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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2014
The embarkation at the ocean terminal in southampton was very well organised and was very easy. After embarkation we decided to explore the ship we found the ship hard to navigate compared to all our other cruises. However there were ... Read More
The embarkation at the ocean terminal in southampton was very well organised and was very easy. After embarkation we decided to explore the ship we found the ship hard to navigate compared to all our other cruises. However there were some very nice looking bars and venues. There was a lack of outdoor space on deck 7. As the cruise went on we found the the ship was poorly designed with the theatre being way to small for he amount of people onboard. Many passengers had to arrive 45 minutes early to get a good seat and 20 minutes before the show all seats were taken. Although there were usually two or three shows a night many people were turned away or could not get a seat for the shows.the cinema was also of very poor design, the way it is designed you can only et a clear view of the whole screen if you sit in the first row. I also personally felt that the speciality dining restaurants took up a lot of the space on the ship. The food in the meridian restaurant was exceptional and we had excellent service from our waiters on table 126 near the window.the buffet restaurant horizon didn't have much choice but the food was okay. The grill had some lovely hot dogs ! The Entertainment also varied in Quality: - in the theatre, the main shows were great with some great singers and dancers, although the sound wasn't always very good, sometimes you weren't able to hear the singers clearly jimmy james did an excellent singing show, and we also managed to get a seat for the four seasons tribute band which was very good. - in the crystal lounge we were usually entertained by the talented "james murrum band" who were the best band on the cruise. They played some classic dance songs and also turned songs by artists such as elton john, madonna and bon jovi into rrrrumba's !, jives and foxtrots (and other dances). They had people up dancing all night helped by emma and george the dance instructors. - in the live lounge we endured a band called pulse who performed lots of inappropriate songs for the audience mainly 65+ playing rapper songs and wob wob music from the modern charts and dated cliche disco.the take that tribute was very naff. We also had a queen tribute band on called qe2 who were skilled musicians ( if slightly old) , the lounge was packed out but die to a sound engineer who couldn't engineer sound and had an inability to use eq so they didn't sound all that good and many people left. Overall it was a nice holiday if you can put up with the faults above you can have a good time. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
Britannia certainly lives up to her name......Big, Beautiful and British!! From the moment you step on board and are greeted with the huge 'Starburst' chandelier in reception you know you are about to be 'wowed' in all ... Read More
Britannia certainly lives up to her name......Big, Beautiful and British!! From the moment you step on board and are greeted with the huge 'Starburst' chandelier in reception you know you are about to be 'wowed' in all things British. The Atrium consisiting of three floors.At the bottom with the Market Cafe...a fantastic place to enjoy Charlie Turnbull's selection of cheeses and charcutries...and not only that but people watch too!!! who doesn't like doing that!! then up a level to the shops then again up a level to The Glass House for some serious wine tasting. Now lets talk cabins...All cabins are either inside or balcony...granted balcony cabins are very compact indeed on the balcony two chairs a footrest and a table that you would not be able to use all at once. The cabin interiors are more spacious in their design than other ships and the bathrooms whilst being compact offer the largest shower cabinets I have seen and with no curtains in sight!! Entertainment on board is excellent...from ballroom dancing to the traditional P&O Crow's nest room, however, one of the newest advances on Britannia has to be the Limellight Club...a traditional supper club with an act whilst dining, making it an evening to remember. Food...oh Food is typically British and so tasty from the main restaurants to the buffet restaurant it is ALL of a high standard and all those other venues in between...Sindhu, The Oriental, The Market Cafe, Horizon, Java, Room Service it is a gastronomic tour of the world with a British base. Outside there is plenty of space for all to relax and enjoy the various pools and jacuzzi's, whether it from the family areas to the Serenity area and then the retreat for pure indulgence, should anyone want to remain fit on board the Gym is the largest I have seen on any ship. I cannot wait to revisit for a longer cruise. I hope you all enjoy this ship as I have.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2015
We sailed on the 2 night 1 day shakedown cruise prior to Britannia's maiden 14 day cruise leaving Southampton on March 14th 2015. Britannia is a beautiful ship, stunning restaurants, lovely colours throughout the ship, well designed ... Read More
We sailed on the 2 night 1 day shakedown cruise prior to Britannia's maiden 14 day cruise leaving Southampton on March 14th 2015. Britannia is a beautiful ship, stunning restaurants, lovely colours throughout the ship, well designed bar areas and public rooms, a really stunning 3 deck atrium with the starburst flowing down in the centre to all 3 decks. On our first night our party of four dined in the Epicurean Restaurant, the Fine Dining Restaurant on Deck 16. It has a cover charge of GBP28 per person, but, it is well worth the money. The starter, main courses and desserts were to die for, I will not mention any particular dish as all were totally stunningly presented, full of flavour, served at the correct temperature and in large specially shaped glasses, bowls and plates further enhanced our enjoyment. I must mention Olivia, our waitress for the first part of the evening who was brilliant. All of the other waiting staff were as equal however, Olivia had that special touch. Our day at sea was spent at anchor off of the French coast and gave all guests on board a chance to explore the ship, she is beautiful. There are spacious sun decks atop if you wish to take in the suns rays, a fabulous "retreat" at the bow for adults only at a charge. There are several public rooms, bars and longes, not once did we feel there were too many passengers on board. On our last night at sea, we dined in the Peninsular Restaurant for Freedom Dining. We chose the menu recommended by Marco Pierre White, one of 5 speciality Chef's on board P & O cruise liners. Oh my God, we thought we were back dining in the Epicurean Restaurant! A superb gastronomic feast, a compliment to the chef's in the Peninsular galley. Following our fabulous meal, we all went to the Headliners Lounge to watch the 10.30pm show. the theatre was soon full, the show superb, however, I must say, P & O have taken theatre presentations to a higher level with their use of LED projectors, LED lit backgrounds, no live band at all but a wonderful musical sound and visual display with the dancers performing at 100%. As our Queen, Queen Elizabeth the 2nd said at the naming ceremony, "may God bless her and all who sail on her", Britannia not only has waived the rules, she will also rule the waves for years to come. I commend Britannia as a "British" cruise liner to sail on. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
We were on the maiden voyage and what a disappointment. Although the crew were magnificent and the food was great there was just no 'oomph' to this voyage. The entertainment was, on the whole, abysmal. for such a large ship there ... Read More
We were on the maiden voyage and what a disappointment. Although the crew were magnificent and the food was great there was just no 'oomph' to this voyage. The entertainment was, on the whole, abysmal. for such a large ship there were not the facilities to cope with everyone in the theatres. There was an interview with James Martin and the venue was overfull an hour before it started. My partner is wheelchair bound and the help on and off the ship was unequalled. Seeing as it's duty free the prices on drinks etc were very high. Also the cabin doors are self closing which makes it difficult to hold them open for mobility and lets them slam at night waking the whole corridor up. Sorry P&O it's a ' could do better' on this voyage. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
This was the maiden voyage so the ship was full, however, it was not school holidays where you could have had children in the cabins as well, I had heard 500 children were on the next week. Without the 500 children everywhere you went was ... Read More
This was the maiden voyage so the ship was full, however, it was not school holidays where you could have had children in the cabins as well, I had heard 500 children were on the next week. Without the 500 children everywhere you went was full! people were going to the theatre 45 mins early to get a place for what they wanted! Even if that meant they were going in half way through a film! The restaurants were full, mostly of dirty tables! so after an hours wait on freedom dining you are sitting in a sea of dirty tables having school at some times pub dinners! certainly not fine dining! no comparison with the grills on Cunard. They can do it though pay £7.50 for ribeye steak with prawns in the glass house and it is excellent, the food in the beach house was also excellent although once it was known about if you did not go in before 7.15 they were full can not book this one. The night club was great £28 per head! fully booked for the 14 days from day 3! as was the fine dining in Epicurean £28 per head ! fully booked from day 3. The reason all these places are full is because of the poor standard in the main restaurants....This needs sorting. You arrive at the desk, they either give you a pager and you wait up to an hour, or a ticket which someone then takes from you and shows you to the general direction your table!!   Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
Maiden Cruise review on Britannia Overall Ship Experience 8 out of 10 + Modern design + Well laid out + Great choice of dining options and food quality + High tech Headliners shows + Ample seating areas + Amazing Atrium We did hear ... Read More
Maiden Cruise review on Britannia Overall Ship Experience 8 out of 10 + Modern design + Well laid out + Great choice of dining options and food quality + High tech Headliners shows + Ample seating areas + Amazing Atrium We did hear a lot of passengers comparing Britannia to other ships in the fleet, but we feel she’s not been designed to replace them, but to add a different cruise experience to the fleet, offering a modern, fresh and unique feel - Points A few key design features which shave a few points off Britannia which are : 1) Design let down by no central staircase, so moving around decks (even just one deck) requires the lift, which can take be quite a wait and get very busy at disembarkation and in the evening. If you take a long walk to either end of the ship there are staircases located forward and aft, but for some can take some time 2) No promenade deck - so if you like to take an evening stroll around the outside deck, you cannot.  Also you cannot access the bow or stern of Britannia, she only has a small outside areas on deck 7 which are amidships and another small area towards the stern (you cannot walk on the outside between these two areas as the lifeboats take the walkway area up). The Crows nest is the only area you can look out over the bow, the Retreat takes the outside bow area up - this can only accessed by purchasing a pass Check In - As usual with Ocean Cruise Terminal It takes up to 2 hours to embark. You have to take a coloured A-Z card and wait your turn…very,very slow, so arrive early Once checked in and through security everything was smooth Thats all the bad bits over with .... lets get back to Britannia's great cruising experience ..... Cabin - Inside cabins offer enough access to get around the bed, plus large area under the bed for all your luggage, a larger than normal shower with glass screen, cabins are quite spacious offering a lot of hanging / cupboard space.  Outside Cabins are quite narrow with very narrow balcony, both are very well appointed with safe, fridge, hairdryer, tea and coffee facilities and are very quite (well sound insulated), either a 32” or 40” TV offering a great choice or radio, tv or film options ….althought your on a cruise and won’t need it that much! Staff - Very friendly, will accommodate your every need, on our cruise demonstrated their care, and bravery when tendering into Monte Carlo became very difficult due to sea conditions and strong winds - we felt very sorry for the crew members left aboard to recover the tenders onto the ships lifting hooks, as it took them 1 hr each to load the large new tenders back onboard due the conditions, injuring themselves in the process (lucky they made a full quick recovery) Tendering - Very fast, efficient and very well organised (please see comment above as quite a lot of passengers may complained about a long wait, but this was caused by very difficult and dangerous sea conditions. The Captain and the crew were very concerned about passenger safety as the Captain personally overseen the tenders and helped passengers back onboard Disembarkation at port destinations - Can be quite lengthly as only 2 gangways were used (we hope more will be used in the future), as with over 3500 passengers it gets very busy not only on the gangways but with the lifts so you can struggle to get ashore quickly Food and Drink - What can we say…. if you like food and drink Britannia is the place it be !!! lots of great places to dine : Meridian - Freedom Dining Restaurant - Meridian Oriental - Fixed Dining Restaurant - Oriental Horizon - open 20 hours per day (late buffet till 02.00) with self service wine Grab and Go - Ready packaged food sandwiches, fruits, pasta etc Poolside pizzeria - till 18.00 The Glass house - Charges from £3.50 to £7.50 - Open from 11.00 - 23.00 The Epicurean - Cover charge £28 per person - Open from 18.30 - 22.00 The Beach house - Cover charge £5 per person - Open from 18.30 - 21.30 The Sindhu - Cover charge £15 per person The Limelight Club - Cover charge applies The Ocean Grill - Charges apply The White Room - Cover charge applies Entertainment - Excellent entertainment Team, offering the best sail away parties we have seen for some time Headliners Theatre offers the very latest in high tech shows, lighting displays and amazing LED screens (around 14 ft high and the width of the stage) and a great sound system. The performers really take these shows to the next level Plenty of daily activities and evening entertainment for the more senior generation, but if you aged between 20-50 you could find it lacking, as the music, entertainment and general daily programme lends itself to an older age group After 11.30 the late night club doubles up as the disco which is nearly always empty as the sound system is lacking compared to the excellent sound systems around the rest of the ship Dress code - Very smartly dressed, it was great to see nearly everyone onboard adhering to smart dress codes (4 formal nights in 14 days) Retail - Quite a selection of retail options - but be quick …. they only hold very limited stock (in the case of watches and sunglasses etc they only sometimes have the item on display for sale, so if you don’t buy quickly you could be disappointed) Tours - Extremely well organised, great tour guides and run perfectly on time, prices once again are quite high on certain tours we chose a Rome tour which we felt was priced correctly for the amount of information and hours we spent on the tour. Spa - Britannia has an amazing spa with some amazing places to relax and pamper yourself, but prices are on the high side Our opinion of Britannia is a very friendly ship, very modern design features and the Captain, Crew and Entertainments team did extremely well for her maiden voyage. Britannia will also cater for families well, as she has a very large children's area with lots of entertainment and staff to keep them happy. We hope to return onboard in the near future ……   Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
Smooth embarkation procedure, luggage awaiting us on arrival at cabin, which was clean and spacious as befits a brand new ship. Pleasant cabin steward. Delayed departure and somewhat confusing boat drill, no roll call , could have easily ... Read More
Smooth embarkation procedure, luggage awaiting us on arrival at cabin, which was clean and spacious as befits a brand new ship. Pleasant cabin steward. Delayed departure and somewhat confusing boat drill, no roll call , could have easily avoided it. Departure party on deck lively but bars completely disorganised waited for 15 minutes for glass of wine, apparently had no glasses. Counted 9 waiters for the forward bar dreadful service many peopole gave up. First meal food good but again waited long time for wine,into main course before it arrived, friendly waiting staff but not organised and little sign of maitre d. The ship is beautiful, the art collection lovely, but why not label each picture ? Introduction by captain very short, as was his final announcement before disembarking, how nice iot would have been to have had a few officers by the gang plank smiling and saying goodbye. In fact at no time signs of officers. will be difficult to build a cxharacter of a ship without commnication, no questionaire on departure presumably we will be sent or emailed one at some juncture. P and O haver been in the cruising game for ever so should have ironed out the little niceties, speak to your customers, make them feel special, appoint a cruise director and do not rely on technology for everything and | hope the rumour that she has already been re registered to Hamilton is just a rumour   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2015
I had been preparing myself for my 2 night inaugural cruise aboard the P&O Britannia, excitement was upon me and I was counting down the days until I board P&O's biggest accomplishment - The Britannia. Nothing could quite ... Read More
I had been preparing myself for my 2 night inaugural cruise aboard the P&O Britannia, excitement was upon me and I was counting down the days until I board P&O's biggest accomplishment - The Britannia. Nothing could quite prepare me entirely for all of the "WOW" moments and how many times I would alert my partner to "look at that" or how many times I would attempt to get the perfect picture at the right angle to try and justify Britannia's beauty and to fit it all in. After embarkation we went straight to our Balcony cabin D215 - not too far from the lifts and at the fore end of the ship, quite a good location up on deck eleven. I can honestly say, hand on heart I was blown away by the intricate attention to detail that had been shown within the whole design of the cabin, everything has its purpose, the lay out is great and it truly feels like a boutique hotel. The bed is really comfy, the Balcony more than adequate and the bathroom compact and comfortable. With "The White Company" toiletries and "Dowe Egberts" coffee - what more could a girl ask for? To say I was in my element is an under statement. The beautiful pink fresh flower and the tray of sweeties welcomed us to our home for the next 2 nights and how welcoming this was, we really did feel at home. We decided to find our bearings and went for a wander around this magnificent ship to explore the numerous decks and see what we could find, we were not disappointed. The design and decor of the whole ship is immaculate, it's pure perfection, simple, elegant, modern yet classical - no amount of words or photos can describe the beauty of the Britannia - you must experience it yourself to understand. After venturing out and about and exploring the numerous bars that Britannia had to offer us throughout our stay we decided to retire to our cabin to get ready for the evening ahead. As we got ready I was curious to see what the menu had to offer us as we were booked in at the fine dining restaurant "The Epicurean" I was under the impression that it's a modern twist on Mediterranean cuisine, but nothing could prepare me for the unexpected delight that we were about to experience. We were given the option of where we wanted to sit and were informed that we were the first to sit in this chosen location, a mixture of different sized tables and more private "couch areas" provides a great restaurant to provide an intimate atmosphere, we were introduced to our waitress for the evening and she catered to our every need, she advised us what the dishes were (as it's not your average restaurant experience this advise was definitely required) she helped us choose our wine for the evening and was professional yet friendly. We received an entree which can only be described as a cream of tomato soup in a frozen lollipop! This was a "Bloody Mary" and it was extraordinary! It was packed full of flavour and provided a great talking point for the evening, quirky design and perspective of food is (in my opinion) one of the main aspects of dining at the epicurean. The Bloody Mary lollipop was only the beginning, when I received my bowl of soup I was first of all surprised at the appearance of my starter as it appeared to be one of those pre-conception "A La Carte" meals where there's not a lot on your plate and you're sat there wondering where the rest is . . . . . . . The ingredients for the soup were in my bowl (immaculately presented I might add) then I was served a jug of warm cream which was poured into the bowl which resulted in my most divine mixtures of flavours and texture (my soup). The main course was delicious packed full of flavour and variety complimented by a perfect portion size it was absolutely faultless. Before we received our dessert we were served another entree - I was given (what can only be described as a frozen lipstick) I enjoyed a burst of strawberry & cranberry as I ate my "frozen lipstick" whilst my partner enjoyed what appeared to be a fried egg - which was actually a sweet delight, again another twist on modern cuisine. The dessert was well presented and along with a great mixture of texture and flavour - the presentation was immaculate, this restaurant is certainly worth the visit for the experience alone. After dessert we attempted to go into "Brodies" (the British pub) but it was very busy so we chose the quieter option of the "Blue Bar" a great place to people watch and enjoy a tipple or two. As we returned to our cabin for the evening we enjoyed the turndown service with a chocolate each on our pillow, we hit the hay and woke up the following morning feeling refreshed after a great nights sleep. Up to my 2 night cruise aboard the P&O Britannia I had never experienced a Balcony cabin whilst sailing (only in port overnight) so as you can imagine I was incredibly excited to make the most of this experience. As I pulled the curtain back I was greeted with nothing but ocean - from left to right I scanned back and forth and we was just surrounded by nothing but the ocean. I put the kettle on along with my cardigan (it was so sunny but not too warm) and I sat on the Balcony watching the world go by, it was surreal, so relaxing and therapeutic to hear nothing but the waves was magical, who'd have thought I was on board a cruise ship with over 3500 others, I certainly wouldn't, I was in my own world and could easily have stayed there, if you're a book lover you would have been in your element, imagine just sitting there and losing yourself in a novel written by your favourite author, pure bliss. After a couple cups of coffee it was breakfast time so off we went down to the Horizon - a typical buffet restaurant, loads of choice, freshly made to order omelettes, healthier options or a tailor made full English - the choice is yours. We went down around 09:00 and most of the window tables were already taken, so if you want to enjoy the view your probably best getting down there a little earlier. We then decided to explore and take more photos of this beautiful ship and stopped later on for a "Costa Coffee" at Java, a great spot for people watching, we even spotted the captain himself Captain Paul Brown. We browsed through the shops and I was delighted to see a great choice of British brands aboard the shopping choice including Pandora, Radley, Fiorelli and so much more. Yesterday, we wanted to visit the Crow's Nest which was my favourite place to be when I went on my first cruise, it was too busy so made a pact that when it opened at 12:00 we would head up towards there and we did, a great social place to be, lots of seating options and the best views on the ship! Plus, at 2pm the pianist started to play which created an evermore relaxing atmosphere, it is a great way to spend the afternoon toasting an end to a perfect day After enjoying the view it was then time to go back to the Epicurean as we had booked in for Eric Lanyards afternoon tea, we joined the queue which resulted in a 5 minute wait (even though everyone had pre booked) so pre-booking is a definite must, we were shown to our table where our pretty afternoon tea set was sat waiting, we were then asked if we wanted tea or coffee, which I found great as I'm a huge coffee lover and even though tea is all part of the experience, I was pleasantly surprised when I was given a choice. There was a menu advising of what each delicacy was and also a menu for a wide variety of teas available, the treats were beautifully presented, gorgeous in taste and again very quirky design - an eclair that was actually a sandwich, a chocolate treat in a plastic looking case which you could actually eat, small pink juice filled balls that pop in your mouth, a great modern twist on traditional afternoon tea! We saved ourselves after having breakfast and waited until 3.30pm for this, it was definitely worth the wait and unexpectedly filling, therefore, I'd recommend the wait from breakfast if you book in for the afternoon tea. After several cups of coffee, our tray was empty and we headed back to our cabin to relax for an hour before it was time to get ready yet again. We got ready and went down to the limelight club for the evening with Jaki Graham, a popstar from the 80's (which I didn't know until the night) we were shown to our table and ordered our drinks, we were then served an entree followed by our 3 course meal from the set menu offering 2 choice of starters, 3 choice of mains and one dessert. The food again was great, however, by the time we finished dessert we weren't really enjoying the limelight club experience and was allowed to leave taking the bottle of wine we had just ordered with us, really I should have researched the "act of the evening" prior to booking as we're not really love song lovers and were both born after Jaki's fame, we couldn't really relate to the songs although she had a great voice it wasn't really our scene, so we headed to the Live Lounge. The Live Lounge had 2 young chaps singing recent release songs and then a disco in between, this was more "us" and we felt right at home, it held a great atmosphere as people were getting up on the dance floor when their favourite song came on and it was great to see everyone in their formal attire and some in their casuals too all on the same dance floor. A few times couples had got up on the dance floor and performed a dance together (it felt like strictly come dancing at times) which was fab to get such a great variety of people and dress codes, the atmosphere was fantastic as everybody applauded the cruisers who can dance, the look of enjoyment on their faces was a lovely sight and everybody enjoyed watching them too, a great night was had by all. Then, that was it, time for bed and disembarkation the following morning. I can honestly say this has been my favourite most enjoyable yet relaxing cruise experience I have had so far, everything was great, I had never been on a P&O cruise before and I will definitely recommend them and of course the Britannia to anybody wanting a home from home 4 star cruise experience, although the Britannia appears as a 5 star boutique hotel in certain areas. I can see why P&O are so popular now, with Dowe Egberts coffee in your cabin, the White Company toiletries and British TV channels so you can keep up to date with the soaps it's a fantastic home from home experience that can offer you to see the world yet you only have to unpack once. My plan is to sail on the Britannia again at some point next year when they release the 2016 European/Med itineraries and I would also consider booking a 3/4 night break on her in between "just because", I would have to have a Balcony cabin as I love the Ocean, hearing the waves and find sitting in the Balcony so relaxing, I would recommend our cabin D215 as its not too far from the lifts and it offers a great view! We would definitely visit the Epicurean again and have to do the Eric Lanyards afternoon tea experience again, we would probably like to try the Indian restaurant "Sindhu" also "The Retreat" looked the best place to relax on board so we'd definitely have a few hours planned in there whilst the ship was at sea, I could plan my itinerary on my next cruise (I am a bit of a planner as I like to maximise my time on board and make the most of the whole experience) I'm just counting down the days until P&O release the Britannia's 2016 schedule to see where we may be sailing to . . . . . . . . Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2015
Sailed on the maiden voyage, first impression is "wow" but that soon wears off. At dinner in Penninsular restaurant ordered wine only to be told that it was not available, and this was on the first night of the maiden voyage !!. ... Read More
Sailed on the maiden voyage, first impression is "wow" but that soon wears off. At dinner in Penninsular restaurant ordered wine only to be told that it was not available, and this was on the first night of the maiden voyage !!. Similar in both the Epicurian and Brodies where beers and wine on their lists were again not available. Embarkation from Gibraltar was a joke, in pouring rain customers were left queuing up for the limited access available with no effort made to open extra gangways to speed up boarding in awful weather. The common areas are too small for the number of passengers and you needed to be in the theatre at least 30 mins. early to have any chance of a seat. The much vaunted atrium is little more than a shopping mall, shops, cafes and a bar and could hardly be described as the focus of the ship. The food and service is cruise ship average and the £28 surcharge for Epicurian is certainly not worth it as both food and service do not come up to fine dining standards. Entertainment is cruise ship average, one night they did let a drunk onto the stage which brightened the evening and there was a fight in the live lounge where space is so limited that people end up standing in aisles blocking the view of those in seats. The weather was poor all cruise and as there is no retracting roof over the pools that area becomes unusable. Cabins are smaller than other P&O ships and balconies barely big enough for 2 people. The promenade deck is stuck right at the top of the ship is uncovered and again in poor weather is unusable. We have cruised with P&O before and will do so again but not on Brittania which is all glitz but no substance. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
My wife and I have just returned from the 2 week maiden voyage on Britannia to the Mediterranean. We are regular cruisers and have been on most lines that sail from Southampton. There is a lot to like about the ship but also many problems ... Read More
My wife and I have just returned from the 2 week maiden voyage on Britannia to the Mediterranean. We are regular cruisers and have been on most lines that sail from Southampton. There is a lot to like about the ship but also many problems that spoiled it for us which, unfortunately, cannot easily be rectified. I’ll divide this review into two parts: the ship itself and the service/food/entertainment aspect of P&O’s offering. The ship A lot has been said about the contemporary design of the interior but we felt it was all a bit too subdued. Fellow passengers used the word drab. Dark brown and little else throughout. There is no real ‘wow factor’: even the atrium is not that special compared to that on other ships. The designers seems to have chosen style over functionality and as a result many of the seats in the public area look great but are very uncomfortable. The tables in the Sindhu bar area are, frankly, ridiculous. The seats in the restaurants have plastic covers which invariably leads to a sweaty bottom and legs after sitting on them for a couple of hours. My wife, (5’2”) found the chairs in the theatre too tall to put her feet on the ground. The balcony cabins are slightly smaller than we are used to although perfectly usable and comfortable. The air conditioning is quiet and the fridge makes no noise which, being seemingly more sensitive to noise at night-time than others, we were grateful for. As with other P&O ships there is ample storage and hanging space for a 2 week cruise but there are no coat hooks which was nuisance particularly as we had a couple of rainy days. If you are from the UK and have a rechargeable shaver or toothbrush you will have difficulty plugging them in in the bathroom because the shaver socket accepts US and European 2 pin plugs only, which would seem to be a design oversight given the ship has been designed for the UK market and has 3 pin 13A sockets elsewhere in the room. So, take a UK->EU or UK->NA adapter. Surprisingly, there was a lot of vibration in the cabin when the ship was at full pelt. Our cabin was just in front of the middle lift shaft and while engine noise was not a problem, vibration was, particularly when outbound to Gibraltar when, presumably, the ships is going full speed. Vibration was also evident in the dining rooms and back of the ship but it was nowhere near as bad as on, say, Azura. The balconies are absolutely miniscule, I estimate about 4 foot deep. A couple of reclining deck chairs, a foot stall and a small table are provided but there is barely room to fit them in and it’s impossible to position the chairs so they are facing the sea. The in-room TV system is very backward technologically: you can’t see your account; you can’t book shore excursions or speciality restaurants; you can’t watch TV other than 4 channels of news and football; you can’t catch-up on yesterday’s port lecture. There are some video-on-demand films and TV shows available but that’s as far as it goes. Difficulties in getting seated in the buffet restaurant for breakfast and lunch due to insufficient space in them can often ruin a cruise so I pleased to report that the Horizon restaurant on Britannia is suitably sized for the number of passengers and at no time did we have problems finding a table. We did not have good enough weather for the whole ship to want to sit outside but it looks as if there is ample space on the open decks for when it does. The furniture is good quality and comfortable, with a mixture of sun loungers and wicker seats with cushions. Now for the worst thing about the ship: For reasons known only to the ship’s designers, but probably something to do with being able to squeeze more inside cabins in, there are no stairs in the amidships lift area above deck 7. There are 6 lifts, granted, but they are the busiest in the ship, with people going down to the restaurants and main decks or up to the Horizon. Consequently those that would use stairs to traverse a couple of floors are forced to wait, often 2-3 minutes or more, for lifts which are always crowded as a result. The odd thing is that there are stairs where you’d expect them, but they are for crew only. If you have an amidships cabin it will cause serious logistical issues and prevent easy movement around the ship, particularly if you're a wheelchair user because the lifts are constantly clogged up with able bodied passengers who have no choice (other than to walk to either end of the ship, of course) but to use them. I often like to be on deck when arriving at a port, preferably looking out from the front of the ship. Unfortunately it is impossible to get anywhere near the front on Britannia due to the position of the Retreat which prevents access to the front of the main open deck. The Crow’s nest bar provides a front view but that’s no good if you want to take photographs as I do. Service/food/entertainment I have no complaints whatsoever here: the food was excellent everywhere we eat, the service was mostly impeccable and the cabin steward personable and efficient. The musicians on the ship were all superb, in particular the female singers of Pulse, the house band in the Live Lounge. The Limelight Room is a great idea and we very much enjoyed an intimate performance by Jaki Graham there. The entertainment in the theatre was pretty much as you’d expect on a cruise, although some on board expressed disappointment that ‘big names’ were not on the bill given it was the maiden voyage. Evening entertainment was on the whole very good and we didn’t have a single evening where there wasn’t something we wanted to do or see. That wasn’t the case on during the day on sea days, though, and compared to other ships we’ve been on, there was very little going on other than health and spa seminars. If the weather is good, it’s not a problem, but it wasn’t so on most sea days we were a bit bored come mid-afternoon. So, in summary, we did enjoy ourselves and don’t regret going but we felt more effort could have been put in to make the maiden voyage a truly special and memorable occasion. The design of the ship has some serious flaws that marred the overall experience for us, flaws that almost certainly won’t be addressed anytime soon. It’s very much ‘more of the same’ as far as P&O goes and if you like their offering you will like this. But if you want more ‘wow’, innovation, technological advancements and prefer to be doing something other than chilling out during the day, look elsewhere. 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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