We chose this cruise as it was the only short 2-night getaway we could find in April, and it was the first time cruising with P&O. We were a party of 11 people and we all had an amazing time, It was so amazing I’m going back on the ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it was the only short 2-night getaway we could find in April, and it was the first time cruising with P&O. We were a party of 11 people and we all had an amazing time, It was so amazing I’m going back on the ship next year with a group of friends for a while week this time.
Firstly embarkation was an absolute BREEZE. We got there, dropped off our luggage, waited in a very fast moving line with loads and loads of assistants both at the desks checking us in and also guiding us to different parts of the queue where there was less people. Everyone was incredibly polite and happy, and was completely seamless, exceptional in fact. The whole thing from walking inside the terminal to getting on the ship took about 30-40 minutes, including the waiting security, everything. Quite simply, exceptional.
The ship itself was incredible, super modern, fantastic architecture with so many amazing beautiful bars to sit in. The service and the food in the restaurant was amazing. On the formal night we’d never heard of anything on the menu, so I just plumped for a random meal for each of the starter, main course and dessert (as I’m absolutely not a fussy eater) and it turned out to be exquisite. Everyone else I was with had different things and they loved it too, so big thumbs up on the food front. Service as well was quick, efficient, polite and all the waiters were very chatty and pleasant.
Next the layout of the ship, which overall was fantastic. Before I went I was looking at the deck plans and I had very heavy reservations that the ship would feel awfully crowded, as after all there are seven decks of just pure cabins and just six decks of entertainment, restaurants, bars etc. But when on the ship you didn’t get this impression AT ALL. In fact, quite the opposite. To me the ship was spacious, there was always space to sit where you wanted, always space to sit outside, so this ship was incredibly good at handling this amount of people. This even goes for the Horizon Cafe, I’ve been on ships in the past where the main buffet restaurant was impossible to sit anywhere because it just wasn’t big enough for the amount of people, NOT the case on Britannia at all. The Horizon Cafe is absolutely huge so there was always space to sit at all times of the day, even at 8am in the morning at breakfast, so fantastic decision making the buffet as big as it is.
Now to my one and only bugbear ..... the lifts and stairs. There is NO STAIRCASE in the middle of the ship above deck 7, which is a monumental mistake, just lifts. Between the 11 of us we occupied 4 cabins, three on D deck 11 and one on E deck 10, all midship. So just going down one deck from E to D we had to use the lift. Now I know the argument could be ‘walk to the forward lift bank where there are stairs’, but having to walk all the way forward, just to do one flight of stairs and walk all the way back to midship again is a bit impractical, especially on a ship as huge as this. Especially when you consider two people in our group were older and couldn’t walk very far, so going more than one floor on the stairs for them was out of the question (great when you’re on D deck so you have to go at least three decks to get to anything).
This brings me onto the next thing, the lifts are impossible to use at the busiest time, not helped at all by having no staircase in the middle. On embarkation, disembarkation and getting to and from the muster drill, it was infuriating. Getting back from the muster drill, the two in my group who had to use them had to wait HALF AN HOUR to get in one, absolutely ridiculous. But luckily they’re just short times of the cruise where you just have to put up with it, that small part of inconvenience is definitely not enough to affect your cruise. When we were in port (so the ship was quieter) the lifts were dead and even just on the typical evening when everyone was onboard and roaming the ship as normal, the lifts weren’t a problem. It’s just those three busy times where it’s a bit of a headache.
Next the entertainment, which was a great laugh. We went and saw the show in the theatre, which was a magic show. A bit cheesy for my liking, but we all had a brilliant time and it was really funny and entertaining, and that’s all you can ask for really. I’ve read comments about the size of the theatre, but we didn’t have a problem finding anywhere to sit. It’s like any theatre really, get there early and you’ll get a good seat.
Although I didn’t use it during my short time on the cruise, I went to the gym and had a good look around it. It was a really good size with lots of equipment to use, really bright and airy too. I saw the gym at 6pm in the evening and it didn’t look particularly crowded either.
Just the small bugbear about the lack of midship staircase and occasional lift overcrowding is absolutely not enough to spoil your cruise experience though, it’s such a small thing, because like I said it’s not a problem at all other times. I’m going back on the Britannia next April for a week-long Western Europe cruise, and this I’ll going with a group of friends who have never been on a cruise before. I picked this one purely because of the amazing experience I had the first time, as it was important to me that my friends have an amazing first time cruise, and I’m sure they will on this ship.
I can’t recommend this cruise ship enough, absolutely loved it. Completely British, absolutely brilliant. Seemless embarkation, amazing service, amazing food, amazing design and architecture, and also brilliant standards of hygiene. At the horizon restaurant there was an assistant outside making sure we washed out hands at the outside sink, and they were always outside the restaurant making sure we sanitized as we went in. Everything about it was fantastic and am so excited to go again. Read Less