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29 Southampton to Baltic Sea P&O Cruises Britannia Cruise Reviews

Booked Select with Britannia, including coach transfers from Glasgow with Inter Cruises as a family of 4, kids are 13 & 10. Journey down was excellent, coach was comfortable but could have done with wifi. Had email to say we ... Read More
Booked Select with Britannia, including coach transfers from Glasgow with Inter Cruises as a family of 4, kids are 13 & 10. Journey down was excellent, coach was comfortable but could have done with wifi. Had email to say we would be delayed getting on the ship so expected to be delayed but fortunately our coach driver just carried on and arrived at port on time and we got on ship just about 2 hours later than we should have, so were very happy. Britannia is beautiful, she is huge, you really feel small when you pull alongside. Staff were fabulous, right from very first meet & greet getting on the ship to final leaving, really made you feel good and welcome. Captain speeches were brilliant, and he really made a great impression with the kids when they interviewed him for journalism activity. Ship was fantastic, all the public areas were beautiful, particularly liked the Glass House for drinks and food. Meeting Olly Smith there was a brilliant extra. Sindhu food was exceptional although ate far too much as they give you 2 extra courses, and poppodums/dips that you were not expecting in addition to all the food we ordered, all of which was brilliant, well worth the cover charge and highly recommended. My 10 year old spent the vast majority of the cruise in the scubas kids club, and he loved it, could barely get him out and it was so well organised and structured by the reef team, it was amazing. Great staff, great activities, and he made some great friends. Ports were very good, and lived up to all expectations, Skagen, very easy to get around, bus just next to ship to take you up to Grennan, to see the 2 seas meet, tractor ride out there was really fun. Helsinki was a bit more spread out than we had expected but still easy to get around and see all the sights. Did a boat trip from the harbour too and it was great value. Saint Petersburg was absolutely brilliant, tours were very well organised and let us see all the main areas, the freedom day was brilliant giving free time at 3 sites. Tallin was lovely, old town was very nice but the land train ride was a nightmare, so bumpy, killed our backs. The KGB museum at the Viru hotel was a real trip highlight. Stockholm was the only slight disappointment and not only due to the rain. The town centre is very modern in comparison to the other cities, the viking museum was very good though. Copenhagen was a massive hit with the kids. We spent most of the time in Tivoli Gardens, the rides were great, but if you are planning on going on more than 2 or 3 ridss, it's worth getting the unlimited ride pass. Centre was really nice and easy to get around. Entertainment was great on Britannia, hosts were good, quizzes were fun and loved Pulse in the live lounge. Headliners shows were hit and miss but mostly well done. Afternoon port talks and presentations were really informative. Overall, for our first cruise experience it was absolutely fantastic and we will definitely do it again, can't wait Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We chose this cruise this cruise because we liked the itinerary its was my 60th Birthday I have always wanted yo visit St Petersburg .The negative part of P&O Britannia was the bar staff I found some very homophobic bar staff which ... Read More
We chose this cruise this cruise because we liked the itinerary its was my 60th Birthday I have always wanted yo visit St Petersburg .The negative part of P&O Britannia was the bar staff I found some very homophobic bar staff which made very rude gestures to my partner in the bar that as karaoke .I was not told by my partner until we returned to the UK. He never told me because I would have been put off the ship. The cabin we was in was E251 the cabin steward really looked after us it was very clean to be fair the whole ship was very clean . The lifts was a nightmare at peak times . The buffet restaurant the food was ok nothing special . The late night buffet was the food left over from the evening buffet .We really enjoyed the limelight club Claire Sweeney was great what a voice . We went to the Indian restaurant on board ship the food was excellent you try it . Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
I chose this cruise due to its itinerary and duration -Baltic states, unfortunately so did at least several thousand other folks on at least 4 other cruise ships in the same ports everyday (8 ships in St Petersburg) so be prepared this ... Read More
I chose this cruise due to its itinerary and duration -Baltic states, unfortunately so did at least several thousand other folks on at least 4 other cruise ships in the same ports everyday (8 ships in St Petersburg) so be prepared this itinerary is VERY popular. Britannia herself looks spectacular in port, there’s no dioubting that, but she’s a little too big for my usual choice of ship but the lack of midships stairs (!) did mean I walked miles everyday and didn’t actually put on weight! Another reason that could have been was the very poor buffet. The food choice was hugely limited at breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea, you could have played tennis with the scones. This was the worst buffet of any ship I have been on. The evening food in the oriental restaurant did have a wide choice of mains but if you are veggie I think you’d find a very limited choice, the vegetables and potatoes on every dish were very boring and samey. Having said that the service was top notch not sure whether the food mediocracy was designed to push you to the ‘cover charge’ options. Entertainment - in the Headliners was excellent as was in the live lounge. Day time entertainment was average but if you love sailaway parties then you won’t be disappointed. Casino is small and Brodie’s is a good spot - Chiona the waitress- super! The cabin was snug for 3, with that very annoying feature of the pull out bed right by the balcony doors so you can’t use the balcony after 7 ish unless you are an acrobat! Like the free hanging rail for clothes, so much better than wardrobes, which means the shower is so much bigger than on other ships. Cabin attendant was very good. There are only 3 pools on the boat, with a plunge pool on deck 16, not a lot for 3,600 people and only 2 jacuzzis unless you add in the one in the pay per visit Retreat. The pools were freezing! The in room tv was good with some great movies and they did show good movies most days in the lounges. Getting ashore was fine with only one hold up getting back on board. £75 for a behind the scenes tour is a tad steep but £25 for the sailaway in Stockholm was good value. The spa was lovely with two of the best massages I’ve ever had but the acupuncture was disappointing and expensive as were the Jou supplements. The gym was free and well kitted out, if you venture there. On the whole Britannia is a relatively new modern ship, with modern fixtures and fittings. If you want old style glamour then choose Cunard or an older P&O ship, but if you like sleek modern then Britannia is for you. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We had to unfortunately cancel our original cruise because of health problems so this Cruise was very much last minute for us as we like to book well ahead to get the cabin we want. We enjoyed the Baltic the last time we were there 8 ... Read More
We had to unfortunately cancel our original cruise because of health problems so this Cruise was very much last minute for us as we like to book well ahead to get the cabin we want. We enjoyed the Baltic the last time we were there 8 years ago and thought it would be good to visit again. Having read several reviews earlier we were a little apprehensive but were pleasantly surprised. Britannia is a beautiful ship with modern tasteful décor - there is far more space on this ship and it isn't difficult to find a quiet spot if needed and we found the majority of staff very pleasant. and helpful, The lifts midship were a nightmare - a very bad design error not to have stairs also for those who were able to use them - we did miss the glass lifts on the Azura and Ventura. The Crows Nest was our favourite, but it could be difficult to get a seat after a late dinner. The Glass House and The Limelight Club were also well worth the extra. We decided to try Freedom dining but never managed to get a really good table for two and no matter what time we went down for dinner, we were always handed a pager and had to wait 20-40 minutes for a table with rarely good service - it was extremely slow. We found that if you went up to the Buffet after 10.15 in the morning and around 3 in the afternoon for lunch it was much quieter - sometimes the restaurant timings are far too early for breakfast and lunch. One tthing that is worth mentioning is the caring Medical, Security and Reception Staff - I had a nasty fall whilst in Tallin and ended up in hospital - on my eventual return to the ship the Doctor and Nurse were fantastic and the Security and Reception Staff checked on me every day. I would definitely cruise on Britannia again,but prefer Azura and Ventura. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Having cruised Iceland and the Med we wanted to see the Baltic states and St Petersburg in particular. We were slightly put off by many critical reviews of Britannia but remembered critical reviews of previous ships which we enjoyed. The ... Read More
Having cruised Iceland and the Med we wanted to see the Baltic states and St Petersburg in particular. We were slightly put off by many critical reviews of Britannia but remembered critical reviews of previous ships which we enjoyed. The balcony cabin was compact but well designed and well looked after by our steward. The food ranged from good to excellent and the waiters were friendly and efficient. The entertainment was generally good but my wife was not impressed that three of the largest venues were devoted to live World Cup games. All staff were really pleasant, courteous, and helpful. The absence of stairs , midships, caused congestion in the midship lifts at peak times (restaurant dinner times and port excursion times) but the resultant delays were not excessive. Overall - a splendid experience. Room for improvement would include (1) better internet access (expensive and much slower than other ships we have been on) (2) Access to spending account details on the smart TV in the cabin and (3) a beer package. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
This was our second ever cruise ( previous Arcadia) but found the Brittania a bit too big and impersonal.We had to wait nearly 2.5 hours to board at Southampton , not a good start . We later found out that a gangway had broken down , but ... Read More
This was our second ever cruise ( previous Arcadia) but found the Brittania a bit too big and impersonal.We had to wait nearly 2.5 hours to board at Southampton , not a good start . We later found out that a gangway had broken down , but why wasn't this mentioned when we were waitng . The large number of passengers caused some queuing problems in St Petersburg with Russian immigration staff not being able to cope. Staff on board were friendly and helpful , our balcony cabin on F deck was clean and comfortable but the toilet / bathroom was very small compared with the same grade cabin on the Arcadia. In fact getting in and out of the shower was a real struggle. Our Steward was great and very helpful. Restaurant food was good except that in the Epicurian which was a poor and costly experience. Entertainment was good as we had the Strictly members on board . Quite surprised that a ship only two years old had two separate generator breakdowns, one when two generators broke down and in Zeebruge the "wrong fuel " was loaded !!!!!! The ship also really needs extra staircases mid ships as the lifts get very busy , which means waiting or finding a staircase elsewhere on the ship. Disembarkation was surprisingly easy despite the number of passengers. Overall not that impressed with large ships. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
This wa a Strictly themed cruise although the reason we chose this cruise was the destination ports being none we had visited before. We have embarked at Southampton several times before and this was the longest time for getting onto ... Read More
This wa a Strictly themed cruise although the reason we chose this cruise was the destination ports being none we had visited before. We have embarked at Southampton several times before and this was the longest time for getting onto the ship, I suspect because this was the largest ship we have ever been on. From arriving in the port by car to being in our cabin took almost two hours with a lot of that spent sitting in the departure area waiting to be called forward to register. Indeed, our cases arrived at our cabin before we did, a first for us. We were impressed with the ship and its facilities. The fact that the staircases from deck 4 to deck 17 were only forward and aft made no difference to us, I have read reviews where others have complained about there being no stairs midship - walking is good exercise and it always astounds me why perfectly able passengers chose to wait for lifts rather than leave them for those less able. Food on board was good whether that be in the main dining rooms or buffet. I have to say that Britania's buffet was one of the best we've encountered for space, we did not once have to fight to get a seat there even on the busy breakfast days. Entertainment was excellent, even the Strictly stuff which was not a priority for us. We used the Limelight Club on three occasions - excellent for a night's entertainment. We saw the cabaret acts of Cheryl Baker, Dean Andrews and Claire Sweeney. Only complaint about any of the ports would be the disembarking and embarkation at St Petersburg although the long delays were caused by the Russian authorities and their snail like manner in vetting each passenger. Having said how slow embarkation at Southampton was, disembarkation was one of the quickest. We chose to self disembark meaning we kept our suitcases in our cabin and carried them off ourselves. This method also happens between 7 and 8, so before all other passengers, meaning we were back to our car and on the road within 15 minutes of leaving our cabin. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We chose this cruise in order to visit countries we may not otherwise have seen and especially to see St Petersburg. This was our first cruise and we enjoyed it. The ship was impressive with a range of places to eat and drink, well ... Read More
We chose this cruise in order to visit countries we may not otherwise have seen and especially to see St Petersburg. This was our first cruise and we enjoyed it. The ship was impressive with a range of places to eat and drink, well appointed cabins and courteous staff. We do not go in for the kind of entertainment on offer on cruises but enjoyed a couple of interesting talks and went to the Limelight club one night. Service there was poor and Clare Sweeney not to our taste but others seemed to enjoy it. We chose freedom dining and were allocated the Meridian restaurant where we were able to have a table for two whenever we wanted one. Food there was generally good. We also ate at the Epicurean but for us the stand out culinary delight was at Sindhu which was first class in every respect. Our only major disappointment was with the food provided on the Simply St Petersburg excursion. The cost was clearly pared to the bone and the food was revolting. The tour itself however was excellent with a well informed guide who took us to some fabulous places. We particularly enjoyed Stockholm, Oslo and Bruges as well. Tallinn was interesting but we were a bit rushed by the guide. Could have done with longer in the town itself. We felt the black tie evenings to be a bit archaic and irrelevant but went along with it. Overall we really enjoyed ourselves and felt it was generally good value for money and a great experience. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We have travelled with P&O only once before on Ventura on a short break, and wanted to give them a go on a week long cruise on Britannia. We normally travel with Princess and I have to say they would still be my favourite. However, ... Read More
We have travelled with P&O only once before on Ventura on a short break, and wanted to give them a go on a week long cruise on Britannia. We normally travel with Princess and I have to say they would still be my favourite. However, embarkation was swift and first impressions of the ship were impressive. The central atrium is very pretty and whilst we didn't spend a great deal of time there, the captains cocktail party on the first formal night was well attended - might have been something to do with the free drink !! We opted for freedom dining and only waited for a table one night. If you are happy to share you would get seated pretty much straight away. The food was Ok, decent portion sizes but tended towards a british theme with not much in the way of international cuisine. If I was vegetarian I think I would be disappointed with the choices, only one per evening. The waiting staff were a bit on the slow side, and one night we waited an awful long time for our plates to be cleared away after we had finished eating and we were right on top of the serving station so there was no excuse really. Also with other cruise lines, water, and rolls are topped up frequently whereas on Britannia we had to ask for more each time. Horizon Court (The buffet) was stupidly busy on a morning but much more manageable during the day. Food was plentiful but not always as hot as it could be. However the pizza place and the fried chicken outlets outside by the pool were popular with my kids and they gave them both a thumbs up. Another thing we thought was stingy is the soft drinks package is only limited to 20 drinks per package - for £35 !!! Again on other lines that would be unlimited and you had to pay for ice creams - again free soft scoop machine on princess and you could have as many as you want. Not a major issue on this cruise as we were up in Norway and it was a tad cold - in the summer that could be an expensive extra. Have to give massive praise to Sindhu - it was well worth the cover charge - the food was incredible, and I suggest you dont eat prior to your meal, - we had 7 generous courses and rolled out afterwards very happy. My family are quite competitive so most nights after dinner we made our way to Brodies for a fun quiz and were absolutely delighted one evening to win a bottle of wine. The Crows nest was another place to enjoy a quiet drink with a pianist playing - very chilled. One thing Brittania is trying to do is introduce a 7pm show - ideal to then go to dinner, and then drinks afterwards. The cast worked really hard on the big productions - try and catch one or two if your on board. Neil Oliver and his entertainment team work extremely hard, and I have to say both Sailaways from Stavanger and Bergen were huge fun up on top deck around the pools - they got everyone involved and were good fun with lots of flag waving going on and passengers belting out patriotic tunes. We did not use the Cruise Shore Excursions - I do think they are overpriced and it is possible to do most things on your own with a bit of research on the internet. This way we managed to book a Cruise in Olden to Pulpit Rock, Flam Railway tickets and Bergen Funicular railway tickets- all a lot cheaper than going through the ship. Particularly in Flam, the railway is literally 5 minutes walk so I am not sure how P&O can justify a huge markup to walk people a few hundred yards..... Disembarkation was swift when we got back to Southampton, and we had no problems finding our bags in the hall and then went on our way. I would definitely recommend a cruise to Norway - absolutely stunning scenery - we were unlucky with the weather but it really didn't spoil it. I would cruise with P&O again but if I had a choice it would still be to sail with Princess - I think the service and food are just that bit better, and overall better value for money. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
We chose this cruise primarily for the itinerary but also because we had enjoyed our previous cruise with P&O onboard Ventura. We were a little put off by the low satisfaction rating on cruise Critic however were willing to take the ... Read More
We chose this cruise primarily for the itinerary but also because we had enjoyed our previous cruise with P&O onboard Ventura. We were a little put off by the low satisfaction rating on cruise Critic however were willing to take the chance based on our positive experience with Ventura. Unfortunately we found that many of the complaints we had read about Britannia turned out to be quite justified. The main drawback of this ship is the layout which does not appear to have been thought through very well. Several times we found ourselves coming to a dead end when climbing up or down staircases as certain decks of the ship are only accessible from certain staircases. Likewise on deck 16, the main swimming pool deck, it is impossible to get from one end to the other without passing through the Horizon Buffet Restaurant, causing inconvenience and congestion for diners and those passing through alike. While on the subject of Horizon I would have to say that this was probably the most disappointing element of the ship. At times it seemed totally unable to cope with the number of passengers trying to use it, not helped by the fact that on very few occasions were all serveries actually open at the same time. On top of that the menu choice was not particularly extensive, though the food itself was generally of good quality. We were allocated the Peninsular restaurant on Freedom dining and would have to say the experience was no more than average. Although we only had to wait for a table on 1 occasion the design of the dining room is such that our table for two was often hidden away behind a wall so that, for example, when the parade of chefs was held, we were unable to see any of what was going on. Service in Peninsular was efficient if impersonal and at times rushed. The waiters seemed under quite a bit of pressure to get passengers in and out as quickly as possible to make way for the next lot. The food itself was good rather than great and again the menu was fairly restricted, lacking the popular choice options that featured on Ventura. This was a problem for my wife who is quite a picky eater as their was rarely a chicken option on the menu and she rarely eats anything else. We pre-booked a table in the Limelight Club which seemed a good option for a combined dining and entertainment experience. Unfortunately on boarding we were given the menu for our evening which turned out to be even more restricted than that in the MDR. It featured only 3 main course - 1 fish, 1 meat and 1 vegetarian - and needless to say none of them chicken. It also stated to contact the Limelight room if you had any special dietary requirements so we did and asked if it would be possible to have a chicken dish - any chicken dish- for my wife. The answer was a flat no. We then asked if we could change our booking to a night when there was a chicken dish on the menu but were told that they did not serve chicken in the Limelight Club. Through reception we took this up with the restaurant manager as I found it impossible to believe that on a ship this size, which boasts 193 chefs, they could not manage to prepare one piece of chicken for us but she only confirmed that this was the case. She was then quite astonished when we cancelled our booking, apparently of the opinion that it was quite normal to spend an extra £22 on a meal you could not eat. We went to the theatre every night and were quite disappointed by the variety (or lack of) of entertainment available. On four nights out of seven the ships company provided the show and while they were very talented it all got a bit samy and boring after the first couple of shows, to the extent that I slept through most of the second two. The guest acts were a mixed bag. Comedic magician Manuel Martinez was very good, the acrobatic act Lyodji were very talented however would have been more suited to a ten minute slot in a variety show than a full forty five minutes on their own. Apparently they kept getting better and better as the show progressed but again I'm afraid I was in the land of nod by the time they got to the good stuff. The final act was big name soul star Jimmy James who while a star in his day was well past his sell by date. Better entertainment was to be found in the Live Lounge where the ship's resident band 'Pulse' held court. They were excellent with a very wide repertoire - often playing three 45min sets a night and never repeating themselves - featuring many different genres. Stand outs for me were singer Verity and guitar player and band leader Mark who were both outstanding. Also in the Live Lounge on a couple of nights was guest comedian John Ryan who was also very good. We didn't take part in many of the enrichment events, partly because we spent most days ashore and partly because they didn't appeal. The one we did attend was the Spanish lessons by Bjorn from the entertainments team. Why Spanish lessons on a Norwegian cruise I don't quite know but as we're trying to pick up the language anyway it seemed worthwhile going along. Turned out Bjorn was a 6' 4" Jamaican and camp as Christmas. Turned out he was also the best Spanish instructor I have encountered in the many lessons I have attended. He had a brilliant manner and was great at breaking things down into easy to understand pieces. Undoubtedly one of the stars of the ship. As I said at the start our main reason for choosing this ship was the itinerary. Unfortunately this was changed prior to sailing meaning we missed out on the opportunity to visit a glacier which was something I was really looking forward to. However the ports we did visit were all very good and Norway is a truly beautiful country which did not disappoint. We did our own thing in Stavanger, Bergen and Alesund but booked a ship's tour in Andalsnes. This turned out to be a good choice as Andalsnes is a tiny little town and you would be hard pushed to occupy yourself there for a full day. The tour we went on was excellent though with a coach trip up into the mountains through breathtaking scenery. All in all then a great holiday but on a somewhat disappointing and fairly average ship. Our previous trip on Ventura showed that P&O can do better than this and they really need to up there game on their flagship. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
It seems like the cruise is more targeted to the elderly generation and being honeymooners this wasnt what we were expecting. The staff is excellent and the interior cabin was comfy. However, what really needs improvement is the food ... Read More
It seems like the cruise is more targeted to the elderly generation and being honeymooners this wasnt what we were expecting. The staff is excellent and the interior cabin was comfy. However, what really needs improvement is the food (only british food and lots of indian) and the entertainment. Animation team didnt lighten the atmosphere on the deck mostly because of the elderly passengers onboard. No modern music, no lively activities. Would not go on this again unless I turn 60! Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
My husband and I have been on many cruises and wanted to treat our grown up family to a cruise to celebrate my 60th birthday. We were governed by school holidays and we only wanted a 7 night cruise (in case they hated it). Britannia to the ... Read More
My husband and I have been on many cruises and wanted to treat our grown up family to a cruise to celebrate my 60th birthday. We were governed by school holidays and we only wanted a 7 night cruise (in case they hated it). Britannia to the Fjords ticked all our boxes. We stayed in Southampton the night before to ensure that no-one missed the boat! We booked the Travelodge in the centre of town - basic but excellent value for money. We arrived at our allocated time and were in our cabins with our suitcases already delivered in less than half an hour. We had 4 superior deluxe cabins which were kept spotlessly clean by our stewards who were all friendly, helpful, discreet and efficient. The balconies were no smaller than those we had on Cunard but had the bonus of having sliding doors. Yes the ship is big but we knew that when we booked. The lifts did get busy at peak times but hey we were on holiday and we could spare a couple of minutes waiting. We have cruised with P&O before and the food on Britannia was exactly what we expected. We always managed to find tables in the buffet and the evening meal in the Oriental had something for everyone and we had a lovely round table by the window. We didn't find anything to complain about - my daughter said the only negative about our cruise on Britannia was the cruisers who wasted time and energy moaning instead of relaxing and enjoying themselves, Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Excellent food good choices, everything was clean, in fact our rooms were cleaned twice a day. The service of all the staff was excellent. However, I was a bit concerned that `many` of the activities was `money raising` related. It ... Read More
Excellent food good choices, everything was clean, in fact our rooms were cleaned twice a day. The service of all the staff was excellent. However, I was a bit concerned that `many` of the activities was `money raising` related. It may have been nice to have things for passengers to do, especially for the disabled, like crafty/ creative /hands on stuff etc We weren't keen on things like line dancing and bingo having or our photos taken, going to the casino or seeing the offers in the shops.. My biggest concern was that we had an `inbody` heath diagnostic check costing us £67, I thought that this would include advices about future care and diet etc, something important for our future lifestyle and health. . They started to worry us and tell us that we needed to clear the toxins from our bodies ... and the only thing that would clear it is the their stuff which is £120 per month. They said nothing else exists that would do the job !!!. No we didnt buy the stuff, and we left with a print out of our body diagnostics and were given no other future care advices or plans. I cant really argue about anything else, it was a smooth journey, and its interesting that you can view information about the journey on the tv, for example navigational location and a webcam of the views from the front of the ship. I would go again on a cruise but would take a book to read or find a cruise with more activities. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Whilst we enjoyed our cruise down to Madeira and the Canary Islands, stopping in Lisbon and Vigo on the way, it was marred by what was obviously too many people being crammed on board. On boarding, we found our balcony cabin was the ... Read More
Whilst we enjoyed our cruise down to Madeira and the Canary Islands, stopping in Lisbon and Vigo on the way, it was marred by what was obviously too many people being crammed on board. On boarding, we found our balcony cabin was the smallest that we have ever been in. It was well equipped and beautifully serviced by our steward but the balcony was so small that you could only sit facing each other. The bathroom was mainly a one piece molded plastic unit that those with caravans would have found familiar. Whilst swinging a cat would be impossible in the cabin, swinging a mouse was also out in the shower room. There was plentiful space for clothes with over 6 foot of hanging rail plus additional shelving space. We had been assigned “ Freedom” dining, which worked well and we never had to wait to be seated, having been happy to join tables of 6 or 8. The service was slow however and it generally took an hour and a half to complete a 3 course meal with coffee. This was not a problem unless you needed to get to the show. The Horizon buffet was huge in size but struggled to cope with all of the passengers and we often resorted to taking our food outside in order find a place to sit. The food was mediocre and the place had the general feel of a holiday camp. Whilst there was an abundance of places to eat on Britannia, most of which required extra payment, the same could not be said for the entertainment. The Theatre could seat less than a quarter of the passengers and people were sometimes queueing at the end of one show to get to the next. The best example was the “Strictly” show where 4 shows with ticketed seating were necessary. The Britannia cast shows were all brilliant but we felt sorry for them as they introduced an extra show at 7.00 pm to help cope with demand. The Theatre did not have an orchestra pit and so the shows were all to pre-recorded backing which took the shine off as you had to take it on trust that the cast were not miming. The “Live Lounge” was similarly unable to cope with the volume of passengers and we joined lots of other people standing around waiting for others to leave so that we could sit down. It was also disappointing that half of the time in the “Live” lounge was a disco. Those in the dance area were similarly unhappy as the dance floor was too small for keen dancers to step out and limited the numbers of those who wanted to dance. Relaxing on deck was similarly problematic. The comfortable loungers were placed up against each other and so the only way on was to crawl on hands and knees as you tried to avoid looking into the eyes of your neighbour. We suspected that all areas had been completely filled with chairs to cope with the numbers of passengers but there were still insufficient which resulted in the terrible “reserved by towel” syndrome where passengers had brought clips with them to ensure that they kept their places. Having settled down, you would be greeted with loud dance music from around the pool area that was (thoughfully?) piped to speakers all round deck 16 and 17. Having speakers next to the “quiet” area” meant that the music was not quite as loud but still best described as horrendous boom cha music most of the time. The crew practiced their “man overboard” drill which was perhaps required to recover those who could not stand the music any longer. There is one really nice relaxing area called The Retreat” that we previewed on our arrival with comfortable loungers and that were not crammed in next to each other. The downside is the cost of £399 each - yes each. A significant design flaw with the ship is the lack of stairs midships above floor 7. Midships is where the entrances to all dining is located on floors 5, 6 and 16 so you can only get to them by the lifts. There were usually large queues for lifts and we once waited for 10 minutes to be able to get down to a restaurant. There is no easy way around this as entrance to the restaurants is only from midships and there is no way round or through. I would also suspect that cruises from the UK are popular with those with mobility problems. The use of electric mobility scooters in the lifts halved their already limited capacity. Last but not least, the was a severe lack of public toilets. When you need to “go” and don’t want to rush back to your cabin, it would be great if there were more. Several times, I found one on the deck plan, only to discover that it was a single disabled toilet that was occupied. Would we go again? Not on Britannia. The cruise ports were fine but not the ship. If anyone from P&O reads this may I suggest: 1: That the central (crew only) stairs are decorated and made available to passengers. 2: That 2 of the speciality restaurants are converted to entertainment with one being a disco. In doing so, a second live act should be introduced into the “Live” lounge. 3. Turn off the awful Boom cha music round the pool, or at least find a way if cutting off the speakers near to the “quiet” areas. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
As a young(ish) couple of 26 & 33; we are trying cruising as an alternative to having to fly to destinations abroad (due to me being sadly scared of flying). We chose to go on the Britanna for a 7 nights Fjord trip, from Southampton, ... Read More
As a young(ish) couple of 26 & 33; we are trying cruising as an alternative to having to fly to destinations abroad (due to me being sadly scared of flying). We chose to go on the Britanna for a 7 nights Fjord trip, from Southampton, as we went on a cruise a years ago with Celebrity from Southampton and loved the fact that we can park up the car and get on the ship straight away! Embarkation was efficient; we were held for parking for only about 20 minutes, after which point we were on the ship within 30 minutes (my mum is a P&O fan and said that we experienced what sounded like a very efficient and quick embarkation for P&O). The first thing we saw when we got on the ship was the lovely atrium area with its impressive centre feature. I know this has not been the most popular use of the centre of the ship, but as a seating area to have a drink, it seemed nice (however as the cruise went on, the cigarette smoke from on deck did ruin the ambiance somewhat, if you are sensitive to the smell of smoke). The cabin was nice and modern, not as small as we were expecting, having been on Celebrity Equinox & Eclipse and having read some negative reviews of Britannia's cabins. The bathroom was plesant and the shower size as of a good standard (not having a shower curtain was definately nice!). The only issue I had was that the shower smelt of damp, sitting water quite badly. I even resorted to clearing out the plug hole and wiping with a hygiene wipe, but alas I think it was in the plumbing and not something that I or the cabin attendant could probably have resolved. The water pressure was not brilliant either, but adequate for a wash! The hanging space and cupboard for clothes, with safe in; was very roomy and it was a well designed area so you could put your suitcases nicely tucked away. The bed is very generous and comfortable, the coffee making facilities a plus. The balcony was again, bigger than we were expecting based on some reviews, the furniture was perhaps a tad clunky for the space. I did notice that the handrails on the balconies were very weathered looking for a 1 year old ship (compared to Celebrity ships). We booked a last minute deal with Thomas Cook, and we were very lucky to have cabin upgrades to be located low down, centre back of the ship. It was a nice steady, quiet location (especially for me who is a bit sensitive to wave movement!). We found out that we were having 8.30pm dining, which was too late for our preference I went down to the restaurant the first night and was put on the waiting list for freedom dining or earlier dining (sadly we never heard back about this). We ended up having the buffet or Sindhu most nights, but as we had a last minute deal - we knew we were never going to get priority seating etc. So it didn't bother us. Surprisingly the quality of the buffet was actually very decent and better quality, in our opinion, compared to Celebrity's. The choice was nowhere near as good as Celebrity, but again we always had enough choice to be satisfied. My partner is of Bengali origin, and there was always a back up curry option, that was always tasty! There were lots of English options like Shepherd's Pie or Roasts, we would have liked a few pasta/pizza dishes, but again that was just our preference. The first Formal night we decided to try Sindhu; we thoroughly enjoyed the food here. The surcharge is definitely worth it. We felt like we were in a Michelin starred restaurant! Beautifully cooked seafood, little extras like sorbet to clear the palette for dessert/appetisers to try before starters. Definately go hungry! The service was perfect too. We enjoyed it so much we went a second time for the 2nd formal night! The entertainment was good, but not quite as excellent as Celebrity. The Britannia cast shows were good, with a Britain through the decades theme and a musicals night. An issue I have read before is about the location for the comedian being too small and this was definately the case, we weren't able to see the comedian on either night. The shops onboard were a nice selection, having a Pandora jewellery store was very dangerous for the bank balance (especially as there was not VAT, so there's a 20% discount!) the washing tablets to use in the very handy washing machines were only 60p for 2, which was a nice surprise. In regards to the outside space... The lack of whirlpools & pools was evident, however for the Fjords, this was not a problem. The outdoor Serenity pool area was nice, often I had the pool to myself. Both the showers there were broken, which again was a bit surprising for the age of the ship. We had beautiful weather in the Fjords, we were in t-shirts most of the time, and only a tiny bit of rain in Stavanger. The Flam railway was beautiful. The waterfall was still frozen over, but still lovely and atmospheric. I know some people complain about this, but that is unfair and doesn't detract from the beauty here. We were sunbathing in the afternoon in the Fjords in April! We couldn't have asked for nicer weather! We only had to pay for the Flaam railway excursion, all other ports we could walk from the port and wonder round, discovering the Oil Museum in Stavanger (very modern and interesting!), going on the phonicular railway to the beautiful lake and views at Bergen was nice. Climbing the many steps in Alesund was lovely for the views. It's a lovely itinerary where you don't have to pay much extra for excursions if you don't want. It was lovely exploring the Fjord towns, they are lovely and clean and very much more multicultural than we were expecting. It is of course expensive (we paid £15 for a McDonalds meal for 2), but there's so much food to eat onboard, that this is not an issue. Overall, we enjoyed our cruise on Britannia. Perhaps the lovely weather gave us a rose tinted view of the ship itself. The lifts were a bit of an issue if you had mobility problems, and the layout took a little while to calculate, but it is a big ship and that wasn't an issue for us. Being totally honest, we did find the negativity of some of the cruise goers off putting. There were complaints about silly little things, that weren't warranted. However, we are quite insular and so didn't let it be a problem for us. It did seem that some cruise goers didn't treat some of the buffet staff, for example, very nicely. Sometimes the waiters did seem quite serious and not relaxed, which is all very different to onboard Celebrity ships. I felt sorry for them, as it might have been from too many complaining holiday goers! Disembarkation was delayed a little, but we didn't mind waiting around for a while (obviously some were sitting there complaining). These are things that are out of P&Os control and so we felt were unfair to comment negatively on. We would go with P&O again, but perhaps with Ventura or Arcadia, which I believe have covered pools and are slightly smaller ships. We got such a good deal with this cruise, that Britannia was still a lovely accommodation for a beautiful, scenic cruise. We are thinking of trying Royal Caribbean next, to hopefully get that balance of more onboard activities and perhaps a less negative crowd, along with the more plesant American style friendliness/relaxedness of staff. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
I've waited nearly a year to write this so it didn't become an r,optional reaction. We chose this cruise as it was P&Os newest ship and there was a lot of hype about how good it was. The embarkation was terrible. I'd ... Read More
I've waited nearly a year to write this so it didn't become an r,optional reaction. We chose this cruise as it was P&Os newest ship and there was a lot of hype about how good it was. The embarkation was terrible. I'd phoned up to double check the boarding time and wephen we got to Southampton had to sit there for 5 hours. The cafe didn't take cards; we won't make that mistaken again. The staff were surly and unapologetic about the mix up of boarding times. We were in a Balcony Cabin which was smaller than most of the other ships we've been on and the balcony was tiny; there wasn't room for two of us to sit in the chair on it at the same time. Luggage space was tight too. We did a mix of pay-per dine meals, the main restaurant and the buffet. The pay per dine meals were exquisite. The main dining room; we had a bingo game going of who could spot the kidneys and mangoes on the memo first. If you wanted these two items they were available at breakfast, lunch and dinner. The buffet was very poor quality food; akin to school dinners- filling but low quality and often bland. We did like the all day deli but found this opening at 11am an inconvenience as the take away items weren't available if you were going on a morning tour. We ate burgers from the poolside grill several times which screamed frozen and low budget. The pay per afternoon tea was more of a timid than anything. We ate in the premium restaurant one nite, were kept waiting 15 minutes before being sat in an empty room and the service was the slowest we had ever experienced. My husband is a quiet unassuming man but felt he had to say something about this on e way out and the reaction of the maitre d was appalling. We drank coffee in Costa a lot, which was the only place you could get a decent hot drink and I resented paying for this; many other cruise lines include this. Entertainment was good but the seats were very small and my husband couldn't sit a whole show without having to stretch his legs. The port excursions were rushed trying to get on the busses, despite arriving in plenty of time and were very crowded. On disembarkation day we were there a couple of hours early and told to go to costa coffee and wait (what a surprise, get more money from you). No announcements were made s d we were chastised by the crew for being on time to leave. The service was a clear split down the middle. Every foreign crew member couldn't do enough for you and every Brit crew member we met was off hand and seemed harassed. We will certainly will not be travelling p&o cruises again. We have our usual Celebrity cruises trip coming up In a couple of weeks. I've been on Cunard too. Both are superior in every way to P&o. It was like a package holiday at sea: the type of patrons, the constant shelving out for expenses. It was very poor value for money. Thumbs down. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
The good points. Service with the stewards and waiters good as always, better than Cunard. Food reasonable, better than Cunard in the self service. The destinations were great but P+O didn't build them The ship does well ... Read More
The good points. Service with the stewards and waiters good as always, better than Cunard. Food reasonable, better than Cunard in the self service. The destinations were great but P+O didn't build them The ship does well in rough seas Embarkation and debarkation were good, no issues there Bar prices better than the US ships The bad points The ship is new, so the doors dont work properly, you wait forever for a lift and there is a gale blowing through the self service eating place. Food was pretty good but was in bed with very bad stomach for two days. As we only ate on board and it was day 9 we know where we were made ill, guys cook the chicken properly. We were aft on floor 11. It creaked and shuddered the whole trip, even in a dead calm and in port. We lost sleep the whole holiday, dreadful. If you likes queues you will love Brittania, customer service, the shows, the bars, well pretty much everywhere. I had 90 minutes with the Customer services manager with a promise of feedback, it didn't happen. I pointed out that the Theatre was the same size as on ships with half the passengers so you couldn't see the shows unless you turned up an hour early. Even when we did (in the live lounge for the Beatles tribute) the mass of people came and in and stood in front of us so we saw their legs (the Beatles). The group were great and took the P out of the ship, lifts, gale etc. The entertainment that we were able to see was great, couldn't get into the talks, full, the best bar at the front of the ship was routinely full. The cabin, the econo version???? Smaller than usual, no wardrobe just a hanging space and I was locked in the bathroom for an hour. Overall décor bland, sort of Ikea meets Premier Inn. They didn't apparently use a ship fitting out company to do the job but a Hotel company? I can stay in a Novotel or Premier Inn anywhere thanks. It has a fridge but not stocked. The Art? Where did they get it, Poundland, truly bland and none at all in the corridors to the rooms, brighten the place up for goodness sake? The activities are firmly based on the over 60's, we are 55 and 47 and felt let down. The Library tiny and more often than not shut. Overall, its too big for the facilities provided. It feels bland and like a moderate chain Hotel. I tried to raise the issues with the Customer services manager but after 90minutes I gave up, he was going to pour out company line regardless. He advised that If I wanted luxury try another line in the group, if I didn't want to queue try Adonia etc. In effect don't bother with Britannia. Don't worry, I wont, pretty poor overall. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Before I start my review, although I may be from the younger cruise market, I think I have a good overview of the offerings from a variety of ships, having sailed previously on the Ventura (twice), Azura, Thomson Celebration, Carnival ... Read More
Before I start my review, although I may be from the younger cruise market, I think I have a good overview of the offerings from a variety of ships, having sailed previously on the Ventura (twice), Azura, Thomson Celebration, Carnival Sunshine and Fred Olsen Braemar (Christmas 2014). I choose this cruise as myself and partner wanted to go to the Baltics especially St Petersburg and also experience a new ship. We opted for an inside cabin, décor was much brighter than other ships, although we did find the corridor between the bathroom and the wardrobe was not as wide as on Ventura and Azura. Tea/coffee facilities and biscuits were replenished daily; nightly chocolate was available but disappointingly not one towel animal throughout the whole cruise. Also annoyingly if one of you wanted to read you could not switch on just one bedside light, both stayed on. The selection of free films and TV series’ available was good. But the fact you can no longer view your account on the TV, order wine, book trips is a complete backward step. I did ask at reception (once I waded through the queues of people asking for statements) about this oversight, and they said they hope to include terminals at reception with this functionality, but did not know any timescales. The Cabin steward was a bit lax, forgetting to clean the cabin on one occasion and not replacing both beach towels after use. Also brought us the survey and said “I hope you tick excellent for me” I think not! We were originally on A deck forward, but were upgraded to D deck midship. Couldn’t really see what we got for our upgrade, but it was quiet and we felt no movement of the ship. We did however, meet people from A deck who had issues with noise from staff putting out and moving sunbeds. As with previous reviews, the most frustrating element was the stairs / lifts midship. There is no stairs after deck 7 midship, there is a door marked with crew only. The only time these were open were during the muster drills. The lack of lifts gave way to some very rude attitudes and I was appalled at the amount of times I saw people crowd into a lift leaving a wheelchair user waiting on the next one. Also there should be punishments for people who go up or down one floor only, especially those people who are clearly able to use stairs. Facilities Studio – I liked the selection of films on offer, going to see The Theory of Everything and The Imitation Game. My only frustration is why P and O thought it was a good idea to have a screen which goes to the floor. Anyone not in rows 1 or 2 have no hope of seeing the full screen. Most viewings I attended were full. I was however disappointed that they showed the same films in the following week, so if you’re on for 2 weeks, don’t watch everything in week 1. The studio also doubles as a kitchen for cookery demos and more intimate musical recitals. Crystal room – total waste of space, aimed at the 60+ market of line dancers and ballroom dancers. P and O needs to move with the times and introduce gameshows, both Carnival and Thomson offer these with hilarious results. This is the perfect arena for this. Theatre – the digital screens add an extra element to the shows, however it doesn’t draw away from the fact that there are only 3 decent singers (I’ll use this term loosely) among the showcast. The choreography is muddled and the links between songs are tenuous. However, never failed to find a seat at the late showing. The guest artists were very good, especially the 4Tunes. Live Lounge – enjoyed resident band Pulse, up to date music, The Beatles Tribute was also enjoyable but please get new comedians and ditch Tucker, his jokes are old hat and it was cringe worthy. The main problem with the Live Lounge is that sometimes they got the entertainment in the theater and the Live Lounge the wrong way round, making it difficult to find a seat if you were on the late sitting. It was normally full by 10pm. Crow’s Nest – enjoyed this relaxing bar on deck 16, with its mix of piano music. Library – tucked away next to the Crow’s nest, no book swap facility, cramped with only 4 chairs and a couple of terminals, not really fit for purpose. Cookery club – I didn’t use this facility, although I was tempted, but those I met did enjoy the classes. Generally £45pp for a 3 hour session. Gym – good facilities, but you cannot use the spin bikes without booking a class due to health and safety. All classes were £7 a session and were generally fully booked. Spa – Looks lovely when I went for the tour, especially the Hydrotherapy area, but we did not use the facilities offered. Atrium – various shops with a good selection of products, usual sales of over priced products. There is a market café and a bar on deck 5 and Costa is on deck 6. Service was efficient in both. Brodie’s and Casino – traditional English pub with live entertainment and quizzes, always busy. Did have a flutter in the casino and won £16 from £1 on the slot machines. Dining Glass House – we shared a selection of 6 tapas for lunch one day. The quality was good and for £5 for 3 reasonably priced. Sindhu – bad start being given a table under the air conditioning and cramped between 2 other couples, but after a quick word we were swiftly moved to a more appropriate table. Food, presentation and service were fantastic, well worth the £15pp surcharge. Epicurean – we decided on Eric Lanlard’s afternoon tea. Very disappointing. We waited over 15 minutes to be served tea and by this point the cakes were melting. The selection of what was meant to be savory included chocolate macaroons with duck, and what with the cakes and scones the whole experience was sickly sweet and we were craving something savory. No top up’s of anything but tea was offered, even the Dorchester gives you additional sandwiches, cakes and an exclusive goody bag. Definitely not worth the £15pp surcharge. Go to Market café and spend £2.95 on an Eric Lanlard cake for the same if not better experience. Between this and the £28pp surcharge we decided against dinner in the Epicurean. Lime Light Club – I believe the surcharge to be around £22pp. Some of our dining colleagues attended and said the food was awful, very little choice, with side dishes which resembled the buffet food from lunch. The entertainment was poor and they left early stating “money down the drain”. As the acts were all unknown to us, we gave it a miss. Beach House – there is a surcharge of £5pp, and then on top of that some of the other dishes also have a further surcharge. We enjoyed the food here for something different; however service was slow and not attentive. This may have something to do with the fact the entertainment team dine here and the waiters were crawling all over them. I overheard someone complaining the next day at reception as it took them 2 hours to have a meal and the wrong food was brought out. I personally do not think the entertainment team should be allowed to eat and drink in customer restaurants, especially when people were being turned away, they should be treated as equivalent to the rest of the crew. Buffet – we ate here most days for breakfast and lunch. Always a good selection of hot food and the personal omelette chefs are excellent. There are things missing such as smoked salmon, and I did find it odd that you can only get Eggs Benedict once a week in the sit down restaurants (Meridian and Oriental) for breakfast. I did find the afternoon tea a waste of time, as mainly it was just the leftover food and cakes from lunch. This has definitely gone downhill. Grab and Go – excellent facility of hot sandwiches 8-12pm, cold baguettes, salads and fruit, 12-4pm. Good to stock up for shore days, just remember to go the day before. Burger / Pizza bar – perfect if you’re after a snack or light lunch The Oriental – having chosen to dine at 8.30pm we were allocated table 142 for the 2 of us. This must be the worst table in the restaurant, right next to the kitchen and in front of the waiter station, with no-one around us to make conversation. Service was abysmal and there was a constant draft from the kitchen door opening and closing. The following evening we had a word with the maître’ d who moved us to a much more appropriate table. We had excellent dining companions on either side of us and perfect waiters. The portions have shrunk and there is no longer silver service, but our waiter did give us extra vegetables and ice cream and if we wanted anything additional we just had to ask. The quality of the petit fours is poor and repetitive, no longer fudge or intricate biscuits. I’m not really sure I like the design of the Oriental, it is not open like many dining rooms, and it comprises of small compartments which makes it quite dark. When the chef’s do their parade, minus the baked Alaska, only a handful of people could actually see them. Upper decks, due to being in the Baltics no issues with finding sunbeds. Enjoyed the Jacuzzi most evenings to relax after a day on shore. Did enjoy table tennis, shuffleboard and quoits which were available on deck 17. Sea days were boring and repetitive; quizzes, talks trying to sell you something, dancing and bingo. Lots of things missing, no craft classes, and no tour of the kitchen, there was a ship tour on the first sea day. No chocoholics buffet, thought the waiter said there was. No staff showcase of their talents from each department on sea days. Ports We chose to do our own thing in every port except Stockholm where we booked a P and O trip of Stockholm highlights at £49pp. First of all the ship docked about an hour late, but we boarded the bus and set off for the city hall, after a whistle stop tour, 2 people were late back to the bus which lost us 20 minutes. Onto the Vasa museum, wow amazing ship, quick talk from the guide (10 minutes) who then explains you have 25 minutes to look around, seriously it’s a 6 floor museum. We tried our best but didn’t see half of the exhibits. Then onto the old town. The guide kept hurrying everyone and said right I can give you a 5 minute walk and then the bus is going back to the ship. We opted to stay in Stockholm and make our own way back. I felt totally cheated by this experience and complained to Shore Excursions the following day. After a 2 day investigation we received a letter in which they admitted the trip had been cut short due to the buses being required in the afternoon, and gave us a free bottle of wine with dinner to apologies. Not much in the way of compensation and after this experience I will never book another shore excursion with P and O. Kristiansand – failed to dock due to high winds Oslo – had an unexpected overnight stop. Went for a walk around the harbour at night. Booked bikes through Viking Biking, Curtis was really helpful and provided us a map of how to get to Viegland Park and the Viking Museum. Copenhagen – shuttle bus with P and O to the centre of town. We then met up with a guy called “Bike with Mike” for a 3 hour cycle tour, highly recommended, and did a boat trip in the afternoon. Tallinn – having been before opted for a spa day at Tallink Spa near the harbour. Great fun with a swim up bar and the treatments were very reasonably priced. St Petersburg – ignored the P and O spiel about you can only book the ships trips otherwise you need a visa nonsense and booked privately with a company called Alla Tours. The tour ticket is your visa; they were on time both days, excellent itineraries and a nice group of just 11 of us. Helsinki – shuttle bus to centre of town. Boat to the sea fort and then a walk round the market and a visit to the Rock church in the afternoon Brugge – shuttle bus to centre of town, and then train from Zeebrugge to Brugge. 20 minute walk into the Centre of Brugge climbed up the belfry and went on a canal boat trip before loading up with chocolate. Overall, I enjoyed the itinerary but that is why I booked the cruise. However, I really feel P and O have missed a trick with Britannia, and alienated themselves from the younger cruise market. There is nothing new and radical; everything is still aimed at the older generation. No slides, mini golf, climbing wall, flowrider, mixology bar. No active trips, we booked private cycling trips in both Oslo and Copenhagen. It’s just a corporate money making machine. The quality of food and service has definitely slipped and even one of the staff advised us to try Royal Caribbean, says it all really. I’m not saying we would never travel with P and O again, but I think there are better cruise lines out there with much more to offer for your money. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
This was our tenth cruise, but first with P&O and we particularly chose it because it included some nice capital cities, such as Copenhagen, Stockholm, Oslo, Helsinki, Tallinn, Bruges and St Petersburg overnight. It also included a ... Read More
This was our tenth cruise, but first with P&O and we particularly chose it because it included some nice capital cities, such as Copenhagen, Stockholm, Oslo, Helsinki, Tallinn, Bruges and St Petersburg overnight. It also included a proposed call into Kristensand, which was excluded due to bad weather. We were very keen to sail on this new ship, in order to sample the differences that it and P&O offers. The ship has a passenger capacity of over 4000 and we were pleasantly surprised to see it cope in bad weather with available public spaces and seating. However, Britannia does have some some serious problems for passengers. The lifts are not large enough or too few, especially as the mid staircase only goes down to deck 7 and you cannot reach the atrium levels (5 and 6), some dining areas and disembarkation points, without taking a lift. The sliding doors from outside into the Horizon Cafeteria areas (deck 16) , brought very strong draughts into the eating areas and beyond when the ship is moving or a wind blowing. Also, the Headliners Theatre is simply too small for the number of passengers and if you want to guarantee seeing the show, you should make sure you are in your place early. They do, however, have other entertainment options around the ship at the same time, including the cinema and lounges.The standard of entertainment is good throughout the ship and the theatre has excellent scenery changes and imagery projection equipment. Our original cabin was number E722 (deck 10) rear of ship. We had to ask to be moved on night three (2 am) as we could no longer stand the noise from vibration and rattles, even on the third night we were moored up in Oslo harbour !!! We were moved to B208 ( deck 14) front end, which was quiet. However, we have a feeling that the Pilot from the aborted attempt to get into Kristensand (Norway), stayed on board Britannia overnight. We think he may well have been put into cabin B208 the night before we went into it.( The cabin was not fully prepared in time for our arrival the following night. ??) We suspect this to be true, as for the next two nights, the restaurant booking officer asked us where the 3rd member of our party was, without mentioning a name. However, when we received our disembarkation paper it had my wife's name on it, plus a Mr Pilot.?? We were never told why the first cabin was so noisy, but suspect it was a generator being used. Mr Choudry of the information desk did acknowledge our problems and sent us a complimentary bottle of wine. Cabins are a wee bit smaller than other ships, but hanging space for clothes, numbers of hangers and glass door screens in bathroom are good things. One at a time in the bathroom though !! The service in the restaurants on levels 5 and 6, was very good at all times. We used Freedom Dining and turned up at differing times throughout the cruise. The standard of food was also good. However, the table clearing service in the Horizon was very slow in some areas furthermost away from the waiter stations. The decor around the ship (cabin and public areas) was modern and well co ordinated. Our favourite areas were the Crowsnest and the Java coffee lounge. Beer, wine and coffee prices on board are reasonable. Embarkation, from our given time of arrival, was one and three quarter hours. This is the longest time, in all our ten cruises, to get on board. The terminal was extremely busy. Disembarkation in ports of call, was sometimes slow and cumbersome. However, the photographers were not at all pushy, whether ashore or on board....good to see. We took the ships excursions in both St Petersburg (2 days) and Bruges. Although they were expensive, they all provided variety and decent quality. Port information on board was good, although not repeated via the ships TV. Britannia is a brand new ship and we were very surprised not to be able to access our on board account via the TV system and we only ever saw 1 interim and 1 final statement in the 2 week period....not good enough. It is also NOT GOOD ENOUGH to receive these statements into your cabin without them being placed into a sealed envelope !!! This is unacceptable. We suspect that there was an outbreak of Novovirus on board, but to what level we were never told. they certainly tightened up on sanitary matters the second week So, in summary, some poor and very poor and other aspects good and very good. We would not like to put others off, but on the other hand we cannot wholeheartedly recommend Britannia or P&O, based on this experience Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Just returned from a Baltic cruise on Britannia. This was our fifth cruise with P & O, we booked it a year ago and until we started reading the reviews on this forum had been thoroughly looking forward to it! The weeks before we set ... Read More
Just returned from a Baltic cruise on Britannia. This was our fifth cruise with P & O, we booked it a year ago and until we started reading the reviews on this forum had been thoroughly looking forward to it! The weeks before we set sail, we all felt very anxious...we needn't have worried and had an absolutely fantastic experience! Embarkation was a breeze, we pulled up outside the terminal at just past midday and were onboard by 1pm, cabin was ready immediately (usually the cabins aren't ready until close to 2pm), we headed to horizon for a spot of lunch, had a walk and returned to cabins where all of our luggage was awaiting us. The ships decor is beautiful, it looks like any modern 5 star hotel (I can't understand how people are complaining about this as the planned interior was well documented prior to ANY cruises being booked). The starburst in the atrium is gorgeous. There are no lifts mid ship which can be a pain, but it in no way spoiled the enjoyment of the cruise for us! We had freedom dining in the meridian restaurant and never had to wait for a table, the food was always excellent and staff attentive. We ate at Sindu and here the food was outstanding, staff were very helpful and it was well worth the cover charge, likewise the afternoon tea at the epicurean and I would also recommend the the meat and cheese boards at the market cafe, I do however think that it's a shame the market cafe closes so early. We didn't use the children's clubs ourselves as I prefer to spend the days with my children but from what I saw, they seemed very well attended to. As on Azura and Ventura, for a popular show you will need to get to the theatre or live lounge early but the entertainment is generally of a high standard. Disembarkation was very well organised, we asked for a departure time of around 9.30am and by 9.20 we were driving out of the car park and were back home in South Wales by 12.15pm, this was the best disembarkation we've experienced! In summary, we had a fantastic holiday, saw some beautiful places and scenery, weather was cold but that's not P&O's fault!! I genuinely feel that a lot of the other reviews have been written with some ulterior motive as I can relate to very little in them, for example, our cabin didn't creak at all, we didn't feel any movement in the ship, we found all staff pleasant and attentive, hand washing and sanitising was always enforced by staff and though the lifts are a problem we didn't experience any wait of 10mins plus as other travellers claim to have. Well done P & O, we'll be seeing you again in June 2016!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Britannia is a great ship, but with a few little niggles. Walking around the ship you get a sense of just how large she is, especially walking down the cabin corridors. She is beautifully equipped with restaurants, coffee lounges, bars, ... Read More
Britannia is a great ship, but with a few little niggles. Walking around the ship you get a sense of just how large she is, especially walking down the cabin corridors. She is beautifully equipped with restaurants, coffee lounges, bars, entertainment areas. The main deck area has a double pool arrangement. There is a separate pool area for adults only called Serenity. Plus there is the Retreat for those who have money to burn. If you enjoy Real Ales then Brodie's will make you very happy indeed - there are 70 different ales to try! And for those of you who enjoy wine, there seemed to be a huge selection of different colours and tastes. Activities on board are the usual array of shows, quizzes, games, etc. There is a separate Cinema room for those who enjoy films. The view of the screen is hampered though as the rows are not elevated enough front to back. Service in all the restaurants was the usual for P&O - Excellent. The buffet service was also better than we have experienced before. Our cabin was tastefully decorated and had a large screen interactive TV on the wall. The TV has a selection of films and TV shows which can be called up any time of day or night, along with 4 TV channels (news mostly). The cabins do seem to have shrunk a bit, though they were just about adequate for two people. However, the balcony definitely seems smaller than on Azura or Ventura (and I'm talking about the standard balcony size). The Headliners Theatre was very good indeed, but it has less seats than I would have expected. That said I could always get a seat in the 10:30pm show, even arriving at the last minute. There is a £22 surcharge if you wish to go into the Limelight Club. Here you are entertained by "special" guests whilst you eat a meal at tables within the club. One of these included a Morcambe and Wise tribute on our cruise. If you think that is worth £22, please do. The niggles start when you try a move between decks. There are no stairs mid-ships above Deck 7 (the upper Atrium deck) so you are forced to use the lifts from here and they seem to have shrunk from the ships like Azura and Ventura. The lifts also seem to take a very long time to come. There is no prom deck on Britannia on Deck 7. So having a walk outside between shows is out of the question, unless you venture up to Deck 18 where there is a dedicated prom deck (only around the engine stacks), fully exposed to whatever the weather is doing. The Live lounge at the back of the ship is the other main entertainment area and I feel this was too small. Many nights it was necessary to stand to be able to watch the shows. Overall we absolutely loved the cruise, but our next cruise will be back on Ventura or Azura. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
We are big cruisers over 20 plus years. Sailed with Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Azamara, Cunard, Princess, Oceania and P and O. Probably done around 45 cruises. Our favourite ships are Solstice Class on Celebrity, Queen Elizabeth with ... Read More
We are big cruisers over 20 plus years. Sailed with Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Azamara, Cunard, Princess, Oceania and P and O. Probably done around 45 cruises. Our favourite ships are Solstice Class on Celebrity, Queen Elizabeth with Cunard and Riviera with Oceania Cruises. We went with a totally open mind on Britannia and said we would ignore all the bad reviews we have read and make up our own minds. Sadly many of the bad reviews are true. P and O have really missed a trick here. Such a massive opportunity squandered in many ways. Plus way too much hype so that people thought it was going to be amazing when the truth us it's not even up to a good standard of so many other ships out there. There is no wow factor on this ship. We don't like too much colour or razzmatazz but the atrium which is the heart of any ship fails to impress. The staff were OK but with the exception of just one or two waiters we had we can't say that they engaged much with passengers day to day. THE GOOD The itinerary to the Baltic is great, it's such an interesting trip (though a real shame we missed the Norway port due to high winds). The ship has a very good ballast, not much rocking and rolling in the high winds. The food throughout the cruise in all venues was very very good. Bit overpriced for Eric Lanlards afternoon tea but other than that no complaints at all. Really liked some of the public areas, particularly The Glass House (good value wine flights). Also Java is a lovely venue too. The Crows Nest is also a very classy area. By and large the entertainment was very good, particularly Pulse, 4Tunes, Julian Smith Saxophonist, Dutsy Springfield tribute act and Phil Collins tribute act. THE BAD Didn't like the shops being part of the atrium, when you sit in a bar looking down it fells like you are sat in a posh shopping centre. The absence of a central stair case is a massive design fault (P and O must know this by now!) The Live Lounge had good acts on but there are as many people standing to watch as are sat down. Not enough seating. The theatre is too small, people getting there up to 40 minutes before a show to ensure getting a seat. The standard balcony cabin we had was the smallest we have had and the balcony is also very small. The light coloured furniture looks and feels very cheap. Also for what you pay for ANY balcony cabin we think they should ALL have a sofa (some have just a chair). The balcony wasn't cleaned until half way through the cruise. If you want to know what people expect a good standard balcony cabin should look like, look no further than the Solstice Class ships with Celebrity Cruises. This is the benchmark for balcony cabins for our money. The outside deck areas and furniture are functional rather than attractive and some parts have too much white metal (rear of ship) making it rather like a ferry. No comparison to the fabulous outside areas on Solstice Class ships. The Retreat is the least attractive we have seen and at £25 a day it's not surprise there are few takers. The music on deck was often too loud and the sail way parties music was absolutely deafening! (Don't mind it for the Great British Sailaway as that's something different and many people join in). We sometimes think the deck music is for the benefit of the staff not the passengers. THE UGLY The theatre is too dark and way too much ugly metal rails and bars. It's the least attractive theatre on a quality ship. All the stairwells are unattractive, 50 shades of grey with unattractive art work. The stairwells are more like a ferry than a quality cruise ship. CONCLUSION Britannia is OK but not special (which is a real shame because she could have been). Would we sail on her again? Maybe but it would have to be a great itinerary and a bargain price. In short there are just too many better ships out there on the market. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Cruise Review. Embarkation; Coach from Leeds = Less stress. Still a good wait to embark, but only to be expected for that amount of passengers. Although it seemed to go faster through security than other cruises. Cabin; Pleasant. ... Read More
Cruise Review. Embarkation; Coach from Leeds = Less stress. Still a good wait to embark, but only to be expected for that amount of passengers. Although it seemed to go faster through security than other cruises. Cabin; Pleasant. Good storage under bed for cases. Good hanging space, drawers and security box. Poor lighting, no individual side lights for reading. Nice bathroom/shower facilities. Plenty of information on TV and good supply of free films. Ship; Poor design. “Promenade” deck 7! Only ship I've known not to be able to go all the way round, so why call it a promenade deck? Stanchions in way of serving hot plates! Have to walk round them to carry on helping yourself to hot food. Sun loungers packed tighter than sardines, with not enough tables or space to put drinks/plates on. Too many obstacles on upper lido decks. Not possible to walk all way round ship even on the upper decks. Hot food left out too long on grill decks, consequently goes cold. Sports facilities ok, although no room to swing a club in the golf nets and the balls roll out from underneath! Could only find comfy seats, (wall bench types), in Brodies, to read. Some unbelievably awful seats abound. I think the problem is that it was a hotel group who designed the furnishings and interior and they've done it as they would a hotel instead of a ship! Entertainment; Staff did their best to please. They were very efficient in their planning and timings, but could work a bit more on their delivery. Enjoyed the quizzes and the Wii bowling! Casino was well used by others. Theatre nights were good, but one had to get in early to obtain a good seat, or even a seat! Cinema, and I use the word loosely, was a bun fight! Queueing to get a good seat while the previous film is still showing, and if you were in the second or third row, you could only see half the screen! Live Lounge was pretty busy at most times, but again, get in early for the good shows. Dining; We had freedom dining and the restaurant manager, Mr. Newby I think, was very pleasant and did his best to seat us in a nice place all the time. We had a table for two each night and sometimes needed to take a “buzzer” to be called when our table was available, but never had to wait for more than twenty minutes at any time. Some waiters looked like they would rather be somewhere else, but the majority were very nice and very pleasant. The food was a delightful surprise from what we were served on the Oriana, thank goodness! It was delicious in most cases and if I wanted more than one starter or main, it wasn’t a problem. A lot of people have a tendency to complain about not enough this or not enough that, when all one has to do is ask! I asked for a small pot of gravy or sauce on numerous occasions, not a problem! My wife is vegetarian and the food manager came to us every night and showed us the next day’s menu and the alternative A & B veggie menus and she was allowed to pre-order her food for the following evening, excellent service. Ordering a bottle of wine and only drinking half was the way to go, with the bottle being stored for you to drink the next night. Excursions; I could write a whole book on the ports we visited, but suffice to say that the best way is to do a lot of research before sailing and to plan well ahead. Excursions bought from the ship are very expensive in comparison to what you can achieve by other means. Most ports, we could walk into the town or use the shuttle bus, for which they may be a small charge sometimes. Hop on hop off buses were really expensive, but a necessity for the less agile. St. Petersburg was an excellent place to visit but can only be done so by group or individual visa. The other excursion we partook in was a trip to Ypres and Flanders Fields. Very emotional and humbling, but a must see on this cruise. The weather was too rough for us to dock in Kristiansand, so were arrived a lot earlier at Oslo than planned. I did hear the deputy captain overshot one of the Ports by a mile and had to reverse! Disembarkation; What a debacle that was!! Herded together in waiting areas, with other selfish, inconsiderate, unhygienic people, coughing and spluttering, is not a good idea when waiting to disembark! I'm still coughing now, 5 days later! Finding our baggage was a nightmare!! Talk about disorganised. Poor single, frail women were in tears, they had no idea where to look in that vast area, where there were hardly any signs to say where one’s bag may be! (Apparently they were laid out in deck order, but not enough signs to indicate this!) Sorry if this was a bit long winded but I think I've covered the main points and given other’s an insight into what to expect, i.e. not a great deal really. My favourite so far is still the Emerald Princess. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
After reading the reviews on Brittania before going I was wondering if I was doing the write thing by going on the ship in the first place. But I must say the cruise went very well we had a great balcony cabin on deck 11 on the port ... Read More
After reading the reviews on Brittania before going I was wondering if I was doing the write thing by going on the ship in the first place. But I must say the cruise went very well we had a great balcony cabin on deck 11 on the port side. The food was very good in the main dining room one night we had a meal in the Epicuriain the meal was more of a dining experience , I have been a chef all my working life and I can say that meal was one of the best meals I have ever had it a must if you go on board. The ship has a few faults but I go on holiday to have fun not compare one cruise against another . The crew to Brittania are fantastic so go on this ship with an open mind an enjoy Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
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 3.2
Service 5.0 3.9
Value For Money 5.0 3.4
Rates 5.0 N/A

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