Having read some reviews of this ship, our first cruise on Britannia was prepared for with some trepidation. Our fears were dispelled from the first moment we stepped on board. The ship had a full complement of passengers on board too. ... Read More
Having read some reviews of this ship, our first cruise on Britannia was prepared for with some trepidation. Our fears were dispelled from the first moment we stepped on board. The ship had a full complement of passengers on board too. Many of the negative comments I have read were ridiculously wide of the mark. ‘Butlins on Sea’, ‘Ship in terrible condition’, ‘rude staff’? Certainly not evident on this superb Norwegian Fjords cruise.
The décor of the ship we found to be very calming. Modern, refined and subtle which all helped to generate a nice hum, in for example, the atrium. Here we really liked the bars and seating areas on the different levels. All well-lit and with a pleasing ambiance. We were also struck by the amount of seating around the ship. Yes, on a sea day Java got very busy but you did not have to wander far to find a seat.
There was actually more deck space that we were led to believe. Around the pool got very busy but again it was easy to find seats on the deck above, looking down onto the pool area. Unlike on some other ships there was also a wide range of seating types. Not totally dominated by the sun lounger! The terraced area at the stern was great for enjoying a drink and looking out to sea. We did miss the absence of a full promenade deck (thankfully rectified on Iona) but there was still plenty of deck for wandering.
Cruise ship food? That is always one to pit one person against another. We were on My Time dining and always requested a table for two in the evening. Quite often there was a 20-30-minute wait (at the busy time of 7.30), but we built that into our evening and when given a pager went to somewhere like The Glasshouse for a glass of wine, then took that into the restaurant when called. That worked very well. We enjoyed the food in both MDR’s. We usually breakfasted in an MDR too and the freshly cooked served breakfast was always very good. As for the Horizon buffet, I have to say I am no great fan of buffet food on large cruise lines and we felt the canteen style food served here was on a par with other big lines. The food filled a gap but if such food was served in a middle range restaurant in Britain, we would be disappointed. As a consequence, we only ate there at lunch time. Without doubt, our best meals were served at The Beach House and The Limelight Club. It is only a small supplement to dine at The Beach House but the service and the food were extremely good. We decided to book The Limelight Club to make the final night on board more of an occasion, as it usually feels rather depressing. It was great fun. Again, a really good meal with Cheryl Baker providing a highly entertaining evening of song and chatter in a great venue.
Like on most ships not all the entertainment was to our liking, however the beauty of this cruise was the provision of a real range of entertainment across the evening in a number of venues. The Headliners put on colourful and energetic shows in the main theatre although the shows themselves did feel rather dated. We tended to go to the late performances in this theatre and never had a problem getting good seats. Soul Kinda Wonderful put on a really strong soul and Motown evening. Our favourite evening in The Headliners Theatre was with Neil Lockwood (ELO pt2 and Alan Parsons Project), he was such a talented artist in performing ELO hits amongst many others. The P and O Orchestra were really tight too in supporting the artists. The Entertainment Team were full of enthusiasm and well led in all they did both on deck and ’indoors’. A lot of entertainment we never got around to seeing and no doubt some of that would have been very good. However, we did see the house band, Pulse, in The Live Lounge and thought they were brilliant…. Eight very talented and versatile young musicians. I was not expecting to hear a Pink Floyd set on my P and O cruise, but Pulse pulled that off as they did with all their other sets. What a great band!
Our cabin, B318 was excellent and well serviced. In fact, all staff we came across were very pleasant and hard-working. They were led superbly by Captain Dunlop who coped very well with high winds, medical emergencies and at times a mis-firing engine.
Finally, we did two P and O trips. From Flam, The Norway in a Nutshell excursion and from Alesund, the Sky-High Views at Strandafjell. They were both brilliant. Although the weather was not so good in Norway probably a highlight was taking a gondola into proper snow and building a small snowman…in July!
All in all, a brilliant cruise and one in which every fellow passenger we spoke with, agreed. Read Less