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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
Sail Date: March 2015
This is a beautiful ship with all amenities as you would expect from a modern ship. People with disabilities have been catered for, even to a lift to lower them into the pool and a stair lift to enable them to get to higher decks where ... Read More
This is a beautiful ship with all amenities as you would expect from a modern ship. People with disabilities have been catered for, even to a lift to lower them into the pool and a stair lift to enable them to get to higher decks where lifts do not go. A grab and go on the lido deck where cheese, ham etc. rolls are available to help yourself if you want a snack, after 18 cruises I haven’t seen anything quite like this before. It’s quick and easy just take what you want and either take it to your table or back to your cabin. I’ve never known room service to be so quick, 15 minutes from ordering to arrival. This is ideal if you don’t want to go for lunch. I only used it twice but was impressed. Evening entertainment was very good especially the Headliners. Their presentation of Once Upon a Time was spectacular, even in pantomimes when I was much younger I have never seen the likes. They even had a gigantic spider coming out over the audience, brilliant. All the other show rooms, I’m told, were very good, it’s just a pity I never had chance to see them as they were always full. Too many people too few venues. Many people will be impressed with this ship; unfortunately I’m not one of these people. I’ve sailed on nearly all P&O ships so feel qualified to voice my opinion and I’m afraid this ship isn’t for me. I found the cabins too small for the three of us, myself, my wife and my son. My son slept on a bunk which is accessed via a ladder at the foot of the bed, when this ladder is in position it blocks access to the bathroom and it has to be removed, which can be quite noisy at 3am. I dread to think how four people would cope as our cabin was a four birth. The TV is huge which unfortunately doesn’t apply to the balcony which is very small. To use the relaxer you have to turn it sideways, there is no room any other way. The biggest complaint I heard from other passengers was the lack of a promenade deck which is usually on deck seven. If you want to stroll around the ship you have to go to deck seventeen and if it is raining you will get very wet. On a traditional promenade deck this would not happen. Although the weather was poor, got soaked in Gibraltar, the wind wasn’t that strong but the ship still moved more than I’ve experienced on other ships in similar conditions. Even members of the crew said they felt a little queasy on certain days, for a ship this size this is unusual. I’ve booked another cruise next year to the Caribbean but stipulated it must not be on Britannia so I will be sailing on Azura which I have sailed on before.   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 We did hear a lot of ... 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 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 take 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 some time and get very busy at disembarkation at ports and in evening, unless you walk to either end of the ship 2) No promenade deck - so if you like to take an evening stroll around the outside deck you cannot 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 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 alot 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. 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
We cruised from Southampton on the new P&O Cruise Ship Britannia from March 28th until April 11th 2015. The Britannia is the newest and largest of the P&O fleet. On this particular cruise to the Canary Islands a record number of ... Read More
We cruised from Southampton on the new P&O Cruise Ship Britannia from March 28th until April 11th 2015. The Britannia is the newest and largest of the P&O fleet. On this particular cruise to the Canary Islands a record number of passengers for the P&O of approximately 3,766 were onboard for the cruise. My comments are directed at the new P&O Flagship, the Britannia rather than the cruise experience in the Canary Islands. I will deal first with the positive aspects of the Britannia. The Horizon Buffet restaurant is much improved over the existing P&O cruise ships, the Azura and the Ventura. The open concept, as found on most other cruise ships, has been introduced replacing the ridiculous cramped “Cattle Pen System” on the Azura and the Venture. However, sadly the selection and quality of the buffet food has not improved and follows the same mainly, Indian type menu, which is apparently standard for all P&O cruise ships. The staterooms are efficient with exceptionally comfortable beds and linen of the highest quality. The bathroom and shower facilities are excellent: however, there really is no requirement in such a small stateroom for two full length mirrors. The stateroom balcony is so small that there is really only room for the balcony furniture. The large flat screen television set is a definite improvement, but provides only Sky News, BBC World News, Sky sports channels and a selection of free and pay to view movies. Unbelievably, for a new state of the art cruise ship, there is no facility on the TV system to view your onboard account on a real time basis or book the various excursions available at the ports of call. This means that to view your account a visit to the reception is required to get a manual printout. The Library, in most all cruise ships is a central location and is a place where those inclined can sit and read or chose their books: on the Britannia the “Library” is located on deck sixteen as far forward on the ship as is possible and is best described as a “Cubby Hole”. In addition, on most cruise ships, there is an extensive “Computer Room” for passenger use generally containing around twenty or more computer stations and is also centrally located: on Britannia the “Computer Room” is hidden away beside the Library on the sixteenth deck forward and has only four computer stations: this is unbelievable on a new modern cruise ship. The Casino is also small and has only two of the popular “poker” slot machines, on most all cruise ships there are at least ten or twelve of these popular slots. I have saved the largest of the Britannia disasters for last: the “Atrium”. P&O, in my opinion, decided to break new ground by creating an Atrium modelled on the grand foyer of an English “Victorian Hotel”. As a result the Atrium of the Britannia looks like a setting for the TV series “Downtown Abbey. What on most cruise ships is the centre of all activity, the Atrium, is on the Britannia a “ depressing fifty shades of brown” seating area resembling an expensive nursing home. The main décor of the Britannia is a depressing variety of fifty shades of brown. The stairways between the seventeen decks are decorated by various sizes of paintings involving different sized “dots” on a coloured background. In sum, the complete internal décor of the Britannia is a depressing nightmare other than this the Britannia is an excellent cruise ship with lots of external deck capacity and handles extreme weather with ease and little discomfort. I will in future stay with the “Azura” and the “Ventura” when cruising with P&O. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2015
We booked this maiden voyage a year in advance of sailing. We were full of anticipation at the prospect of being the first fee paying passengers onboard Britannia and overall, we have to conclude that this ship lived up to our ... Read More
We booked this maiden voyage a year in advance of sailing. We were full of anticipation at the prospect of being the first fee paying passengers onboard Britannia and overall, we have to conclude that this ship lived up to our expectations. That is not to say that we considered the cruise ‘perfect’ by any means, but it was a magnificent fortnight onboard a ship that interested and delighted us. Britannia was everything that we hoped and expected it to be. A modern, sleek, elegant and technologically advanced vessel which we believe delivered the right level of sophistication and comfort for the twenty-first century cruise ship passenger. The facilities were well laid out and we felt that there was sufficient space for all – despite everyone being below decks due to the rubbish weather! Sure, there will be those individuals who complain that Britannia, ‘is not like (insert name of ship here!)’ - but of course, she isn’t designed to mimic other ships. P & O have created an individual vessel which sits proudly now as the flagship of the fleet. There will be detractors just as there will be those who fall in love with Britannia in equal measure. We think individuals will make up their mind rapidly and we guess that Britannia will attract a new generation of younger cruisers which is probably the business strategy of P & O anyway. Older, ‘traditional’ P & O passengers will no doubt be more settled on one of the other ships such as Oceana for instance (which we agree is wonderful also). One of the problems with this maiden cruise was that it was made up almost exclusively of passengers who had travelled with P & O many times and so inevitably, because the ship was so different in terms of character, layout and design, we heard many people grumbling throughout the holiday. Frankly, most of the utterings were nonsense and nit picking really. After a while, we tired of people complaining and tried to associate with passengers who were more positive. One of the most common complaints was the lack of passenger stairs in the middle of the ship. To be fair, although there was no doubt a design reason for this, it did force people to wait for lifts when they would normally have walked up or down a few flights of stairs. So, there was congestion around the lifts frequently. We think that P & O definitely missed a trick with the maiden voyage in some very critical and key areas. Inwardly, we were quite disappointed that the moment we embarked, we simply wondered around with everyone else. We had hoped to be greeted with perhaps champagne and canapés to make that moment ‘special’. Alas, it was not to be. The actual sail-away was quite nice as there was red, white and blue confetti, the Royal Marines band playing and a fireworks display as we pulled away on our journey. The only thing that spoilt the moment (and this was not the fault of P & O) was the disgraceful and utterly greedy behavior of some passengers who grabbed as many glasses of free sparkling wine as possible in a mad stampede during the party. Not nice. Also, being the inaugural cruise, there had been rumors that a really ‘big name’ act would be performing since the occasion was so important. Unfortunately, although the entertainers were wholly acceptable, there was no-one who could be called a star. It might have been worth P & O paying for a really special personality to give the cruise the ‘wow’ factor that it lacked to a certain extent – even if this extra cost dug into the profits for that cruise. It should be mentioned that every passenger did receive a very nice commemorative Wedgewood teacup and saucer as a gift to mark the occasion of this cruise which we felt was very appropriate and well received. One of the most significant disappointments for us was the fact that for the first week of the cruise, the dinner menu (we dined in the Oriental restaurant) was exactly the same as on every previous cruise we’ve had with this line (six, I think). Sorry P & O, this was inexcusable and frankly lazy! Why would you serve the same food - especially to mainly repeat customers, even down to the first captain’s gala menu designed by Marco Pierre White? We’ve seen it all before! Although the food was of excellent quality, no-one wants to see the identical menu again and again. Our dining experience was only enlivened when the menu changed on the second week thank goodness! There were several places to eat for an additional fee. We tried the Epicurean for afternoon tea designed by Eric Lanard the television patisserie chef. My wife was delighted when he actually came into the restaurant (as he was onboard at the time as was James Martin) and spent time going round all the tables to chat with the diners. For us, Sindhu was a disaster as when we tried to book; the staff of this restaurant simply ignored us repeatedly which caused embarrassment. My wife is not the type of woman to entertain this rudeness and so we decided not to book this restaurant as a way of punishing P & O as we would not pay extra for terrible customer service. We will likely never eat in any Sindhu restaurant solely because of this experience. Businesses the world over know that the first impression is everything to a customer. Sorry, but that is the way it is, P & O. We also had an evening in the Limelight club which was a new innovation for P & O. We saw Dean Andrews the actor / singer, who was good, and we enjoyed a nice night there. The same could not be said for the Live Lounge. We felt obliged to complain as the place was packed and so we and many others could not get in or had to stand. The reason was that selfish people who had seen the band (Queen Tribute) perform at half eight decided not to vacate their seats after the show to allow those who had been on the late sitting for dinner a chance to see the next performance. There was nearly a riot as when the second performance started, the lead singer asked, ‘who was here to see our first show?’ and stupidly, people cheered indicating that they had been present. Some people who were forced to stand started to shout, ‘get out!’ and the atmosphere became heated. Why would you see a band once and then stay put to see the exact show two hours later when there was other entertainment on offer at different venues? On other ships we’ve been on, it is normal to put the lights on and clear the tables in between shows to encourage people who have seen the show once to vacate the place to allow others to come in. P & O, please take note as you very nearly had unrest to deal with and I doubt you have a brig big enough! In conclusion, the maiden voyage of the Britannia certainly met expectations but failed to offer the intense experience that we hoped we would receive. Possibly, we romanticized this cruise a little too much. Certainly, the ship is magnificent, the cabins comfortable, the staff, food and the facilities great. We enjoyed it. However, I think in essence, the ship is fun but slightly impersonal and it will probably not grow on us to a great extent. The million dollar question is would we sail on Britannia again? Yes, undoubtedly but probably after a few other different ships first. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2015
After waiting a year and looking forward to "Britannia" it just was not what we expected, Our cabin had 2 extra bunks in, thankfully we had no children with us as how they think 4 people could exist in a cabin that size beggars ... Read More
After waiting a year and looking forward to "Britannia" it just was not what we expected, Our cabin had 2 extra bunks in, thankfully we had no children with us as how they think 4 people could exist in a cabin that size beggars belief. There was no promenade deck like on the other ships, you either had to go to the Crows nest up forward, or go to the so called promenade deck on deck 17. The activities were'nt great. Port and shore excursions left a lot to be desired - Cartagena a no walking tour we were told - my friend and I - both disabled had to wait for an hour and a half while our wives did the tour, we did get money back but that is not the point. A sailaway was cancelled, when we enquired why we were told inclement weather there is a bar downstairs - friendly staff leave a lot to be desired. Dining was quire good, but the food was not as good as on other cruises, although the waiting staff were excellent. We went to the "Glass House" for lunch, but walked out after waiting for nearly 2 hours to be served, The Beach House was very good though. The Headliners theatre is not big enough for a ship of that size. Embarkation everywhere was a nightmare, only 1 gangway at a lot of places. Lifts and toilets were out of order. The final straw was disembarkation at Southampton, we were at our designated waiting place an hour before, but there was no information broadcast at all, so we did the same as everyone else,and just went for it- a total shambles. Finally a line from the song "Sloop John B" comes to mind - "This is the worst trip I've ever been on" Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2015
Booked a balcony cabin for maiden voyage of the overhyped Britannia.This was our 10th cruise. This ship will damage P&Os brand image if the poor standards continue. Bad layout of ship caused lots of conjestion and pinchpoints in many ... Read More
Booked a balcony cabin for maiden voyage of the overhyped Britannia.This was our 10th cruise. This ship will damage P&Os brand image if the poor standards continue. Bad layout of ship caused lots of conjestion and pinchpoints in many areas, a theatre that only accomadates a third of the passengers in narrow sweaty seats, the atriums wow factor consists of a 3 storey high lampshade which changes colour now and again with a few seats underneath with passengers sat waiting for some entertainment which never happens. Ive had more fun in a hospital a&e ward. Midships staircase stops at deck 7 so if like us your cabin is on deck 8 you have to walk to forward or aft stairs or suffer trying to squash into the smallest lifts at sea. This encouter with P&O has convinced us to cruise with Celebrity Cruises in the future. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
As a non flyer and regular cruiser I cannot tell you how excited I was about Britannia' maiden voyage. When booking we were given a time to check in, we arrived at that time and fortunately got on board within 40 minutes. I heard ... Read More
As a non flyer and regular cruiser I cannot tell you how excited I was about Britannia' maiden voyage. When booking we were given a time to check in, we arrived at that time and fortunately got on board within 40 minutes. I heard other people had waited a couple of hours, this is not P&O's fault, other passengers paid no attention to their allocated embarkation time which in turn creates a back log and delays. This has happened with nearly all the lines I have travelled with. Once on board we went straight to our cabin and was delighted to see our cases already there. There was a few issues with the lifts at this point I think mainly due to a lack of a mid ship stairway. The ship was beautifully decorated and the atrium was spectacular. Our balcony cabin was a good size. The bathroom was quite small but the shower was a good size and had a lovely glass enclosure instead of those horrible shower curtains. The balcony was on the small side not much space with 2 chairs a foot stool and table but ok. The public areas were lovely including brodies, live lounge, headliners and the crows nest. The theatre headliners was always busy but I never had a problem getting a seat and the shows were amazing, although the seats were a little small if you have a big bottom like me Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
First impression of this ship was the size of the ship as I had never sailed on a ship this size before, the biggest having been the Celebrity Galaxy some years ago and the P&O ship Oceana. The cabin a twin inside on F deck was quite ... Read More
First impression of this ship was the size of the ship as I had never sailed on a ship this size before, the biggest having been the Celebrity Galaxy some years ago and the P&O ship Oceana. The cabin a twin inside on F deck was quite spacious and was impressed the the facilities in the cabin such as the adequate hanging space for clothing and a great shower in the bathroom. Beds were comfortable with a nice thick mattress on each bed. Our cabin stewardess was brilliant with nothing too much trouble for her. The cabin was handy for lifts and stairs as it was situated forward end. It was also quite near to the restaurants/shops etc on deck 7. We had freedom dining which we thought was great as it was more flexible than fixed dining times. Facilities on board were excellent with plenty of places to eat and also the bars. Entertainment throughout the cruise was excellent. All in all the cruise was excellent with plenty of activities. Would definitely recommend this ship and would sail in her again. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
OVERVIEW. As a maiden cruise, this was a non-event. Extremely disappointing. Nothing special at any port of call. The ship has a number of basic design flaws such as no staircase midships above deck 7, no boat deck, Live Lounge much ... Read More
OVERVIEW. As a maiden cruise, this was a non-event. Extremely disappointing. Nothing special at any port of call. The ship has a number of basic design flaws such as no staircase midships above deck 7, no boat deck, Live Lounge much too small for size of ship. Crows Nest very nice but not big enough, always over-full. Beautiful theatre but hopeless for wheelchair-bound passengers.Lifts too small, continual congestion. We have a severely disabled, wheelchair-bound son and have taken him on many cruise ships including Ventura and Oceana. We would NOT take him on Britannia. The much vaunted atrium left us cold, no 'WOW' factor, reminded us of the Trafford Centre shopping mall. Much prefer a traditional atrium. At no time did we feel that the ship was on a "Maiden Cruise' or was it??? Our cruise number was B502, B501 ( the first cruise) was a shake down cruise but could be argued as the maiden cruise. There was no 'Maiden Cruise' merchandise or memorabilia for purchase on the ship ( we all got a free tea a cup and saucer marked maiden cruise), the only goods for sale were marked 'Maiden Season', perhaps all the merchandise that might have existed was bought by passengers on B501!! Stability of the ship was excellent, at no stage did we ever feel as though we were on a ship. Weather was very unkind to us, but that's what you get in the Med in March. DINING We were allocated to Club dining in the Oriental Restaurant as was our choice. Unfortunately 2 of the 3 restaurants on the ship were allocated to Freedom Dining. A decision that angered hundreds of passengers who wanted Club Dining and could not get it, poor decision by P&O, should have been 2 Club dining and 1 Freedom Dining .I suspect, however, that within a couple of years P&O will change all restaurants on all ships to Freedom Dining, in spite of passenger preferences.We used to cruise with NCL until they introduced Freestyle Dining, we have not been on any of their ships since, we do not like it. if P&O change to total Freedom Dining, we would not sail with them again. Oriental dining room was excellent, food mostly good, waiters superb. Epicurean Restaurant was OK, but not worth £28 extra per person. Limelight club was great, good meal and good service. Kiki Dee was excellent except for her manic guitar player who often totally overpowered her. Sindhu was good, great service in lovely surroundings.Best place on the ship. Glass House is a particular favourite of ours and we used in on many occasions. Unfortunately its position on Britannia is not good as it is a walkway through the atrium.On our last day at sea we went for lunch in the Glass House at 2pm to be advised that the waiting time for food was approximately and hour and a half!! Totally ridiculous. Unfortunaley we had to go to the Horizon Buffet. The Horizon Buffet is laid out differently to other P&O ships and works well except for wheelchair-bound passengers who have little room to move between tables. For a few days there were teething problems with fruit juice and water dispensers, but it was quickly overcome. Breakfast was OK, the usual mad scramble, but we always found somewhere to sit.One complaint was that there was no low fat milk available at the tea making stations, only a large urn full of whole milk. Despite visits to reception to complain and conversations with Horizon restaurant managers, we never managed to get them to give us an option of low fat milk at the tea making stations. Food at lunch was very poor, cold selection was abysmal, same stuff every day, hot selection was poor and mostly over-cooked.We usually ate at the Glass House despite having to pay extra. On a number of days there were no name tags on the hot food, you had to guess.I had a word with a Head Waiter, she advised me that the machine which produces the labels was broken (for 3 days), when I suggested that as she had a pen and paper, she could write the labels by hand she gave me a look that said i must be insane and just walked away. We did not use Horizon at night or the Beach House so cannot comment. ENTERTAINMENT Apart from 4 full stage shows in the Headliners Theatre, the entertainment for us was dire.The worst we have had in 24 years of cruising. We were told by a member of the entertainment team that, as an experiment, all entertainment on Britannia was outsourced to a separate company and THEY had decided that ,on a 14 night cruise, we would have 4 stage shows and 10 cabaret acts in the Main Theatre. Even the quizzes were supplied by this company. There was no Headliners Company, the performers were titled 'Britannia Show Cast'.They were not introduced by the Entertainment Manager as is usual. The lights went down, the show started, when it ended the lights went up and out we went. The 10 cabaret acts were, in our opinion, 3rd and 4th rate has-beens/never will be's!! It was not what we expected on a P&O ship, much less maiden cruise.NO BIG NAME FOR THE ENTIRE CRUISE.Absolutely dreadful. P&O will probably argue that the theatre was full for these shows. It was, BUT ONLY BECAUSE THERE WAS NOTHING ELSE TO DO, unless you wanted to sit in a bar (and drink) or listen to karaoke (and drink) or go to the pianist in the Crows Nest (and drink) or sit in the atrium (and drink). The Live Lounge is much too small, it gets filled with passengers on early dining who stay there all night leaving no space for passengers on late dining.Most of the time in the Live Lounge there would be a 45 minute set by the resident group supplied by the outsourcing company and then 45 minutes of the ships DJ and so on ad nauseam.On two nights there was a comedian on but, as late diners, we could not get in. On 2 of our 6 sea days there was not even a decent film in the main theatre. For the first time ever on a cruise, we spent an inordinate amount of time in our cabin watching TV. We could have stayed at home and done the same in greater comfort. I suspect (again) that P&O will roll out this type of entertainment package across the entire fleet. It is not what we want and talking to others it was not what they wanted either.But P&O will give us what THEY want and not what we want, to save money. We will not sail on Britannia again, it is not for us, if P&O change the entertainment across the fleet to that offered on Britannia, we will cease cruising with P&O. On Britannia there is not enough place to go for 3600 passengers in the evening. On many occasions, we finished our dinner at about 10.20pm and walked through the ship and wondered where all 3600 passengers were. Probably in their cabins watching films as we often did. Cabin Inside cabin was ideal for our needs, our Steward, Sanjay, was superb. Beds were comfortable, plenty of hanging space (as on Ventura and Azura), cabin layout was very good.Shower room was good, even the shower cubicle with its glass door was no problem for me as a 19 sone man.We were on E deck towards the bow and were never disturbed by any noise ( except on the first night at sea when at 5am a foolish Officer of the Watch put an 'alpha' emergency call through all passenger cabins, thereby giving an early morning alarm call to 3600 passengers. Service Cabin steward was brilliant, waiters and wine waiter in Oriental were superb. Neil Oliver and his team were great as usual, given the new constraints they were under. The Great British Sailaway spoilt by a late sailing due to Cadiz security staff being very slow to get returning passengers cleared. The only letdown was the Horizon buffet, many staff were good, but many of them were sometimes surly and offhand. Conclusion. A poor cruise, did not come up to our expectations. No big name artiste, nothing special at all. We will not sail on Britannia again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2015
Firstly I would like to say that we are very fortunate to be very experienced cruisers, and have tried quite a few cruise lines in the past and have 2 new lines to try later this year. As a line that caters very well, largely for British ... Read More
Firstly I would like to say that we are very fortunate to be very experienced cruisers, and have tried quite a few cruise lines in the past and have 2 new lines to try later this year. As a line that caters very well, largely for British cruisers, P & O have offerings that for the overall experience can be rated as very good and will be a good place for new cruisers to start. We have to be open and say that there are several things which may have caused dissatisfaction with this cruise / ship which could lead to the negative feelings. Among these being:- • The big build up over many months, gave many the expectation that this would be a very ‘Special’ experience. Unfortunately it wasn’t and P & O did little to make it so. The substitution of the normal musicians at send off for the superb Royal Marines, a few fireworks as we left and a commemorative cup and saucer left many wondering when the ‘Magic’ would start. It didn’t, so we ended up largely with a standard P & O offering. Which as stated cannot by any means be regarded as bad, but not what the preconceptions of this maiden cruise would be. • The weather was not good by and large but what could we expect for March in the Med. A little sunshine does a lot to boost the temperament of members of this island race. • This ship was supposed to have been the ultimate in design for British cruisers with their input being very closely considered. I would dispute this. • We have never encountered such a bunch of moaners as on this cruise. Whilst we may have agreed with much that was said, frankly it was a bit disheartening to hear such constant negativity, sometimes even to the point of verbal aggression. • Our cabin E442 (inside family cabin on deck 10) had a very annoying creak in any increased level of sea. We had visits from 4 engineering teams all of whom left and simply left the problem. This left us very tired after disturbed or sleepless nights and at one stage due to not having perfect health, I was absolutely exhausted to the point of feeling ill. Not only did engineering fail us but the reception staff totally failed to take ownership of the issue and see it through to resolution. It seems that once the problem has been passed on they lose all interest in it, instead of seeing things through to resolution. We had to manage the whole situation ourselves and finally on the last night we were move to one of the ‘Vacated’ balcony units. Very shoddy customer service. • To finish on a positive note, the actions of the captain and crew to ensure passenger safety when returning from a delayed tender return in Monaco in difficult conditions, can only be hugely applauded. So to the review: Cabins The initial cabin felt rather small compared to other P & O ships we have been on. The fixtures and fittings were of course all new so no problems there. This cabin had 2 fold down bunk beds, one of which seemed to be giving the afore-mentioned noise problem. I must say that we were not the only ones to experience this problem with the engineering teams always turning up with lists of cabins to visit for the same issues, many of which seemed to be fixed by the liberal application of sticky backed foam strip. It is a new ship after all and if only ribald travel agents have used the cabins before any creaks may have been muted by the ‘arms of morpheus’ (or Johnny Walker to the rest of us). Storage was adequate for the 2 of us but quite how a family of 4 will cope for 2 weeks or more without leaving at least part of their luggage in their cases is a bit of a mystery. For some reason the normal drawer set in the cabin itself have been converted to a cupboard which is much less useful. The bathroom is small by any standards but the inclusion of a fixed shower door instead of a curtain for us is positive. However, you have to squeeze between the toilet and the washbasin to open the door, which is quite narrow. I can foresee that some of the larger guests, of which there were many, would have a problem. The room was supplied with an empty fridge which was very useful, as was the hair drier which can be plugged in in the cabin which was welcome to ‘SHE’. The power outlet for shavers in the bathroom did not fit UK razor plugs and at this time you will need an adaptor for this. Adaptors obviously sold out in the shop in the first few hours, but P & O now know about this anomaly and hopefully will fit the correct socket in the very near future. Rooms come with the standard (for P & O) kettle together with tea, coffee and biscuits. This is not often the case on other lines and if an early morning cuppa is a deal breaker either cruise P & O or use room service, which may not deliver the required brew timeously or hot. The balcony cabin E408 had a little more floor space but otherwise was not really any different to the inside unit. The balconies are very small and in my mind not worth the extra cost. An anomaly in both cabins was the design of the lighting. There are simply no reading lights for the main bed occupants whether in twin or double bed configuration. The only reading lights are two linked spotlights in the ceiling which are intrusive if only one occupant wants to read. When the extra bunks are let down they have a reading light but the shadows on the adult or bottom bunks preclude reading at all as the aforementioned spotlights will almost certainly disturb the upper bunk occupants. In-cabin entertainment included free films but the useful port presentations and account information access have gone Food: Food is available in 3 main dining rooms, a buffet restaurant, a grab and go station, a pizza bar and a hot-dog / burger bar as well as speciality restaurants. The food is generally of good quality and the range of available venues enables you to have a quick snack instead of always feeling obliged to have full service dining, which for most people for two weeks could feel excessive. The design of the buffet Horizon was excellent and we did not experience any queues at all. The extra cost of the speciality restaurants was acceptable to me for the extended range and style of the offerings, although we didn’t eat in the top venue the Epicurean. We did leave the Glass House once though due to being completely ignored by the service staff for 40 minutes, who not only did not clear the table from the previous customers but in fact were not even evident for that time period at all. When we eventually ate there the food and wine selections were good although my personal preference when eating any form of pate is for some type of biscuit you can actually spread it on without said biscuit breaking to many fragments in my lap. I got a bread roll in the end. Nice flavours though. Drink; Alcohol prices for beer were pretty much what you will pay in a City bar at around £3.75 for 500 ml, wine is a about 50% more expensive than most of the restaurants we visit locally. Put in context though on the American based ships the prices are much higher and also subject generally to a 15% service charge not applied to P & O bills. The range of wine and beer (especially in Brodie’s) on board is really good. A reduction in wine prices to high street levels would be nice. Entertainment The entertainment team put together the usual P & O offerings of quizzes, bingo, sailaways and disco’s fairly well. The venues did not have the capacity for all the passengers on board. Queues were often formed for the more popular shows up to an hour before or entry or the seating positon you like was not guaranteed. The headliners unusually seemed to be 4 diva’s trying to out shriek each other, not helped by the appalling quality of either the sound or the mixing. Most disappointing as they are one of the highlights of any P & O cruise. Volumes were always too high and the band or backing tracks seemed to generally be fighting with the artists for volume. Especially the drummer who happened to be the music director. Entertainment out of the main venues was poor with only a brief pianist presence in the atrium and Crow’s nest instead of many and varied entertainers throughout the ship as we are used to. The Crow’s nest has lost its dance floor, the space now being allocated to the library The guest artists were very nice ‘B’ list P & O standards, but the Patriot Girls who got everybody singing 40’s tunes were a definite feel good group. The theatre has lost the typical plush seating and has narrow flat backed seats, probably to cram more people into a smaller space. It is also quite dark and sombre. It simply isn’t big enough as the queues demonstrate. Another design error was the drink stands screwed to the seats. These are completely stupid and obviously designed for ‘form over function’. Perhaps that is why there is no drinks service in the theatre as it is almost certain that anything placed on the will go the same way as my pint. They also hurt when you knock them. Please remove them and ban drinks in the theatre, it makes more sense. The casino always seems to be busy. There is no art gallery and if they really spent £1m on the art displayed they were robbed The separate Crystal Room dance area is very nice and Brodie’s bar is excellent but is also the main venue for quizzes and bingo as well. The i-studio (cinema etc) has a screen down to almost the floor level which together with the poor incline of the seats means that only the front row of the audience see all the screen. They also turned off all the satellite screens during screening of films which would have helped. Getting around The lack of stairs in the central area of the ship is ridiculous. This added to a lift algorithm that totally confounds, means long waiting times and much frustration. Particularly during peak periods it is impossible to move around in this area, even for one floor, without using the lifts. People got frustrated waiting and were getting into any lift that happened to stop regardless of whether the direction was the one they wanted, This meant that very often, when the lifts condescended to stop at your floor, they were full anyway. There are 2 sizes of lifts but both were labelled as being for 18 passengers. Perhaps we are supposed to sit on each other’s shoulders. The capacity and efficiency of these lifts is very poor. Mostly there was always one of them out of order and they often failed safe with people in them causing more than a little fear amongst sensitive passengers. The only alternative, which we often employed was to walk all the way to the extremities of the ship to use the lifts there or the stairs which are then available of course. There is only one stairway between the levels of the main atrium instead of the usual two. This caused some congestion between passengers moving between the main entertainment areas, shops and restaurants. Especially when the photographers helpfully set up encroaching areas which intruded onto the stairs. The atrium is relatively plain Facilities There is no sheltered promenade deck on this ship I didn’t realise before how much I liked this feature for a post dinner or post show stroll.. Instead there is a walk round deck up on 18 which is open to all the weather and winds. There are three pools but no indoor unit or even one with a sliding roof. This means that in inclement weather everybody has to sit inside meaning that bars / café’s and so forth get full of passengers reading, leaving no space for consumers. You can’t blame them though as there is nowhere else. There are also only 2 public Jacuzzi’s which are out on the open deck 17. Getting out of them on a cold and windy day is not pleasant and one was often cold or out of order. You can of course pay extra to enhance your experience by using the Spa facilities, but this is not value at £25p.d for the benefit … There seems to be a shortage of toilets in the main public areas but perhaps this is due to the poor signage. People who cruise tend to be of a certain age where facilities are becoming more important to them, so it is important that if they are present they are obvious. My wife reports that there are often more cubicles in the ladies than normal. The taps and soap dispensers are once again a great idea that simply doesn’t work properly in the current installation. If you can persuade the sensor in the soap dispensers to give you anything you then struggle to get any, or only an initial very short spurt of water. There are notices on the external toilet doors (as usual) to open the doors with your paper towel, but then no bins are provided to dispose of said towel. The library is small and is no longer ‘allowed’ to run a book swap for passengers read novels. Staff With the exception of the poolside barmen who could be quite rude, all the staff were helpful, pleasant and professional. The cabin attendant was among the best but has extra cabins to clear on this ship leaving him pressed for time to go the extra mile. Summary We so wanted this to be special but sadly it is our least favourite of all the P & O fleet. It is too flawed especially in cooler climes and the other big cruising nation, the Americans, will have problems with fitting into the restricted spaces. Perhaps it was really designed with accountants in mind rather than the myriad of customers who took the time to give feedback as they state… The entertainment is not as good nor prolific as on previous ships and the main entertainment areas are either too small or also used for other uses such as quizzes If your expectations are not too raised, the weather is nice and you are not too worried about the main shows you will probably enjoy yourself. We will only go on this vessel again if the destination and the deal are really right. Very sad and a missed opportunity for P & O.. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2015
Well, just having read Brockie44's review I am sure we were not on the same ship. Cabin - On the small side but adequate. No individual bed side light meant that one person could not read or turn the light on without disturbing ... Read More
Well, just having read Brockie44's review I am sure we were not on the same ship. Cabin - On the small side but adequate. No individual bed side light meant that one person could not read or turn the light on without disturbing the other person. Dining - The food in the buffet was very good, however, in the dining room it was a different case. Quite often the table cloths were dirty and stained and this put me off my food. I expected the waiters to lead us to our tables and pull out our chairs and put a napkin on my knee, this did not happen on quite a few occasions. Entertainment - We had 5 sea days and during the day it was boring! There was nothing to do except to go to lectures where P & O were trying to sell you something else! I did enjoy some of the evening entertainment but there simply was not enough of it. I did not want to pay to go to the limelight club because I felt I had paid enough to start with. In addition on P & O's website it says 'P&O Cruises offers the very best in cruise entertainment. Days can be filled with as much or as little as you want, whilst evenings are no doubt the social highlight. When the sun goes down your ship begins to come alive with the hum of conversation and music, and you can be sure of a memorable night.' That is not how the entertainment was. It was not filled with entertainment. I spoke to many people who went to bed early because they were so bored! I did not expect to spend so much time in my cabin watching films because there was nothing else to do! Not sure who designed the cinema on Britannia but it was just a room with chairs in and unless you were on the front row you could not see properly. We did visit some lovely ports and for this it has not put me off cruising, I certainly will not be going back on the Britannia nor will I recommend it to anyone! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2015
Started on a 2 hour delay boarding because Of an alignment fault with the gangway. Litter bin had not been emptied in the cabin. The room was so small and cramped. The balcony was minute, small,small. We were at the back of the ship an ... Read More
Started on a 2 hour delay boarding because Of an alignment fault with the gangway. Litter bin had not been emptied in the cabin. The room was so small and cramped. The balcony was minute, small,small. We were at the back of the ship an Deck C and it was constantly rocking. The pursuits on sea days were non existent ended up either paying for a coffee to pass the time or going back a to the cabin to watch a film on TV. Boring, boring. The lifts were so small and with rather large people and wheelchairs one had to keep waiting for another one. The entertainment at night was good for only half the time !!!! What was the Show cast doing all the other nights. There was a family disco in the Live Lounge from 7 till 9 but kids were still cartwheeling across the floor at 10.15. I did complain to the Entertainment Manager but no supervision anywhere. Disembarking was another disaster. Only good thing to mention was the food. The excursions were media ochre for the price charged. H ave been on 9 cruises before 3 with Carnival , 1 with Celebrity , 1 with QE2 and the rest with P&O but Never again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2015
We were so looking forward to this cruise as there had been so much hype on how fantastic this ship was. Sadly there was very little WOW factor overall. Britannia is a lovely ship with regard to the decor - but lacking on so many points. ... Read More
We were so looking forward to this cruise as there had been so much hype on how fantastic this ship was. Sadly there was very little WOW factor overall. Britannia is a lovely ship with regard to the decor - but lacking on so many points. Embarkation was horrendous. We arrived at 2.30pm and didn't board until 5.00pm due to an issue with the air bridge. We were not advised of this when we arrived and there were thousands of people in the lounge waiting to embark. The staff were bad in not advising us of the problem and there were no refreshments or provided and it was difficult to find a seat. There was no real welcome on board either. Dire. The food was hit & miss - we ate in the Meridian each evening. On one occasion the food was so atrocious we had to complain all the way to the Food & Beverage Officer who really didn't care. Her arrogance was unbelievable - she evidently thought it was acceptable to serve slimy decaying lettuce in a Caesar salad and one small slice of beef and broccoli that had gone yellow as it was well past it's sell by date. We heard that if you paid to eat in the select dining restaurants you fared better. However, we paid a lot of money for our holiday and expected the main restaurants to be of standard. On a good point we thought the grill, pizzeria & Grab & Go by the pool was a good idea as it meant you did not have to dress up for the restaurants for lunch. - However, the staff need to learn to clear up the plates on the decks rather than constantly asking if we wanted drinks. Passengers ended up loading up plates, trays etc on a table so clear the sun decks. We were asked to complete a customer survey before we left - we gave a poor response. Since returning home we have had an email with another survey to which we asked if someone could call us with regard to our bad experience. Six weeks since we have heard nothing ... says it all! P & O will never receive another penny from us. On a plus point the theatre entertainment was good - as long as you got there early to get a seat. The cinema was a laugh - the sound system was non existent, the screen small & you could not see unless you sat in the front row! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2015
Thank you P&O. My husband was a major cruise fan (where I am quite happy by the hotel pool) but he said being on Britannia had put him off ever cruising again. Major delay getting on board meant that we had only just got to our ... Read More
Thank you P&O. My husband was a major cruise fan (where I am quite happy by the hotel pool) but he said being on Britannia had put him off ever cruising again. Major delay getting on board meant that we had only just got to our cabin when we were called to muster drill. service was very slow in the freedom dining room, so we ended up dining earlier than we would wish just so that we could get out in time for the shows, which by the way you needed to be seated at least 1/2 hour in advance because of the low capacity of the theatre/show lounge compared to the high capacity of passengers. The daytime activities were very boring. Daytimes on the ship seemed to be geared towards encouraging passengers to spend money in the spa, casino, or shops as there wasn't much else to do at sea, even the sauna was an additional cost. The shore excursions were over-priced particularly if you wanted to do anything other than the usual (very boring) sightseeing coach tour. The only saving grace is that the prices on Britannia seem lower than what we have paid on other P&O Ships in the past, presumably because you are herded in like cattle. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
Background We are two guys who decided to take our respective Mums on Britannia to celebrate their 80th Birthdays. We have cruised with P&O, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity. We chose this cruise because of the date as it encompassed ... Read More
Background We are two guys who decided to take our respective Mums on Britannia to celebrate their 80th Birthdays. We have cruised with P&O, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity. We chose this cruise because of the date as it encompassed one of their birthdays, the itinerary because it was the Canaries and should deliver better weather at this time of year and finally it was a chance to try this new ship with its focus on a British clientele which we thought would suit our Mums better. We had veered away from P&O in recent years due to their two tier fare structures but the lure of double on board credit (£320 pp) incentivised us to try Britannia departing 28th March. There is a lot of detail here but there is a summary at the bottom should you wish to skip my ramblings. Cabins We had two adjoining obstructed view balconies on Deck 8, G510/G512. We knew about the lifeboat obstruction but the price difference for a non obstructed was too much especially when paying for two cabins. The lifeboat roof came up to about a third of the glass balcony screens with a clear view out to sea, so not fully obstructed at all however the cabin next door had two large white mechanisms in front of their balcony and looking to the aft several cabins down the lifeboats where taller and came above the balcony rail so we were very pleased with our choice. The balconies are all the same size and are the smallest we've encountered. Equipped with two reclining chairs, a table and foot stool. The divide between the balconies can be opened but given the limited depth the folded back door then obstructs about a foot of the balcony door of one cabins. We had seen the promotional pics online and knew what to expect. The specific grade of cabin was an IC which we knew had the benefit of a sofa instead of a chair and has two instead of one bedside tables (most standard balcony cabins have a single chair and the vanity unit performs a dual function as a sort of bedside table i.e. 2 less drawers available for storage due to missing a bedside table). The sofa was nice to have but is compact and cannot be used as a sofa bed. The cabin is approx 18" longer than a standard balcony cabin as exhibited by the way these jut out into the corridor more than the other type. The layout worked fine with a large walk in wardrobe, a tall cupboard with shelves and a safe and a vanity unit by the balcony door which has a wide drawer containing the hairdryer but space for much more and a mini fridge and chair. The decor is pretty contemporary and modern. There is a large flat screen tv on the wall with a wide choice of free tv episodes, 6 live TV channels and a good choice of TV and mainly free films. Strangely though you cannot access your onboard account or order room service via the TV. The TV cannot be angled and the HDMI ports are not accessible. There are no individual bedside lights. To read you would need the three overhead lights on over the bed which would affect anyone else in the room. The bathroom is compact. A similar size to Ventura and Azura but with a glass shower screen rather than a shower curtain. Its functional but lacks storage having just three shelves but in particular it lacks colour. Its just a white room. Compared to Celebrity Eclipse the bathroom disappoints. We found the bed very comfortable, firm but very nice with lovely new bedding. The cabin steward was lovely and very efficient. We made a small list of a couple of issues with the TV, a towel rail and wardrobe rail and within hours maintenance fixed them all. All in all a comfortable place to come back to. Food We've done 5 previous P&O cruises. We departed to Celebrity for the last three and thought the food was a lot better on Celebrity. This was a return after 2 years to P&O. We thought the food was excellent. Firstly the buffet is vast. Yes it is busy however its the largest buffet we have seen and is very well laid out. Imagine a H symbol but with two across lines each of which is a buffet section. Each buffet section mirrors itself so there are two of every serving station at each buffet section. You can cross from seating on one side to the other easily. The seating areas are well laid out in rows so its easy to pass between tables. There is a choice of seating, from large booths, tables for four or two and high seat tables and benches. It really is about the best designed. buffet area on a ship Ive seen. We always managed to find a table whenever we were there. Yes its busy as there are lots onboard but credit to the designers. The choice is very good. Breakfast has everything you could want, full English, continental, porridge, buns, pastries, omelet station and eggs to order. A nice touch is that mugs are laid on tables and servers circulate to offer tea and coffee if you don't want to help yourself during breakfast and afternoon tea. Lunch has the typical P&O selection of a roast dinner, pies, lots of curry choices and an extended salad selection plus a wide choice of desserts. We didn't eat in the buffet in the evening but each night had a theme, Seafood, Indian. Mediterranean etc which was strongly adhered too and there was a nightly quiz in there. The decor is clean, modern and stylish and the food serving areas very bright and well thought out. Well done P&O. I have to mention hygiene though. There are trough like sinks as you enter the buffet with three taps and they look impressive but are pretty pointless given the high throughput of passengers and after the first day most gave up on them particularly as the sensors for the water and soap were very temperamental. There are Purell dispensers by where the trays are provided however many ignored them and if you walked straight into the buffet food stations and grabbed a plate without a tray you would not encounter a gel machine. Possibly the ship most likely to spread Noro that we have been on particularly as there is not even a hint of enforcement. (edited.........one of our Mums got Norovirus on day 8. She is extremely careful about hygiene and uses gel and hand washes continuously. Our first experience of Noro on 10 cruises and although its impossible to be sure our guess is the buffet was the culprit. We did sit the next day at lunch and looked at one entrance to the serving stations and less than 1 in 10 used the gel machines. Out on deck is the burger/hot dog/fried chicken outlet and offerings are placed like fast food joints on the counter and you help yourself. The burgers for instance are fully loaded with onions tomatoes cheese etc but if you want a specific request then you can ask and its quickly taken care of. The burgers were delicious and our favourite. Think McDonalds but way better. There is a pizza station and again the pizza was always available and you helped yourself to slices. There was an ice cream outlet (chargeable) plus a first as far as we know a Grab n Go section. Here there was a chiller cabinet with a good choice of ready made salads, pre-packed sandwiches and desserts (think M&S take away section) plus opposite were some warm items such as pasties or other warm tasty items pre-wrapped. It was a popular outlet and a really nice touch though whether all its customers really needed more food was questionable. Breakfast take away muffins with egg, bacon, sausage combinations could also be 'grabbed'. I cannot comment on the speciality restaurants as we didn't visit any (we walked past the Epicurean at afternoon tea and only saw 6 tables of customers). The main reason we cannot comment on the paid restaurants.......the main dinning room food was too good! We ate in one of the two freedom dining restaurants, the Meridian. This is below the other freedom dining restaurant the Peninsular just off the atrium. Club dining is in the Oriental restaurant way back on deck 6 aft. The layout of the Meridian was really nice. Whilst a large area, there was a feel of separation with wine bottle walls, glass walls, and panelling so it felt a lot more intimate and more like a restaurant at home. We did visit the Peninsular (the other freedom dinning restaurant) for breakfast several times and it has a different decor and layout and not quite so much separation. The decor in the restaurants is modern, clean and pleasant with good lighting and space between tables was the best on any ship we have sailed, even the tables for two were well spaced and plentiful. Breakfast in the restaurant was excellent and choices were very nicely cooked. In the evening we turned up at various times and only had to take a buzzer twice for a max of 25 mins. The choice of food was excellent. The right hand menu changed nightly and on the left was the always available menu. My OH is a veggie and was brought a veggie menu each night to select from for the following night that had around 6 starters and mains plus they brought the next nights main menu to view which had at least one veggie starter and main.....to quote someone who is use to compromising...' The best food choice out of 10 cruises'. Public areas The atrium is impressive and is the hub of the ship. Its a pleasant space and the starburst sculpture centrepiece impresses and the mood lighting changes throughout the day. Interestingly the reception has been moved to an offshoot corridor as has the more routine shop selling books, giftware and toiletries. The ground floor has the Market Cafe and the Blue Bar to each side with the Blue Bar servicing the ground floor atrium seating too. We never saw anyone buying a cake from the Market Cafe throughout the cruise despite how nice they looked (do we need to pay £2.95 for cake when its free in the buffet or with a coffee from the Java coffeeshop?) The next floor up has the high end shops and the top level has The Glass House and the Java coffee shop each side with lots of seating. The glass house is a little disappointing compared to Azura as its smaller and open to the atrium so has less of specific character. Even so it was very popular and a good spot to people watch. For those who have been on Azura/Ventura there is some similarity in layout with deck 7 being the main deck for public areas from the Headliners Theatre at the fore and the Live Lounge show bar at the aft. However its so much bigger and the walk from front to rear is lengthy. This feels (and is) a much bigger ship than Azura/Ventura. If you enjoy pre dinner drinks in the crows nest but are on club dining in the oriental, then allow a good 15 minutes to get to your restaurant, The Live Lounge has the house band and visiting acts but its no bigger than its Azura/Ventura counterparts and doesn't rake so much so sightlines are pretty poor and its depressingly dark even when there is no act on. I have to say the house band 'Pulse' was excellent and could take on any style really well. If you wanted to see a visiting act in there then you needed to be in really early, say 45 mins when the Take That tribute were on and even then if you were not sat in the front section your view could be blocked by latecomers standing in front of you. The Crystal Room is a lovely room for dance and very popular amongst traditionalist with ballroom dancing every evening accompanied by a live band and dance instructors. The band were again excellent. The studio is a multipurpose space for demonstrations, talks and cinema. We didn't visit it but it looked well laid out. Brodies is the 'pub' and is a big space, about twice the size of Azura's counterpart and hosts a series of quizzes, musicians and TV sport. Its a very popular venue. The casino is to one side of Brodies and whilst popular is compact. The Limelight club is a dinner & show venue costing £22. On our cruise non of the acts appealed and the menu looked more limited and less appealing than the main dining room, especially for vegetarians. However as we didn't attend I cannot really pass judgement apart from passing during dinner one evening and noting more empty tables than occupied ones. Is there a theme here re chargeable venues? (The Limelight Club space would have made a lovely area for a larger Glass House). The Headliners Theatre is another area that disappoints somewhat. Its fairly bland with only one tier and its pretty small for the size of the ship. Celebrity Eclipse carries 1000 less passengers but its theatre holds 215 more passengers. The Crows Nest is way up high on Deck 16 fore. Its a nice space with great views. The decor departs from the rest of the ship and hints at previous versions on other ships with a more nautical style. It is however very popular and has great views. The Sunset Bar is aft of the buffet and has masses of seating for those wanting to eat their meal outside or sit and have a drink. It really is a very nice area and surprisingly underused. Most of it is covered so a good shelter from the rain. The library is small and is a room tucked away up on Deck 16 next to The Crows Nest. You don't need to visit it to get an internet package as you can do it from your PC and phone/tablet. We bought a wifi package and coverage is shipwide, if rather slow. I cannot talk about this ship without mentioning the lifts. Yes I knew the midship lifts had no accompanying stairs apart from between deck 5, 6 and 7 and yes this is a drawback as it was for with us as we had rooms on deck 8 and may want to go down to deck 7. However there is a lot of pressure on lifts across the ship and if you were planning to get somewhere by a certain time you had to factor in lift waiting time. As people became more unhappy waiting for say a down lift they would get in an up lift and ride it out till it came back down. You could wait for a lift on the top floor of deck 16 midships and when it arrived it could be full of people wanting to go down who had simply acquired any lift. When you caught a lift then it would stop on every floor making journeys lengthy. Also at midship the lifts they are really badly laid out. There is a spread out bank of 4 and two separate ones opposite but you have to press the button on the main bank and on the two separate lifts, three buttons, and the two separate ones act independently. Also the lifts are small, the smallest we've seen on any ship. Our Mums are part time wheelchair users and two wheelchairs would fill a lift requiring us to split up more often than not. Its a design floor flagged up when the Royal Princess had its first voyage and should have been fixed while they had the time during the Britannia build. The circulation areas around the lifts is small and leads to congestion. It didn't help that at midships one lift was out of order the whole cruise and then two lifts out of order for part of the cruise. The lifts also had a habit of reaching a floor and the doors would not open requiring you to go to another floor, get out and try and get another lift. If you are claustrophobic then you may not like the lift set up on this ship as people try to squeeze in. The spa area is very nice, not that we had any treatments but we had a 10 minute tour and its very smart. One Mum had her hair styled which was priced at £37 but her bill was almost double due to up selling, an added tip (never mentioned on any price list of Horizon paper promotion) and a pricing error. We complained and they discounted the original price but with no explanation of why we had been told one price and she was charged a higher one. The gym has been separated from the spa and is way up top on deck 17. Its well equipped but somewhat dark. There is art around the ship, all of which is abstract and modern. There is no promenade deck around the main public decks, just platforms that sit outside of the glass house, java and live lounge areas. Deck 18 is called a promenade and has a marked walking track around it though it only occupies around a third of the length of the trip. The feel of the ship and decor is modern but classy. Apart from The Crows Nest its not nautical but more like a classy, contemporary hotel. The furniture is very nice with some lovely seating styles. Pool decks The main pool deck area has two pools, a splash area and is pretty large with nice new loungers. Its has a bar, a burger/hot dog outlet, a pizza outlet and a grab n go area. There are loungers in the open and wide undercover seating areas with plenty of mixed styles of seating and tables. (Be aware the most shallow part of any pool is 5ft 5 so non swimmers or kids may need to take extra care) The upper surrounding tier is well laid out with Jacuzzis, plenty of loungers and dozens more stacked up to use. Towards the front there is the serenity pool for adults only. This really is a nice area, very wide with a mix of loungers and lovely seating areas and on our 'during school holiday' cruise was a godsend as the other pools were chock a block with kids. However given we had 600 onboard the lower pool decks were the only place their presence was really noticed. The Retreat area is segregated at the front and takes up very little space, thankfully. Its not visible from anywhere so I have no idea how popular it was on our cruise. The small pool on Deck 17 aft is for teenagers only but has nice seating areas around it. The layout of the main pool decks is interesting. As well as the loungers by the two main pools there is copious seating underneath the overhang with nice chairs and conservatory seating. The upper tier around the pools has Jacuzzis and a nice mix of seating areas and types. If you are happy to sit away from a pool then there are lots of hidden areas with rows of sunbeds but you may have to climb to deck 18 and 19 to access them. P&O have really excelled themselves here in planning to make use of the space so most can find a place to rest and by providing a mass of sunbeds. It may not be in your favourite spot but if you explore there are places to be found and there are spares loungers stacked up if needed. Fellow passengers As I've said, this was a cruise over the Easter school holidays with Easter itself sitting right on the middle weekend. We were told we had 2,500 previous P&O passengers and 1,200 people new to P&O plus 600 children. Its interesting the number of people new to P&O that may have been lured by this brand new ship. This did lead to a mix of passengers which was more varied in age than our previous P&O trips with less people of retirement age and more people with families although it has to be spread there was a fair spread throughout all ages which was really very pleasant. Whilst there were a lot of kids as said before they only really made their presence known in the main pools in good weather and appeared occupied by the kids clubs and sports arena up on 18. Overall passengers were very pleasant and friendly with hardly any moaning types encountered. This led to a nice atmosphere onboard and generally courteous behaviour. There were a lot of wheelchair users as is expected on a no fly cruise. One point here is that during times when rooms were being serviced by the stewards a wheelchair will not fit down a corridor as the attendants trolleys block access. We had to plan well to avoid our Mums repeatedly having to get out and back into their chairs. Entertainment. The Horizon paper had the usual list of daily entertainment from quizzes, lounge music and deck games. There did seem to be a lot of spa related talks which were aimed at promoting chargeable treatments under the guise of information. The evening brought live bands and visiting acts in various lounges with a nightly piano player in the Crows Next ( not the best piano player we've heard as even when playing gentle numbers he had a tendency to sound a little strident ). The main theatre held shows by the ships resident entertainers. We saw one featuring a mix of music including songs from the musicals which had some great voices and 'Gravity' another music jukebox type show that made great use of floating LED backdrops. We watched 'Adaje', a visiting french mime type act who were excellent physical performers mixing gymnastics with aerial acrobatics....probably the best visiting act we've seen on a ship. As there were only two performances seats were at a premium leaving loads of unhappy passengers who could not get in. The productions shows by the resident performers would have three performances (7.00, 8.30 and 10.30) with visiting acts generally on at 8.30 and 10.30 pm. There was a recent film in the studio two or three times per evening (though always available on your TV). The Live Lounge had a nightly band plus visiting performers. It was sad to see that even though a magician and a comedian were billed as late night adult shows there were families still in there......it made me wince hearing swearing in front of young kids, not the performers fault but the parents. Service I've previously commented on forums about comparisons between service on P&O and that on US cruise lines generally feeling P&O falls short in this area. Well something has changed. We found service to be pretty much excellent all round. Staff would always greet you if passing by and dining room waiter service was very, very good. Bar service was very good, plentiful waiters always ready to take a drinks order. Waiters all used tablets to place drinks orders and this seemed to work smoothly. I'm sure the pleasant atmosphere generated by this friendly attitude rubbed off on passengers and helped produce a relaxed feel across all onboard. We did think that boarding and disembarking at ports would be difficult given the size of the ship but in fact it was extremely smooth at all times and very well organised. Our initial boarding at Southampton started at 12.00 and we were onboard within 15 mins. The allocated arrival times issues by P&O were not checked or enforced. Final disembarkation was terrible due to the lift situation. Allow a good 30 mins to get to your meeting point for disembarkation. Summary I am normally pretty good at getting used to the layout of a ship quickly however this one stumped me often and I had to carry the guide around for the first week. As advertised this is the biggest ship designed for the UK market and it is big. If you don't like big ships this isn't for you. If Azura/Ventura was too big for you then this certainly will not suit you. However if you like a wealth of choice of venues, good food options, a contemporary atmosphere and good service then its a great base to cruise around in. It tries to cover all bases appealing to families with children, ballroom enthusiasts, sun worshippers and those seeking to be entertained or a relaxing corner to read. I cant say we had a wow factor but it is a very pleasant vessel with some nice design touches and a few annoying niggles (lifts, lifts and lifts). Plusses; Clean, modern ship with lots of choices for dining and entertainment. Modern, if compact, cabins Main dining rooms well laid out with lots of space and very good choice of food Big pool decks with lots of seating/loungers and areas to explore. Good service with no additional service charges. A great buffet layout with lots of choice Lots of quizzes Good bands, singers. Good on board shows. Cons: Lifts, lack of lifts, small lifts, lifts not working, wait for lifts, crowded lifts, lifts not opening on a floor. Small venues (theatre, live lounge) for the number of passengers. On the cusp of having too many chargeable restaurants options (The Market Cafe is a waste of space especially with the Java cafe two floors above in the Atrium). Daytime entertainment relies a lot on spa talks leading to possible extra costs. Sinks in public toilets have sensors for soap and water:- soap is produced in minute quantities and the water sensor doesn't sense your hands unless you wave them directly in front of them i.e. behind the actual sink. Its impossible to manage to get a steady stream to get hot water flowing and these sensors are in every public WC. Would we cruise on her again? This is a hard one. For the ships second ever outing there were no teething problems to be sorted out which surprised us. If it wasn't for the lift issue I would say yes if the price and itinerary were good. However I know it may sound like I'm banging on about one issue but it really does affect most aspects of the cruise. Our Mums missed the start of the passenger choir performance despite leaving our cabin 25 minutes before it started as we could not get in a lift. Its an issue pretty much everyone was talking about. Perhaps on a term time cruise with fewer passengers the issue may not be quote so much of a major issue but I can only comment on our experience. When we finally got a lift on disembarkation day someone in it said 'thank god this is our final lift journey on this ship' and everyone laughed. Its something they cannot resolve apart from helping by ensuring the lifts are all working and unfortunately it is caused by trying to replace public space with cabins and on this occasion they have tipped the balance too far. So we are unlikely to be rushing back unless there is a bargain deal to be had. Read Less
Britannia Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.1
Dining 5.0 3.8
Entertainment 4.0 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 5.0 3.6
Family 5.0 3.6
Shore Excursion 5.0 3.5
Enrichment 4.0 3.1
Service 5.0 3.9
Value For Money 5.0 3.4
Rates 5.0 N/A

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