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87 Southampton to Europe - British Isles & Western P&O Cruises Britannia Cruise Reviews

Having read the negative reviews before our holiday we were a bit apprehensive before travelling however our experience of this cruise and sailing on Britannia was very positive. We sailed as a party of four adults sharing two obstructed ... Read More
Having read the negative reviews before our holiday we were a bit apprehensive before travelling however our experience of this cruise and sailing on Britannia was very positive. We sailed as a party of four adults sharing two obstructed view cabins G521 & G519. If you happen to have these cabins or any situated in this area don't worry about the view as the obstruction of the lifeboats did not cause a problem and we could still enjoy sailing into the different ports and the fantastic firework display in Liverpool. Our cabin steward was lovely. His name was Anjelo and he was efficient and we did not feel rushed in the morning to leave our room unlike how we felt on a different cruise company we went with. Embarkation was smooth and I would definitely recommend sticking to the time given for arriving at Ocean Terminal as they do call you to board at your stated time. We didn't board until about 3.30 so didn't have much time to get accustomed to the ship. If you haven't sailed with P&O before a suggestion when you go to the safety drill on Britannia is to wear trousers or shorts (not a skirt or dress) as it is a bit awkward trying to put on a life jacket on and doing up the strap between your legs when wearing a skirt :) The ship can be a little bit confusing to navigate and yes the central staircase does only go up to deck 7. I would recommend that anyone needing to use lifts use the forward or aft lifts and not the mid-ship lifts as these seem to be much slower especially on deck 16 when you come out of the buffet. If we left the buffet and came upon the mid ship lifts we would just walk back through the buffet to get to the stairs or the other lifts that did seem to operate a bit faster. The lifts can get very busy when everyone is getting back on the ship after visiting ports or in the evening such as the Captain's Gala. Other than that during the day we found no problem with people accessing lifts. The food on board was excellent. The buffet was clean and the staff were always friendly and would say hello. We thought it was a good idea that you could physically wash your hands before entering which everybody seemed to do and we liked that they provided trays. A small negative would be that not all the items in the buffet were labelled but there was a menu on a screen telling you what items were being served in the buffet when you entered. As for drinks you could order cocktails or beer or wine (they also had self service wine and beer). The only free drinks in the buffet at lunch and dinner were water and tea and coffee and at breakfast you could also get juices from the dispenser. If you want a free hot chocolate visit the late night buffet after 10pm. We used the grab and go and the outside grill that served burgers, chicken, hotdogs and pizza. The grab and go had a choice of baguettes such as ham and mustard, beef and horseradish, cheese and pickle and also salads such as chicken tikka, tuna, feta cheese, to name but a few. The choice was the same for the whole 12 nights and lunch in the grab and go was available from 12 noon to 4pm which did mean that you couldn't grab anything that morning for an exclusion unless you had an afternoon excursion or were happy with a bacon sandwich which they did offer. There were bread rolls and ham slices in the buffet in the morning if you wanted to make up your own rolls. I would recommend Sindhu which is the Atul Kutcher Indian restaurant on board. There is a surcharge of £15 but the food is fabulous. You also get some additional plates and if you are lucky they may also give you a free bottle of wine which we got on our second visit (as did other tables). The market cafe is also worth a visit. You do of course have to pay for the cakes but they are a nice tasty treat and I would recommend the raspberry macaroon or sharing a piece of red velvet or carrot cake (the cakes are quite big so we found we could share them). You can however get a free cake with a drink you have to pay for in Java (Costa) however the cakes are only on offer until about 5pm. The theatre is small and if you want the aisle seat which most did then you will have to arrive about 30 mins before the show starts. The headliners shows are very good particularly Once upon a time and Sound of the Underground. There is more chance of getting a seat if you arrive later at the 7pm show or 10.30pm as the 8.30pm show is very popular. If you do arrive later you should still be able to get a seat but it is likely to be in the middle of the row or if you enter at deck 6 entrance the far left where there was still a few seats left even 5 minutes before it started. If you are going to see a guest artist then they normally only have two performances. On our cruise guest acts included Sam Bailey (X Factor), Steve Hewlitt ( ventriloquist from Britain's got Talent), Opera Boys to name a few. We also saw an interview during the day given by Mary Berry and James Martin. We did see some films in the studio cinema. Again if you want to be in the front row you will need to get there about 25-30 minutes before the film starts. If you get there later and sit further back be prepared for a bit of seat hopping to find a better view of the screen. Even when we sat further back we could still see the screen however the view does depend on whether you can get a seat with no one in front. My suggestion would be to go to either the 6pm showing or 10.30pm showing as again the 8.15pm showing is a bit busier. For anyone interested in choice of films available we saw Second Best Marigold Hotel, The Theory of Everything, Into the Woods, Cinderella (the most recent version) and Kingsmen: The Secret Service. If you are sailing with children I would just suggest that you check the rating of the film on the horizon paper as even a film with strong language would be shown at 6pm. Although the weather was not great (which we expected visiting the British Isles) the ports of call were lovely and the excursions were enjoyable. If you want to do a ship organised excursion I would recommend booking before you sail as a lot were already sold out. Also when on board if you do decide to cancel a trip make sure you do it at least 48 hours before the date of the excursion otherwise you will lose all your money. If you cancel 48 hours before you may just lose 10% unless the trip is oversubscribed and then you may get all your money back as they can resell the ticket. It could get a bit boring on sea days. There was a few dance classes ( no zumba) and some fun evening quizzes but I would recommend bringing a good book to read. There are also some good choices of films in the cabin, if you want to chill, which are mostly free. The TV in the cabin is good however you still are unable to access your bill. If you need to keep a track of how much you spend just pop to reception. Another thing that you may wish to do on board is visit the spa. I treated myself to a hot stone massage. Would I do it again - no as I found it very expensive and they do of course push extra products. My recommendation if you wanted to use the spa would be on sea days (as you would make more use of it) is to visit the spa early that day and see if they have a day pass to the Hydrotherapy suite. A day pass costs about £25 and a lady I spoke to said she was able to come and go all day, was able to access a very peaceful area with saunas and pool and heated loungers. Sorry for the long review but I would say that we enjoyed Britannia. The ship is not perfect but what is, and we felt that the staff, the entertainment (particularly sail aways and headliners company) led by a lively Neil Oliver, the food and the excursions exceeded our expectations. Would we sail with P&O again -Yes we definitely would and we would sail on Britannia again in the future. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
When Britannia was being built, and right up to the launch. I was really excited about the prospect of the cruise that I had booked over 14 months ago to go around the British Isles in July 2015. As I started to read the reports that ... Read More
When Britannia was being built, and right up to the launch. I was really excited about the prospect of the cruise that I had booked over 14 months ago to go around the British Isles in July 2015. As I started to read the reports that were coming back from passengers I was starting to get a little concerned – surely it can’t be as bad as that – IT WASN’T. The embarkation was a little slow, taking about 2 hours from arriving in the car park to getting onto the ship. I have never understood how Celebrity mange the process in about half an hour, but it wasn’t a major problem. We were booked in a Superior deluxe cabin and were really impressed with the size of it. There were a couple of areas that could have been better (eg individual bedside lights, more powerful shower) but these were more than offset by the drawer space and the “walk-in” wardrobe. The bed and the chairs were extremely comfortable and I really liked the TV’s with the webcam, maps and the news channels. There were also films and TV programmes but we never seemed to have time to watch them. The balconies have received some criticism. My wife and I could both sit on the balcony with the seats reclined and a table between us. I’m not sure what we would have used any extra space for. We were midships on the 11th deck, and so were probably in one of the best places to experience the reported lift problems. THERE WEREN’T ANY. If we got to the midships lifts and there were more than a dozen people waiting we would just walk to the other lifts. Most of the time we had to go to one end of the ship or the other anyway, so we had no further to walk. If we were going somewhere central it was just about 80 paces one way, get the lift or the stairs, and 80 paces the other. Since my nearest pub at home is half a mile away, and the nearest theatre is 5 miles, I don’t think it is much of an issue. But I should stress that most of the time we got a midships lift within a couple of minutes. I suspect that it was more difficult for any disabled people on the middle decks as the lifts were probably full by the time they arrived, but that is an issue on any ships. The service that we received from the cabin steward was first class. We rarely had to call on him for anything out of the ordinary, but he kept the cabin spotless and well supplied with all the essentials. The food, on the whole was pretty good. We ate in the Peninsular on Freedom Dining for most of the meals, and the longest that we had to wait for a table for two was 10 minutes. It was in the dining room where I was most disappointed, not with the food but with the service. At times it was a bit slow, and the waiters seemed to wish that they were somewhere else. I could sense the wine waiters snarling on a couple of occasions when we just had water with our meals. This was in marked contrast to the Beach House and the Limelight. The Beach House has a more relaxed atmosphere and the food, whilst generally a little simpler than in the main restaurant, was excellent. We decided to try the Limelight early on in the cruise. This was because we wanted to see Dean Andrews, but also so that if we enjoyed the concept, we could go again later. The whole occasion was excellent, the food and service were very good and “Deano” put on a really good show. We saw saw Jaki Graham later on in the Limelight. A good performer but a bit too much chat. The food in the buffet for breakfast, lunch and, on a couple of occasions, dinner, was satisfactory without being exceptional. The layout of the buffet was better than a number of other ships but didn’t quite get the “island” concept as well as on the Eclipse. We decided to book the afternoon tea on the last sea day. We were in two minds about this as it is on the same day as the last formal evening, but we scheduled our evening meal for after the first show, so still managed to have a 5 hours gap between the two meals. It would probably have been better if they started serving the afternoon tea a little earlier than 3.30 though. The food itself was quirky but very good. Who would have though that duck went well with a chocolate macaroon – but it did. The entertainment on the ship was of varying quality. The Headliners were excellent. Although it is not my cup of tea I could appreciate the skill and effort that went into the show, and if that’s the kind of entertainment that you like you would not be disappointed. I wasn’t keen on the Opera Boys, or the comedian (I shudder when they bring out a box of wigs) For me, the best entertainment was the band and the singer who were providing the music for the dancing in the Crystal Room. I don’t really like dancing but we caught them on the way to another venue and after that spent a number of very pleasant evenings listening to them. We did 4 of the ships excursions. They were very well organized with little waiting around to get on the coaches, and the local guides were excellent My overall impression of the ship was very favourable. The décor is very smart, there was plenty of seating, even though for the cruise that we were on the weather had made the pool a virtual no-go area. Weather – 2 days good, 9 days rubbish – but who cares. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
This was our 6th cruise (3rd with our 2 boys) and we really enjoyed our holiday although the weather was not the best :-) Firstly, we are very impressed with the décor of the ship which is very sophisticated and contemporary and this ... Read More
This was our 6th cruise (3rd with our 2 boys) and we really enjoyed our holiday although the weather was not the best :-) Firstly, we are very impressed with the décor of the ship which is very sophisticated and contemporary and this further extended to our larger inside cabin which has been the best of any cruise ship we have been on. The shows were fabulous and with a one-night only policy for the entertainers resulted in a great variety every night. The activities and excursions were a little on the pricey side but this was made up for by the complimentary transport available into the major cities that again was better than the 4 other cruise lines we have cruised with in the past. The kids club was really enjoyed by our children and the staff did an efficient job although Princess Cruises tend to have slightly better activities as well as a more vibrant atmosphere. The only thing that was perhaps not as favourable as our other cruises was the food which admittedly was catering to a local taste which was different to ours and therefore not the fault of the ship. Having said that, the curries on board were incredible and actually rivalled some of our favourite restaurants at home!! The strangest things was that we did run into was a small number of people who complained about the ship being too big?!?! These people must be living under a rock as it was advertised as the biggest ship to service the UK... We would highly recommend this ship and we would love to travel on the Britannia again some day. Maybe the Caribbean next time :-) Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
After reading all of the negative reviews regarding the ship - we went with an open mind to find out for ourselves! Ship was impressive from the outside and cabin was lovely - as were the cabin steward staff. That's the positives! ... Read More
After reading all of the negative reviews regarding the ship - we went with an open mind to find out for ourselves! Ship was impressive from the outside and cabin was lovely - as were the cabin steward staff. That's the positives! If you want to stay in a floating hotel - this ship is for you! As a cruiser if you want the WOW! factor - this ship doesn't give it. The interior was designed by Hotel designers - and this showed throughout the ship. The so-called Atrium was very lack lustre, which was a coffee shop by day and a glorified waiting room in the evening. We are not lift users but could understand the frustrations of those that have raised this point in their reviews. Navigating your way around the ship was very frustrating - often coming up against dead ends or no access routes. Weird and uncomfortable layout of the public toilets with joint access for males and females - and no sound proofing! Hand wash facilities within the toilets and public restaurant areas was poor. A fair number of staff are obviously unhappy in their work as this showed in their attitudes and body language. This was particularly evident among the Pool Assistant staff who were more than a little rude and disrespectful! We used the word 'segregation' a lot throughout the ship because this is how we felt! Areas only accessible if you paid extra - a lot of additional cover charges for fine dining and Serenity Pool area. Only two Jacuzzi's on top deck and both only seated five comfortably! Catering for a passenger total of over 4000 - how this would fair in hotter climates is questionable! We have experienced Britannia - and will not be sailing on her again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
I had booked a suite for my mum and I to celebrate her birthday, we were really looking forward to seeing this new flag ship for P & O. I have taken a few other P & O cruises and have not been impressed with the service, food and ... Read More
I had booked a suite for my mum and I to celebrate her birthday, we were really looking forward to seeing this new flag ship for P & O. I have taken a few other P & O cruises and have not been impressed with the service, food and standard of suite. The suite on this, very large ship was very small, the bathroom is quite good but the lovely brown and cream marble surfaces have been ruined by not having soap dishes, both the bathroom and seperate toilet have the same issue. The balcony has no depth whatsoever and was very dirty, looks like it has not been cleaned since it was launched. Other than the bottle of champagne in the suiteand eating breakfast in the Epicurian restaurant ( Food was good, service average), there are other benefits, no soft drinks included. Other shipping lines are far more generous at this level and as thay only have 64 suites, I would think they could over soft drinks. The food in the Horizons self service was typically bad and sloppy and plastic glasses with your drinks! The pool area was deafening, It was like a disco, blaring music fro speakers every few feet. This area is forward and our suite was aft but we could hear this including the cruise directors words at the sail away party in our room - we were also 2 decks down. i dread to think how bad A deck forward must be. Food in Penninsular restaurant was just awful, Ceasar salad cold, watery and dry chicken. Chicken with madeira sauce, too dry to eat. arrived far too quickly before drinks and no sparking water available. Food in restaurants you have to pay for is good in general, service in those is hit and miss. Overall the ship looks quite nice, a little tacky in places, a little Ikea ish, it feels a lot smaller than it is on the inside, There are far too many cabins for the size of the ship, compared to Cunard for instance. The really big problem is the lack of lifts, queueing is the norm and the luck of the drawer if the lift opens next to you as someone else will jump in firts, if there is room, they say they hold 18 but no way is that adults. Never again for me, I am glad I only booed a taster as 2 nights was plenty on there. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
A short two night cruise with three couples. 2 couples had never cruised before. The Ship Loved the new ship. Decor wasn’t “over the top” but very impressive. Other reviews have criticised the fact that there is no central ... Read More
A short two night cruise with three couples. 2 couples had never cruised before. The Ship Loved the new ship. Decor wasn’t “over the top” but very impressive. Other reviews have criticised the fact that there is no central staircase but we didn’t find that a problem, especially as other large ships we have been on also didn’t have a central staircase - we simply walked to the aft or forward stairs / lifts. However, we do agree the lifts were too small and that it seems silly that the central bank of six lifts aren’t controlled by one call button. Four middle lifts are all on a single button, but then each side lift has its own button. So naturally everyone presses all three call buttons when they want a lift. We also agree that the Headliners Theatre simply isn’t large enough to accommodate 4300 people in two shows, although obviously it depends on what’s on. The first night we got in to the second show easily and the theatre wasn’t full. On the second night the second show was standing room only. Our Cabin - D501 Very well laid out and very comfortable. Yes, the balcony is a little small but as we spent very little time in our cabin or on the balcony it wasn’t a problem. The food Excellent! We were on Freedom dining in the Peninsular restaurant, there was a good choice of food and the portions were a good size. The waiters were all very friendly and efficient, especially with my wife’s gluten free diet which has caused problems on other cruise lines. Whatever she wanted from the menu they simply made a gluten free version. We wouldn’t actually use freedom dining again. It sounds like a good idea but in reality there never seemed to be a table available for anyone on Freedom dining. We did get in straight away on the first night but most couples and groups of four were being given pagers - as were we on the second night. Drinks in the main restaurant were reasonably priced with wine at around £15.00 a bottle. The Horizon restaurant was also excellent although there wasn’t such a huge choice of different dishes as on other cruise lines. It was well laid out and there was always somewhere it sit. They also had a whole selection of gluten free puddings. We didn’t use any of the restaurants where you have to pay a cover charge so can’t comment on them. The “grab & go”, pizza and burger grills by the pools seemed to be a huge success. The Bars There are a number of bars around the ship. We used Brodies and the Blue Bar. Both were comfortable and well decorated. The prices were very reasonable. The entertainment The evening shows in the Headliner theatre were very good as were the acts in the various bars. However, we weren’t particularly impressed with the entertainment during the day as nothing seemed to be organised. For example, the Horizon newsletter said that there was shuffleboard or deck quoits at a certain time. We expected this to be an organised competition with someone to explain the rules - as did other people who turned up at the appointed time - but no one arrived so we simply had a quick go ourselves. Overall we were very impressed and would certainly sail on Britannia again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
Embarkation and disembarkation flowed easily and we were pleased with the cleanliness of our cabin. Unfortunately we were not impressed with the size of the cabin which was so small. The balcony was adequate for both of us to sit outside. ... Read More
Embarkation and disembarkation flowed easily and we were pleased with the cleanliness of our cabin. Unfortunately we were not impressed with the size of the cabin which was so small. The balcony was adequate for both of us to sit outside. Most of the public areas looked grubby and the ladies toilets were dreadful. To get away from the crowds at sail away, which resembled 18 - 30/Butlins/Hi De Hi holidays, we went to the Crow's Nest Bar which was lovely, but in need of cleaning too (brass and glass all covered in fingerprints and just generally uncared for). We were pleased with the menu and food on the first night, but most of the menu was repeated on the second night (leftovers?).Our one and only port of call was Guernsey which was lovely but as it was a Sunday most of the shops were closed. Entertainment was good in the theatre and live lounge. In the middle of the second night I was very ill with a stomach upset which must have caused by the ship's food as I did not eat or drink elsewhere. We did not enjoy this short trip and would definitely not travel on this ship again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
having read some reviews was a little concerned as we have a 2 week cruise booked for September but need not have worried. Firstly checking in was quick and efficient on board half hour after arrival! Went straight to our cabin, ... Read More
having read some reviews was a little concerned as we have a 2 week cruise booked for September but need not have worried. Firstly checking in was quick and efficient on board half hour after arrival! Went straight to our cabin, reviews has said tiny and poky but we were delighted. Ok so not as big as some we've had but big enough despite fact I'm a large lady ! Clean fresh and lovely decor. Went to Horizon restaurant for lunch no queues plenty of free tables and food was fantastic. The only negative was the first dinner was black tie and didn't know but ate happily in Horizon again. Next day had a lovely full english in the Meridian restaurant and again no queuing fast service and staff pleasant and polite. We tried to go ashore but choppy sea causing problems and long waits so decided to stay on board and explore and some sunbathing. A small point i had read theatre seats were very small and not suitable for large people well I'm a very large lady and i fitted in ok! Dinner was lovely again and all the restaurants are airy and spacious . Therefore we r really looking forward to September. Make your own opinion but we were not disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
I and my mum have just come back from a weekend cruise on board the Britannia from Southampton to Guernsey. I am in my mid thirties and we are both first time cruisers. We travelled down to Southampton by train and got a taxi to the ... Read More
I and my mum have just come back from a weekend cruise on board the Britannia from Southampton to Guernsey. I am in my mid thirties and we are both first time cruisers. We travelled down to Southampton by train and got a taxi to the Ocean Terminal where the ship sailed from. On our e-ticket we had been given an arrival time of 1230 to turn up at the cruise terminal. This in fact was misleading as many passengers seemed to ignore this and just turn up when they felt like it. So the terminal was very crowded. There were not enough seats in the terminal to handle the full complement of passengers. For those first time cruisers like us it might help if I go through the embarkation process. You turn up at the Ocean Terminal and leave your luggage at the Baggage Drop Off Area by the taxi rank outside the terminal. The staff will then load the luggage on the ship for you and it will turn up in your cabin. You then go up to the passenger lounge and get given a blue or red EMBARKATION CARD with a letter on it. This is used to call you forward to the check in desks. This usually takes about 1 hour. At check in you then show your passport and e-ticket and you will be issued each with a cruise card. This is your boarding pass and is also used for any spending on board. You then proceed to the security area and then to the ship. Once boarding the ship we went straight up to our cabin which was A415 on A Deck (15 floor) and on the starboard (right) side. This was a Superior Deluxe Balcony cabin and was nicely appointed in a modern contemporary style. We later found out that the Lido Deck was just above our cabin and this can cause noise disturbance due to the Sailaway party and people moving the deck furniture about. So something to note, one deck down on B Deck (14 floor) may be better next time. The bathroom is compact but practical and the toilet is vacuum suction operated so makes a loud whoosh when flushed which is exciting and very effective. Note there is a step down from the bathroom into the cabin which you can easily forget about and fall over. Our cruise was in July so school holidays and therefore the passengers on the ship were very mixed in ages with lots of younger cruisers and families on board. Britannia is also a family ship. If you sailed on an Adults Only ship then you may be more likely to have the passengers dominated by P&O traditional type of over 60s. It being a weekend trip also helped for younger cruisers. I imagine that if you went in quieter times of the year then the passengers would revert to the P&O traditional type of over 60s. So if you are one of the younger crowd then I would recommend sailing on a family ship in July or August or school holidays when you are more likely to get younger generations on board. After boarding and going to the cabin. We like most on board went straight up to the Horizon Restaurant on the Lido Deck (16 floor) for lunch. Note that only the aft and forward staircases on the Britannia cover all floors with the Midships ones only going to some floors. So there is a reliance on lifts in the midships area unless you walk to the aft or forward stairwells. Therefore at busy times the lifts can be packed and busy. This is a noticeable design flaw in the Britannia we found and many past reviews have noted this also. Particularly at meal times or lifeboat drill or in the evening. So you may find it better to use the other two stairwells. The Horizon Restaurant is a no dress code self service restaurant and is always very popular. Most people also go here for breakfast. You are also allocated a main dining room for the evening depending on your cabin and dining style. We had chosen Freedom Dining and so were allocated the Peninsular Restaurant. We found that the food in the Horizon Restaurant and the main restaurants was adequate and fairly ordinary. So I suspect that P&O Cruises are doing this to encourage people to try the alternative dining venues which have an extra charge attached! The first night was formal night and the dress code was strictly enforced and applies to all the bars, lounges and restaurants. Therefore if you are not keen on formality then you are relegated to the Horizon Restaurant. We found that most of the younger cruisers were put off by the formality and so preferred the Horizon Restaurant for meals. Also all the restaurants had hand washing facilities outside them to prevent norovirus and this was strictly enforced by a crew member standing next to them to make sure you washed your hands. At busy times there can be queues for many of the restaurants. There are three main restaurants on the ship and several extra charge alternative dining venues. The hospitality staff (hotel and restaurant side of things) on board the ship are mainly Indian or Asian we noticed because of P&O's historic traditions from colonial times sailing from the UK to India, Australia and the Far East. They were always very helpful and polite. But sometimes their English could be a little rusty and they didn't necessarily understand first time. My favourite room on board the ship was the Crow's Nest. This is accessed from the forward stairwell via a port side corridor. Along this corridor is the Epicurian Restaurant, the Ivory Suite (function room), and the Marlow Suite (card room). The Marlow Suite rarely seemed to be used. On the starboard side accessed from the Crow's Nest is the Library. The ship is huge so it takes time to find your way around her and you can easily get lost. But you get a lot of exercise walking from one end to the other and up and down all the stairs and finding the various dead ends there are on certain decks. Most of the public rooms are on decks 5-7. On lido deck the only way through from bow to stern is via the Horizon Restaurant. There is a lot of walking through rooms to get to other rooms as some of the rooms cover the width of the ship and there is no side corridor to go round so forcing you to go through rooms instead. In terms of outside areas the decks 16-18 are the main areas and there is no promenade deck below the lifeboats like on some ships. There are small areas of open deck on Deck 7 near Sindhu but these often seemed closed and there is no equivalent on this level to a promenade deck. At about 4pm on the sailing day, there is the mandatory lifeboat drill. On your cruise card you will see your muster station. We were F. On the back of your cabin door this location is defined in more detail as the Peninsular Restaurant. About 20 minutes before the lifeboat drill the First Officer makes an announcement throughout the ship. All passengers are then required to go back to their cabin to pick up their lifejackets and then proceed down to the muster station (in our case the Peninsular Restaurant). This can cause difficulties with the lifts in the midships area which massive queues. So walking may be better or using the aft and forward stairwells instead. If you arrive at the muster location without your lifejackets you will be sent back to your cabin to get them. This lifeboat drill according to maritime law must take place before the ship sails from Southampton. The ship sailed from Southampton at 1730 and the Azura had already sailed past us from Western Docks. We then sailed next followed by the Anthem of the Seas and the Azamara Quest. So it was quite a parade of cruise ships heading down the Southampton Water! The following day we arrived in Guernsey at St Peter Port and anchored. We went to breakfast once again at the Horizon Restaurant. Landing was to be via the ship's tenders. The daily Horizon newsletter is very useful in terms of giving information and advice about activities on the ship and the destination. The location for assembling to board the tenders was notified to be the Headliners Theatre if you were not on a shore excursion and travelling ashore independently. When you wanted to go ashore you had to go to the Theatre to collect the tender tickets and then wait in the Theatre to be called. This was like a raffle again waiting for your number to be called. Due to the numbers there was a long wait for some causing them to give up and go back to their cabins. So they gave their spare tickets to the nearest person and there was a bit of an illicit trade in tender tickets enabling people to jump the queue from the original ticket they were issued with. so there was a lot of passing tickets around to help everyone. Once called we proceeded down to Deck 4 (one below the Reception / Atrium area) and boarded the tenders. The Destination. Guernsey is a lovely place. On the day we went it was very warm but being a Sunday most of the shops were closed. This is worth noting. But there was an open air market on by the harbour and lots of activity. So not boring by any means. The tenders drop you off at Albert Pier in the centre of St Peter Port. Peak summer season is best time to go as more of the attractions are open such as Castle Cornet. I would highly recommend a walk around the harbour to the lighthouse and Castle Cornet. You get fantastic views across the harbour from here and of the ship anchored offshore. The last tender back was at 1730 but it is always best to go back a lot earlier than this as the tender cannot take all the ship in one go! The tender operation was very quick and easy. That evening we sailed at 1800 and later we went up to the Horizon Restaurant for dinner. This is more flexible than the main restaurants and you can have as much as you like. Disembarkation. The information provided by P&O Cruises about this process was quite misleading stating that disembarkation was from 1030 in the Meridian Restaurant (in our case, may vary depending where your cabin is). But what this actually meant was that you had to disembark the ship by 1030. So for first time cruisers it can be confusing if you are only used to the hotel check out system. It also said that you had to pack and leave your luggage outside the cabin by 20:30 or prior to going to bed. Most people ignored the 2030 stipulation and just did it prior to going to bed. This enables the cabin steward to take your baggage down to the unloading area overnight. Once the ship arrives back at Southampton at 0645 the luggage is then unloaded. This usually takes 2 hours and is complete by 0845. So in practice you can actually start checking out from 0845. If you don't leave your luggage out the previous night or want to depart early then you will be required to check out and take your luggage with you between 0700 and 0800. They start breakfast early on disembarkation day from around 0600 in the Horizon Restaurant. Likewise most people tend to have breakfast there rather than the main restaurants. Disembarkation in the end, once you understand the process, is relatively speedy. You go down to the designated check out room after 0845 and there you will either wait or be allowed straight off the ship. You will go into the cruise terminal and down to the baggage collection area (under the passenger lounge where you embarked) and there the passenger baggage is laid out according to Deck. After that you proceed through security and customs and straight out to the front of the terminal. From there we got a taxi back to the rail station and got the train home. So we had a lovely cruise to Guernsey. Britannia is a fine ship but very large so you may need a week to find your way around her. There is a practical issue with the lack of a staircase (public one) in the midships area and this causes the lifts to be busy at certain times. P&O Cruises information can be a little misleading and confusing about embarkation and disembarkation especially if you are a first time cruiser. They generally assume that their passengers know their procedures and processes already! But first time cruisers will not and may be more used to airline or hotel procedures rather than cruises. EMBARKATION basically involves: 1. Drop off luggage at the "Baggage Drop Off Area" outside the terminal by the taxi rank. 2. Go upstairs to the passenger lounge and get issued with an Embarkation Card. 3. You will then be called forward to the check in desks according to your Embarkation Card letter and colour. 4. At check in they will look at your passport and e-ticket and then issue you with a cruise card for each passenger. This is your boarding card to enter the ship and cabin. It also is your security id for getting on and off the ship and is also used for any onboard spending. 5. You will then proceed through the security area and then via the gangways to the ship. 6. You can then go to your cabin. Your luggage will arrive there later via the cabin steward. Most passengers then go up to the Horizon Restaurant for lunch. LIFEBOAT DRILL on embarkation day on the ship: 1. On embarkation day there is a mandatory lifeboat drill for all passengers joining the ship. This is to comply with maritime law and takes place prior to the ship sailing. 2. 20 minutes before the drill the First Officer will announce and then you have to go straight back to your cabin to collect your lifejackets and proceed to your muster station. Your cabin steward may give you advance warning of this so you can beat the crowds. 3. Your muster station is denoted on your cruise card. e.g. Muster Station F. This location then is defined on the poster on the back of your cabin door. i.e. Peninsular Restaurant. 4. At the muster station the crew will brief you on safety and show you how to put the lifejackets on. You will then have to put the lifejacket on as a demonstration. If you haven't got your lifejacket you will be sent back to your cabin to get it. DISEMBARKATION from ship on departure day: 1. On the previous day to departure you will be asked to leave your luggage outside your cabin prior to going to bed for the night. You will be also told a disembarkation room to go to when you are ready to leave the ship. e.g. Meridian Restaurant. 2. The cabin steward will then collect your luggage overnight and enable it to be unloaded from the ship for you on arrival at Southampton in the morning. 3. Ship usually arrives at 0645 and luggage unloading takes about 2 hours and is usually complete by 0845. 4. Once you are ready to leave the ship, you go to your disembarkation room. There you will be told to wait or whether it is ready to allow you to leave rightaway. Normally you should be able to leave the ship from around 0845 and at the latest by 1030. 5. You will then proceed to the cruise terminal and pick up your baggage. The passengers for the following cruise may already be waiting to board in the cruise terminal as the ship nowadays turns around in one day. Arrival in the morning, disembark the passengers by 1030. Then the crew have a couple of hours to tidy the ship before the new lot of passengers embarks in the afternoon and the ship sails at 1730. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
If you ever wandered what a holiday camp at sea would be like this is the ship for you. When I say holiday camp I am going back to what they were like in the sixties as holiday camps nowadays are much improved. Myself and my wife believed ... Read More
If you ever wandered what a holiday camp at sea would be like this is the ship for you. When I say holiday camp I am going back to what they were like in the sixties as holiday camps nowadays are much improved. Myself and my wife believed all the hype when this ship was being built and as a result booked a 12night cruise in September and this two night cruise in early July from Southampton to Guernsey. The reviews we read since the ship went into service made us regret booking the September cruise. So much so that we cancelled it before the cost balance was due. We obviously lost our deposit but better that we thought than paying out a lot more and regretting it. The obvious risk was that we would enjoy our two night cruise and have a massive regret losing our deposit for the longer cruise. We needn't have worried. All the negative reviews were correct and we enjoyed this two day cruise knowing that we had made the correct decision and saved ourselves a packet and never having to return. I can understand what a lot of people have said about the negative reviews. Go with an open mind. However in the back of your mind is always that thought. Can all those people who wrote those bad reviews be wrong and the answer is no. First of all let me list the positives about this ship. Right now that that's done lets list the negatives and these wont be new to anyone who has read previous reviews. Very poor lifts. Poor bland food and choice of food. Uncomfortable seats in the theatre and far too small for the size of ship. Poor viewing from cinema seats unless in the front row. Small dirty stateroom balconies. Areas around the pools dirty and this was the case even the next morning after the crowds had left from the previous day. Glum staff in the Horizon buffet who looked as if they didn't really want to be there. I could go on but its all been said before. The happy passengers waiting to disembark said it all really. P and O really are the poor relations when it comes to cruise holidays. Never mind it was a lesson learned and we now have another cruise to look forward to but on a proper cruise ship. Hi De Hi campers Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
We went on our first one week cruise having previously been on ones of two weeks or more.The embarkation process at Southampton was very efficient we quickly had our car parked and went aboard the ship. We were mid ships in cabin F328. ... Read More
We went on our first one week cruise having previously been on ones of two weeks or more.The embarkation process at Southampton was very efficient we quickly had our car parked and went aboard the ship. We were mid ships in cabin F328. Which had a large comfortable bed and a two seater settee and table which was ideal for us. We were on freedom dinning which was okay. The first night the service was very slow and we missed the show, due to issues but after that it was very good. The gala dinner was particularly good. We both enjoyed our holiday on this ship. The only thing that we found annoying was the lack of stairs mid ships. We were on deck 9 and normally would have walked down to the atrium area on deck seven but unless you walk a huge distance a lift is required which were small and often crowded. We noticed also that many wheelchair/notability scooter users were waiting ages to get into these lifts. We went aboard at every port and had no problems getting on and off although other passengers took ages at La Rochelle on the bendy buses. Overall a lovely break. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Well, having just read some of these reviews, I wonder if we were on the same ship. We enjoyed our time on BRITANNIA. It is a modern ship, muted colours etc. and we had read that this would be the case, so expected it to be no ... Read More
Well, having just read some of these reviews, I wonder if we were on the same ship. We enjoyed our time on BRITANNIA. It is a modern ship, muted colours etc. and we had read that this would be the case, so expected it to be no different. The Art on the ship was different but again modern. Our cabin was spacious, there was only two of us and we had plenty of room, our shower room was far larger than others we have had with other lines. Our cabin was spotless as was our balcony. Thank you Sanford. Having been on several other lines and experienced the chaos in the equivalent to the Horizon Restaurant, we were very pleasantly surprised on Day 1, this area was calm and there were plenty of tables to be had. The layout of it gave you the feeling of calmness and efficiency. The tables were cleared as soon as our cutlery was placed on the plates. Plenty of food and very good service. We found the service we received everywhere on the ship to be excellent. I wonder if the professional moaners have ever heard of " behaviour begets behaviour" which speaks for itself and oh boy! were there moaners on this ship? I suppose that's their life and that's all that makes them happy. We had Freedom Dining in the evening and this worked for us brilliantly. We also booked to see Jackie Graham in the Limelight Club, it was a superb evening, both food and show was excellent and well worth the extra money. The entertainment in the Headliners Theatre was very good, Richard and Adam, Craig Owen and Worbey and Farrell were all excellent. We did however find the food to be good but ( sorry ) not excellent in the Meridian Restaurant. It was plain and not exciting. The ports were very good and the excursions we participated in we thoroughly enjoyed. We took the scenic train in Flam and couldn't believe the amount of snow in the mountains, it being end of April. The Glacier trip in Olden was also very good, with spectacular views. Disembarkation looked horrendous when we joined the queue for taking our bags ourselves, but we were due to leave the ship at 7am, which we did and we were in the coach park waiting to be collected at 7.15am. All in All we would like to Congratulate P & O on the new ship BRITANNIA. Thank you for our wonderful holiday. Read Less
Sail Date April 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 3.5
Rates 5.0 N/A

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