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

This was our first cruise and chose the Britannia because of mainly good reviews and being mainly British.. It certainly lived up to our expectations food was fantastic we chose the dine around and it does take a bit of getting used to.. ... Read More
This was our first cruise and chose the Britannia because of mainly good reviews and being mainly British.. It certainly lived up to our expectations food was fantastic we chose the dine around and it does take a bit of getting used to.. in the second week we actually preferred to go to the horizon buffet especially for breakfast you could just take your time and relax.. It definitely took us a while to find our way around the ship without getting lost .. We didn't really try out too much of the late night entertainment but did go to the limelight club twice and saw Gareth gates and claire sweeney she was brilliant! Not sure about the food though.Pizzas & burgers on decks great & quality, loads of sunbedssunbeds.. Staff were really excellent and very polite couldn't do enough! Every port was well organized with disembarkment.. We had a great holiday. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
There's a lot of cruising snobbery with the judging different "classes" of passengers so here's the deal, P&O are clever enough to cater for a broad market, love it or pay more and go Seabourn!! The joy of a big ... Read More
There's a lot of cruising snobbery with the judging different "classes" of passengers so here's the deal, P&O are clever enough to cater for a broad market, love it or pay more and go Seabourn!! The joy of a big ship is that you can avoid the areas which aren't to your liking and if you feel that way inclined the "types" you might want to avoid are away from the areas you probably enjoy. Yes, the ship decor is rather dark and my first reaction was to pine for the bling of Ventura but sultry Britannia grows on you. The public areas are cleverly designed with many nooks and crannies so you can be in the heart of the action or tuck yourself away as you choose. The Glass House is, as ever, excellent. The Crow's nest bar is back at the front of the ship and wonderful for pre dinner drinks. Recommend sitting away from the piano as it can be very loud. The atrium is very spacious with plenty of seating to people watch with a post dinner drink/coffee. Drinks service was excellent everywhere. If we were waiting we only had to indicate to someone and they were there. Crystal room was surprisingly pleasant late evening with lots of people taking to the floor. Didn't frequent Brodies or the casino but it was popular and pretty packed each time we walked through. Breakfast, lunch and evening restaurant food service couldn't be faulted and the attention for special dietary needs was outstandingly accommodating. A couple of meals were overcooked but there was absolutely no issue with getting plates changed. Of course it would be better if they didn't need to be returned but with thousands of guests give the staff a sporting chance by asking for better, they are happy to oblige and would much rather you went away happy. Desserts weren't too special but OK. Didn't frequent the buffet much but when we did there was plenty of room, staff were very helpful, friendly and food good. Spend a moment to talk to the buffet chefs, they don't get much guest interaction and will appreciate it... Joseph, my daughter thought you were fantastic! Theatre plush and the Cinema is a nice addition. I missed the theatre waiter service but my husband hates it so goes to show can't please everyone. Gym well equipped and spacious. First 3 machines I approached were out of action but there were still plenty even when the gym was busy. Came to the conclusion that for the amount of hours spent in it, the Retreat is expensive when securing a fortnight complete package. Would we do it again? yes because the service in the Britannia Retreat was amazing and engaging, Sebastian and Jovan both a real credit to P&O. I've previously moaned about unhelpful reception staff on other ships but not so on Britannia, spoke to Carl a few times and he was very helpful and extremely likeable. Daily service charge has now been removed and here's the interesting bit, we left far more in tips to far more staff than ever before. I've once previously asked for service charges to be withdrawn because of poor service so it was great to reward such a change. I was told that the teenage Reef space wasn't as good as Ventura and Azura but the Reef Rangers were as cool as ever. The great part of cruising with youngsters is that because there are relatively few cruises in school holidays the kids look forward to reuniting with friends from previous cruises, you don't get that with most holidays. Security always checked that minors were accompanied when leaving ship, which showed they were on their game. We've done the port stops bar Cadiz before so no surprises there. Cadiz, Cartagena and Barcelona were our favourites. Although a really positive experience, there were 2 areas which fell short. The first was that the entertainment was by far the poorest we've had on a P&O cruise. Tucker's "comedy" material hadn't changed since last time we saw him! Thankfully, there were a couple of notable exceptions with the superb Lloyd Wade and We3. We paid extra to see La Voix in the Limelight club and were treated to a magnificent night and great food (menu is surprisingly small so we may have been just lucky to have what we wanted on the menu), brilliant vocals and comedy, La Voix, we'll be back to see you again. The 2nd area was the Captains Gala, which we look forward to for the pomp and ceremony. I've never known a Captain to be late for his own party and not have the decency to apologise, we walked out to go for dinner as he arrived and started his speech, really bad form and example Sir. Finally, of course there's the much talked about lack of stairs mid ship. This didn't bother us at all as we consciously try to burn off a few of those naughty calories by walking and climbing stairs, plus our group don't have mobility issues or a pushchair. Heard lots complaining though. Oh yes, embarkation, nearly forgot that. We've always found Southampton port staff to be brilliant and cheerful (even when they are trialling new arrangements for the huge Iona), disappointing that for the first time ever we were checked in by Mrs Sour Face Grumpy but soon forgot about her!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We were 3 women travelling so we booked a suite g733 the brittania Just going to Spain and Gurnsey the suite was fabulous the priority boarding went without a hitch straight on greeted with tea and biscuits then taken for champagne and ... Read More
We were 3 women travelling so we booked a suite g733 the brittania Just going to Spain and Gurnsey the suite was fabulous the priority boarding went without a hitch straight on greeted with tea and biscuits then taken for champagne and a hot and cold buffet Our suite was ready by 2 and was fantastic our butler got us an extra bed as we had a huge aft balcony with sunbeds sofa and table and chairs Our butler came daily with ice nibbles fresh milk and fruit He was very amenable but not invasive We had the mini fridge emptied do we could use it A full corridor of wardrobes was very useful Staff all pleasant we used the speciality restraunts which were Michelan star and as suite passengers are breakfast in epicurean at no extra cost Priority on tender to start Peter port unfortunately not for return We also used retreat well worth the money if you like peace and comfortort On the neg side very large ship lots of people my last cruise I'm thinking just because I'm not a cruiser but could not fault service Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
I found a great deal for a 7 night cruise over my birthday with P&O Britannia but had no sailed with P&O before so was doubtful whether I should book. However after getting feedback from my cousins who had been on another P&O ... Read More
I found a great deal for a 7 night cruise over my birthday with P&O Britannia but had no sailed with P&O before so was doubtful whether I should book. However after getting feedback from my cousins who had been on another P&O ship last year, I went ahead and booked it and so glad I did. We drove to Southampton port and took only 1hr 20mins from North West London which was great. We were informed by P&O beforehand that our boarding time was 3pm which I have never been informed of by any other cruise line. We generally like to get to ship early so can enjoy the lunch and get familiarised with the ship before emergency drill procedure begins. So we took a chance and got to port at 12.30. We had to wait in a short queue for 5 to 10mins and then drove to baggage drop off area whereby a guy was standing to pick up our car. We took the luggage off the car and a porter came and took them straight away and the driver took the keys from us and drove the car off. Wow what an efficient service. We were highly impressed! Went inside terminal and were given a boarding card with a number and were asked to take a seat. We were called within next 15mins and after getting a photo taken and collecting our cabin key cards and proceeded to this very elegant ship. When we got on board, we were asked to proceed straight to our cabins if we wanted, to drop off the hand baggage. Hence we took the central elevators and went to our mid ship balcony cabin on deck 11. As soon as we got to our cabin, rest of the luggage arrived which was the quickest ever cruise luggage delivery service we had ever witnessed. We were very impressed with the cabin. Although, it was slightly on the smaller side with a smaller balcony than we had on other ships, it had everything we needed. The bathroom was small too but had a shower door rather than a curtain which was great. There were many power points around the cabin and a large flat screen TV. Storage space was limited but sufficient for a 7 night cruise. We went to have lunch straight after and enjoyed the choice of vegetarian options on offer. Loved the grab n go area where you could pick up sandwiches, baguettes, wraps etc. Also pizzeria and burger counters by pool side offered lovely veg burgers and different types of pizzas. After lunch we went to explore rest of ship which had great decor through out. From the central atrium area which had the most beautiful central show piece I had ever seen on a ship to the various art deck pieces in every area of the ship, this ship oozed with beauty and elegance all through. Loved all the public rooms like Brodies pub, live lounge, crows nest, theatre etc. Also like all the restaurants including the one we were allocated called meridian restaurant for our anytime dining. The only other restaurant we went to was Sindhu which had a great ambience. We saw other speciality restaurants like Epicurian and glass house which seemed great too but never visited those for a meal. In fact the buffet restaurant was one of the best ones we had ever seen on a ship with plenty of seating area and nicely laid out such that we never encountered any queues for food or hunt round for seats. Service on the ship was generally average except for our room steward who was excellent and so was a gentleman called Abhijeet who looked after our vegetarian order requests every evening. Other than these 2, we were not highly impressed with service in any areas. I guess this is where P&O could improve. We were surprised to see table cloths not being changed in dining rooms after patrons left a table and before new ones arrived. All crumbs on table were thrown on the floor! Never seen this before in anybody the ships we have been on like NCL, Princess or Royal Caribbean. Staff generally didn't engage much like we had seen with other cruise lines. Service in speciality restaurant Sindhu was much better though. However food in all restaurants was excellent and there was not a single meal that we didn't enjoy. Food was the best ever from over 20 cruises we have been on. Choice is slightly limited especially during breakfast, however if the food tastes great and is of good quality, it doesn't really matter. Entertainment was very good too. Plenty of production shows and loved their new show 'Astonishing' which is one of the best we have seen on a cruise ship. Also the guest entertainers like Jai Mcdowell, Sam Bailey and Tom Binns were excellent. We saw Jai perform twice, once in theatre and next in live lounge and were highly impressed. We missed Vernon Lewis though and from what o heard from others, he was great too. So overall entertainment would rate amongst the best we has seen. Plenty of activities were happening around the ship on sea and port days to keep everyone busy. Loved their quizzes in the pub, game shows similar to Pointless and the chase and talk shows in theatres. Also plenty of films were shown in the cinema and also some in theatre which I have rarely seen on a ship. Also plenty of films to choose free of charge in cabin and we did see quite a few good ones. The only department we were not happy on this cruise were the photography team. This was the first cruise we didn't have a single photo taken. They ignored us in the dining rooms, gangways at various ports and within public areas of the ship. Not sure why though and something their manager needs to address his teams regarding not excluding men and people from other ethnic backgrounds. The captain was hilarious and loved his daily updates over the tannoy system. During captains formal night, loved his speech and it was a great atmosphere in the atrium area with free drinks. Drinks generally were not badly priced and we were expecting to end up with a big bar bill. However despite ordering bottles of wines at dinner, having beer and cocktails in their various bars and also sometimes having costa coffees, we only ended up with a bill of £100 each which was not bad at all. Ports of call were all good with great weather at most ports except La Rochelle where it rained few hours in the morning. Guernsey was our favourite though. Went to castle ourselves in the morning and did a Gin tasting excursion with the ship in the afternoon which was excellent. Also did excursions at all other ports. In La Coruna we did a tapas trip which was very good and in afternoon walked into town to see the sights there. In Santander, we did a cave and gaudi building excursion which was very good but were not allowed to take pictures in the caves which was a shame. The city of Santander was 15min shuttle ride away. Couldn't go there as we got back around 3.30 and didn't have much time thereafter. In La Rochelle we did a trip of city and outer islands. Luckily rain stopped when we did the walking tour which was good. On the whole we enjoyed all the excursions we did with P&O. All were reasonably priced too compared to other cruise lines. The only design flow with ship was not having stairs in central area which caused the elevators to be always busy. On the whole we really enjoyed this cruise and would sail with P&O again for sure, may be on a different ship though as we like to sail on different ships unless an exciting itinerary comes along. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
5 adults and 1 child Pros - suite was large with lots of extras - epicurean restaurant fantastic - peninsula restaurant also very good - fast embarkation - great service - staff in kids club and kids club great ... Read More
5 adults and 1 child Pros - suite was large with lots of extras - epicurean restaurant fantastic - peninsula restaurant also very good - fast embarkation - great service - staff in kids club and kids club great Cons - swimming pools too small and too deep. Not at all child friendly. - children’s splash area very poor. - 2 night attracts a lot of hen and stag parties. Didn’t notice them at night but during the day by the pool there was some raucous behaviour. - small details in the cabin. Thin towels and not enough of them. Dressing gowns only appeared on the last night Would sail again on a short cruise. Not sure there is enough on there to keep a 4 year old busy for a week cruise or longer although the kids club were very friendly and I would have felt comfortable leaving her there. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
The cruise itself was very good we had no issues with the places we visited Madeira Canary Isles Lisbon and Vigo. All ports were accessible so no tenders involved. The disabled room with balcony was excellent even pull down hangers in ... Read More
The cruise itself was very good we had no issues with the places we visited Madeira Canary Isles Lisbon and Vigo. All ports were accessible so no tenders involved. The disabled room with balcony was excellent even pull down hangers in wardrobe. and of course the walk in shower. Food was ok although the horizon restaurant was nearly always busy so with my wife in a wheelchair it was easier to eat outside for breakfast and on sunny days and why not. Not much entertainment on sea days other P&O cruises we were always kept entertained, as 2-3 sea days can be very boring. No activities around the pool no chutes just 2 swimming pools. Obviously very accessible for disabled throughout the ship except deck 18. However not all good for disabled. As stated by others stairs in midships only go to deck 7 bad design therefore unless you walked to either the stern or forward passengers would get the lift. Lifts were small 2 wheelchairs and a couple of passengers that was it. The Oriental restaurant on deck 6 aft can only be accessed by stairs or lifts there is no thoroughfare so disabled had a long time to wait for the lifts. another bad design. The theatre called 'headliner's is too small for the number of passengers on the ship Although some disabled spaces are available there should be designated area for wheelchair users, with the emphasis on wheelchair users . Chairs would be moved out the way for the wheelchair users but of course some people would just sit in the chairs. You would have to get to the theatre 45 minutes at least to guarantee a place for the wheel chair Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Always cruised with P&O, mainly Azura as we like to do the Caribbean. Decided to take 2 of our children on a small cruise so chose this one. The ship was Lovely and Embarkation/Disembarkation was excellent. One daughter loved the ... Read More
Always cruised with P&O, mainly Azura as we like to do the Caribbean. Decided to take 2 of our children on a small cruise so chose this one. The ship was Lovely and Embarkation/Disembarkation was excellent. One daughter loved the Spa and said how friendly the staff were, feeling so relaxed and looked after. Adam the Pianist was first class. Took part in the Les Mis singing session and he made the sessions so enjoyable and also in the Crows nest when he was playing the Piano. He is a gem...Look after him P&O. The only thing I did not like( our cabin was mid ship deck D ) was that there are no stairs in the middle of the ship and so if you are claustrophobic you have to use the lifts (Which of course were always full and crowded and took so long to come as it went to every level) or walk all the way down to the front or back of the ship to change levels. I will go on the ship again but may change where my cabin is so that I am near some stairs. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
Looking for a holiday during the school holidays we noted 3 P&O cruises leaving the same day and chose the Atlantic Islands cruise because we preferred the itinerary. The best other option was themed a Strictly Come Dancing cruise ... Read More
Looking for a holiday during the school holidays we noted 3 P&O cruises leaving the same day and chose the Atlantic Islands cruise because we preferred the itinerary. The best other option was themed a Strictly Come Dancing cruise which did not appeal very much. Embarkation. Our checkin time was 3:30. We drove to Southampton and got there at 2:45 where we were stacked waiting for porters and someone to drive our car away. As a result of that wait we entered the terminal almost exactly on time. We then had to wait about 45 mins before being called to the check-in desks. From then on it was quite efficient and we got through security, onboard and to our cabin by 4:45. Our luggage had already been delivered and placed in the cabin. Cabin Liked it. Check out the separate cabin review. Public Areas Plenty of bars and other public areas which were never very crowded despite the ship being full. Brodie's and the Crows Nest were our usual haunts. We went to the Atrium a few times but it felt more like a shopping centre than the feature point of a ship. Not very impressive. Prices were reasonable - similar to UK prices. Entertainment There was a lot of evening entertainment, mostly very good. There was generally something going on in both the theatre and the live lounge. The theatre though is too small and even with 3 shows some nights not everybody could get the chance to see some. There were plenty of other activities as well. As a quiz lover I often went to 2 a day but I think there were at least 4. I liked the entertainment staff as well. Dining. Oh dear. It was going so well. If you are looking for a ship with great food then you can stop reading now and start researching another ship. This is not for you. Main restaurant menus are unimaginative, food bland and not particularly well cooked. It was very disappointing. Buffet I thought was a bit better but maybe that's because expectations were lower. At least it was not too difficult to find a table most time that we went in. We went to the Limelight club one night. Food was better in there but of course you have to pay for it. If there is an act playing that you think you might like then it's reasonable value. Sindhu was excellent. Very high quality and quite different from your average high street Indian restaurants. Worth the money. Ports. I enjoyed all the ports and the 4 Atlantic islands we went to were quite different in character. We went on 3 ship's excursions which were quite good and I thought reasonable value. Disembarkation We had a time of 8:45 but went to the meeting point about 20mins early. We were called to disembark about 8:40 and within 30 mins had gone ashore, found our bags, reclaimed our car and were on our way. Overall It was good but it was badly let down by the food. We would go again but P&O certainly did not do enough to convert us. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
Had a lovely cruise on Brittania. Had been a little worried after reading reviews but can't see what people get to complain about. Cabin was lovely - balcony was, as reported, small but we easily got 4 people on for pre dinner drinks. ... Read More
Had a lovely cruise on Brittania. Had been a little worried after reading reviews but can't see what people get to complain about. Cabin was lovely - balcony was, as reported, small but we easily got 4 people on for pre dinner drinks. P&O one of the few companies that allow you to bring on your own drinks. Quite handy to pick up the local wines in the various ports. Cabin steward was very attentive but unobtrusive which was great. Didn't go to any of the select restaurants as we found the food in the main dining room very good. Buffet for breakfast and lunch was also nice. We enjoyed the entertainment too - a good variety to suit everyone. We always got seats at the shows apart from one night in the Live Lounge when we arrived around 20 minutes after the show had started. Service was excellent and efficient although when dining at tables for 6-8 it could occasionally be a little slow but as we were on holiday and relaxing this was not really a big issue. Never had to wait long to be served drinks at any of the venues either by day or night. At one of the ports (La Rochelle) the queue for the free shuttle into town was a bit excessive. The tender process, although efficient, was annoying as we had to wait a while as we weren't on one of the organised trips. However our friends said it was much quicker than a previous tender they had used. Generally a great cruise and we never felt as if we were on a cruise with over 3500 others ( apart from aforementioned queue at La Rocehlle). Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Unusually booked this over a year ago as my father was wanting a look at the new Britannia. Party of 8 with three inside cabins. Two cabins were lucky and received upgrade to balcony. Mine had four sharing so no upgrade. This is very much ... Read More
Unusually booked this over a year ago as my father was wanting a look at the new Britannia. Party of 8 with three inside cabins. Two cabins were lucky and received upgrade to balcony. Mine had four sharing so no upgrade. This is very much a ship due to huge size that cabin location could prove very important. No such thing as just popping back to pick up something. Britannia is huge. Embarkation Embarkation was a total disaster. P & O have tried to implement timed boarding which nobody seems to follow. Such a short cruise does mean most people want to arrive early and make the most of the facilities. The terminal was mobbed. Some of out party arrived approx. 30 mins before us and somehow went straight on. We got to the terminal about 1330hrs. Our proper boarding time was 1500hrs. We were given letter Z and at 1500hrs were still only on letter P. Somebody said boarding was late starting due to training. My wife does use a walking stick and we were fortunate to have a seat. The terminal was very hot and after making enquires we were finally allowed to board using the mobility desk just after 1500hrs. Never waited so long to board before. When travelling to Southampton its very difficult to arrive dead on proposed boarding time. Not sure what the answer is but this was chaos. Britannia Britannia is amazing. Beautiful decor and we loved the atrium. Other than the atrium this is not a ship with huge open spaces. Many rooms are accessed with twists and turns and entrances are sometimes not obvious. Everything however is very modern and contemporary. The size was never an option and seating was easily found in all venues. Some places got busy at start and finish of show and dinner but largely she copes with the crowds very well. Issues with very busy lifts and frankly some very rude and ignorant passengers who would not allow disabled passengers to board lift first. As has been previously mentioned some restaurants and deck areas have to be accessed in a certain way via particular staircase or lift. This did not cause any issue as I quickly worked out the best route around. Normally avoid the buffet but we found this are on Britannia was very well designed and fitted out. Plenty of seating. Loved Crows Nest. The theatre and subsequent show 'Sound of the Underground' was a high quality show and the production on the state of the art stage amazing. We ate in Oriental which was lovely. Enjoyed all food onboard and found it to be of good quality. Personally I find it strange that a British ship does not have a covered pool but all pools lovely and spacious with plenty of swimming options. Kid clubs not busy but very well organised. Disembarkation Cases outside at midnight. Went for breakfast at 0700hrs and walked off about 0900hrs. Very smooth and no huge line to get off. Conclusion We loved Britannia and would not hesitate to book a longer trip. Boarding was a shambles and the only low point of the weekend other than two nights is just not long enough. Some will not like her size or lack of proper promenade deck but I felt she does have a 'wow' factor. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
to be fair, it didn't start well, with long queues for the car parking at the dock, but it all moved forward reasonably well, and after getting inside, I went straight through booking in and security. The reason I tried such a large ... Read More
to be fair, it didn't start well, with long queues for the car parking at the dock, but it all moved forward reasonably well, and after getting inside, I went straight through booking in and security. The reason I tried such a large ship, was because they had introduced new purpose built single cabins. Although compact, the design was very well thought out, with good storage, same size shower room as the other cabins, as was the balcony. Very well situated on deck 16 forward, so just a brisk walk to the Horizon for breakfast, near the stairs and lifts for the theatre and also next to the Crows Nest, couldn't be better. I booked for traditional dining in the Oriental, and the food was good, but not extra special. Being rather cynical, could it be that it was a way to encourage you to eat in the other restaurants where you pay!! I didn't try them, but heard very good reports from other people. I had excellent company on my table, and enjoyed the sailaways very much. The day that the Queen overtook Queen Victoria was the best sailaway I had ever had. The show company was excellent. They even managed to get us all off by tender into Guernsey reasonably quickly, where I bought a beautiful new Italian dress in the first shop I went into, and of course no VAT. I would certainly go again, and would recommend for all ages and families. Disembarkation was very smooth Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Travelled on a feeder coach which was part of the holiday and well organised though there was a hold up with boarding, by which time the restaurants were closed to prepare for the drill and we were hungry, having travelled all day. ... Read More
Travelled on a feeder coach which was part of the holiday and well organised though there was a hold up with boarding, by which time the restaurants were closed to prepare for the drill and we were hungry, having travelled all day. lt's a pity that there was no food available in the check-in area. The food was excellent in the restaurant and our table had a window overlooking the sea at the back of the ship. l preferred eating in the restaurants as l found the self service cafe area a bit of a free for all. Most evenings we watched the show but made the mistake of sitting too near the front and found the music far too loud. On later evenings we sat nearer the back. We also watched several films in the cinema. We had an inside cabin which was spacious enough and had plenty of open hanging and storage space and was kept clean by our steward. l had researched our ports so we did our own thing in each one and didn't go on any organised excursions. ln La Rochelle we followed a route on a local circular walk, seeing the main points of interest. ln Gexto we walked to the transporter bridge, had a ride across it, a coffee nearby then took a local train into Bilbao and went to the Guggenheim and took a tram to the old part of the city. We had difficulty finding the buses to return to the ship as they were not where we had been told they would be. We had intended to book a local tour bus in La Coruna but was told on disembarking that they were not available so we had a taxi tour which was very good. There was a special celebration on leaving La Coruna and we were given union flags and sang patriotic songs Our day at sea was relaxing, with apparently the smoothest crossing of the Bay of Biscay they'd had all year and some people saw dolphins from their balcony. ln Guernsey we visited the occupation museum underground, which was interesting and also took a local bus round the island. We got off part way round but although we waited over an hour no other bus came so we got a taxi back to the port and visited the Guernsey tapestry, which was very interesting. On disembarking we sat for over an hour on the coach as one couple had apparently been given the wrong time for it leaving. The driver had locked the on-board loo and didn't want to stop the coach till his designated service area so it was an uncomfortable journey and a disappointing end to our holiday. Read Less
Sail Date September 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
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
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
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
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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