicurean one night and it was superb, we said if we went again we would budget to spend more nights in there. Cabins Cabins were great, functional, clean and spacious. Better than both Cunard and CMV I'd say. Cabin staff very helpful. Bars / Drinks We all went for the ultimate package. It worked for us and we enjoyed a variety of cocktails, drinks, whiskies etc. We went over 15 drinks and often didn't wait 15 minutes so I don't think they were sticking to that particularly. Service was quick (very quick most of the time) which was impressive. One oddity was that you couldn't have large wines or double spirits so you had to do a dance of ordering a single with mixer and waiting a minute or two then ordering a single on its own. Long winded really seeing as the total was under £7 anyhow. Entertainment All bars were great, the shows were great in the Headliners comedian superb and band etc great in live lounge. Live lounge was very very busy so we didn't go in there much which was a shame as it seemed really good. Public Areas / General A busy / full ship. We always managed to get a seat but it sometimes involved circling until one came free. Some of the people on board were pretty aggressive about the process! Not the ships fault and the staff worked very hard clearing and moving things round to do the best they could and serving drinks in random places to alleviate the main bar areas. Lifts were busy but never a problem for us, something which others had said were poor. Not something we really noticed. Itinerary We enjoyed Cherbourg, La Coruna was a bit disappointing not much to say and Bilbao was great, Guernsey didn't happen. A perfectly nice itinerary but not one I'd do again. When Guernsey was cancelled nothing changed on board so everywhere was really busy but we were happy to relax in a quiet corner. Summary Nice ship, staff tried hard at all times, clean, food mostly good some poor meals but to be fair they do 1600 meals a day apparently so I guess that will happen! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We really like this vessel - no bling just calming, muted decor throughout. Balcony room D117 forward, clean and in good condition. Love having a proper-sized shower with fantastic water pressure, large TV with tremendous movie ... Read More
We really like this vessel - no bling just calming, muted decor throughout. Balcony room D117 forward, clean and in good condition. Love having a proper-sized shower with fantastic water pressure, large TV with tremendous movie selection, plenty of tea & coffee, fridge if you need it. Superbly comfortable bed. Balcony a little on the small side but fine for 2. All public areas on the ship are spotless and tastefully decorated - if you want glass lifts and chrome fittings this is not the ship for you. Dinner in the main restaurant (freedom dining) was always excellent, other eating experiences as follows: Horizon Buffet: a serious bun fight at times (some punters go at it like they’d never seen food before) but quality good and always plentiful. Poolside: average burger and fries. Sindhu: high quality and a bargain at £20 per head in the evening but, surprisingly, “Tiffin” lunch nothing special. Glass House: great for lunch, can’t beat the small plates for taste and value at £6.95 for 3. Drinks on P&O are very reasonably priced and all the wines we tried were decent - you can get a really good bottle for under 20 quid. Wide choice of beers and gins etc. throughout the ship. We found the service in all areas, at all times, to be very friendly and efficient. The staff work tirelessly and show great patience when occasionally faced with a minority of passengers who appear to have been born without manners. Didn’t get too involved in the entertainment, but what we saw was a good standard in the theatre and Live Lounge. Ports: Cherbourg - nice town, walk in straight from the ship, unfortunately nearly everything closed being Easter Sunday. La Coruna - also a lovely town, again berthed just a short walk away, poured with rain so only a quick scoot ‘round then bank on board. Bilbao - beautiful city, spotlessly clean. Some great shopping and Guggenheim is a stunning building. St Peter Port - wonderfully quaint but I’m saying that from previous visits. Sea conditions made tender unsafe and a storm was on the way, so it was straight back to spend the last night berthed in Southampton! No complaints about this, the captain made absolutely the right call. Overall I would encourage people to give Britannia a try, she’s a great ship with no pretensions and friendly staff. I’ve seen negative reviews about the type of passenger on board and yes, there are some you wouldn’t want to share a small tent with, but I’ve stayed in some very high class hotels around the world and come across plenty of dodgy characters in those places! I think if you just accept that everyone’s different and keep a relaxed attitude, I’m sure you’ll have a great time. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I boarded Britannia for its France, Spain and Guernsey highlights. Embarkation was smooth for all guests, luggage attendants extremely helpful. And check in staff to security personal where to the highest standards. On boarding ... Read More
I boarded Britannia for its France, Spain and Guernsey highlights. Embarkation was smooth for all guests, luggage attendants extremely helpful. And check in staff to security personal where to the highest standards. On boarding Britannia I was greeted by friendly onboard social hostesses, who dealt with enquires in a very pleasant manner. The overall appearance is a finely and articulate ship with the grandiose it expels. The room steward kiran was trained to be more of a butler than a steward, one in which I would of expected to see on a Cunard liner. Absolutely excellent service from this young man. However it was not long Until you could hear the grumbles of passengers. From freezer packs not being delivered at appropriate times for medicine to be administered for a guest who had informed p and o re medical conditions. I can confirm the ship dealt with this on day of departure. Hopefully to the guest satisfaction. Then there was an issue with the drinks package!! 96 year old female told to pay the fee even though didn’t drink so her son could get his drinks package. I can confirm this was dealt with and he did receive his drinks package and the elderly lady was not charged and training was given. There was another incident on board on the first formal night when the photographer asked two gentleman, as they set to pose for photographs if they were father and son. One of the gentleman replied “no he is my partner” the photographer then replied who is the man and who is the woman” to many passengers in the queues horror and well as the two upset gentlemen. I can confirm there complaint was dealt with. The received compensation of 100 pounds on board credit alongside a meal in one of the fine dining rooms and the photographer was moved to a different area of the ship. However, they are still seeking more than this as they feel money or restaurants don’t compensate it is more to the fact of training and his attitude towards their sexuality. Now to bilboa this was pretty horrific as to disembarkation and boarding for disabled passengers coming off deck 6 rather than deck 5. It was far to long for passengers to try and walk and if a dla assessment officer was watching he/she would have been shocked as people who struggle to walk was actually beyond any Disablement entitlement. If a photographer took a photo. However because of this many were left physically exhausted and one passenger falling, injuring her ankle. Other passengers complained regarding the heating in rooms either being to cold then to hot in the evening. Then came the niggles and the freedom dining. Personally was pretty horrified at the times you had to wait your buzzer not going off, which I did complain about. Then the finest champagne not being open correctly and spilling out over the table. Which was reported. Now to your personal order of drinks bill being given and asked to sign before you had your dessert. I can confirm that this was reported and everything was taken extremely serious and action was taken.many passengers were disappointed not docking in Guernsey. This was down to storm Hannah and I back the decision as passengers and staff safety should always come first and the captain did although to the frustration of some. Disembarkation was delayed due to highs winds in the morning again adding to further frustration. This was out of both P and o Cruises control and ground staff. Unfortunately an act of god is beyond anyone’s control. Safety always has to be paramount. I understand people’s views and expectations are all different whether dining, dressing to entertainment. So yes this cruise didn’t meet a lot of expectations however, look carefully at itinerary of your cruise, and dress codes etc , every ship is different but at the same time it’s like a box of chocolates full of different varieties with a glossy coating. One thing I will say I think I am Amongst the majority that found the captains announcements came across a little condescending “ladies and gentleman boys and girls “ and tatty bye. Not how I expect a captain to address his public. I can confirm that every complaint is taking extremely seriously, and that Britannia staff will do their upmost to sort the situation out. Don’t wait to get home and complain it’s important to address it whilst on board. I would like like to add the bar team in the live lounge were of the highest standard and worked together extremely well. They served immaculately and presented themselves well a proud team supporting Avalon and his Assistant manager, and P and O Cruises. So yes the company needs to keep on top of training to impress the quality of service and fix things as soon as they arise. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
We chose this cruise to fit in with our grandchildren’s Easter break. Having returned to P&O after a few years break cruising with other lines we cruised on Aurora for 10 days last December. We really enjoyed that cruise so we were ... Read More
We chose this cruise to fit in with our grandchildren’s Easter break. Having returned to P&O after a few years break cruising with other lines we cruised on Aurora for 10 days last December. We really enjoyed that cruise so we were looking forward to a weeks cruise on Britannia with the family. We checked in on line and boarded with no wait which was excellent, however most people hadn’t used on line check in so there were only a few of us. First impressions of the ship were good, the interior design Is more contemporary than most ships and not so glitzy but it is understated and quite nice. We had a larger balcony cabin mid ship in good condition and at last a shower with a glass door, no a soggy curtain. As usual we had an excellent cabin steward. Being mid ship we found there were no stairs open for passengers to use. The lifts were not adequate they were constantly full and didn’t stop when the button was pressed. Unfortunately the unlimited food on cruise ships seems to be attracting disproportionate numbers of extremely large passengers and lifts designed for 16 people are often full with about six, and less if on scooters or in wheelchairs. This meant walking to the end of a very long ship, up the stairs and back to the middle, no mean feat at my age with a dodgy knee, but often the only way back to our cabin. My husband and I didn’t use the buffet at all as the food looked awful, which my family who did try it confirmed, saying it was the worst cruise ship buffet they had used in many years of cruising. Cheap carb heavy dishes and very poor quality. I noticed P&O had reduced the cruise price to sell off unsold cabins so I suspect they cut back on the food budget to compensate. We chose anytime dining, advertised as eat when you want with whom you want, and this works well for us on Princess ships when we cruise with Family, but unfortunately the Peninsular restaurant was was very badly managed. The first night was my Grandsons birthday and I had ordered a cake to the restaurant. We went down at 7.15 and were given a pager we sat down at nearly 9pm! The second night we tried 7 pm and were told dismissively it would be over an hours wait but could be much longer. After 45 mins I went to see the maitre d and he miraculously found us a table for 6. The food quality and choice was ok but ruined as it was served almost cold. We decided then that we would pay extra to avoid the stress as The Peninsula couldn’t manage freedom dining and the staff were borderline rude, obviously the decision to take off the tips has had a demotivating effect. We ate in Sindu which wasn’t as good as the same ones on Aurora or Azura, and the Beach house which was quite good, the teenage grandchildren particularly liked the fillet steak cooked on lava rock. My daughter and I also tried the limelight club where we paid £28 each for tough steak which we sent back and other tiny portions of poorly cooked food. We did have breakfast most mornings in the Oriental restaurant and the service and food here was excellent it was like being on a different ship. The entertainment we did see was of a generally good standard, but the venues are too small for the numbers on board and you had to get the the theatre at least 45 mins before a performance to guarantee seats together. There were no seats in the live lounge after early evening, and one evening they had an adult comedian on at about 11pm. Despite warnings it was unsuitable for children, several young children were allowed to remain by both parents and staff. The ports we did go to were typical of where you can travel in just a week in France and northern Spain. We had been to them before, but we missed Gurnsey because of a threatened storm which didn't seem to materialise, so the Captain wouldn’t use the tenders. This although disappointing we understood, but we felt as we were only 20 miles from France we could have gone to an alternative port which we have done before on other ships. Instead the captain decided to return to the U.K. on the Friday instead of the Saturday which meant all the shops and casino were shut on Friday evening as we were back in port in the U.K. The final straw was the chaos at disembarkation. The ship had been in port all night and we were due to be off at 8.45 and told to wait in the theatre. We waited and waited, getting hotter and hotter, apparently they only opened one walkway off the ship as it was too windy for the covered walkway. This has happened to us with Princess in Southampton but they opened additional exits to the dock side with no problems. A passenger told us the Captain had already got off as her son had spoken to him and left the ship in complete chaos. My daughter and family who were due off at 10.15 were off before us as they came down in the lift to go to their departure area they were told they could leave the ship, whilst the passengers supposed to be off at 8.45 were still kettled in the theatre. They eventually opened another exit when most passengers were already off. The Ship needs a new captain and new management in the food and beverage teams. We found the Captain very patronising with his boys and girls and beddy bye- byes announcements combined with a laissez faire attitude, which seems to have rubbed off on his staff. A bit more professionalism wouldn’t go amiss. We have another cruise booked on Aurora which we hope will match the December one last year, but we will return to Princess or celebrity where the food quality and service are not much better . I have just read that the Captain on this ship is going to Captain the new Iona. If he can’t manage this size of ship goodness knows how Iona will fare. I for one won’t be going on her. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Short jaunt around the Bay of Biscay. Bipolar weather and last stop aborted so no guernsey sadly. I love Britannia. She’s a big ship and handles the rough and tumble of the Bay no problem. I met some lovely people on board who made ... Read More
Short jaunt around the Bay of Biscay. Bipolar weather and last stop aborted so no guernsey sadly. I love Britannia. She’s a big ship and handles the rough and tumble of the Bay no problem. I met some lovely people on board who made my holiday very special indeed. Grateful to Pete and Clarke for this. I also met some horrors too. If people can be nasty bigots in a public venue, I’m the antidote. These creatures were summarily dealt with and I moved on. P&O should DNA check some of its passengers. Embarkation and disembarkation were a breeze. Very efficient and the staff were amazing. I simply couldn’t fault them. I love P&O for this. The ship is due for a refit this year and, although she’s a lovely vessel, she needs a bit of a makeover as my cabin bathroom stunk of urine! Not good when I’ve complained about the very same thing on Ventura before. I get that a few thousand people all using the bathroom is a monumental thing on a ship, but P&O must sort this out. Soon. In summary, I enjoyed my journey and Britannia is lovely, apart from her toilet habits!! Safe journeys y’all Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
This was our first cruise(2 adults 2 children) Slightly nervous before as never sailed before but I nee-dent have worries at all! Britannia is such a beautiful magnificent ship! We visited all around the Canary Islands. All staff ... Read More
This was our first cruise(2 adults 2 children) Slightly nervous before as never sailed before but I nee-dent have worries at all! Britannia is such a beautiful magnificent ship! We visited all around the Canary Islands. All staff were on hand when getting on/off the ship. Security was super good. We felt safe the whole time. Weather was magnificent as well. We had an amazing time! Staff were amazing along with all the entertainment that was provided. Our cruise was dedicated to strictly come dancing and so did actually meet many of the stars. We had so much to do. People onboard were so lovely to talk to. Food was delicious. So much to choose from. Our room was perfect along with the amazing balcony view. Britannia is such a fabulous ship an I would recommend her to anyone. We will definitely be booking with her again. Thank you P&O x Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Embarkation The car drop off takes 40 mins waiting in the car, this is a poor parking system, we were told it is a holding pattern so not to block gate entrance, but no other dock in Southampton does it this way and the fast drop off at ... Read More
Embarkation The car drop off takes 40 mins waiting in the car, this is a poor parking system, we were told it is a holding pattern so not to block gate entrance, but no other dock in Southampton does it this way and the fast drop off at other terminals works fine. Maybe we arrived at the worst time @14:10, but the tickets told us to arrive for 14:30 and no more than half an hour before. Embarkation was busy but flowing and fast track good for people with limited walking. There were rather a large number of guests waiting in the assistance area and the process seemed slow, so even though my wife and I use sticks and usually use this service we continued through the lounge. As soon as we were on the ship, we were able to go to our cabin and divest ourselves of the hand luggage and suit carrier. This we were not able to do on some other cruise lines and lugging cases etc. around was very difficult. The large cases arrived promptly about two hours after we boarded, which was excellent. Dining The restaurant's have plenty of room between the tables. The initial waiter service was poor for how tables laid out during the first breakfast and dinner. We had to wait for more water/coffee and when asked another waiter he said someone would serve us but only from our team (which he didn't tell us and didn't pass message on), plus waited for menus themselves in some instances. The table layout is bad for both general waiting and wine waiter, as our table for dinner (93) is behind wall/piller for main waiters and at far end of area of wine waiter, so difficult to see or get hold of either of them. We had no wine menu on one night and again difficult to get hold of the waitress, when she finally arrived and we asked about the menu, she stated not enough menus to go round so only given to regular customers, as we ordered wine on two occasions and drank it over two days we were obviously not regular enough. This was outright rudeness! Oriental Restaurant set up not like typical cruise ship and dark decor, seems to try and mimic a restaurant rather than ship. Other restaurant are more open, but food provision in these restaurant is more chaotic, we have been told by others. Food for breakfast can be warm at best, again service depends on visibility. The porridge can be nice and hot, but also luke warm, it does vary a lot and getting there early ironically meant the porridge was colder. Toast is nice and crispy, not damp as with other lines who keep it covered to keep warm, but too soggy. Coffee in the Oriental very nice, also hot, but refills can be slow to come. If you ask for well done bacon for breakfast it comes crispy which is good. The general food quality in the Oriental Restaurant is good. We didn't try the buffet breakfast. It is good that the doors to the restaurant close to late guests in the Oriental Restaurant 15 mins after sitting commences. The separate vegetarian menu is good, however if you have food from this it takes longer to prepare than from standard menu, so you will have to wait, which is not a problem, guests just need to know. The vegetables can be sparse e.g. Quarter of a potato,10 thick cut chips with steak. For the vegetarian meals sometimes it would be good to include separate vegetables. Also need to understand that vegetarians don't want everything to be soft. The sweet corn risotto was not great, the rice was undercooked. Steaks come as asked for and are generally good. The salmon was overdone and dry. The pheasant was dry and the shredded pheasant had a bone in it (about an inch and a half long) that I nearly swallowed. The low sugar desserts seem to lack taste e.g. Coffee and hazelnut cake was just a slab of cake with no coffee taste or hazelnut at all. The thyme and lemon stuffing that came with the roast chicken, wasn't anything like stuffing at all, much closer to thyme and lemon breadcrumbs. The scrambled eggs were excellent, as were the soft boiled eggs. My wife ordered macaroni cheese with focaccia bread, it didn't come with the bread and that was not the first time the accompaniment didn't appear. Drinks on-board were excellent value and greatly appreciated after other cruise lines. Does make daily drinks package seem very expensive at £40 per person per day. The wine packages are a good idea. The buffet restaurant is generally good, with wide walkways and good seating, unlike other cruise lines where they "pack people in". There seems to be enough choice, but very limited fruit available during lunch, which is what we'd like to eat. Having had a good breakfast and dinner. My wife wanted to go to the Good Friday service at 08:30, so we arrived at the Oriental Restaurant before 08:00, as from previous breakfasts it took 20 to 25 minutes to finish. This breakfast room considerably longer with scrambled eggs on toast for my wife arriving after 25 minutes which she had to bolt down to get to the service and didn't get her Danish pastry at all. Yet from where we were seated other guests in a different area, had their main breakfast delivered nearly 10 minutes before we did. Cabin The TV is missing on board spend, which you have to go to reception and ask to be printed out, which is a waste of paper. The tv channels are very limited, however the destination videos are very interesting and worthwhile. The tv lost all channels on at least one occasion that I can confirm (around 17:00 onwards on Sunday the 14th of April) and I think on another occasion earlier in the cruise. Also lost signal temporarily a number of times. The room steward is very friendly and remembers names (Ratheesh), he looks after us very well. Other staff outside generally do not say good morning (some do)? Though restaurant staff are pretty good. This improved the longer the cruise went on and by the end most said good morning, when on my walks around deck. The bed is very comfortable and cabin E520 is quiet and nicely furnished. It does need small lights by each bedside for getting up in night/reading. Guests leave bathroom light on and door ajar with coat hanger so some light available, this wastes electricity. The balcony is small at around 1 metre in depth, this seems smaller than other ships we have been on and with the chairs and tables minimal room to squeeze by, especially if you have limited mobility. The shower is excellent and spacious, the bathroom is well laid out but not large, I can see where some guests would think the layout is not ideal, especially larger people. The non slip floor in the bathroom is excellent. General Ship The decor is a bit tired in places, floor 7 buttons missing in most lifts, some carpets, rails and stairs worn. The ship is generally clean and the staff look like they work hard to keep it clean. The lifts are a nightmare, they are too full for disabled people, miss floors when waiting and take an age, had to take stairs as gave up after 5 mins plus, others waited for over 15 mins. People end up getting in any lift going in the wrong direction. No stairs with middle lifts a massive mistake. When trying to get off for an excursion again had to give up with lifts after waiting 10 minutes for lifts in the middle of the ship and standing there with two sets of people with wheelchairs, as there are no stairs, a glaring mistake when designing this ship. Also as lifts don't go to all floors it gets confusing to go to deck 5 from the rear from deck 6, you have to go up 1 along to mid ships and then down and when it is busy and you are in a wheelchair this takes ages. Lots of complaints about lifts and queues. Plus the rear lifts are the only ones you can use to get to the Oriental Restaurant, you can't walk there from other lifts, so they get ridiculously busy at dining times, especially in the evenings. There are two independent lifts each side in the middle, so people press all three buttons (1 for the main bank of 4, and 1 for each of the side ones) then get in whichever they can, leaving the other two still stopping at that floor. All middle lifts need to be synchronised. As there are middle stairs (behind the doors) which can be used from floor 7 down, but not up, why not? On the lifts in the middle there are notices about letting less mobile people use them, these are totally ignored. As this cruise has a number of sea days, at the beginning and end, a few children have taken to pressing all the lift buttons as they are unsupervised. I understand this is difficult for P&O, but the parents do need to have responsibility. It was nice that bridge crew made an announcement over the tanoy when whales were spotted. On Palm Sunday, an important Christian event, there is nothing mentioned or even a room set aside, as there is for the Jewish community. It is good there are Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services, though 23:30 is a bit late for the washing of the feet on Thursday and the liturgy on Friday (this is due to the crew being able to participate). I suppose this was the earliest P&O had rooms available? The Stations of the Cross on Food Friday was held in The Ivory Suite - a nice room, but only enough chairs for half of the people there, the rest had to stand. The lack of a promenade deck is disappointing as we like to stroll around the outside. There is an area outside to sit in which confused us as we thought it was the promenade. Doors really heavy and difficult to move. The facilities to keep hands clean (dispensers) are largely absent. My wife asked the restaurant manager and was told not necessary after a couple of days and also not that effective, soap and water much better, which is available (in the toilets by Oriental Restaurant so no one used them), in our view dispensers much better and more used, if they were there. The wash basins by buffet restaurant were used but only by a very few people. It is good that there are close buttons on lifts. Ports & Excursions The different ports were excellent, with lots of variety. La Palma was our favourite due to not being too commercialised, but all offered interesting aspects and not what you would expect of these islands. Docking was handled quickly and efficiently, though there were the inevitable queues at peak times. Excursions were good value (compared to other cruise lines) and pretty well run. Though on the one we undertook it was rushed to get the walks in and therefore faster than my wife or I can manage without discomfort (this was the one from the ship we did in La Palma - UNESCO wildlife and Rum). They did say they would take it easy, but certainly didn't for the last half, so we were the last to get to the rum tasting and worn out when we arrived. The tour of the facility was also rushed as we were quickly ushered between a couple of rooms with hasty explanations, to get to the tasting and buying something. At Lisbon, we had to wait nearly 10 minutes to get onto the ship, having gone through security and on the moving gangway, in very cold conditions. This was due to the positioning of the gangway being moved upwards for the tidal flow, which is fair enough. However, over half this time was waiting for someone from the ship (other than the security personnel) to confirm it was safe, despite the Portuguese operator of the gangway confirming to the ships staff that it was. When the P&O officer arrived he tried to blame the delay on the gangway shutting itself down, which the operator refuted and plainly stated it was down to having to wait for him to arrive. We were cold and just wanted to get onto the ship. Whilst we understand the need to be safe, this was clearly "jobsworth!" and nothing to do with safety. The dozen or so passengers were not at all pleased. Theatre & Shows The theatre was over packed for the Strictly interviews, it would have been much better to run 2 events. Also, there is a rush to get into events. Even for the "Astonishing" magic show (which wasn't even mediocre and was certainly not a magic show, just another dance show!) it was a ridiculous rush to get seats and for people who can't walk quickly very frustrating as all the best seats were taken. Theatre layout is curious as not only is it not big enough for the size of the ship (for 2 performances) the staggered seating near the front, means three rows are at the same level therefore if you're shorter, like my wife, and sit on row 2 or 3 of a level you struggle to see. So we had to try to get seats in the first row, which, due to the rush, was not always possible. Much more sensible to properly stagger the seating. If you dine early, like we have to (as I am diabetic), a third show at 19:00 is during dining time, so the show you go for will be 20:30 which is always the full one. The idea of having seats reserved next to aisles for disabled is great, but I recommend that the red signs on the deck 6 ones are made much larger and thus more obvious, as a number of people "didn't see them". It would be good to give out the "No saving of seats message" prior to a few minutes before the performance, as most shows were pretty full long before that and on a number of occasions people had been reserving seats for quite a while. Mind you on the flip side, neither my wife or I are particularly mobile so when doors open we can get caught in the rush to get good seats, so I try and go ahead, leaving my wife to catch up, which usually takes a minute or two. Michael Kushner is an excellent speaker and his talks are really interesting, the shame is due to a number of them being in the Live Lounge (that only seats about 250 people) we were unable to listen to a couple as all the seats were taken well over 10 minutes prior to starting. The Headliners theatre was a much better venue. There are a number of quizzes which are good fun, however the late afternoon one in Brodies bar starts at 17:30 and finished in about 20 minutes. Given that it takes another 10 minutes to get back to our room, we have 30 minutes to get ready for dinner and on formal night that is not long enough. The singer's in lounges are good with a variety of songs and moods. We were told by others the dance floor was much too small and it did seem so for the number of people trying to dance when we went passed, but it was a Strictly cruise and so this might have been an exception. Disembarkation The cases need to be outside at 20:30, which is much earlier than other cruise lines. The worse part of getting off the ship was that there is no place to store your luggage prior to disembarkation and you have to vacate your cabin by 08:00. So with both of us having mobility issues and needing sticks, we then had to contend with hand luggage and a suit carrier to take around with us, which made life very difficult. Some other cruise lines have luggage holding areas. Cabins have to be cleared by 08:00. Not surprisingly the buffet restaurant gets very full. Disembarkation requires you to go to a specific destination, ours was the headliners theatre. So you enter through deck 7 and have to make your way down the front (deck 6) as that is where they will start from. Walking downstairs is bad enough for us, but with 2 sets of carry on luggage and a suit carrier, plus 2 sticks it is almost impossible and leaves my wife and I knackered and very unhappy and hurt my wife’s shoulder quite badly. As we have some paperwork to hand, I left the theatre and met a P&O rep outside. I tell her about the difficulties of the process and how tired we both are and she says there is a disabled departure point (limelight club) that we should have gone to, or asked a rep before getting to the theatre. I said we weren't aware of the disabled departure (as it is not stated anywhere we found) and that by the time we knew how much hassle this would be we were already in the theatre. Also, there was a rep on deck 7 that saw us struggling down the stairs to get to the theatre (as APU the lifts were so jammed full of was impossible to get in the first 5 going down and people had been waiting over 10 minutes) who said nothing to us. So we were now stuck in the theatre waiting. My wife and I registered as requiring assistance, so P&O knew we'd need help for both on and off the ship. So instead of the rep saying we should have asked, P&O knew and exactly which cabin we were in therefore the should have told us what to do as disabled passengers (especially as we had not done this before on P&O). Also, there is an opportunity to self depart, which is a good idea, but we certainly couldn't cope with our main luggage. We asked reception about self departure and were told we would have to get all of our luggage off, and we stated there was no way we could do this having limited mobility, at no time did the receptionist mention assisted departure. An announcement was made about leaving the lifts for wheelchairs or others of limited ability which was more of less ignored. We understand that there is a process needed for so many people but some people ignored it and stood by the doors to get off first. There is realistically very little the crew can do to stop this. Our disembarkation time was scheduled for 08:45 to 09:15. The staff handling the process were OK, but made a number of completely inaccurate statements: 1. Once the process started it would go quickly: This started off in promising manner with the first 4 rows leaving at 08:40, then the next 2 at 08:45. We then had over a 20 minute wait for the next 3 rows (which we were in) and when finally called forward, more than the 3 rows requested tried to leave. We were in the 7th row and finally got out of the theatre around 09:15. One of your reps tried to stop us going out saying the queue was too big (which was ignored by the fed up guests), which it wasn't when we got there. 2. Adam knew exactly how we felt (and told us so repeatedly): No, he didn’t as he’d never struggled with his luggage (the way we had to) and then sat and waited patiently for nearly an hour, listening to statements that were clearly inaccurate. 3. This was the fastest way off and no one else would be getting off before us: When we finally got out of the theatre and headed for the gangway, lots of people (about half) in the queue for the gangway, had not come from the theatre at all. So, the best way to disembark was just to walk off! (especially as you didn’t need your departure sheet!) 4. You need your disembarkation sheet to get off at your allowed time: No, you didn't, just your cruise card as we never had to show the sheet to anyone. 5. This has never happened before: Well given the ridiculous nature of the debacle, if this was the best method P&O had of getting people off, then yes it would. Quite a few guests were vocal about the whole process and the fact queue jumping was going on. As there was still over 50% of the theatre to go after us and it was now well past 09:15, I believe this was going to get even more heated. Other cruise lines with similar size do not seem to have the same system and disembarkation is considerably easier. It would have been much quicker for use to just walk to the gangway on deck 5 and join the queue. Actually, getting off the ship was pretty straightforward, however finding your luggage was another matter. We had been told the luggage was sorted in deck order, in clearly demarked zones. We were on deck E and eventually found our luggage among suitcases from deck F. In fact, there seemed to be no demarcation between E & F at all, so wasted a lot of time searching what was supposed to be the E piles! At least getting the car from CPS was easy, so we drove off! The whole process was a farce and needs serious overhauling to stop it being so painful and exhausting. Overall Having been on multiple other ships and itineraries overall my wife and would mark this as 7.5 out of 10, as there were some very good points, and some very bad ones. On a scale against the other companies we would rate P&O above MSC and Royal Caribbean, on a par with Marella and below, Celebrity, Cunard and Oceania. 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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