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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Having read many reviews before I got a bit concerned about the cruise, of course every review written is based on the experience of the writer and of opinion varies, here are some brief points based on my experience- Food- variety ... Read More
Having read many reviews before I got a bit concerned about the cruise, of course every review written is based on the experience of the writer and of opinion varies, here are some brief points based on my experience- Food- variety good, quality and heat could be improved Entertainment- mixed, think some elements could be pushed further with no extra cost by thinking beyond what people are expecting and would have added the wow factor. Entertainment hosts work hard but some looked like they had given up but others were exceptional Public spaces- decor and quality far exceeded my expectations. Many big spaces, my advice is to look beyond the crows nest and atrium area on busy sea days if you want to relax. Sindhu bar area, live lounge and Marlow suite could be quieter alternatives (when not being used for other activities) Outside deck-under utilised by many, hot tubs good but could do with additional ones. Gym- will be writing to P&O regarding service by fitness team, they have totally given up. Equipment ok, some broken. No bar weights but dumbbells and limited machines. Could put together a workout using the equipment available but expected more from the facilities here Service- mixed. Majority of bar staff bugged you constantly to order drinks and then would take 10-15 mins to get the drink made. Bit pushy and if you would ask for tap water they would say mineral water to get you into buying it instead of having free water. Best to order drinks directly from the bar and be very clear what you want. Cabin service exceptional. Waiter service at main restaurant (Oriental) exceptional. Shopping- mega sales were full of tat and not worth your money. Shops very expensive unless you want cheap cigarettes. Perfumes not good value and choice. Gift shop could do with better products Overall- I enjoyed my time on board Britannia. There was an overlying sense of lack of motivation amongst some staff. I think some areas of service, entertainment and activity lacked the wow factor. These elements were delivered at a good 3* standard not more. Some elements were better but overall this is my view Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Balcony cabin A510, deck 15. Barbados- St Lucia- St Kitts- Antigua-Ponta Delgada-Southampton. We chose this cruise as we have always wanted to sail across the Atlantic. This is our second P & O cruise, previously on Azura. Flew ... Read More
Balcony cabin A510, deck 15. Barbados- St Lucia- St Kitts- Antigua-Ponta Delgada-Southampton. We chose this cruise as we have always wanted to sail across the Atlantic. This is our second P & O cruise, previously on Azura. Flew on the included flight from Gatwick to Barbados with TUI on 15th March. flight was good with all drinks, including the bar service, as complimentary. Transfered from the airport directly to the ship (the first night was spent on the ship in port at Bridgetown before sailing the following evening; this gave us a day to look around Bridgetown). Check-in was fairly swift. Upon boarding the ship there was the usual photographer but other than that, no welcome drinks or anyone to direct everyone to the lifts for the cabins, in contrast to our previous experiences. None of the warm welcomes we have received with a number of other cruise lines. First impressions was of a ship that was rather plain and dull in appearance; the atrium could be any hotel or shopping centre and the long aisles on the passenger decks were totally devoid of any art work or decoration making it look very clinical. Our cabin was clean and adequate, everything in good working order an the bed was comfortable. I like the open wardrobe area on P & O that is made separate from the main cabin area; a good idea! I couldn't help but feel it seemed like a Premier Inn room (not that there is anything wrong with that!) Our cabin steward was excellent throughout the cruise; she was very welcoming, friendly and gave an excellent service throughout; always knowing when we were out of the cabin to do her work. She also gave us lots of advice about the ship. The cabin stewards probably work harder than anyone else on the ship and deserve recognition. The sailaway party on the upper deck was well organised but had a completely British feel and the music played was very predictable! Not sure what foreign guests made of it all, although, I guess 99% of the guests were British anyway! We had chose Freedom Dining at the time of booking. We stuck this for the first 3 nights but were very disappointed with the service in both the Meridian and Peninsular dining rooms at night. Eventhough they were not busy, the staff seems totally disinterested in us. Very poor and not our experience on any of our previous cruises or other cruise lines. We asked to be transferred to Club Dining at the 1830 sitting to which they agreed and we were put on a table of 4 other people. In the Oriental Restaurant ther service was very good and efficient; the food in the evening - I though was just ok (better some days than others) but all the menus had a very British feel! One night we booked the Epicurean Restaurant which was £28 per person. The food and service in there was excellent, almost hard to believe it was on the same ship! This felt like the cruises of yesteryear and was the highlight of the dining experiences. We also tried the Horizon buffet on one evening and the food was generally very good. The Horizon buffet restaurant is a bit noisy and chaotic. To me, the layout and appearance of the Horizon Restaurant, with the tables all neatly arranged in rows, almost gave the feel of being on a large ferry rather than a cruise ship; just lacking the style and sophistication of other ships. One thing I noticed is that they never seemed to wash the outside windows of the public areas when in port eventhough there is an automated system to do this. It was done after arriving back in Southampton obviously since everywhere had become salted-up after the trans-Atlantic crossing. The Headliners theatre company and the Albion Band performed to a very high standard in all of their performances; they are all very competent professional vocalists, dancers and musicians. Enjoyed all of the performances despite the fact that most were of a very British theme! The other music gigs were all very good and some exceptional. I went to the series of talks on the sea days about the British SAS. It became a bit drawn out, a couple of talks would have been sufficient with the speaker's incessant pacing to-and-fro across the stage. Good thing the audience was essentially British as for an International audience this topic could have been bordering on the unacceptable level! The crossing over the Atlantic saw calm seas for most of the time. There was one day, after the Azores where there was moderate seas (as described by the captain) that lasted for about 24 hours; I thought that Britannia sailed the rougher waters very smoothly without much disruption (but it should be noted that I enjoy this anyway, lol!) There was a medical emergency a few hours after departing Ponta Delagada and the captain took the decison to return to port, keeping everyone well informed of the situation (a very unfortunate and worst case scenario for the person that took ill; thank God that this did not occur mid-Atlantic). Taking everything into account - I enjoyed the cruise, particularly the Atlantic crossing. My favourite port of call was Ponta Delgada in the island of Sao Miguel, Azores. Lovely place and we were blessed with unbroken sunshine and a calm day. For me, Britannia lacks the buzz, style, sophistication and wow factor of other ships or other cruise lines. I know that P & O can easily fill their cruises with the British public but the experience is just .....too British. Surely travel is about new cultures and experiences? I don't know what foreign guests would make of this? Maybe cuises are just becoming like any other package holiday as that is what Britannia feels like to me, not really a flagship of the company. I will continue to use P & O as they offer some great itineraries, year-round from Southampton. Indeed, we have already booked several more trips over the next year and a half. Britannia - luxury flagship? No! Good value holiday cruise ship? Yes! Hoping that Iona will signal the start of P & O becoming an International cruise line rather than the British cruise line at present. The guests in our adjacent cabin mentioned to us that it felt like a holiday camp such as Butlins. I have never been to Butlins but I will take their word for it! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Travel TUI were very strict at check in with both Hand and Hold Baggage £18 per kg excess. Flew TUI, from Birmingham to Barbados which was excellent. Free dinks on route we were offered 3 Alcoholic Rounds of drinks and 2 Hot/Cold ... Read More
Travel TUI were very strict at check in with both Hand and Hold Baggage £18 per kg excess. Flew TUI, from Birmingham to Barbados which was excellent. Free dinks on route we were offered 3 Alcoholic Rounds of drinks and 2 Hot/Cold Drinks with our meals. The main meal was good and the afternoon tea was a small roll and a scone, staffs were very helpful throughout the flight. There was enough on screen games and films to keep us both happy, 5/5. Transfer to the ship was delayed but quick and easy boarding when we got there. Bags handed in at BHX delivered to our door before we returned from Diner at 2100. Room First impression of the room was poor, we paid for what we thought was a good cabin but this turned out to be a cramped area with totally inadequate storage, one rail, 4 small shelves and three small drawers. The bathroom was functional but again lacking any space. The balcony is very cramped. We did get used to the room but not to the extent of suggesting it is worth the cost. Facilities and Dining This is a huge ship with lots of venues, bars, casino, Spa and Gym, 4 main dining rooms, and 4 specialty restaurants. We had freedom dining and ate mostly in the Peninsular 4/5 Waiter Service, which was very good all white table cloths and a good menu selection for all three meals a day, tried the Beach Hut 5/5 (£22), Live Lounge 5/5 (£50) and Glass House 5/5 (£32) extra charges all per couple. The Horizon Buffet was poor compared to Celebrity very British with heavy Indian and Asian Bias, great if you like curry. The Salad Bar rarely varied. Breakfast was very much full English with the usual Fruits and Yogurts, very much a good canteen service 3/5. Entertainment was excellent with three great resident bands moving round the venues, Headliners Theatre Group put on some outstanding shows, with five great singers and a brilliant dance troupe, we also had Revolvers, DNA and The Britones flown out to entertain us, all great but the Revolvers are an exceptional group who should go far 5/5. Excursions Best advice is do not book ships excursions which are much more expensive than local tours and taxis. Barbados We walked to the Harbour by the bridge in the Centre of town and had a few drinks in the Waterfront, 3 beers $6 Rum Punch $6, good wifi, and a very friendly service. Taxi back to the ship was $5. Expensive compared to other ports we visited. Curacao It was a Public Holiday so everywhere was closed. We walked from the Port into town over the floating bridge and had a few drinks by the Harbour. The few shops that were open were expensive but it was one of the cleanest and most welcoming ports we visited. Good free WIFI in the Cafe next to the floating bridge. Aruba The ship docked in the central area and there are good local tours, $25 for the open window bus ride lasting 2 hours with a beach stop if you wanted at no extra cost. Nice Bars and Cafes round the harbour. We walked to the Wilhelmina Park at the end of town to see the iguanas. Again a friendly place to visit. Good free open WIFI in the hotel/shopping mall in the centre of the harbour. St Vincent We did a Ships tour £43 each, but the weather was against us and we saw little of the island, the visit to the Fort and Botanical Gardens was very interesting but seeing two birds in cages should not be described as an Aviary Visit. The city is very rough and a bit of a shock to those less travelled, several guests we spoke to, started off into town but returned to the ship when they got to Front Street. This was a low point in our cruise but on reflection it was worth the visit, following the trip we complained to the on board excursion staff and had a very poor response, the guy didn’t even bother to ask my name or room number, as a result of which I cancelled the other trips we had booked with P&O. St Georges, Grenada Did the Hop on Hop of Trolley Ride $20 each which has 4 stops/pick up points 45 minute trip up to the fort and round the seafront. Lots of folks took the water taxi to Grand Anse Beach $20. We bought our duty free here as it was half the price of other ports $38 for 10X50g packs of Tobacco but shop around as the main duty free was much more expensive. Barter when you buy your spices you will get some good offers we went to the open market and had 15 nutmeg $2, Bag of Cinnamon $2 and Bag of Cinnamon Sticks $2 ($5 for all 3) Spice Necklaces $3 (4 for $10). Castries, St Lucia One of the Gems of the trip we did a full day tour with Cosol Tours, Cassius was our guide and I think the owners of the company which had about 10 nice air conditioned minibuses. $80 is a lot of money but the trip is virtually the same tour as the By Land and Sea Tour offered by P&O at £76. First stop is the Banana Plantation for short talk and a taste of Banana Ketchup, Banana BBQ Sauce and Spiced Rum. Our 2nd stop was a view point and our first drink of the day (Water, Beer, Soft Drinks or Rum Punch offered at all stops). We then move on to the breakfast stop where a wide variety of local buffet food was on offer, more of a taster event with 30 + items on offer (Curry Goat, Lamb Stew, Bread Balls, Meat Balls, Cakes, Coconut Ice, Spicy Toffee, Fudge, Candies) I suggest you get in quick and have a little taste of everything because it was sufficient rather than plentiful with some lovely treats to experience. Drinks were freely available. Our next stop was at Anse for A photo at the fishing village, then on to Soufriere where we boarded a speed boat to Golden Beach which is right between the Pitons, here I hired a snorkel kit with flippers $10 and swam in the reserve which has a wide variety of fish (Best $10 I spent on the whole trip). We had an hour on the beach before the return boat trip; a drink was waiting back at the bus. We then set of to visit the Mud Pools to bathe or the optional Volcano Tour, swimwear is a must, and you are invited to keep on your wet gear for the short drive to the waterfalls, for a second chance to rinse the mud of. The final stop on the tour is a stop for hot local bread and cheese with more drinks. The trip is expensive but everything bar the snorkel gear was included in the price and it has got to be the best way to see and enjoy sights of St Lucia. I can only add my thanks to our outstanding guide Cassius, and add another totally unreserved recommendation to the many which Cosol Tours have on Tripadvisor, Cruise Critic etc. St Maarten The port is across the bay from the beach and town centre, we decide to go local and caught the water taxi $7 all day return. There were lots of tours on offer and the round the island is worth a tour. I turned tourist catcher by asking fellow passenger to join a tour as prices reduced depending on the number of people, between the Downtown Taxi Driver (Sorry no name) and I we managed to get 10 people and had a 3-4 hour tour for $20 each ($60-80 for 2hrs for 2). We had an extensive tour and the devastation caused by the 2017 hurricane is everywhere, the amazing work being done to bring the island back to an upmarket paradise is astonishing. We visited the Nude End of Orient Beach, A Public Housing Development, and French Capital Margot for a lunch stop and Maho Beach for a short stop to see a few planes land. The driver provided a running tour on all aspects of Island life. Before departing on the tour we prebooked sun loungers and a brolley on the beach $25 which included 5 drinks, we left our towels on the beds in the front of the beach. (Others paid $20 for the same deal). Great visit. St Kitts First place as we got of the boat wanted $34 for a tour and beach stop, we picked up the same tour at the pier exit for $20, Del was our guide and he is a colourful character, the tour stopped at the last working Sugar Factory, Bloody River and The Plantation Museum. Del’s commentary was as colourful as his character and he kept us amused and gave us a few drinks on the route, we stopped at the ridge between the Caribbean and Atlantic for some pictures and refreshment. At the Beach a trolley and chairs cost $30 but the facilities were excellent. Beers were $3 and Burger and Chips $22, so a bit expensive. We had 2 ½ hours on the beach before being picked up at 1530. Antigua Our final tour was a shared tour prearranged with Gordon’s Tours on the internet with two ladies. The cost was $30 each and Jerome met us as arranged at the pier. We had a running commentary on all aspects of the history flora and fauna. The tour passed the Cricket Grounds, Abandon Sugar Factory and many villages. We visited the historic barracks and lookout post, for $8 we visited Dows Museum and saw a presentation tracing the history of the island, Shirley Heights, followed by The Blockhouse and Nelsons Dockyard foe a Rum Punch $5. The tour lasted well over 4 hours and Jerome gave us an excellent insight into life on the island. Well worth booking on the internet prior to your visit. On our return trip cases were collected the night before departure and we didn’t see them again until we picked them up in Birmingham, there were no hand baggage weight check on the return flight. Barbados Airport was comfortable and the duty frees booze was good $25 for two litres of popular brand spirits, $14 for Mount Gay room. The flight back was uneventful with an evening meal and a breakfast muffin, neither of which we enjoyed. Only 1 alcoholic drink was offered and wine with the meal. On summary we had a great holiday, were disappointed with the standard of food, and size of cabin onboard Britannia, given the £5200 price paid. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
I have been on 12 previous cruises with most of the other cruise lines. This was my first P & O cruise. First the positives. Good flight. I loved the fact you check in and don't see your suitcases until they arrive at your ... Read More
I have been on 12 previous cruises with most of the other cruise lines. This was my first P & O cruise. First the positives. Good flight. I loved the fact you check in and don't see your suitcases until they arrive at your cabin. Likewise on the return trip. Cases taken the evening before and next time we saw them was at Gatwick. I also like the process of getting off the plane, onto a coach and not going through the hectic Barbados immigration process. The embarkation process was quick and efficient and on the ship in no time at all, despite there being queues on arrival. Furthermore the disembarkation process was painless. I also liked that we could stay on board until our afternoon pick up. So could enjoy the day at the pool. I have been on the RCL Ovation so the size of Britannia wasn't as awesome as it was to my family. (It was the biggest ship they have been on). The deco in the cabin was average although fully equipped and spotlessly clean. Our steward quickly introduced herself and said if we require anything not to hesitate to ask. The beds were comfy and we had a good night sleep. Although, my only grip was, there were only back lights and no individual bedside lamp. In order to read I had to have all the lights on at night. This I found awkward particularly as my other half doesn't read at night. I was surprised there was no USB ports especially as it's only 4 years old!! Our food was great and ate mainly in the Horizon buffet or the Peninsular. Our service in the Peninsular was outstanding and nothing was too much trouble for our waiter Nasir. Especially as the other half is a fussy eater. We had Freedom dining and there was 10 of us at every meal. We only had to wait 15 mins on one occasion. Our Waiter was fantastic. The gym was well equipped which members of our party who are regular gym goers said it was great. We liked the pools, however, this is where things become a bit fraught. My first negative, in our party we had four thirty year olds and 4 children, ages 4,5,8 and 14. The elderly regular cruisers didn't like the younger children. My grandchildren played all day in the pools and if they dared splashed they were told off by the elderly women. Now, I could understand if they were laying on the sunbeds but they were sat at the edge of the pool. The first few times we ignored them but on one occasion I had to remind them that the pool is for everyone and if they didn't want to be around children they should go to the adults pool. This didn't go down well. Another elderly gentleman told my son off for splashing his little daughter in the pool. Apparently his wife didn't want to get her hair wet!!! What do you expect sat at the edge of the pool with your feet dangling in there!! There seems to be a quota of elderly elitist that wanted a very traditional cruise and obviously were regulars with P & O and consequently felt they owned it. This also showed on sea days. The poolside entertainment was at best poor. Old fashioned back ground music, not that that's a problem but they should be catering for all ages. There was very little entertainment except the quizzes, which was dull and mundane. I also felt the quizzes were something to pacify us. The sail away parties were good fun. They would start at 5pm and finish on the dot at 6pm. Despite the party being in full flow it stopped dead an hour later. I understand the entertainment team has other jobs but it all felt it was going through the motions. One of the sea days I even went to see a film as I was that bored on deck. On other ships the evening entertainment have had spectacular various shows every night. Apart from Astonish show the rest of the time was the same group singing songs from different decades. If you wanted a good show you really had to book the Limelight club and pay £25-£35 per person for the privilege. So for me it would be £70 extra just to see Gareth Gates! So for our party we felt that the entertainment team was VERY poor for the size of the ship. The next grip is the midship lack of stairs. How was this thought out? Lucky for us we were on deck 14 so it was only 2 decks to the lido. If we had stairs we would have walked to this deck but unfortunately the forward and aft stairs were too far away. I understand this is being rectified in the October refit. I feel P & O are missing a younger audience. Their adverts are targeting an older customer. Unlike RCL, Carnival etc who are targeting families. My family have said their next cruise will be on a fun ship and not a geriatric ship. So that's 6 adults and 4 children they have lost. We had a lovely cruise, fantastic ports, good food but in comparison to other cruise lines poor entertainment. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Although we took a 1 week cruise on P&O Britannia last year to Northern Spain in order to tailor our expectations….even with this knowledge the ship did not live up to our expectations. With the exception of St Vincent the ... Read More
Although we took a 1 week cruise on P&O Britannia last year to Northern Spain in order to tailor our expectations….even with this knowledge the ship did not live up to our expectations. With the exception of St Vincent the itinerary was excellent and we thoroughly enjoyed the islands that we visited. The ports were really easy to navigate whether we took local taxi’s privately or were on a P&O excursion. As with every holiday at whatever price it is normal to question if you had value for money. Did the holiday provider deliver on what was advertised and does it stack up compared with similar holidays. It is clear that the holiday operator is not responsible for the climatic conditions or anything that is outside their control. The tricky part is writing a review that is balanced: For instance I would not mention that the bed-sheets were clean (they were) but if they were dirty (they were not) it would be amiss of me not to mention this. Therefore the comments in this long review may appear only negative. Flights Lets start at the very beginning of the holiday and the Thomas Cook flight. We decided to upgrade to Premium for the journey as I am tall and really struggle with the economy class seat pitch for longer flights. The cost of this was a not inconsiderable £300.00 each……and then they wanted a further £60.00 each to pre-book particular seats! I was away on business when the midnight timeslot came around to pre-book the seats and when I then looked many had been blocked off. No problem I thought as there are others….however despite frequently looking they never released the ones that appeared to be free and then all of a sudden they had mostly been booked…….how so I will never understand! I do not remember seeing an email reminder stating when seats became available…..but perhaps it was sent but I missed it under a pile of other P&O emails selling a variety of cruise related products. The upshot of this is that we couldn’t actually pre-book seats and arrived at the airport to find we had been pre-allocated Row 1 window and aisle seats. These are the ones directly behind the bulkhead and have very little legroom. Despite paying the same price as the seats from Row’s 2 to 7 we had a far inferior product. We did not receive what had been advertised and even suffered shorter legroom than the economy bulkhead seats (we were able to see these when we disembarked the aircraft and walked in front of these seats). In fact the middle bulkhead Premium seats had between 3-4 inches more space than our seats as they were set back a little further from the bulkhead. Food and service on the flight were good and we landed in Barbados only 30 minutes later than the advertised time…..for long haul this is not too bad. The great news is that you leave the aircraft stairs and only walk a few meters to the bus that takes you directly to the port where you check in and straight onto the ship thus avoiding the airport ….. and your luggage is taken directly to your cabin. Embarkation was easy with quick service at the check in and we were on the ship in less than 10 minutes from arriving at the port. We were able to secure 2 Retreat passes at £450.00 for the 14 days. We like the Retreat as there is some shade and the sunbeds are bigger and far more comfortable than those around the pool areas. The only real issue we had was that the Retreat opens at 09.00 and a line forms about 20 minutes before. On sea days this line is rather long as each person wants to secure sunbeds in the area they particularly like. On one occasion once the door was opened and we were filing in, one of the passengers worked his way around the sunbeds to gain a few places and push in like a weasel……of course being English we didn’t say anything but unfortunately you will find people like this scattered over the ship; pushing into the lifts or pushing you out of the way at the buffet. Food. This was our biggest gripe. The quality of the food included was a little less than average. Lets take average as the quality of food in a Harvester. The food in the buffet was cooked using the cheapest ingredients and mostly lacked flavour and was mostly over-cooked. Food in the MDR was average and if you are in anyway a “Foodie” you may not like to eat here often. We only ate twice (one lunch and one dinner) in the MDR as the food was ok but for my mind not the standard of a reasonable restaurant and we also had difficulty getting a table. I know it is hard to cater for many hundreds of passengers at the same time and mass catering is never easy especially when there are a number of options and they are trying to offer something different every day. Freedom dining proved to be on both this and our cruise in September 2018 anything but. It appears that Freedom dining should be renamed “Top up dining” Our experience is that if the MDR’s are full then of course you cannot get a table. They will give you a bleeper that will vibrate and flash when a table is ready. The evening that we did eat in the MDR this was approx. 40 minutes. On another occasion we tried to go approx. 30 minutes before the 2nd sitting and again was advised that the wait would be approx. 40 minutes….so we scurried off to the Glasshouse as it would have been approx. 1 hour before the food would have arrived at the table. Our advice would be to book one of the set dining times as we saw the same thing happen to a number of other guests. We heard reports that the waiters did not have enough jam at breakfast or equipment and had to wait until other diners had finished before being able to issue jam or marmalade. Apparently the new Head Chef is looking to make a mark with Carnival and the only one the bean counters understand is that of reducing costs, which would account for the quality of the food. By taking this approach the line has steered passengers into paid restaurants, which in turn increases revenue and reduces costs by eliminating meals that were included in the ticket price. We ate in Sindhu once that had food with flavour (hooray) …..although it appeared that we got lucky as other passengers reported that flavour was absent on other days; which was in line with our September cruise observations. In the Limelight Club the food was fine and Gareth Gates was finer with a lovely voice that was worth the entrance fee. All other times we ate in the Glasshouse that had great service and freshly cooked (and not over-cooked) food. We were not the only people to frequently eat here as we saw the same faces many times….. perhaps they also didn’t rate the included food. The Retreat also served food at breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea but whilst this sounds wonderful the choices were limited and ran with the usual theme of poor quality and little flavour. On occasions the offering was different to what was advertised on the on table menus. The cakes were not sweet and the cream was tasteless. I would often pass rather than eat something for the exercise of jaw chomping whilst receiving no excitement for my taste buds. We scrummed down for breakfast and lunch on occasions in the Buffet and found this to be the most disappointing venue. Again the cheapest ingredients with breakfast bacon very salty and cooked in a steam oven (that is why it has no browning and the fat has not rendered). The eggs station was over-whelmed with guests and even if you asked for an omelette to be soft the chef did not understand and still gave you one over-cooked. Breakfast pancakes were cold. Watered down juice at breakfast and nothing other than water at lunch (we didn’t venture into the Buffet in the evening). There was no ice-cream in the buffet or on the decks and if you wanted ice-cream branded products were available at an extra charge. Another thing that was watered down was the salad dressings. Very thin and rarely was there a blue cheese dressing. Room service breakfast was on time (30 minute window which is understandable) and warm but using the same poor quality ingredients. Cabin. Lets talk about something more positive. We had a Superior Balcony Cabin that delivered everything the brochure advertised. Bottle of Champagne; box of chocolates; binoculars and un-expectedly a good range of magazines. Plenty of movies to choose from and you can pause and go back to the same movie a day or so later. Comfortable bed and an invisible cabin attendant (this is a good thing) who whilst being stealthy did a great job and the cabin was scrupulously clean throughout the voyage. Just a couple of little issues: the outside balcony windows were not cleaned for the entire fortnight: we had a power cut (all power on the ship) one night for approx. 15 minutes the cabin emergency lighting came on (yep it works) and the announcement chime was sounded but no announcement. Another night there was an emergency called through the tannoy and an assement team was sent to one floor but this was apparently a false alarm. On another night we had no water in the bathroom….but this was at 03.00 so no real issue and another night our (and a lot of the other cabins) A/C was not working……but after reporting the next night it was fine and to their credit they handled this very well with feedback etc. Ship General Appearance; For a ship that is only 4 years old the condition of the ship was poor. The hull had various rust spots and we were surprised to never see anyone painting as other cruise lines do! Further to this you can see where they have previously painted as the paint is not the same colour white and therefore looks patched. Not once in the 2 weeks did we see any of the windows being cleaned and some of the windows of the Buffet were so dirty you couldn’t make out the view. If you look in the corners on the decks you will see that these areas are not cleaned properly and the Serenity Swimming Pool has some of the little tiles missing (not many but they were still missing) the LED strip lighting around the Serenity Pool under the seating around the pool was dropping down and an attempt to hold this up with white tape was failing as the tape was hanging down. Functionality: The Gym was a disappointment. I cycle and wanted to keep up some fitness whilst away. Only 2 fixed bikes for over 3,500 guests meant that it was difficult to get on one. The only time that I did the screen did not work effectively and therefore the session was not what I needed. This issue was exacerbated by a poor administration situation. I read in the daily that there was a Spin Class the next day at 08.30 and to book in at the Gym. I arrived at 07.55 to find at the end of the Gym a table with 8 or 9 clipboards. One was titled “Tour de France” and I put my name on the list and was approx. 3rd down. Got seated on a spin bike…..2 late arrivals and only one bike spare so the instructor read out the list. My name was not on it. It transpires that the clipboard that I had signed to was for a couple of days later. However I did not spot this as the date was in small print (opposed the title) and the clipboard for that days spin class was not on the table! If it had been I would have seen that it was full and had a wait list. Of course I wouldn’t have placed myself in that position and been embarrassed by being sent away. Much has been written on the lift system and deservedly so. Clearly there is an issue with the programing of the lifts……but despite much customer frustration this has not been resolved. Brace yourselves for this as it start as a pint of amusement but it will soon beyond a joke. Entertainment: The quality of entertainment was very mixed. The theatre must have gone over their budget as they reply on the theatre company for many shows but have not yet found a male lead vocalist who can hold an audience. The staging is good with some excellent sets. DNA and the Russian Acrobats were good and held our attention however The Brit Tones really need to watch a video of their performance……or really listen as they didn’t harmonize together……and the higher range Artist sounded like the moment Norman Wisdom collided with Donald Duck…but at least it gave us a laugh…for a few days. The Theatre is a pretty dull place to wait in your seat for the show to start. Other Cruise lines have waiters serving drinks (missed that one Carnival Accountants) and always entertain with video quizzes or videos relating to the act that you have sat down to see…. although this did happen on one occasion. Looking at the demographic of the ships guests it is most likely that most of them avidly watch “Strictly Come Dancing”. Britannia has built the lovely “Crystal Room” to enable people to floor dance. Unfortunately very few people used or sat in the room; which in turn must be so demoralizing for the live band that played there each evening. Why oh why didn’t the dance professionals have a slot each evening to present a show of each of the dance genres. Music around the internal public areas of the ship is rationed. The Crows Nest is a beautiful cocktail bar with the best views on-board. Paul the Pianist must have been on a work to rule. If he did arrive before 18.00hrs he waited until his time to tickle the ivories and did not start before 18.00…….and certainly would not play for more than 30 minutes. On at least one occasion he was late. Once he had left it took a while for piped music to be played. The Atrium for most of the early evening is pin drop quiet with no music at all. Lets have a little bit of atmosphere…..we are not talking Prodigy or Led Zep and even Supermarkets have canned music between BOGOF announcements. P&O Staff The crew on the P&O Britannia work hard and clearly engaged with their positions. I have already mentioned the cabin steward and the waiting staff in the Glasshouse who were worthy of an extra tip. In every other area the crew were good efficient and friendly……especially if you give them recognition and engage with them. I would like to say the same about the Officers but sadly cannot. We never saw the Captain around the ship…..perhaps our paths did not cross. The white shirts we did see never engaged with any guests……although I have to be honest that one night a white shirt did speak to me in the Glasshouse (no not the old joke of “get out of the way”) but asked if I was enjoying my meal. However I could see this was not his forte as he did not want to continue to speak when I did start to engage and moved away whilst talking …….more of a McDonalds “have a good day” moment. Disembarkation Leaving the ship was well organized. A few days before we were due to leave we received an envelope with a variety of paperwork including the baggage labels and customs forms. There was a very well written guide to filling out the customs forms and a prescribed time to take them to the Live Lounge for these and your passports to be checked and stamped by Barbados officials. Leaving the ship is the same as any other time and the bus was waiting to take us to the Airport Shore Excursions Curacao: we took a taxi to Mamboo Beach. This beach is man made but is a short taxi ride from the port and they arrange to also pick you up. Whist this is man made the beach is clean and the water warm and safe as there is a breakwater that protects the beach. The Vibe is good and the sun-beds are reasonable to rent. Aruba; another taxi to Palm Beach. Although this is a commercial beach with large hotels adorned along the beach….its a beautiful beach with good swimming and facilities…..and lots to watch. Not all the sun-beds are for rent but if you see Sandra at the pier by the Hilton you will get shade and 2 sunbeds for $35.00 St Vincent: We attempted to book the “Escape to Bequia” P&O trip but it was fully booked many weeks before the cruise. Decided to have a walk around Kingstown. Not the pretty destination you may think but rather downbeat and smelly. Grenada: We took the Water Bus close to where you leave the ship to Grand Anse Beach. £7.00 each way and worthwhile. Great beach…. Sunbeds and shade (or in out case rain shelter) was worth $20.00 St Lucia: P&O Excursion: Catamaran to The Pitons. A quick run into Marigot Bay was lovely before reaching the Pitons for pictures and then onto a lovely beach. Fabulous crew who worked hard to get us in the mood for dancing and we rocked the boat (lubricated by the correct amount of Rum Punch: Great value at £48.00 per head St Maarten: we booked the P&O Excursion Zipline Sky Explorere and Surf Adventure. Great fun and the Flying Dutchman is brilliant and certainly the only thing that will hold you back is that “top of the diving board” feeling. Worth the £99.00 from P&O as the park is more expensive independently. St Kitts: Another P&O Excursion: Cockleshell Beach Break. We were picked up at 11.15 and driven to Cockleshell Beach with a stop to see the view of where a strip of land sits between the Atlantic and the Caribbean Sea. Our ticket price included a fruit punch (small plastic cup upon arrival) and a beach chair. However a Celebrity ship was also in port and they had arrived sometime before us and taken almost all the sun-beds (there were no chairs on the beach). I had to go in search of sunbeds that had not been taken and drag them to the only shaded area behind all the other sets of sun-beds and parasols. We went snorkeling to discover the underwater was dirty and littered with cans, bottles and paper. Worst still was that there is a raised underwater area that the sea grass grows on. Fun to stand on but beware as there were spiky sea urchins that would really do some damage if you accidently stepped on one. There was no warning in the bus or at the beach. On the upside the food at the Spice Mill was good. Cost of £30.00 pp was not value…..take a taxi privately and perhaps to another beach. Antigua: P&O Excursion: Caribbean Sailaway. Catamaran to 2 beaches. Have to say a little disappointing. Crew were not so interactive and dumped us at Turners Beach for 1.5 hours (some drinks were available onshore free of charge) whilst they prepared lunch. Not something we have seen before as this type of trip the catamaran usually stays on the beach so that you can leave your bags etc. Lunch was ok but no fruit or deserts offered. Onto Deep Bay Beach where the catamaran did stay with us on the beach. £70.00 pp was not good value. Summary In summary we have very mixed feelings due to a number of factors that really should be improved. Our assessment is that P&O are confused which market they should be targeting. They have caught themselves between the new generation traveller who is aspirational and is moving up to cruising from a land based perhaps all inclusive holiday and the old guard that have sailed on P&O for decades. P&O don’t want to miss either markets and have also narrowed their target market to the UK (how many French would like to travel on a ship with a whopping great Union Jack on the side). The accountants have penny pinched to a point that it manifests in the quality and service. Did we enjoy ourselves? Despite the above criticisms we did. The itinerary was good and the Caribbean Islands are wonderful. We ate well in the evenings and enjoyed the sea days. However it is unlikely we will travel P&O again as we believe from experience there are cruise lines that deliver a package that is more suited to us. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
We decided to get some winter sunshine. The islands were interesting some of which we had visited before. We always went on independent shore excursions and shared taxis with passengers from other ships and had interesting conversations ... Read More
We decided to get some winter sunshine. The islands were interesting some of which we had visited before. We always went on independent shore excursions and shared taxis with passengers from other ships and had interesting conversations with several Americans and a lovely young German couple. We never use the ship's excursions as they are expensive and not good value. We found Britannia too big and impersonal. Although we attended the Captain's welcome party, we were on deck 7, there were no officers present and we wouldn't have recognized the captain or been able to identify any of his officers. Only one lady officer spoke as she passed you.None of the others gave you the time of day. The balcony on the cabin was bijou even though we were in a superior deluxe cabin. We didn't feel that they were worth paying the extra money for. On a positive note the food was excellent and the ship seemed very clean.8 Read Less
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
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Travelled as a party of 6 joining the Britannia in Barbados for a 2 week cruise of the Caribbean islands. Firstly the flights on a P and O chartered TUI Dreamliner - upgraded to premium cabin but not told that you don’t get access to ... Read More
Travelled as a party of 6 joining the Britannia in Barbados for a 2 week cruise of the Caribbean islands. Firstly the flights on a P and O chartered TUI Dreamliner - upgraded to premium cabin but not told that you don’t get access to lounge at home airport as is a chartered flight. This is something that is standard for an upgrade if we had booked our own flight. Can only assume P and O increasing their margins and we did complain about this to no avail. Flight good, minibus literally from plane to embark the ship. Embarkation process efficient but not personable or welcoming I felt. On board bit of a delay in getting luggage we’d arrived in the afternoon and only got luggage after dinner. The ship is big and takes a bit of time to navigate not helped by the lift and stair configuration which is very odd and frustrating. We booked a balcony cabin on deck 9 which was kept very clean by our steward Michael who was efficient and unobtrusive, very good. However the cabin, compared to other balcony cabins we have stayed in, was small. The bathroom was tiny - no proper room to dry yourself off - my husband is 6ft and found it very uncomfortable. Balcony small just room for 2 chairs and a small table. Felt Pand O had crammed in as many cabins as possible at the expense of basic comfort. Pluses and minuses as follows: Food excellent throughout no complaints Public areas impressive, clean and tidy Entertainment ok - enjoyed La Voix in the Limelight Club well worth the supplement Service very good throughout, staff friendly and polite and helpful On the downside; Plenty sun beds but literally no space between them - you will get to know your neighbour, that’s if you can actually manage to manoeuvre onto a sunbed! Bar prices higher than UK pub prices as P and O claim, fellow travellers were surprised and said prices had increased Trips expensive - you can get same experience at half the price on shore if you use the local guides Theatre again crammed in, worse one I have been in on a ship no drinks service in theatre and no proper holder for your drink - all you can see is back of head of person in front Officers conspicuous by absence, no real interaction daily with passengers didn’t seem bothered, only exception in dining areas Didn’t enjoy the Indian restaurant not good value for money Smoking allowed at big section of rear outside bar spoiled it for non smokers Need to cheer up the pianist in Crows Nest Disembarked at Barbados fairly smoothly with luggage straight to flight which was good. On balance wouldn’t cruise on Britannia again, just too big and cramped for us particularly on sea days. Friends tell us other P and O ships are better/friendlier so we may give them another go but not on this ship unless a very good deal to be had. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Wanted to see the Caribbean so booked a 14 night cruise starting in Barbados. The ship is extremely large, but initially seemed to have everything we could want for a 2 week trip, and we thought it would be the best way to see 10 ... Read More
Wanted to see the Caribbean so booked a 14 night cruise starting in Barbados. The ship is extremely large, but initially seemed to have everything we could want for a 2 week trip, and we thought it would be the best way to see 10 islands. Biggest complaint was that there was no outside space where one could have a drink in the day or evenings if you wanted to be quiet and away from loud music (which seemed to play most of the day and night on the outside decks) and it seemed, very loud people. There were interior bars without music, but who wants to be inside in 30 degrees. Also, if you ate late (after 7.30) you had little chance of getting a seat anywhere on this fully booked cruise. The ship really is huge, we soon found that from our cabin at the bow, it was a 10 minute walk to the restaurants at the stern. As we walked this at least twice a day this became somewhat of a problem, but at least we kept fit. I hesitate to mention the slow slow lifts, often gave up waiting and slowly climbed up or down several flights of stairs. Food was good in the restaurants, though the service was a bit hit and miss. We once waited 45 minutes to be served. Also, breakfast service in the main restaurant finishes at 9am - we found this too early. The theatre was excellent, and the shows could not be faulted. We felt there was not enough time in most of the ports. We had 4 days at sea, and apart from our own balcony it really felt overcrowded and very noisy in the public areas, especially round the pools. This seems to be a party ship, where participation in making as much noise as possible is positively encouraged. Not for us, we like peace and quiet, so perhaps we just chose the wrong Company, and certainly the wrong ship. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Christmas in the Caribbean, how could you not have a good time? Well, pretty easily when there are so many little niggles. Britannia is the biggest ship in the fleet and has both good and bad points. The good include plenty of deck ... Read More
Christmas in the Caribbean, how could you not have a good time? Well, pretty easily when there are so many little niggles. Britannia is the biggest ship in the fleet and has both good and bad points. The good include plenty of deck space and sunbeds. Sure you will be packed like a sardine if you want to stay around the pool, but there are several quieter places if you look. There was also lots of space inside in public areas and a bar or entertainment to suit most tastes. The atrium area was understated for a ship this size but still offered comfortable seating and easy access to bars and shopping on the different levels. The bad points include a central set of lifts with no stairwell. When so much activity revolves around this central area, it makes no sense that passengers have to wait for a lift when they may only need to go up or down one level. Similarly, why was a theatre designed where all access is through the centre? Time and again, passengers arriving late or leaving early often walked right in front of the stage during the performance. A third design flaw became apparent as I watched someone in a wheelchair trying to negotiate the chicanes on the upper deck. If these were designed to lessen the effects of the breeze then they probably worked but it certainly proved challenging to one passenger trying to get from a to b. Good and bad extended to the cabin as well. Our inside cabin was quite spacious with plenty of hanging space and shelves for everything, but why was there no individual reading light above the bed? Why are there no nightlights for negotiating your way to the bathroom in the middle of the night without having to put the light on. One more thing about the cabins - noise suppression was excellent between cabins (we had two teenage boys next door and didn't hear a thing) and yet, from the corridor, you could hear footsteps approaching from the other end of the ship. Food plays such a big part of any cruise and this is one area in which I felt this cruise didn't quite make it. It's not that any of it was inedible, it's just that very little was memorable and some was even quite bland. Breakfasts were a bit of a disappointment. How many "full English's" can one person eat? Well, obviously for so many passengers, it is every morning. The buffet had so many sections serving nothing but bacon, sausages and eggs, that the sort of variety you expect in a top hotel was non existent. Some porridge and cereal, a bit of fruit (melon and pineapple) and some pastries made up the bulk of what else was on offer. Dinner generally started well and tailed off to desserts that were less than satisfying - I've never seen a creme brulee that tasted like strawberry mousse before! Apparently it was the chef's own take on a classic! So, what about the crew? The cabin steward was excellent as always. The waiting staff in the restaurants were, on the whole pretty good, even if they made the odd mistake when the pressure was on. These same people worked tirelessly in the buffet during the day often clearing the unnecessary mess left by the passengers. The area in which they didn't do their job was the more senior staff whose responsibility it is to enforce dress codes. And this brings me to the main disappointment - The British holidaymaker. P & O are complicit in this as they seem to be deliberately targeting the same person that normally would go to an all-inclusive in Magaluf. (Hence, The Great British Sailaway - The Brits seem to love it, but not half as much as the locals breathing a sigh of relief.) So many on board decided that they had paid a lot of money for Christmas in the sun and they were just going to do what they wanted. You name it and this cruise had it: The towel on the sunbed at dawn (nothing is ever done about it). The breakfast buffet was often a free for all with many of the passengers opting to use fingers instead of the cutlery provided. A lot obviously decided to make themselves feel at home by sitting at tables with their feet up or, annoyingly at dinner, having their noses pressed hard against their mobile devices. At dinner, the term smart casual was loosely interpreted, with many turning up in shorts, open toed sandals and t-shirts. Is it so difficult to wear a pair of trousers, a shirt and put on a pair of shoes? During the days at sea, the entertainment was straight from Hi-de-Hi and it was LOUD. I suppose it's ok if you've finished flicking through your celebrity magazine and are missing reality TV. It was mostly background noise to most as they lay on their sunbeds by the pool. The whole scene reminded me of a barbeque griddle full of sausages - slowly turning to ensure a crispy texture all over. All in all, an increasingly low rent, British experience probably best seen through the bottom of an empty glass. 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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