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73 Southampton to Canary Islands P&O Cruises Britannia Cruise Reviews

I chose this cruise to get a little bit of sun, rather than sit at home watching the rain. This being my third time on Azura, I thought I knew what to expect. Embarkation went smoothly, and I was in my cabin swiftly. I noticed that the ... Read More
I chose this cruise to get a little bit of sun, rather than sit at home watching the rain. This being my third time on Azura, I thought I knew what to expect. Embarkation went smoothly, and I was in my cabin swiftly. I noticed that the plug in the basin was closed,and I wondered why. It didn't take me long to find the answer. I was on deck fourteen, but when I went to decks six and seven, THE SMELL OF RAW SEWAGE WAS OVERPOWERING !!!. Lots of people were complaining throughout the whole cruise. I spoke to reception desk about this,only to be told that they were aware of this problem, and they were working on it. Previous reviews that I have read have indicated that the problem has been on board the ship for some time. The Captain was never to be seen around the ship,except for photo shoots, nor was the chief Engineer,as I would have approached one of them to ask about the problem, which continued for the entire duration of the cruise.( I later found that the basin was kept plugged to prevent the smell entering my cabin). I dined in the restaurant on only three occasions,as the food was only lukewarm, and on one dinner the ribeye steak was so tough that three members at my table had to send it back. After that I dined at the buffet,where the food was Lukewarm too. The entertainment was mediocre,same old gags from old comedians. On one occasion the show was cancelled because of rough seas. To conclude, six sea days are too much,when the entertainment is poor. However if you like dancing,or quizzes,or overpriced bingo,or old movies then this ones for you. I won't be back on Azura! I have a Cruise booked on Brittania for next year,but I won't be going,unless P&o redress me for the disappointment that I endured on this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
I'm writing this review as my others in sections. Sailing from Southampton UK. Embarkation/Disembarkation. As with all of my other P&O cruises, P&O have got this to a fine art. I had to be out of my digs at 1200 and I ... Read More
I'm writing this review as my others in sections. Sailing from Southampton UK. Embarkation/Disembarkation. As with all of my other P&O cruises, P&O have got this to a fine art. I had to be out of my digs at 1200 and I arrived at Southampton Docks around 1300. My car was taken to a long-term car park (provided free by P&O) and I went into the main check-in hall. This hall is huge with literally hundreds of people waiting. There were dozens of P&O check-in people on one side and we all had a coloured card with letter for our times. My check-in time was 1530 so I had a while to wait. I eventually checked in at 1500 and was onboard by 1530. I will say that there wasn't any refreshments available in the hall so if you're a bit hungry/thirsty, you'd have to wait till you're onboard or bring something with you. In a first, when I did get to my cabin, my bags were already there. On my last years cruise (also on Britannia) I had one bag there but the other I didn't get till around 2200-and this was after a "heated" discussion at reception. Disembarkation was very easy. I'm a "walk off". Thats someone who can carry their own bags with them. Walk-offs have to be off the ship between 0700 & 0800 (you have to be out of your cabin by 0800 anyway). I picked up my car and I was on my way home by 0830. Demographics. Exclusively British. I didn't hear any other accents onboard apart from the crew. As we travelled outside of the school holidays, there wasn't many families-and the ones that were had pre-school kids under five years old. The average age of the passengers I estimate to be middle age or a little higher-exactly what I expected. I was on another P&O ship in the Easter holidays in 2017 with around 400 kids. This was a nightmare with screaming kids running amok all over the place-but this time we had peace and quiet. The ship and it's crew. The vast majority of the ships crew are either Fillipino or Indian with the officers either British or European. All of the crew are extremely helpful and nothing is too much trouble. The ship itself is another story. Britannia is now three years old and is beginning to show her age. Carpets are looking worn and there are paint chips all over the place. The outside paintwork is starting to show rust patches and the general feel of the ship says that it's had a hard life. I've been told that Britannia is going for a full refit in October 2019-and I have to say that it's about time. I will add that the crew kept the ship spotless for the entire cruise with all of the public areas and toilets clinically clean. My stewardess-Gladys-kept my cabin perfect all the time (and she got a generous tip from me). Food and drink. I was on select dining (in the Peninsular restaurant) and had my evening meal at 1830. I was on a table of 9-all solo travellers. The food on offer was excellent and I can't fault it at all. Our waiters were very attentive-although I will say that sometimes they wanted to rush things along a bit-but they did have another sitting at 2030. The daily menus were a little underwhelming on occasion with fish and chicken being the dominant ingredient. We did have (Michelin starred chef) Marco Pierre White onboard for this trip and his menu one night was fantastic. Mr. White's Beef Wellington was superb. The Horizon Buffet on Lido deck was also very good. Breakfasts were usually "Full English" but there were other options including cereals, smoked fish, fruit, muffins/Danish (for breakfast?), yogurts...The list is almost endless. Lunch and dinner were equally as good with wide selection each day. There were themed menus too-curry night, British Pub Lunch, Italian. Again, the list is too long. As to alcohol...Thats another story. As with every other P&O review I've written, I still say that P&O are overcharging the passengers for alcohol. P&O claim that they charge pub prices. Not from my point of view they don't. Pints were around £3.95 to £4.50 with premium bottles (330ml) around the same price. In my regular pub, I pay £3.25 or a pint and if I go to my local Wetherspoons (to non-British readers, Wetherspoons is a major UK pub chain) I pay around £2.50 for a pint. So, no P&O are not charging pub prices. It's about time cruise companies lowered their alcohol prices and I'm certain that their passengers would appreciate it. Our route. We visited (in this order) La Coruna (Spain), Madeira, The Canary Islands-Las Palmas/Tenerife/Gran Canaria and Lisbon (Portugal). The weather was quite good all the time with temperatures in the mid-to-high 20'sC-sometimes in the low 30'sC. I did several trips in most of the ports (all official P&O excursions). Sightseeing in La Coruna, Volcanoes in Las Palmas and Tenerife and a coffee plantation on Gran Canaria. In Madeira and Lisbon I did my own thing just having a walk around. NOTE. If you do your own thing in ports of call and you miss the sailaway, the ship will not wait for your return. It will then be your own responsibility to get to the next port at your own expense. If, on the other hand, you take an official P&O excursion and you're delayed, the ship will wait for your return. Entertainment. There was the usual in-house troupe "Headliners" doing shows in the main theatre. There was also several guest singers/tribute acts and in the Limelight Club we had Claire Sweeney (UK actress/singer), Cheryl Baker-formerly of Bucks Fizz and a couple of others. I did hear reports of the "Headliners" not being too good but as I didn't attend any shows, I can't comment. Brodies had the usual pub quizzes, kareoke, live football matches (thats soccer to non-British readers). We also had Professor Peter Roberts-a retired archeologist who gave a series of lectures on volcanoes in The Canary Islands and others. The Professors lectures were very interesting but sadly not well attended. P&O need to get more people like Professor Roberts. Observations. All of the passengers were very friendly but...In the buffet one day (a late breakfast) I bumped into one of my fellow diners-an elderly lady who had a fall the day before. She had a very nasty black eye, stiches in her lip and severe bruising ot her left arm. I was enquiring as to her health when an elderly guy with a tray of food shouted "EXCUSE ME!". Just before this, someone had dropped a tray of food and drink and one of the crew was clearing it up. I couldn't move backwards or sideways to accomodate this bloke and he again shouted "EXCUSE ME!". Then he just barged his way through almost pushing people out of his way. I reacted to this bloke by shouting "YOU DON'T HAVE TO SHOUT!". This he ignored. I again repeated "YOU DON'T HAVE TO SHOUT!" but again this was ignored. By this time I had around 200 to 300 people watching. I will admit to not being a "people person" but this was just plain ignorant. Also on our dinner table there was an elderly lady with a southern (London or south coast) accent. She claimed to be travelling with "a friend" but we never met this friend and the lady said her friend preferred to dine at her own time. Why would two people travelling together not be dining together? Anyway, this lady thought that she was better than the rest of us and talked down to us all the time. She was also quite rude when she did talk to us but I had to bite my lip as I was in polite company. She didn't attend on a couple of nights and we all breathed a sigh of relief. I hope that I don't meet her again as I don't think I could hold back with comments about her atttitude. Overall, this was a good cruise but as I have been to some of the ports we visited on previous cruises, it did get slightly boring. Going on cruises does give you the chance to visit several countries on one holiday and you get to meet new people-but as the ships go to the same places all the time, it's getting difficult to find something new. I'm going to the Caribbean (again) in 2019 but I'l be looking further afield for 2020. I'm already looking at India or the Far East. As a solo traveller, it's not cheap do do cruises. I really want to visit Australia/New Zealand but as I'm a solo traveller, the costs are still far too high for my budget. The daily charge (£7 per person per day over 12 years old) was still in force on this cruise. This could be removed by filling in a form at reception. BUT as of May 2019, P&O are abolishing this charge-and about time too. This daily charge is VERY unpolpular and everyone I spoke to had removed the charge. It's about time all of the cruise companies stopped doing this. These trips are expensive enough without cruise companies taking more money out of your pocket. Conclusions. The ship-a bit tatty and in need of a refit. The crew-excellent. Food & drink-again excellent but I maintain that the beer prices are far too high. Our intinerary-ok but as I wrote above, I've been to some of the countries already. Marks out of 10? I'll give this eight out of ten. I've knocked off a couple of points for too high beer prices and the ship looking a bit tatty. I would recommend Britannia to first-timers and seasoned cruisers-but wait for the refit in October 2019. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We last went to the Canary Islands in 2008 so we thought a return visit was long overdue. This was our 2nd trip on Britannia as we had already been to the Caribbean on a fly cruise in November 2017 and was our 11th cruise with P&O. ... Read More
We last went to the Canary Islands in 2008 so we thought a return visit was long overdue. This was our 2nd trip on Britannia as we had already been to the Caribbean on a fly cruise in November 2017 and was our 11th cruise with P&O. This time we boarded Britannia on Sunday 8th April 2018 on a two week cruise to the Canary Islands. We stayed overnight at our preferred hotel, New Place Hotel , Shirrell Heath, Southampton where we got a taxi to the port. We always arrive early prior to our designated boarding time as we usually manage to get on earlier. This time the boarding process was a bit of a shambles as the coloured ticket/number system of asking passengers to go to the boarding desks kept being interrupted by the arrival of the coaches whose passengers took priority over those already in the terminal. So some people, including us, missed our ticket being called. When I complained I was told not to raise my voice, which I had not done, and was told just to get in line. We did as we were told! Also boarding was halted for 10 minutes as there was an unspecified problem with the security checks. The ship is lovely and is well laid out, although more use could be made of the Atrium area which is only seating and no activities took place there except the Passenger Choir on the last sea day. We had an inside cabin on D Deck which was more than adequate with a nice bathroom with a shower cubicle and there was plenty of hanging space for 2 weeks worth of clothes. We were on the first sitting of club dining in the Oriental Restaurant. The food was very good but the menu was not as varied over the two weeks as we have experienced before. We used the Horizon Buffet Restaurant for lunch and occasionally for dinner. There was plenty of choice and we were always able to get a table without any problem. My wife is a Type 1 diabetic and although the main restaurant was very good in accommodating her dietary requirements, we found the Java Café no longer offered diabetic cakes and the choice for diabetics in the Horizon was extremely limited. We always go one evening to the Sindhu Restaurant which serves fabulous Chinese food, pick the right night and you get a free bottle of house wine, all for £20 a head. The specialty restaurants were heavily promoted during the cruise to get passengers to part with their cash. The Epicurean Restaurant is now £18pp for afternoon tea and £28pp for dinner. The entertainment was varied with good shows from the Britannia Singers and visiting artists including The 4 Tunes, Steve V King (from the Drifters), John Clegg (impressionist), Gareth Oliver (ventriloquist), Claire Maiden, Nick Page (an appalling comedian), Paul Rack (The music of Eric Clapton), Tiptonic and Jane Middleton as Annie Lennox. All very enjoyable, except the so called comedian. You had to get to the Headliners Theatre at least half an hour before a show to get a seat. We only had one guest speaker on this cruise which is unusual as we have had several speakers on past cruises, more P&O cost cutting? The speaker was Sue Baic whose bag was dietry and nutrition to a healthy living. We did not attend any of the talks, too busy eating our way through the restaurants! The shops are open on sea days and in the evening when in port. They have stalls in the atrium virtually every day doing so called sales selling ornaments, bags, watches, perfumes etc. You can easily get carried away if you are not selective and careful. Our first port of call was Funchal, Madeira on Thursday 12th where we did the excursion taking the Cable Car up the mountain and coming down in the Wicker Toboggan Sled Ride, great fun. As we spent two days in Funchal we spent the second day site seeing in Funchal on foot. Next port of call was La Palma where we did an excursion to the Volcano and a Local Winery, all very enjoyable although we were not overwhelmed by the Canary Wine. Next was Tenerife. It was a Sunday and we did not do an excursion as we had been to Tenerife before so just wandered around the Santa Cruz and had a coffee as most of the shops were closed. Next was Gran Canaria which we had been to before so we did the excursion to the only Coffee Plantation in Europe. Fascinating to see coffee grown in a sheltered valley on the island. Next was Lanzarote where we did the Hidden Lanzarote excursion which took us to the old capital Tequise, then to an Aloe Vera farm, the seaside town of Niemes and finally a Cactus Garden. It made for a great day. Last we stopped at Lisbon on the way back. We have been here several times before so took the shuttle bus into the centre of town and did a bit of shopping, had a coffee and watched the world walk by. The weather was kind to us with sunny days and a temperature on 20C in Madeira and 21/22C in the Canary Islands. Lisbon was also sunny and 20C. The service from our cabin steward was excellent and all the staff were very helpful. The only fly in the ointment was they still only had one jigsaw available which was the same one that we had done whilst in the Caribbean. We asked that they get some more before the next cruise! So, we had a very relaxing and enjoyable cruise and would recommend the ship to those thinking of taking their first cruise as although it carries over 3500 passengers it does not feel like a large ship and never feels crowded. We very much like the ship and No! we had no problems with the lifts which only got very busy at the end of a show. The lack of a staircase with the central lifts did not seem to pose a problem. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
At least half our cruises, more than 20, have been with Celebrity Cruises so that's our yardstick for our first P&O cruise. Very slick check in, best we have ever had without priority check in. We arrived 12:35 and were in our ... Read More
At least half our cruises, more than 20, have been with Celebrity Cruises so that's our yardstick for our first P&O cruise. Very slick check in, best we have ever had without priority check in. We arrived 12:35 and were in our cabin at 13:00. Luggage was there by the time we had a snack. Cabin a reasonable size, open fronted wardrobe sharing the access to the compact bathroom, no less than 40 wooden hangers! A single narrow cupboard for clothes and a couple of open fronted shelves. Two bedside tables with 2 draws each. Large flat screen TV. Balcony was economy, size less than a meter deep, just room for two upright chairs and a small table. Several power points with UK sockets. Kettle, tea, coffee and milk supplied in generous quantities. Despite being a large ship with 4,000 passengers there were plenty of comfy seats indoors - important as when we crossed the Bay of Biscay the deck was out of bounds. No shortage of sun beds unless you wanted to sit by the pools. A big plus for us was the lack of endless loud musak from singers who can't sing! Theatre holds just under 1,000 people, get there early if you really want to see the show, you can't see the stage from the seats at the back! Be warned the music is very loud. Main shows were very good. Food was reasonable and varied, staff very friendly and helpful. Dinner and breakfast waiter service was slow to very slow, not the waiters fault they have too many tables each. Speciality restaurants included the Epicurean at an eye watering £28 per head and the Beach House at £7.50 per head and then extra for several of the courses. We tried the Beach House, food was good except the sorbet which was frozen, took far too long. A lot of the decks did not allow transit around the ship without diversions to other decks and yes there was a lot of waiting for elevators. I missed a central staircase. Entertainment - usual deck games, bingo etc. No port or educational lectures. Internet was very expensive 65p per minute for casual browsing £39 per hour! Will we sail P and O again? Yes, better than some of the reviews implied. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
There are many positives concerning the Britannia and also a few niggles. We were somewhat apprehensive because of the size of the ship but this was not a major issue. The staff were almost without exception, friendly, attentive, courteous ... Read More
There are many positives concerning the Britannia and also a few niggles. We were somewhat apprehensive because of the size of the ship but this was not a major issue. The staff were almost without exception, friendly, attentive, courteous and efficient, they certainly kept to the standards of P and O. We did not use any of the specialist restaurants as we found the Horizon and the Peninsula to be of a high standard. The buffet on the top deck we used only for drinks and light snacks. Following dinner we usually had a drink in either the Crystal (where there is dancing and a live band, usually more jazz orientated) or in the rather pleasant ambience of the Crow's nest. The décor of the ship is, in my opinion, tasteful and avoids both garishness and chintz, the carpets are particularly appealing. The library is another fine feature of the ship for those who prefer a quiet retreat. There is a more lively ambience on Deck 16 for those who like sail away events. I would say that the Britannia goes a long way in catering for a range of tastes although on sea days the emphasis seems to be more towards the younger clientele, however it is always possible to occupy oneself. I particularly enjoyed the morning talks in the Headliners Theatre and the classical guitarist was excellent. Our cabin was pleasant but the creaking and rattling patio door to the balcony disturbed us on the first night. I reported the fault and it did improve, however this seems to have been a problem for several passengers I spoke to. Despite this, the ship is very quiet and there appears to be little engine vibration. There some snags with lifts, there are not enough on such a big ship, this is exacerbated by the lack of a central stairway, meaning congestion at busy times. We only booked two shore excursions, on Madeira and Gran Canaria, both enjoyable, especially the toboggan run on Madeira! In la Coruna and Lisbon we did our own thing as we like to explore in cities. This was our third cruise ( one other with P and O on the Arcadia and one with Holland America on the Nieuw Amsterdam). Although we would like to try other ships, we would not hesitate to use the Britannia again if it was on a cruise which appealed. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Having seen other reviews I boarded fully expecting to find fault, having cruised on both Azura and Ventura I was sceptical and am sure if I'd devoted my time to trying to pick fault in everything perhaps I could...but I was on ... Read More
Having seen other reviews I boarded fully expecting to find fault, having cruised on both Azura and Ventura I was sceptical and am sure if I'd devoted my time to trying to pick fault in everything perhaps I could...but I was on holiday! Let's face it - each ship is different, so what's good for some maybe not for others, for example: - it's a new boat and as with modern ship design the balconies are not huge / the benefit they are not overlooked but are just about functional - the boat is huge which gives the feeling of spaciousness however some less ambulant may struggle to walk the sheer length of the vessel - the promenade deck is up on level 17 towards the stern...personally I would prefer it down near the main restaurants to allow me to walk off the sumptuous food, but that's simply my own preference - the seats in the theatre are quite tightly packed with the most ridiculous drinks holders equally their is no drinks waiter service ... worst case having to go without a drink for a whole 45 minutes/ hour...dreadful!!!...that said the staging / view / lighting and special effects are up there with West End theatres, so all is forgotten when the show begins Like I say there are pros and cons for me there are far more pros like - the food and ease of getting a seat in the Horizon buffet..green lipped mussels the size of oysters lovely! - the comfort and quality of the cabin...all new and shiny! - the Limelight Club is great ... but enjoyment is very much dependent on the performer, we saw Madeline Bell who I confess isn't necessarily my cup of tea but we still had a very enjoyable evening...as an aside how they manage to serve beef cooked to order perfectly to so many people is beyond me! - Sindhu...mmm! - the space...given so many people on board there seemed plenty of space and less of a rush or struggle to find a table / seats than other boats. I heard plenty of moans about the lifts...mainly from idiots who didn't know how to use them. The amount of people who would press both up and down call buttons then take up valuable space going up when they wanted to go down (or vice versa) and then moan when the lift is full, instead of waiting a few more seconds for a lift going in their direction...it's not hard! Disembarkation was perfect...(I suppose I should moan that we got off ten minutes before our allotted time...can I get a refund)! Service was usual P&O standard...excellent as were the brilliantly organised shore excursions. One thing I almost forgot to mention...The Beach House restaurant - fantastic, made a pleasant change Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We are experienced P&O cruisers so we thought we would try Britannia. We were very pleasantly surprised with the style and decor. The thing you must understand is that this is not like any other P&O ship in either layout or ... Read More
We are experienced P&O cruisers so we thought we would try Britannia. We were very pleasantly surprised with the style and decor. The thing you must understand is that this is not like any other P&O ship in either layout or size. Get over the no prom deck. get over all the places you have to pay supplements to dine, get over the small balconies and enjoy a great ship. The attention to detail is very good and the whole experience was as good if not better than other P&O ships we have been on. Of course there are always things to comment on. the rear of the ship is prone to soot discharge from the funnels for one. However it didn't stop us enjoying a fab afternoon on rattan settees sunbathing there. With regards to ports of call - the only complaint i had about the whole cruise was Lisbon. They are clearly building a new terminal here and oh boy dont you hear and see it next to the berth. Another is that on previous docking we have been nearer the town. however, this near berth is much further away and NO SHUTTLE buses. We decided not to get off for that reason, but people who did told us of 20 30 min walk to the town on very poor pavements. One person had a bad fall and another was the victim of pickpockets. If any of the stops warranted a bus link, this did. Overall we would certainly sail on Britannia again. great cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
This was our second cruise (we have previously cruised with Princess) and after reading the reviews we weren't sure what to expect but went with an open mind. We were not disappointed and loved Britannia! Our embarkation at ... Read More
This was our second cruise (we have previously cruised with Princess) and after reading the reviews we weren't sure what to expect but went with an open mind. We were not disappointed and loved Britannia! Our embarkation at Southampton was easy and went smoothly. We arrived early after a 3 hour drive so visited a local shopping centre until nearer our boarding time of 2.30pm. We were fast tracked through and arrived outside our cabin to see our suitcases waiting for us. Our room steward Steffan introduced himself and we set off to unpack and explore the ship. Many comments have been made about the lack of stairs midship and although some would be nice we did not find the lifts a problem probably because we avoided the busy times. However, we felt really sorry for disabled and wheelchair passengers who often had to wait and this was often due to a few selfish people who just grabbed a lift regardless of the direction it was going. The layout is confusing at first but after a good look around on the first day with the map it did not cause us a problem. We liked the modern look and the colour scheme of the ship and enjoyed looking at the interesting modern art which is found all over Britannia. There are plenty of places to sit and we were never worried by waiters trying to persuade us to have a drink if we did not want one. They seemed to place one mat on the table to show that you had been asked. We had breakfast and lunch in Horizon and enjoyed the variety of food on offer. The salads you can make up are amazing! We never had a problem finding somewhere to sit and found the waiters to be helpful and polite. The hand washing facilities were used by most people although there was no check after the first day. Our evening meal was in the Meridian restaurant and we sometimes shared a table and sometimes ate alone. The food was of a good quality and there was plenty of choice. The waiters were all excellent and helpful and more than willing to adapt the menu e.g ice cream instead of custard. We ate in The LImelight one evening and saw Madeleine Bell which was a good experience although the menu choice was a bit limited. The evening entertainment was excellent and we enjoyed everything we saw and listened to.The ships company are very talented and the shows production is wonderful. Yes, the theatre does get busy but we always managed to find a seat by arriving 15 minutes before the start. The volume is loud but maybe that is because we mainly sat in the front part of the theatre. We enjoyed several films in the Studio but made sure that we arrived in plenty of time to be able to choose a seat where the screen was completely visible. We did not go to any of the many quizzes or sporting activities and avoided all the health talks . We visited The Live lounge a few evenings but this is always very busy. We liked The Crow's nest in the daytime but again found it to be too noisy in the evening to be able to hear the piano music being played. The Crystal was a pleasant place to sit in the evening to watch the dancing or listen to the band playing. We like being able to sit on the balcony and read quietly or look out to sea and although it is small we found it to be adequate. The cabin itself was clean and comfortable and we found the bathroom to be very usable but I will add that neither of us are large people! Our room steward was excellent. We mainly explored the ports we visited by ourselves having researched beforehand. In Lanzarote we had a ship excursion booked to visit fire mountain and camel riding. The guide was excellent and the trip was good value for money. We would definitely travel on Britannia again with P and O and so now have 2 tried and tested cruise companies to choose from. There are things we like more and less from each experience but think it is a mistake to compare. Enjoy your holiday on Britannia! We did! Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
This was our 18th cruise but first with P and O. We travelled as a group of 3 sharing a cabin. Embarkation was well organised and a breeze. We had a 1pm slot and were quickly on board. The cabin was immediately available and we were ... Read More
This was our 18th cruise but first with P and O. We travelled as a group of 3 sharing a cabin. Embarkation was well organised and a breeze. We had a 1pm slot and were quickly on board. The cabin was immediately available and we were soon in the buffet. Our cabin was clean and comfortable. Plenty of 3 pin sockets. We quite liked the walk in wardrobe area. The bathroom seemed smaller than other ships but was fine. The TV had a good choice of films and TV progs but there is no interactive excursion booking on the TV or no information about the on board account which we have found useful in the past. Luggage arrived very quickly. The balcony seemed quite small but was ok. The ship is lovely and spacious with a wide range of bars and dining areas. We found it to be very clean. The captain announced that some passengers had norovirus a few days into the cruise and additional hygiene measures were introduced. These were very well managed and proved little or no inconvenience although some people were moaning about having to wash their hands before entering the dining areas!! This was a strictly cruise, and although we didn't book it for that reason we enjoyed the Strictly events we attended. The in house shows were very good. We had mixed views on some of the guest entertainers but they seemed popular with other passengers. My son attended guest lectures and found them very good. We liked the entertainment staff and found them less pushy than they often are on some other ships. Food- this was probably our biggest area of disappointment. Although there was always choice the quality and range of choice was less than we expected. Salad options were more limited than we are used to and many veg were clearly frozen and soggy. Having said that we thought deserts were good. Only cold drink available for free in the buffet is water after breakfast. Alcoholic drinks prices were very good for a cruise ship. We were freedom dining and always got a table at the time we wanted it. Ports - we mainly did our own thing but used ships trips in Tenerife and Lanzorote. We liked the fact that information for each port was provided in the cabin at the start of the cruise. There also seemed to be less pressure to buy trips and the excursion staff were very informative on providing information to enable us to do our own thing. Fellow passengers are predominantly white British and therefore a lot of activities were aimed at this group - wall to wall football, Queens birthday etc. We hadn't appreciated how much of this there would be and were on holiday to get away from the Uk. Most of the people we met were great but there were also a few for whom casual racism seemed the norm as well as the endless complaints about the lifts and how they were so much better on * insert name of other P and O ship.*. For the record the lifts were no better or worse than any other ship I have been on. There were quite a lot of older people using mobility equipment on the ship and clearly they need to be given priority. We self disembarked which worked well and was very efficient. All in all a lovely cruise on a beautiful ship. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
First time cruisers and it won't be the last. From the moment we stepped on the ship we were not disappointed. The staff were exceptional. They couldn't do enough for us. Cabin stewardess was great. Food was out of this world. ... Read More
First time cruisers and it won't be the last. From the moment we stepped on the ship we were not disappointed. The staff were exceptional. They couldn't do enough for us. Cabin stewardess was great. Food was out of this world. Didn't do the buffet as was a bit of a cattle market. The main restaurants where you were very well looked after and the food was first class were excellent. The speciality restaurants were out of this world. Plenty of entertainment and plenty of seated areas to relax. Didn't do any excursions. We chose do do our own thing. All in all it was a fantastic holiday. Don't be put off by the size of the ship you wouldn't know there was that many people on it. O and if you get the chance have a pamper session at the spa. The girls are so nice and they made us feel really welcome and relaxed. I'm so glad I have finally gone on a cruise and chosen p&o we will definitely do it again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
First the good: Dinner in the evening was always excellent, never had a bad meal. The buffet restaurant always had seating where on other cruises we have struggled to get a seat at breakfast and lunch. The Steward for our cabin ... Read More
First the good: Dinner in the evening was always excellent, never had a bad meal. The buffet restaurant always had seating where on other cruises we have struggled to get a seat at breakfast and lunch. The Steward for our cabin (D728) Savio was brilliant, was always on hand and ready to help. The shows laid on by the headliners team were brilliant and the guest acts were always good. ..... That's it! The Bad: Starting at the beginning.. Getting on board was a nightmare, turned up at the correct time and had a 3 hour wait to get on board. Travelling with 2 other couples and asked us to be inked (and promised we were) 2 couples at the very back and the others at the very front. When questioned the couple at the front were told they have been upgraded, when we compared it was obvious they had been downgraded. When we complained at reception we were told it was all down to the onshore people and nothing they could do. Reception staff in general were really not interested and couldn't be bothered to lift a finger. The rooms were disappointingly small but we expected this reading previous complaints. I very much doubt if 2 ladies sharing could get ready for a formal night at the same time. You were very lucky if you could get to see 2 shows a night as you usually have to get to either the Headliners theatre or and especially the Live Lounge a good 45 minutes to an hour early to make sure you get a seat. The theatre reports to hold around 900-950 people but looked a lot less to us, I estimated around 800. Even with 3 shows a night there are still not enough seats to let all passengers see the show. The resident band Pulse supplied the majority of the entertainment in the live lounge and were quite honestly terrible, they seem to think that playing everything full blast is the way to go. We were forced to watch them on several occasions while we waited for the good invited acts, if we walked out in disgust as we wanted we would have lost out seats and, at best, would have had to stand for the good acts. There was an outbreak of Norovirus while we were on board and we accept extreme measures have to be taken but we were treated as complete lepers to the point of being shouted at if we picked up something in the shops; forced to wash our hands at the buffet restaurant (even though the soap dispensers didn't work) even if we are just walking through so get to the sun deck and told not to swap papers in the quizzes as if we were all diseased. The Limelight Club had several guest speakers/entertainers on during the cruise which we would like to have seen including Dean Andrews (actor), Darren Day and a Morcombe & Wise tribute but you have to pay a £22 surcharge on the meal in the club if you want to see them. This is the first time I have ever seen this on any cruise, having to pay to see certain entertainment!! There were a couple of very good entertainment crew, little Scotty and the one that ran the dukebox quiz (forgotten his name) were the best but most were terrible. They rushed through quizzes like they wanted them finished as soon as possible and they really couldn't be bothered. In the bars there seems to be a new idea that each of the bar staff have a quota of drinks to be brought via them every day. That would be the only explanation as to why we get constantly got hassled as soon as our drinks got half drunk. On the last night we timed it and in the space of 24 minutes after my pint was half gone we got asked 8 times whether we would like more drinks, some people has hardly touched theirs. During the football (Euro 2016) England games it almost came to blows as they constantly stood in front of the TVs asking if people wanted more drinks and on the odd occasion they got an acceptance they would stand there taking orders and again giving drinks. Saying that the bar staff were generally nice and seemed to be under a lot of pressure by P&O to sell more drinks. The decks and especially the sun loungers at the back are very dirty from soot from the funnels. Something new to watch out for is that now it is mostly freedom dining. We thought this was going to be a problem for us as we usually like to get to know our own waiters but as it turned out the 6 of us managed to get the same table most nights and when there was something special to see we could get in early and finish sooner to ensure we could get a seat at one of the venues. The bottom line is that this is what happens when bean counters start running a cruise company. They cram as many people as possible into a ship (seems ridiculous to say it was too small but it was for the 3,500 passengers crammed into it) and to do that they have cut back on in many areas and have started charging for everything they can (including Yoga/Pilates in the morning). There is a Sindhu restaurant that looks bigger than the Live Lounge but because it makes money for them they give that the most space. Although I would always recommend P&O for cruises I ask everyone not to go on the Britannia. If we start making this popular this is what all future cruise ships will be like, the Ventura, Oriana, Arcadia and even little Adonia are 10 times better than the Britannia, use them and boycott this P&O cash cow, Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We booked this cruise over a year ago and after reading reviews was on the verge of changing to another ship - I am glad we didn't. Britainna is a magnificent ship, the bars and lounges are elegant and we think they are of the same ... Read More
We booked this cruise over a year ago and after reading reviews was on the verge of changing to another ship - I am glad we didn't. Britainna is a magnificent ship, the bars and lounges are elegant and we think they are of the same standard as Celebrity Solstice. The waitresses, waiters and bar staff were very helpful and extremely friendly especially Miki in Brodie's. We didn't encounter any of the problems that have been posted about Britannia. We ate Freedom dining and always got a table straight away even a table for two. We think the Atrium is elegant and a great place to enjoy a drink and doesn't deserve the critism it is getting. We can't find anything to complain about. The balcony and bathroom are smaller than on other ships but we didn't find this a problem. We have also cruised on Princess and Celebrity so we can compare it to other ships. We would certain sail on this ship again. Our only criticism would be about embarkshire. Being allocated a specific time doesn't work. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
My wife and I had tried Britannia n 2015 on a weekend cruise and really liked it, this cruise gave us an opportunity to spend time exploring the ship. We had been to Southampton many times and it's a nice little area for shopping and ... Read More
My wife and I had tried Britannia n 2015 on a weekend cruise and really liked it, this cruise gave us an opportunity to spend time exploring the ship. We had been to Southampton many times and it's a nice little area for shopping and for just chilling. As with all the P&O cruises we have sailed with, embarkation went like clockwork. The ship is the newest in the P&O fleet and is furnished to a really high standard. The public areas are really welcoming and it gives you that 'British' feeling as you wander around. The public bars and cafe areas are well run and the waiting staff, mainly Indian, were an absolute pleasure. One of the bars - Brodie's - is just like walking into a British pub. The selection of beers and lagers was impressive including Speckled Hen and London Pride. As far as dining was concerned, we had booked a lit of nights in the themed restaurants so didn't spend much time in the allocated restaurant, that said, it was really nice and the food was spot on. If you fancy a bit of Indian cuisine then look no further than Sindhu. This place is endorsed by Atul Kuchar and the food is sublime. The entertainment sort of took second place at times because of the Strictly Come Dancing theme however it was still worth a look. The dancing provided by these professional was absolutely superb - I am not really a Strictly addict but to see this in the flesh was truly amazing. James Martin was also on board so there was a lot of excitement around. The cabin we had was a balcony and, whilst quite compact, it was ideal for two people. It was very well decked out and kept immaculately clean by our cabin steward. As far as shore excursions and ports were concerned, we have done this itinerary a few times now and the weather was poor for the first few days, the sun eventually coming out with a vengeance at Lanzarote. The one downside was without doubt Morrocco and the port of Agadir. Why cruise ships go to this place is beyond me. This was the only port we used the shore excursions for (they are very expensive for what you get and,sadly, this seems to be the norm these days). Most of this excursion was spent being pestered by people wanting your money either by begging or trying to sell camel rides and local tat. Agadir has no attractions at all, is a very poor country and I think we would have benefitted more by maybe having an overnight stay in one of the other ports. Would we go again, not on this itinerary as we have done it to death to be honest. Would we use the Britannia again, without any doubt. All P&O ships are a pleasure to be on in my opinion and this ship is comfortable and friendly. A great way to spend two weeks. .. Bring on the next one. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Firstly I should say that I am an ex P & O Cruises Officer (1970's). I am also an ex chef (see comments re food & restaurant service). I chose this cruise (our first in 8 years), because I prefer British operated ships ... Read More
Firstly I should say that I am an ex P & O Cruises Officer (1970's). I am also an ex chef (see comments re food & restaurant service). I chose this cruise (our first in 8 years), because I prefer British operated ships over the tinsel & glitz of of others - the decor of British ships is so much more refined in my opinion. Britannia did not disappoint. Embarkation at Southampton (a bit jet lagged after flying from Australia) was incredibly smooth and all the staff, who grabbed our bags from the car, to the check in, were extemely efficient and welcoming. A little daunted by the size of Britannia, my wife & I noticed that a brief tour of the ship's main public rooms was being offered on day of departure - it was conducted by a member of the Entertainment staff and was a delightful introduction. The ship is fantastic! The public rooms & restaurants, bars, cafes, atrium & outdoor areas are all immaculate. If I had to offer any criticism I would suggest that a little too much prime real estate is devoted to the gym! Our cabin was a balcony cabin on A deck. It was spotless, ideally sized with great facilities. I have noted previous whinges about the balcony size, but it was perfectly adequate in my opinion. The bathroom / loo design was excellent. Our Cabin Steward (Micky) introduced himself promptly and provided great service throughout the cruise - a request for fresh ice every evening was met with a smile & "no problem sir". Dining was wonderful. We selected 2nd sitting at a table of 8 - Oriental Restaurant.During the course of the cruise we dined at numerous venues including the Horizon Buffet, Sindu, Peninsular, and Glass House. Also partook of room service breakfast on a couple of port days. We heard extremely favourable reviews of the Epicurean & Limelight from our table mates, so that is a must for next time! The food was sublime - absolutely first class. I mentioned that I am an ex chef, so have an appreciation of the challenges. All on our table agreed that P & O have nailed it on Brittania - excellent menus & presentation. If I had to offer one criticism it would be that the hollandaise sauce on the eggs benedict needs a little more work ! Our cruise was a "Strictly Come Dancing" themed cruise, something that was not of particular interest to us. Despite this, the entertainment offering was varied & great. Saw some excellent shows in the Headliners by ships entertainment staff & guest entertainers - in particular saxophonist Julian Smith & vocalist Phillip Browne. The Crows Nest Pianist Duke Alexander was tremendous. Our regular waiters in the Oriental, Aris, Jose & Ram (wine) were exceptional. Service was efficient and always with a smile. All quickly learned of the preferences of their passengers and we particularly enjoyed taking our time (being on second sitting meant we were often last to leave the restaurant). Service at all other venues was equally good. Would we go again? Yes, definitely. My 2 sisters have booked for next year, and I just have to choose an itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We wanted to go on the Britannia as it looked so British and she lived up to all we expected and more, cabin with balcony was great you need this for a 2 week cruise. Stewardess to our cabin was always on hand and such a lovely happy ... Read More
We wanted to go on the Britannia as it looked so British and she lived up to all we expected and more, cabin with balcony was great you need this for a 2 week cruise. Stewardess to our cabin was always on hand and such a lovely happy person lovely to see her every day and looked after our cabin with a great deal of attention. waiting staff in the restaurants were very polite at professional with a great sense of humour the very thing us British like, we used the Peninsula Restaurant most night as we got to know waiters Andrew & Flemis who look after us way beyond the call of duty plus a sign presentation of menus covering all the nights of the cruise, well done to you two you made our cruise and not forgetting our wine waiter true to his profession we had some great wines. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
I have been cruising for the last 20 years on P&O and other lines (last cruise on Oceana in December), this cruise was picked out by my daughter as it was a strictly come dancing theme along with James Marting cooking school. We ... Read More
I have been cruising for the last 20 years on P&O and other lines (last cruise on Oceana in December), this cruise was picked out by my daughter as it was a strictly come dancing theme along with James Marting cooking school. We consisted of a group of 6. Embarkation was a breeze with all staff members vey helpfull , first impressions of ship smart and modern. Cabin was an adapted cabin on deck 11 situated at the very rear of the ship room was clean and large enough for easy use of wheelchair. TV larger screen and had good selection of programs. Steward Salvio up to the usal very high standard of P&O nothing too much trouble and always with a smile and a joke. Only gripe was when service trolley was being used impossible to pass without having to call out for someone to move it further up the corridor so I could get acces to the lifts, this was about 3 times a day every day for the 13 nights. We had late setting in the Orientel table 29 our waiters "Negi" & Noel both great guys along with cabin steward made the holiday. Food was an improvement on last cruise nearly back to the silver service standard of old. Used beach restaurant for two meals and glass house for 3 lunches both very good and supplement charge worth it. Food pool side from the grill was disappointing with burgers , hotdogs prepackaged and left on hot rack in greased paper , pizzas the same made and left to stand. Both Azura and Oceana much better. Take away sandwich bar very good equal to M&S. Overall I would give an 9/10. Layout of ship similar to Azura/Ventura with deck 7 being main thoroughfare. Many people complaining anout lifts but no real problem sometimes a bit of a wait but what do you expect when idiots who want to go down decide to take the up lift because its empty, therefore adding to the problem. Cooking school was great probably better when James wasn't there as it was £55 cheaper and staff just as good if not better. Went 3 times 1 with James. So you may be asking why I only rated 2/5 well that is down to cleanliness of toilets, and back of the ship on decks 17 & 18 , a beautiful location with lovely sofas but spoiled by dirty cushions to sit on , these were either stained with who knows what and or with black soot , bar man when there told us to remove them and sit on the hard plastic sofas not really the answer on a new ship. Now the real reason for my score of 2 was the lack of any interaction with any member of staff (excluding waiters, stewards, cleaner, bar staff) the entertainment team were non existent apart from when they were screaming down the microphone during quizzes and karaoke, why so loud ? Or flocking round the come dancing team like star struck kids. 2 met and greet events ended in a free for all. The sail away was the same old routine that I saw 20 years ago nothing new except a few face lifts and hair dye ( and I don't mean the passenger). And has for any sport related activities these just did not seam to part of the ships entertainment brief . When I asked about the FA Cup final I was told " nobody likes football on this ship " , Not all of us were there for just the sequins. There were not any balls for the sports court and told " you should have brought your own with you" is there anyone who has taken a football or basketball on a cruise before?. Most of these points were being shared by quite a few people I met in various locations great ship but let badly down by any sort of leadership from the top down perhaps the captain wasn't brave enough to walk round and ask passengers what they thought or there again he may have heard the demented screaming from the entertainment team before. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We chose Britannia because we had not been on it before and we wanted to see what we felt about it. It was going to the Canary Islands to some places we had not visited. Embarkation was a breeze, we arrived at the port of Southampton ... Read More
We chose Britannia because we had not been on it before and we wanted to see what we felt about it. It was going to the Canary Islands to some places we had not visited. Embarkation was a breeze, we arrived at the port of Southampton and were on board in 15 minutes. We had priority boarding fortunately and as the shed was full of people I would think they would have to wait a long while to board. We went straight to our cabin on E deck and had a good look around. It was a balcony cabin and seemed smaller than ones we have been in on other ships. The balcony was very small and cramped with two chairs and a small square table. The chairs had to be positioned slanting and not facing forward.The cabin was spotlessly clean. The bathroom was another area where they seemed to have reduced the size although there was a big improvement in that the shower cubical had a door rather than the horrid plastic shower curtain. It was impossible for two people to use the bathroom at the same time when getting ready to go out. The colour scheme in the cabin and throughout the ship we felt was very muted, no colour to speak of. Where was the WOW factor...... Not on this ship I can assure you. An apology for an atrium. O.k. There was the large chandelier but nothing else. Stairs only at one side going up to a square balcony and two further balconies. People were grumbling about there being no stairs in the centre of the ship, just lifts and I can imagine this could be a problem. Fortunately we were able to use both lifts and stairs should we wish to do so. Lifts were a problem, they took a long time to come and when they stopped at a floor they took ages to open. Some people were really stupid, never knew where they or the lifts were going and they got in without knowing whether they were going up or down, then said oh that's o.k. We will go along for the ride. No wonder the lifts were always full. We had freedom dining which worked very well for us, only one evening did we have to have a pager and wait about 15 minutes for a table. The service in the restaurants was excellent, nothing was too much trouble for the waiters and they always had a chat and asked what we had been doing during the day. The food was good, served very hot and there was always quite a large choice so I am sure everybody would find something to their liking. The cafeteria at the top of the ship had a good selection of food. The breakfasts were very good as was the lunch. More than enough choice again and as much as you wanted to eat. We always got a table quite quickly but sometimes the tables were not cleared quickly enough for the next people. I think the waiters who,were wandering about with jugs of tea and coffee could have been better employed as we rarely got service from them and usually went and got our own drinks. There was not much to do on sea days and as the weather was very poor passengers could not sit outside and enjoy the time on deck. The entertainment was not always good although the production team did have two very good shows which we enjoyed. The guest entertainers were mostly singers although there were two very good comedians. The cruise was a themed cruise with Strictly come dancing and cookery schools. These were very popular but some of the cookery lessons we were told were quite expensive. We went on excursions run by the ship. On other ships we have had far better trips but that may be because of the itinerary on the Canary Islands. The best trip by far was Madeira where we went up in the cable car to the top of the mountain and came down on the toboggan. Wow, what a trip. Highly recommended. We were looking forward to going to Agadir, this turned out to be the worst trip. The others were just average. The weather does make or break a holiday and sadly it was very poor with only about three days when the sun shone for us. The ship itself was well looked after and clean in all areas. We felt that it was very angular And would have liked to have some curvy areas to soften the look. However, angular may be the modern thing at the moment. Sailing from Southampton for us is really a non starter, we prefer the fly cruises where you start the holiday as soon as you arrive. It is probably great though for people who do not like flying but for us we feel that four or five days are lost with cold weather and the chance of rough seas. We may sail on Britannia again if it is sailing to somewhere special but otherwise we will be on our favourite Azura. This was our 43rd cruise, roughly half of them have been with P and O cruises which is our favourite cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Because it left from Southampton and no need to fly, Britannia was new and I like strictly and James Martin? Lots of strictly events throughout the cruise, including seeing the costumes and fashion show.The cruise went to locations we ... Read More
Because it left from Southampton and no need to fly, Britannia was new and I like strictly and James Martin? Lots of strictly events throughout the cruise, including seeing the costumes and fashion show.The cruise went to locations we hadn't visited. Had seen advert so on TV and looked like the cruise for us. Excellent sail away parties and entertainment was fit to be on West End. The food was fantastic so much choice and different every day. We had a daily newsletter about what was happening the next day and you could do so much. Had a great couple of charity event so. Spa treatments were excellent offering great choice and value for money, therapists were so friendly. Made some great friends and have booked another cruise for next year, with so many other cruises to choose for future holidays, no need to fly again land no more delays. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Enjoyed cruising on Arcadia last year so thought flagship Brittania would be great How wrong I was this was awful Entertainment was poor with little or no variety even the entertainment manager had no talent and could neither sing or ... Read More
Enjoyed cruising on Arcadia last year so thought flagship Brittania would be great How wrong I was this was awful Entertainment was poor with little or no variety even the entertainment manager had no talent and could neither sing or tell any gags Hand hygiene is almost non existent so people walk on board from places like Agadir with optional hand gel its the same in the restaurants it's a health outbreak eating to happen Any busy times and lifts are all full so you may wait ten minutes to get a lift Food is OK however you are asked to upgrade and pay extra and have proper entertainment this is usuall around thirty five pounds each which is a joke The staff on board are great and can't do enough for you but we were charged £75 each to give them a tip Sorry but won't be coming back Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We read some rather negative comments online about Britannia but knowing that most people moan for moanings sake we decided to ignore it and look forward to our cruise. When we embarked I was first completely wowed by the beautiful ... Read More
We read some rather negative comments online about Britannia but knowing that most people moan for moanings sake we decided to ignore it and look forward to our cruise. When we embarked I was first completely wowed by the beautiful atrium. It really is beautiful. It is indeed a very large ship but designed so that it is so easy to dins your way around. The decor is gorgeous. Vey modern and the seating area in the atrium is a complete change. We love with thing about the ship. The entertainment was as ever fantastic. The food very tasty and the staff and crew can not do enough for you. We have already got two cruises booked for next year but will be back on board Britannia the year after. Well done P&O for this amazing ship. The only complaint from us is the fact we had to disembark!!!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Well after reading all the downs side of Britannia we weren't really looking forward to sailing on her, we'll all I can say is the critics must have been on a different ship!!.. Let me start with all the good, we had first ... Read More
Well after reading all the downs side of Britannia we weren't really looking forward to sailing on her, we'll all I can say is the critics must have been on a different ship!!.. Let me start with all the good, we had first sitting for our dining which we like and I must say the food was lovely. So much choice different menu every night and most of all the food was piping HOT!! Such a difference,compared to many of the other cruise lines we have sailed with so well done for that Britania.. We liked also that was such a choice of Bars to go to, The live Lounge was great with a good band Pulse, The Crows Nest where there was a Guy playing a piano and taking requests, Then Brodie's Bar which had screens in which the Men could watch the rugby! The Limelight Club where Kiki Dee and a few others were appearing you had dinner there also but with a fee but very good, Then you had the Lounge with a resident Band playing music for people that liked to Ballroom Dance, so something for all...There was the Atrium where you could meet with friends and have a Coffee and beautiful cakes, which you paid for but delicious!..... Now for the not so good..... The Theatre really isn't big enough for the amount of passengers, you had to get there at least half an hour before a show to get a seat, also very uncomfortable for anyone on the large size as the Seats are small.. And next I think P&O need to get some waiting staff that are more Friendly maybe we just happened to have had picked the short straw there... Embarkation needs to be looked at we waited an hour and a half to board,never done that before also Disembarkation too shambles!! So would we sail on Britannia again.. Certainly. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
We have been on several cruises with other lines and had arranged to come on this cruise with five friends including a couple who had never cruised before. We had all been looking forward to the cruise on the P&O Flagship Britannia but ... Read More
We have been on several cruises with other lines and had arranged to come on this cruise with five friends including a couple who had never cruised before. We had all been looking forward to the cruise on the P&O Flagship Britannia but have to say we were all incredibly disappointed with the ship. The embarkation process was efficient and well organised and staff were as pleasant and helpful as could be expected when coping with the large number of passengers. Initially we felt the ship was going to live up to our expectations. In the weeks leading up to the cruise we were advised by our tour operator that we had been upgraded and moved to a room mid-ship on A-deck. This turned out not to be such a positive arrangement. When we boarded the ship there was some delay in finding a lift to take us up to Deck 15 but obviously, with a lot of people finding their way around we were not unduly surprised, though we were taken aback by the size of the lifts themselves - once we found a lift with space, it became apparent why there was such a delay. It was uncomfortable fitting more than 10—12 people in them - in spite of the maximum capacity being shown as 18! The lifts are small and slow, and the lift management system appears to be very poor. We were a little disappointed to find the rooms were very much smaller than we have been used to on other ships, but they were well planned, clean and comfortable, albeit the balcony was “cosy” – indeed, so cosy that it is not possible to have the chairs arranged facing out but necessarily always at an angle. One very positive point, our steward was very friendly and extremely helpful. We unpacked and after the Emergency Drill we had arranged to meet the others in our party on the deck for the sail-away. This is when the biggest frustration became apparent. Lack of stairs in mid-ship necessitated us HAVING to use the lifts just to get to Deck 16. With people from 10 decks below all wanting to get to Deck 16 at the same time, lift after lift stopped and went on, having stopped at every floor on the way up they were invariably full! It was over 15 minutes before a lift stopped with space for people to “squeeze in”! This was true throughout the fourteen-day cruise. Why on earth are there no stairs for passengers mid-ship on a ship of this size with the large number of guests on board? Even the emergency stairs seemed inadequate for the number of people trying to move to the muster areas during the Emergency Drill on the first day. Whilst on the subject of the lifts, early evening on the first night we spent a short time in the Live Lounge. When we left we waited for a lift. One came, along with other guests we started to fill the lift, There were perhaps 10 or 11 people in the lift – getting full but not crowded. As another person attempted to enter the lift there was a clunk. At first we took no notice. There was another clunk, then a third. The last two people in got out. As the doors closed we noticed that the lift cage had dropped by 6-8 inches! 11 or 12 people does rather make a mockery of the 18-person limit! Compared to other ships, the corridors are slightly narrower meaning one has to stop and allow others to pass. More problematic when housekeeping trolleys are in use and they take up over half the space, or when buggies or wheelchairs were parked in the corridors. The smoking area on Deck 16 is almost fully enclosed. At some times of the day, especially first thing in the morning and late evening, the smell of smoke in lift lobby area on Deck 16 is quite strong. Quite frequently, there is a strong smell of smoke in the lifts descending from Deck 16, even into the lift area on Deck 15. The lack of a proper promenade deck was another feature that we missed having enjoyed them on other cruise ships. The small “promenade deck” around the smoke stacks is a very poor substitute, especially as fallout of smoke smuts makes walking in this area far from pleasant. Clearly the smoke fallout is a regular problem as the deck furniture in this area is badly stained and I understand that guests in the rear facing cabins were regularly complaining of smoke smuts on their balconies and furniture. The promenade deck on Deck 5, such as it is, was regularly closed for no apparent reason, certainly not because of the weather that was very light throughout the whole cruise. We felt the Live Lounge and the Headliners Theatre are not large enough for the number of passengers that the ship carries. Whilst the entertainment is exceptionally good, they are invariably full to overflowing, standing room only! In the live Lounge the lack of space is exacerbated by the choice of furniture. The heavy “drum” chairs prove to be almost immovable meaning frequently chairs are unused as they can’t be moved - even sufficiently to enable somebody to sit on them. As I mentioned, we have been on several cruises, some in fairly rough weather. We found Britannia rolled quite a lot in the lightest of seas. The last couple of nights, there was light wind and a light sea, the ship, and especially the patio doors in our cabin creaked and groaned loudly all night keeping my wife awake (in spite of using ear plugs!) Another area where there appears to have been rather poor planning is the atrium. One charming lady we sat with, a regular guest with P&O over many years used to cruising 2-3 times a year, likened the atrium as “a London conference centre”. A huge rectangular area similar to a shopping mall complete with Costa Coffee, shops, and bars. It lacks any real atmosphere. A beautiful piano on deck 5 remains unused. There was no attempt to provide any form of live entertainment at any time of day, relying on soulless piped muzak. Service in the restaurants was efficient but not good. Buying wine at the table usually necessitated us first attracting the attention of a waiter and asking him to find a wine waiter. The wine waiters when we did manage to get one were courteous and helpful, but we would usually be some way through our meal before our drinks arrived. The food in most of the restaurants was excellent, though the vegetarian choice in the Peninsular restaurant was limited, ie: there was no choice – there was A vegetarian option. The primarily Indian male staff were efficient, but certainly not proactive. Having been used to multi-national male/female waiting staff on other cruises, the mono gendered staff gave a really different feel to the dining experience. If we wanted our water topped up we would need to gain the attention of a waiter and ask for the water to be replenished, it was rarely done without prompting. At breakfast we would have to catch the attention of a waiter and ask for tea or coffee refills. This was especially the case in the Horizon Bar at breakfast. To ask for decaffeinated coffee as one of party needs, would throw them into real disarray, it could take 10 minutes to produce a sachet of decaffeinated coffee and hot water. We did try the Lido Grill on the Lido Deck on one occasion but once again we found things rather less than we had hoped. Instead of finding freshly cooked burgers and hot dogs, we found burgers and hot dogs cooked and wrapped and stacked on a heated shelves waiting to be picked up. Take it or leave it, no choice of filling - all cheese burgers, all luke-warm with rolls soggy with grease from there long wait on the hot plate – very unappetising. Afternoon tea was interesting. Getting to the Oriental Restaurant was the first challenge, and the lack of through corridors on Deck 6 is another strange “design feature”. The doors to the restaurant opened bang on 4:00 and we were escorted to a table (no choice, we were told where to sit). Tea was delivered, followed by finger sandwiches, followed by scones, followed by crumpets, followed by a tea top up, followed by our plates being removed. No time for a cake. We were out of the restaurant in just under 25 minutes – as the staff prepared the tables for the evening meals. Not exactly the relaxing and enjoyable experience we have had on other ships. The Limelight Club was very good, and Madelaine Bell was excellent. Service in the restaurant was very good but the menu was very limited. Once again, as a vegetarian, a choice of one! There was no appetiser and no offer of cheese and biscuits. The swimming pools were a further disappointment. The Riviera Pool and the Lido Pool on the Lido Deck are separated by the splash pool/dance area. The two pools are too deep to allow paddling and too short to allow swimming. The terrace pool at the rear of the ship on the sun deck was effectively a splash pool only large enough to accommodate a very small (friendly) group of people, whilst the pool in the Serenity Pool area was also only large enough to allow a few strokes before reaching the end. None of the pools are covered or coverable and hence not useable in anything less that the good weather. The formal evenings were well supported by the guests, but there seemed to be little involvement by the staff to the point where, with the exception of the first evening, they felt like any other night. Drinks at the bars were reasonably priced (hotel pricing) but waiter service tended to be slow in both the bars and the coffee lounges. Waiter service on the decks was appallingly slow – typically over 15 minutes. The talks we attended in the Headliners Theatre were generally good, but other cruise lines offer the opportunity to catch up on missed presentations by recording the talks and then showing them on the ships CCTV system. Very useful when more than one activity is on offer at the same time, and especially useful when describing the upcoming ports and available excursions. There were no craft activities the type we have experienced on other cruises. We felt this was a missed opportunity. This was our first cruise with P and O. It will most definitely be our last on the Britannia, and we will think very carefully before booking with P and O again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
My wife and I got back on Oct 9th after 14 nights on Britannia after visiting The Azores, Canaries, Madeira, Lisbon and Vigo. We are seasoned cruisers and have sailed with P&O on 6 previous occasions. We chose this cruise, not for the ... Read More
My wife and I got back on Oct 9th after 14 nights on Britannia after visiting The Azores, Canaries, Madeira, Lisbon and Vigo. We are seasoned cruisers and have sailed with P&O on 6 previous occasions. We chose this cruise, not for the ports of call, which we have visited before but to sample the newest addition to the P&O fleet. The embarkation and disembarkation processes went very well with minimum delays, amongst the best we have experienced at Southampton. We boarded the ship at 15:30 and went straight to our cabin where our luggage was waiting. We had a balcony cabin on F deck and was surprised how small it was including the balcony. We have a bathroom in our caravan larger than we had in the cabin. The ship has two major entertainment venues (Brodies (the pub) and the theatre, both are totally inadequate for the number of passengers on board. If you were not seated in the pub by 8:00 pm then no seat. We always went to the late show at the theatre but had to be seated at least 30 minutes prior to the show start to guarantee a seat. It strikes me that one of the design parameters for the ship was to maximise revenues at the expense of customer convenience or satisfaction. This philosophy was apparent elsewhere on the ship e.g. there was one major flower display in the atrium which was left unattended for the two weeks, by Monday of the second week the flowers were dead and left to rot until the following Friday. Never experienced anything like this before on bard a P&O ship. P&O have definitely dumbed down in our opinion. Other reviewrs have said more about their adverse experinces so I wont repeat them here. What of the future for Britannia? Wont last long as a cruise ship if P&O dont make some radical changes. However it would make an ideal troop carrier. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Let me start by saying that everybody is different and to what they want out of a holiday Embarkation was really quick our time to go on board was 1.30th arrived at the port at 1.20 was actually on the beautiful Britannia at 1.33rd not ... Read More
Let me start by saying that everybody is different and to what they want out of a holiday Embarkation was really quick our time to go on board was 1.30th arrived at the port at 1.20 was actually on the beautiful Britannia at 1.33rd not bad eh Cabin was very roomy we had an inside midship (B514) plenty of hanging space and wardrobe was big enough. Bathroom very clean and new looking loved having a glass shower door, air con you old turn it up and down we always had ours on cool bit nosiey at night but soon got used to it Food was out of this world so much choice in the horizon (buffet) we had no problems getting seated and there were 5 of us. We had freedom dining out choice of restaurant was The Meridian had the same table and waiters they were really good nothing was to much trouble. Brodies was a favourite of ours went there most evenings for quizzes or just to sit and listen to the live band, The live lounge very crowded did manage to get seated there to didn't have to wait to long for a drink either, Headiners Theatre you do need to get there bout half hour before the show but all the shows and performers were brilliant the lighting in headliners amazing Pool areas were kept very clean at all times plenty of loungers and waiters to serve you . Entertainment team were brilliant always something somewhere to do,one we were so torn as to where to go we ducked into healing rs, live lounge and bodies to watch bits of all lol, the team works very hard to keep holiday makers very happy. We were wowed at the size of the ship, The Atrium was truly amazing was just nice to sit there and watch the world go by We went to The Limelight Club to see Jaki Graham and we weren't disappointed she was brilliant very friendly lady she done a meet and greet after had a photo taking, if you get chance definitely book to see her Disembarktion very organised off within 20 mins in taxi home in 15 mins as we live in Southampton Overall we had the most amazing time but you do hear people moaning bout everything I wouldn't pay all that money to moan and at what! Well done to P and O and all the staff who made our time on board a dream Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
After travelling by coach from Leeds to Southampton a member of the P&O team came on board and gave us all a Priority Boarding card!! Check in was very speedy and we were on the ship within 15 minutes!! We went to checkout out our ... Read More
After travelling by coach from Leeds to Southampton a member of the P&O team came on board and gave us all a Priority Boarding card!! Check in was very speedy and we were on the ship within 15 minutes!! We went to checkout out our Superior Deluxe cabin- okay the balcony was small but who spends much time on there anyway? The cabin was fabulous and there was a bottle of champagne cooling in the ice bucket, flowers,and a box of chocolates waiting for us- A Very Good Start!! We met up with our friends who had arrived further along the corridor and went off for some food in the Horizon restaurant. There was a good selection of both hot and cold food available but as it was 4:00pm we didn't want a lot to eat. Later everyone was at their muster stations and shown how to put on life jackets. We were assigned the Penisular restaurant as we were on Freedom Dining. It was 8:15 when we arrived after all that unpacking! We were given a pager and went to Brodie's for a welcome G&T. We were only half way down our glasses when our pager summoned us for dinner. The food and choice were excellent and were told after the first couple of nights we could eat in the Meridian if we wanted to. We did try this out a few times and food and service were just as good, although we did find this dining room to be rather cool!! We had pre booked the Limelight Lounge for 2 evenings and on both occasions the food and entertainment were fabulous!! We ate in the Beach House one evening and,again,both the service and food were great!! The majority of shows in the Headliners were excellent especially Leanne Middleton and the Brittania show cast and on only one evening was there a shortage of seats! Previous reviews had mentioned the lack of midship stairs. We felt that this really only affected those with walking difficulties. We never used the Retreat as we felt £25 per person per day was a little excessive, however we never failed to find a sun bed!! We don't understand all the negative comments about the ship, in fact we enjoyed it so much we have booked a Caribbean Cruise on Brittania in February 2017!! Try the ship and see what you think. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Britannia Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.1
Dining 5.0 3.8
Entertainment 4.0 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 5.0 3.6
Family 5.0 3.6
Shore Excursion 5.0 3.5
Enrichment 4.0 3.2
Service 5.0 3.9
Value For Money 5.0 3.4
Rates 5.0 N/A

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