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133 P&O Cruises Britannia Cruise Reviews

Wanted value for money to cooler place in summer. Had read mixed reviews . wanted to find out for ourselves. Speaking to others, you love it or hate it. Marmite ship was someones description. Geared to under 50s = constant background ... Read More
Wanted value for money to cooler place in summer. Had read mixed reviews . wanted to find out for ourselves. Speaking to others, you love it or hate it. Marmite ship was someones description. Geared to under 50s = constant background carcophany of pop music apart from last 2 days when the food also seemed to improve slightly too. Small balconies with swing doors requiring loungers to be in position to hold them open = noise. Pivot doors taking up space in already small shower rooms. Duvets too heavy and pillows with no resilience. Smaller lifts gave rise to queues.especially for disabled and some passengers were not overly polite or aware/bothered! Some plain rude.Spacious ship though = easier getting about. Public areas were freezing. Cold outside 11 to 13 degrees but do not expect inside to be the same! Complained = ignored! Contradiction was that many .passengers seem happy to roam in flip flops ,shorts and vest! Sunbathing even. How? Why? Booked car in St Petersburg.Kind helpful very pleasant in spite of having no knowledge of our needs from P&O. Complained = smiley apology! Cobbles we were aware but for wrong shuttle drop off presenting more huge cobbles.No.Other wheelchair users were so afflicted, Complained =smiley apology. Peninsular restaurant = yellow broccoli. Complained got extra dish of it! Black eyed potatos , Sloppy prawn cocktail, Plum pudding with scone for sponge on top. Carrot cheesecake =dry cake.Inadequate over embellished menu with slow service altering to rushed 1/2 hour before closing time. Limelight Club read Ruth Madoc and Hi Di Hi. Food and service abysmal, Starter was 4 small breadsticks and 8 1/2 inch cubes of something.... to share! This, spaced out over 2 hours because the act was scheduled to play in sections.Paid £70 pounds for this! Not happy. Gareth Gates was superb however.Excellent singer . Wish he had sung 1 or Frank Sinatra as his early years. Lecturer Dave Wright was also superb. Heard every word and entertaining delivery made for good assimilation of facts. = Romanovs, Russian Revolution, St George and Mary Queen of Scots. Amazed with 3,600 passengers and small lifts, self help people at disembarcation were given the same time as the rest for vacating cabins. Chaos! Some people were juggling 4 maxi size suitcases! [2 week cruise!] Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Chose this cruise because of the ports and the time of year. First three days were excellent then the Norovirus outbreak god out of hand and pools were emptied, buffet was closed, all venues on the ship were single entry with staff ... Read More
Chose this cruise because of the ports and the time of year. First three days were excellent then the Norovirus outbreak god out of hand and pools were emptied, buffet was closed, all venues on the ship were single entry with staff enforcing the use of hand sanitisers. Loungers were put away mid afternoon to scrub the decks. Handrails and lift buttons could not be touched. Menus, condiments, etc were removed from the restaurants. Crew were wiping down everything daily with virox. Crew were ignoring the sanitisers. This lasted for the following 11 days. Atmosphere on board was ruined. Compensation from P&O: nothing. Would not sail on this ship again. Entertainment was really good, particularly main theatre. Ports were really interesting and not leaving Barcelona until late night was a bonus. Dress code, however, was not enforced and hygiene standards were poor. Crew attitude was very variable, cabin steward was the exception. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Embarkation was a disaster. P&O sent an email out the evening before but hardly anyone got it. They should have rang each party leader. The boat didn't arrive until 5pm on the day then there was 2-3 hours of guests getting off ... Read More
Embarkation was a disaster. P&O sent an email out the evening before but hardly anyone got it. They should have rang each party leader. The boat didn't arrive until 5pm on the day then there was 2-3 hours of guests getting off until everyone else could get on. PO staff were telling arrivals one thing, whilst the car parking company told everyone something else. They laid nothing on for anyone. No refreshments - just pandemonium as 100's of cars jammed the roads surrounding the port. After an hour in the embarkation area we eventually we got on at 9pm and went straight into the canteen, i mean buffet for some mediocre food before going to our cabin. For losing an entire day's use of the boat we were given a paltry £20 each "credit" so not even real money. The boat itself was a real disappointment. Very dark and disjointed. All the lift areas had no natural light. It was like the dim entrance to a cinema screen. Queing for a lift for 2-5 minutes every time we used them - and they stop at every single floor they pass. There is a 2-storey section in the middle which doesn't really work and it also makes getting from the back of the boat to the front a chore of going up and down levels to pass it. The restaurants did not have a very grand feeling to them. They rely heavily on indian staff whom dont really have much to say. Usually on say royal caribbean, you'd have everyone from Peru to the Philipines - all smiles and fun. The staff here lacked any sort of personal feelings and none made conversation. "Do you want a bread?" and then you'd pick a bun out of a basket. "Order sir?" then you'd roll the dice on the main course which were edible but nothing special at all. For example on say the Independance of the seas, the soup would be like French Onion soup with melted Gruyere cheese and baked mini loaf. Whereas on Britannia it was powdery tomato cup-a-soup complete with croutons. Served in a little cat bowl ! The only food that we thought "mmm this is nice" was the pizza place near the pool. The rest of the places were similar to what you'd eat on a ferry. The pool area was poor. There was too very small jacuzzi and there was always teens in there splashing each other in the face and squealing. Nobody really policed it. There was two pools and one was shut - so the other was utterly rammed with kids aged 5-12 all bombing and diving. Whereas on other boats there is a big screen playing movies or music videos, the Brittania had nothing. There was a bit of a DJ whom played banging music like Baby D 'Be my fantasy' and Robin S again and again, every day. No classy chill out music - it was more like Butlins. When we visited Guernsey it was a complete farce. We went to the buffet for breakfast and qued like cattle to get a clean table, then we went down to like Deck 5 to get the tender - and we were shuffled into the Theatre and given a raffle ticket. The entire theatre was full to the brim at one point - and they'd call off a couple of dozen people every 15 mins on to the tender. We sat in the theatre at 11.35am and it was bang on 1pm when we landed on land !!! We sat for half an hour on the tender itself for no reason at all. As it happens, my friend and his family were on the Sapphire and they were there at the same time. We text each other. They had 3-4 boats taking them to land it start to finish it took 20 mins. Why did we take 1hr and 25 mins ? The only saving grace was the room was nice and quiet. The bunk bed system worked well. The balcony was really small. On Royal Caribbean you can order food or view your bill via the interactive TV menu - but nothing like that on Brittania. Even room service or breakfast was done via a form that was completed and put outside of the door. Breakfast choice was poor - toast, coffee, croissant or this panini thing with tomato and sausage in. It was damp and soggy. Room attendant was utterly useless. When we got there the first night, for a moment we thought our two kids were sleeping on the tiny single-sized sofa bed. We hadn't noticed the bunk that drops out of the ceiling. I called in the attendant and she shrugged and said yes it must be that they both sleep on the sofa bed ! then later on she was in our room with another woman who magically dropped the sofa out of the ceiling for us. Why didn't she know this when we spoke to her? there was no animals made out of towels on an evening. We just had 2 naff chocs left on bed (there was 4 of us in the room!) I spoke to several other guests and nobody was impressed. Several said the other P&O boats were better - but after experiencing the food etc, it just is nowhere near as good as RC's. Not even close. Finally - kid's club.... the negativity continues. It was terrible design. My son is 11 and on Indy he could sign himself in and out - but not on Brittania. He didn't have much to do except Ping Pong. My youngest would go to club after evening dinner and they sat them all in the corner and put on a film. No fun whatsoever. Meanwhile all the staff stand chatting in the office having their own little social. No painting, no music, no fun whatsoever. They were bloody ignorant as well. The time we'd stand there buzzing the door and they would just ignore and ignore it. A parent in front of me had a little row with the woman in the room with 5-8's in it after she knocked and rang the buzzer for about 5 mins and the staff stood chatting to themselves. We were fuming. In closing , the entire trip was very very very average. I will likely never try P&O again. Certainly not the Brittania. I picked this boat as it's the biggest and newest. Dont make the same mistake as us. It's garbage ! Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
A number of poor things in relation to the Britannia, some easy to change, others just poor initial design: 1. A real faux pas to not have stairs up the centre of the ship, makes orientation around the ship problematic, means people ... Read More
A number of poor things in relation to the Britannia, some easy to change, others just poor initial design: 1. A real faux pas to not have stairs up the centre of the ship, makes orientation around the ship problematic, means people gravitate to the lifts unnecessarily, really poor design flaw. 2. Incredible that hand hygiene was not a significant issue, no staff on entrance to any of the dining areas and buffets ensuring hand hygiene from passengers. 3. Very lacklustre staff attitudes, told that automatic tipping on P&O is disappearing, wonder if it is affecting how staff work. 4. Size of the gym to the size of the ship is laughable, one shower and one toilet in the changing area - 4,000+ passengers! 2 sit up bikes too. Very poor considering that we should be pushing a healthier lifestyle. Think they are too busy promoting the pay for spa instead. 5. Steam room in the gym was scolding hot, came out burnt after 10 minutes. 6. Complaints pretty much ignored, fits with lacklustre staff, number of occasions I received half service. 7. Cabins are small, trying to get too many on board I had a good break as a holiday, but will avoid Britannia in future. Think this ship is really poorly managed at present. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We chose the cruise for the itinerary. We are experienced cruisers having cruised with Princess, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity frequently over the last 20 years so feel qualified to make a fair comparison. Britannia, unfortunately, is ... Read More
We chose the cruise for the itinerary. We are experienced cruisers having cruised with Princess, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity frequently over the last 20 years so feel qualified to make a fair comparison. Britannia, unfortunately, is nowhere near being in the same league. It is overcrowded and understaffed. There was a definite ‘end of season’ feel to this cruise. The crew seemed tired and unmotivated. Service in the restaurants was poor, slow and unapologetic. Food was unadventurous. Public areas were less than clean, open decks were sticky underfoot and there were noisy blowers drying damp-smelling carpets every day, even in the buffet restaurant during lunch. Entertainment was dire, downmarket and very holiday camp in style. P&O’s customer satisfaction survey seemed to focus on questions around whether customers were bothered about dressing up/ did we really expect to be called ‘sir’ or ‘madam’, we’re we looking for a more informal pub style experience? Perhaps P&O are looking to cater for customers who are looking for a floating Butlins/ Benidorm style holiday. If so, they are on the right track. We, however, will be returning to those cruise lines who know how to provide good quality, excellent service and proper cruising. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
the chosen cruise was for ports of call. The weather did not fail to please. Found entertainment lame. found food mediocre. Also, the baby prawns should have been peeled as they were on the buffet with poo still in them Tomatoes not ... Read More
the chosen cruise was for ports of call. The weather did not fail to please. Found entertainment lame. found food mediocre. Also, the baby prawns should have been peeled as they were on the buffet with poo still in them Tomatoes not available after the first week. Did not like the look of the beans.Also cauliflower cheese mushy. You should steam cauliflower not boil it. laundrette not available in the night. Only in use when everyone wanted to use it. Crowded. Mayonnaise and vinegar in sachets should bein containers as very mucky to tear open. Onshore was fine found friends and guides. Out on deck late looking at the star's, the staff treated you like a weirdo, walking past and saying hello in a worried voice. asked to have a ball to throw through the net in netball court not allowed. Yet staff where allowed. Asked for a large size tee shirt for deck walk, only small size avail, as they could not be bothered to go and fetch larger tee shirt from the stock room. Gym nice. On leaving the ship. disembarkation, we were taken to the airport and herded like cattle past customs. Had to wait 3 hours at the airport for plain stuck in departures no chance for a smoke or a cheap drink. Onshore great onboard not so good if you are single you tend to get patronized I am an independent lady. I love to dance and sing along. In my own way. Only here they like puppets dance and everyone to do the same dance. Sorry did not like and also pool light turned off as I was playing on my own late. Could not sleep in the dismal cabin so I was out and about, up late. Lots more to depress me but onshore made up for the dirty old ship. Also, the customers were the best. Nice friendly lot. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We chose Britannia for Caribbean cruise, as it was visiting islands we hadn’t see before. Flights on the Dreamliner were excellent. But the ship oh dear! P&O just haven’t got this one right. There are too many people crowded into ... Read More
We chose Britannia for Caribbean cruise, as it was visiting islands we hadn’t see before. Flights on the Dreamliner were excellent. But the ship oh dear! P&O just haven’t got this one right. There are too many people crowded into public spaces. The staff all seem to work extremely hard but there aren’t enough of them for the number of passengers. This was apparent on Freedom dining which was not good, long queues and even though we could see empty tables ready, people were turned away with a pager. Probably because either not enough waiters or cooks to cope with the numbers of tables Several times we gave up and ate at the speciality restaurants which were extra cost. The evening entertainment was poor in comparison to Azura. Specialist acts that used to be included in the main venues are now chargeable in the ‘limelight Club’. You have a beautiful Crystal room but hardly anyone in it. The cabin was adequate and kept clean by our lovely steward, but bed linen is now only changed once on a 14 day cruise. The air con is awful. We were both ill with chest infections that continued after returning home . Certain areas of the ship appeared unhygienic. We never saw any wiping down of the stair rails or encouragement to use antibacterial spray when entering dining rooms. We missed the promenade deck that is available on other ships. There was no outside space to sit other than if you went up to the lido deck. We did enjoy the gallery talk about LSLowry. It would have been lovely to have taken part in the tour of the Bridge & engine room but at £75 each it seemed expensive. The cabin account is not visible on your tv any more and I would suspect that many passengers got quite a shock on check out as There were many ‘chargeable extras’ that would soon mount up. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
This was a new ship and the flight left from my local airport. The only deck you could walk on was the top deck and you would have to fight your way around sunbeds and passengers. The only way to sit outside on a deck was via Costa ... Read More
This was a new ship and the flight left from my local airport. The only deck you could walk on was the top deck and you would have to fight your way around sunbeds and passengers. The only way to sit outside on a deck was via Costa coffee shop. You would have to buy a coffee and sit among the smokers. Any other doors to outside were securely fastened for the whole of the journey. The air conditioning was freezing in the theatre and bars. You dont expect to wear cardigans in the Caribbean. Once in the Lido buffet you were bombarded by waiters asking you to book the other restaurants at £30 a person per meal. We tried Freedom Dining but it was not a good experience so once we were sent to the Oriental Restaurant as the the others were full the waiter kept our table for 6 for the same time every evening. Freedom dining didnt work for us. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We sailed on P&O Britannia on 4th - 18th January visiting the Caribbean. It was our first cruise and we booked it months in advance as a surprise for my mum’s 60th birthday. Before booking I read lots of reviews on Britannia and I ... Read More
We sailed on P&O Britannia on 4th - 18th January visiting the Caribbean. It was our first cruise and we booked it months in advance as a surprise for my mum’s 60th birthday. Before booking I read lots of reviews on Britannia and I felt that some of the more negative reviews would likely be unjustified or people just being fussy. So I went on the cruise with a completely open mind and write this review to give a completely honest account of our experience as first time cruisers with P&O on their current flagship Britannia. FLIGHT Unfortunately our holiday didn’t get off to the best start, I rang to purchase some extra weight allowance for our luggage via the cruise personaliser as unfortunately some of my formal wear was particularly heavy. I paid £80 for an additional allowance of 10kg each way, so taking my weight allowance from 23kg to 33kg. I questioned the person on the phone to ensure one bag could weigh upto 33kg having previously worked for an airline that allowed baggage to only go upto a max. 32kg per bag. I asked if I would I need to split it into two bags but I was advised one bag was fine to be upto 33kg as that was TUI policy and since I had paid for the additional weight it didn’t matter if it was in one bag or split across more. So I packed my case accordingly, on arrival at the airport I went to check my bag in & was advised it was too heavy - their policy is 25kg max. per bag despite paying for the additional weight it couldn’t be in one case and would need to be split into an extra bag. I ended up having to take 10kg of out of my suitcase and check in my hand luggage bag. I sorted it, but it was a massive inconvenience and embarrassment when all could have been avoided had I of been advised correctly beforehand when I had asked. Nevertheless, it happened and we sorted it. The flight with TUI on Dreamliner was okay, having previously travelled on Dreamliner to Mexico and loved it, we found that this time there wasn’t two options of food and that there was a lot less choice of films etc, unsure if this is because it was a chartered flight opposed to scheduled. The crew going out were lovely the crew coming back were absolutely miserable, they announced they had run out of tonic water and red wine before we’d even set off due to a busy outgoing flight. I didn’t think this was good enough when (I assume like us) everyone on our flight had paid a supplement to fly from Manchester. This must happen every single time. Just poor to say we paid an extra £200 pp supplement plus £60 charges to book seats to fly from Manchester. There was three flights from Manchester and back so there is clearly a demand for flights from Manchester. Paying for the privilege but with a reduced service on the way back is not good enough when you’re paying a supplement in my view. EMBARKATION Our transfer to the ship straight from the airfield by coaches was well organised and the embarkation process went smoothly with our luggage arriving within 4 hours direct to our cabins. FIRST IMPRESSIONS The ship itself is very elegant, the decor is neutral and quite understated. The atrium is nice but I wouldn’t say it has the wow factor, lined with bars and duty free shops, it’s a bit of an odd space where evening drinks and duty free sales rails meet. I think for size of the ship and number of people on board, it’s quite a small space and never really came to life as we expected it would on formal nights, instead it was more of a people watching space. CABINS We travelled as a group of six (age range 30-64) and all had balcony cabins with a sofa (F130, F131, F132) the cabins are a good size with a reasonable sized balcony. The design and decor is nice and the beds were very comfortable. We felt very at home in our room for two weeks. The cabin included Tea & Coffee making facilities, a mini refrigerator with a chargeable mini bar, walk in wardrobe space, bathroom with shower & White company toiletries and a writing / vanity desk. Overall we liked the cabins and had no complaints. Our steward was very helpful and attentive. I learned whilst on the ship that the steward and waiting staff work split shifts with no full days off each week which made me feel really uncomfortable to be honest. They work exceptionally hard and you could often see the same staff on the breakfast shift as the late evening shift. The stewards seemed to work from dusk till dawn yet always had a smile on their faces to greet you - it was very apparent that there was a staff hierarchy system on board Britannia. ISSUES As mentioned it was my mum’s 60th birthday on our second day, I had tried to organise some ‘Little luxuries’ from the P&O cruise personaliser a few weeks prior to sailing, over the phone. However was advised it was much easier to book once on board. So on our first day we went to reception and as a surprise we booked a birthday cake, champagne breakfast, chocolate dipped strawberries and some flowers, all to be delivered on her birthday at certain times throughout the following day to her cabin as a surprise. In short, none of these happened as they should, with the exception of the flowers. The Champagne breakfast never arrived - it was supposed to be delivered at 7.30am, I rang to find out where it was to be told I hadn’t booked anything, had I not of had print outs of everything I’d organised and the person’s name of who I’d dealt with on reception the previous day, they would have continued to tell me I hadn’t made any bookings. It took three phone calls to reception to finally be advised they hadn’t organised it at their end and they would sort it. By this time the surprise was ruined as we had to tell my mum about it to stop her from going for breakfast. Eventually the breakfast arrived over an hour later. The breakfast was lovely but the surprise ruined. Because of this mess up, I ensured I double checked the arrangements for the other little surprises I’d booked and all was confirmed as organised. Unfortunately that evening the chocolate strawberries were meant to be delivered at 5pm for us all to enjoy pre- Captain’s welcome party in our cabins to have a toast to my mum’s birthday, 5pm came and they did not arrive, after two phone calls to reception they arrived 50 mins later just as we were walking out of the door to the welcome party alongside the birthday cake which should have been for the restaurant. At this point I was really annoyed that not one thing I had organised and paid for had been taken care of properly. In the end we came back to our room after our meal to find them and the cake just left melting on a tray on our bed. I called reception to for them to be taken away, reception staff seemed absolutely useless, no ownership of anything, just completely disorganised and rude. At no point did anyone from reception apologise for any of the mix ups on their part. Feeling frustrated. I spoke to the customer service manager Jan Fernandez to log a complaint, as it put a damper on not only what should have been a special day for my mum but also caused a lot of unnecessary inconvenience all due to the fact the reception staff were completely incompetent and they are some of the higher ranking staff on the ship! Jan dealt with our complaint efficiently and offered an apology but this was only our second day so it wasn’t the best start to our holiday. It just felt like no matter what you booked or organised, it was 50/50 chance whether it would actually happen as no one seemed to care or take ownership of anything. There were so many people complaining at reception about various things I get the feeling the customer service manager is a very busy man! One mess up I could have overlooked but not absolutely everything I had organised. The whole day was just a series of errors on their part from the beginning to end and I felt like I just shouldn’t have bothered trying to organise anything special because the day was remembered for all the wrong reasons. LAUNDRY Another issue we encountered twice during our stay was the laundry service was completely disorganised, my husband organised the day before each of the formal nights to have his shirts ironed for an additional charge, both times, it took over 24 hours for this to happen and each time he was told the shirts would be delivered by 4pm on the formal evening, however they never arrived at the time advised and it took 2/3 phone calls for them to be chased up for them to then arrive over an hour late cutting into our formal evening. One of the evenings, he had to re-wear a shirt as the laundry service could not locate his shirt or give an answer as to when it would arrive. Just very disorganised and not what you would expect, if I’d have known how much of a hassle it was I’d have just ironed the shirts myself in the ironing room but for a couple of £ it seemed value for money to get them done professionally. The ship seemed to offer services that it could not fulfil or meet the demand for. FOOD We could not find fault with the food on board. We booked freedom dining so were able to dine whenever we liked and in two weeks we never had a bad meal, there was always plenty of choice. Meridian Restaurant - we dined here most of nights during our cruise and were seated in the same area so we got to know the waiting staff who were fantastic and could not have done more to make our meal times pleasant - special mention to Olav and Lawrence who looked after us. The menus were varied and all six of us enjoyed everything we tried. The portion sizes are perfect. Being a British cruise line, there was always an option to cater for the traditional British taste plus plenty of other choices. The staff work exceptionally hard in this restaurant and I can only imagine how many people are needed behind the scenes to make it run as smoothly as it does. Horizon Buffet - The buffet restaurant was a great easy no fuss option for breakfast, lunch or dinner and also provided late night snacks. The food served was generally similar each day with some different themed dishes added to mix it up, so if you found something you liked you could rely that it would be there most days. We liked the fact that the Horizon buffet was more relaxed with self service so you could be in control of what you wanted to eat, how much and when. Only complaint about the buffet was the rudeness of other guests, there seemed to be a lack of common sense amongst other guests with people barging past with trays and no real system to the buffet so at busy times it was frustrating and dangerous, twice I saw guests drop their food and smash things due to the chaos. Another note, the automatic doors into the buffet kept shutting on people, the sensor only worked if you walked under it head on, we got trapped in the doors a couple of times and they shut completely on us, I witnessed a woman carrying a baby get caught in them and an elderly woman who needed medical attention after they closed on her walking through them and she fell backwards onto the tiled floor. Britannia really need to sort this out before someone gets seriously hurt! Grab & Go - There was always a selection of sandwiches etc available if you preferred to take your lunch back to your cabin or ashore. Lido Deck Grill - Freshly baked pizzas, hot dogs, burgers and chips. Typical fast food that was always readily available. We found the standard of cleanliness and hygiene on board to be excellent. We saw most people observed the washing hands/using sanitiser prior to entering the restaurants or when embarking the ship after being in port. There was people on board refilling their personal water bottles using the restaurant water machines, the staff soon put a stop to it to ensure no spread of germs. SPECIALITY Glasshouse - The Glasshouse is a wine bar which also offers small plates, tapas and main meals for an additional charge. We ate here one evening and the food was absolutely fantastic, we had a selection of tapas dishes to share including Tempura prawns, Kebabs and scallops followed by Steak & chips. It was all absolutely delicious and well worth the additional charge (which was still very reasonable - 3 tapas for £6.85/ Sirloin steak and chips £8.50) LimeLight Club - We booked a meal and a show (Kevin Kennedy) the food again was lovely and the entertainment better than we expected. I would say well worth paying a cover charge to spend an evening enjoying some fine dining and special entertainment. The Limelight club is also one of the best decorated bar areas of the ship so we enjoyed being somewhere a bit different. Sindhu - We booked a meal at Sindhu after reading good reviews about it and we weren’t dissappointed. All the food was delicious - the soft shell crab was exceptional and the service fantastic. Definitely worth the cover charge but book early to avoid disappointment as we would have liked to have dined here a couple of times during our cruise but it was always fully booked. Epicurean - We booked afternoon tea here, the restaurant had lovely decor and felt very elegant. The afternoon tea was nice, there was only three table occupied when we had it and it was a sea day so unsure why it was so quiet but nevertheless enjoyed it and service was good. BARS Crow’s Nest - Our favourite bar on the ship, situated at the very front of the ship just below the bridge, we loved starting our evenings here especially on formal nights where you could sip a cocktail whilst watching the sun setting and listening to the on board pianist who was fantastic. The crow’s nest is also one of the bars on the ship which is well designed and feels opulent with plush high back chairs and ambient lighting. The cocktails here were also in a different league than those served in the other bars on board. Brodie’s - We usually love a pub quiz in a good English pub but we surprisingly found Brodie’s to be our least favourite bar on board. The entertainment always seemed very cheesy or not to our taste (bingo/horse racing games) and the drinks were poor in comparison to other bars on board, there was also always a bit of a dull atmosphere, it kind of felt like a waiting area instead of a pub. Live Lounge - Another area of the ship we looked forward to before we came but then disliked, tucked away I’m guessing because of sound proofing as it was the only place offering entertainment after a certain time. On formal nights when everyone wanted somewhere to try make the most of the night it was always really busy with standing room only, there never seemed enough tables and chairs. We watched the ships entertainment band Pulse play here for an 80s night and also came down a few times for the late night disco. I have to say we didn’t really enjoy any of the entertainment here as all were disappointing, we love to have a good drink and a bit of a dance but there was never a real party atmosphere. The drinks we ordered in here were absolutely terrible (Porn Star Martinis & Rum Cocktails) both were barely drinkable. So the difference in drink quality across the bars on board varies a lot. Atrium - The bars and coffee shop in the Atrium were okay, we didn’t drink often in the bottom of the Atrium as it felt like a reception area. The coffee shop sold Costa Coffee and there was some nice seats looking out over the deck. The duty free shopping on board was okay, I didn’t think some of the prices seemed that different from buying the items in the UK particularly the make up and perfume on board. The jewellery seemed more competitive. Crystal Room - Purely for ballroom dancing. We called in and had a drink at the Crystal Room on occasion to watch the dancers which was nice. This is really a place specifically if you like dancing or if you can ballroom dance to show off your talents. They sometimes had a band on that played jazz music after the dancing finished so it was somewhere we sometimes called in for a night cap. Probably a place to people watch unless you are into your ballroom dancing. Doesn’t really cater for everyone which is a shame as it’s a lovely space which I felt they could have done more with than just the same ball room dancing every night. Would have been nice if they made more of this area on formal nights. POOL AREAS Having never been on a cruise before I wasn’t sure what to expect with the pool area. I did find the main pool on the lido deck (deck 16) to be quite small for the number of people on board, it always felt crowded and not somewhere you could kick back and relax. The adult pool on deck 17 was preferable but again the pool area isn’t big and as everyone is situated around it, so prepare to have everyone watch you getting in & out of the pool. I felt in all the pool areas it was quite crammed in and there was little privacy. There was lots of people complaining on sea days that people were reserving sunbeds by placing towels on them and there seemed to be announcements every few hours about it. We didn’t have any issue finding sunbeds but we were happy to just spend an hour or so on deck then do something else. I think if you want to spend all day sunbathing, you need to set up camp on sea days early. ENTERTAINMENT We were really disappointed with the entertainment on board. I had read mixed reviews before we came and hoped on the positive side that people were just difficult to please but honestly the majority of entertainment we experienced was really poor and in no way represented what we thought P&O would be like. Formal Nights - Other than dressing up, there was no ‘special’ entertainment on formal evenings. This was a big disappointment for us, every single formal night on board we dressed up in our cocktail dresses and tuxedos and headed to the atrium where the same entertainment was on as every other night…then once our evening meal was done, it was either head to the Live Lounge (where everyone seemed to go because they obviously like us, wasn’t sure what else to do) or go sit in the theatre for a 45 min show… I could not believe the number of people sat around the atrium in all their beautiful outfits looking bored out of their brains by 10pm. Each formal night I got glammed up and looked forward to having a few drinks and have a bit of a dance but it always seemed we were back in our cabin before midnight as we were fed up of traipsing around the ship looking for something with a bit of atmosphere, it was either that or force ourselves to try enjoy the same entertainment as we had seen the previous number of nights. Just really really poor effort on P&O’s part. Headliners Theatre - We watched a one night only show here by Victor Michael who was fantastic, he sang lots of musical hits was well as Italian and rat pack classics and he got everyone up dancing, joining in and enjoying themselves. It was a fantastic night but as mentioned he was a one night only show and we by chance had finished our evening meal and decided to call in to see if the show was any good. We were glad we did as we really enjoyed it and it was much needed after the other poor entertainment on board. A few nights later there was a show called ‘Astonishing’ a magic style show that people highly recommended that was originally developed by Stephen Mulhern and Jonathan Wilkes. Honestly, it was a massive let down, it was full of strobe lighting, neon costumes and some terrible singing and a few magic tricks that we’ve seen a good few times before. Despite being told all the way through that we were going to be ‘astonished’ - we were not. Some people seemed to think this show was amazing, so I guess it just depends on your personal taste but for us, it was terrible. Did not live up to the hype. Pulse Band - The Ship’s band were just OK, full of energy and belting out the popular songs but not really anything amazing. We didn’t dislike them but we also didn’t plan our day around making sure we got to see them. So I suppose make of that what you will. Steele Band - Absolutely fantastic, one of the only regular onboard entertainment that we thought was very good and we always enjoyed. Very talented and always got people up on their feet enjoying themselves. Only criticism is we wanted to see them more they were that good! They tended to be on the lido deck during sail aways or occasionally in the atrium but always during mealtimes. Runaround Kids - There was a band who joined our cruise for a couple of nights and we watched their rock n’ roll show. They were fantastic, really enjoyed their show. But again these were limited night entertainment not regular entertainment. Sail aways- We tried to go to every sail away party. The Great British Sail away was by far the best and felt very patriotic the other sail aways were just a bit tacky and felt very butlins. We always got involved and tried to make the most of the atmosphere. A lot more could be done to make the sail aways more special. SPA This is an area that needs vast improvement based on our experience. We felt really disappointed by our experience with the Spa onboard - the staff, services and handling of our complaint was appalling. Before coming on the cruise, we pre-booked and paid for treatments via the cruise personaliser as a treat for our birthdays. On the second day the three of us arrived at the spa looking forward to our treatments (ELEMIS quartz facials, deep tissue massage and hot stone massages in total we had spent over £400 on these treatments between the three of us) The staff at the spa reception were less than welcoming and unfriendly when we got to the spa, we felt we were in some way inconveniencing them by being there. We were shown to a waiting room. No offer of a drink, or showing of facilities, not a good first impression. The spa is also located in one of the busiest areas of the ship - reception which I found really odd, it wasn’t a tranquil relaxing space but instead was a walk through area with people passing through constantly. The massage I had was nowhere near the quality I have received previously at other spas, which I found disappointing as my expectations were high for a cruise ship Spa. My treatment was 50 mins, the lady doing my massage spent the first 15 mins talking to me about stress then went into a hard product sell for the last 15 mins of my treatment and then when I said I wasn’t interested in purchasing any of the recommended products she was visibly frustrated…then asked for a gratuity. I found it all less than relaxing and a bit embarrassing for us both to be honest. The other treatments the party had were okay but again they didn’t like the hard product sell afterwards. I asked where the sauna/hydrotherapy pool was and was advised it was an additional £30pp to use these facilities for the two hours we had between treatments or we would have to leave to spa and come back for our second treatment later - I’ve never experienced a spa that doesn’t have an area for guests to relax in and facilities to utilise between treatments. It wasn’t clear when I made the online booking that the use of any of the spa facilities was an additional charge which granted could have been my error but given that we had all paid full price for all of our treatments we weren’t prepared to then pay a further £90 for us all to use them especially when the spa was offering the treatments we had pre-booked and paid for in full - now at a discounted rate. In short, we were penalised for pre-booking and paying in full price for our treatments when people could book the same treatments for much less when on board. We found this unacceptable. I also booked for a ‘red carpet’ treatment package as I was given an on board gift voucher for the spa by a relative, there was a mix up at fault of the spa and I didn’t receive the treatments in the package, so I made a complaint whilst on board covering all of these issues. The spa manager was somewhat helpful but didn’t really take any ownership of the complaint. After numerous discussions over a number of days with different members of spa staff eventually I was offered to rebook the treatment however it was by then the last days of my holiday, so instead I eventually got a full refund. Finally the issue did get resolved but it wasn’t easy to sort out with the spa manager and eventually Renee from reception managed to sort it all out. It was just a really frustrating experience and the Spa staff really couldn’t have cared less. On our 14 day cruise we tried to book a day pass to THE RETREAT numerous times and each time the spa staff laughed and said it’s fully booked - so clearly if you wish to use the retreat you need to book it immediately when you board (pre-booking isn’t available), as from the reaction from the spa staff, it seemed like there’s hardly ever availability. I imagine due to the poor design of the pool areas on board, THE RETREAT is an attractive option for most wanting a relaxing day, so it is likely always fully booked. Another example of an area not fit for purpose and that isn’t designed to support even a decent % of the people on board the ship. Lastly, the spa staff seem to behave in a way that suggests they are higher up the hierarchy in terms of the ship’s staffing. This is something a number of other guests also commented on. Regardless of the complaints we have about the spa and the repeated mistakes regarding the treatments, the service we received in the spa was by far the poorest across the whole ship. I largely believe this is because P&O Britannia clearly have a staff hierarchy system and the spa staff are ranked higher than the waiting staff so seemingly have the belief that they do not need to make as much effort. The spa staff came across as arrogant & unfriendly and at times rude with a very commission based attitude. We did not find this of any of the other staff on the ship. I was also told by a member of the spa’s staff that they have two days off every week, can go ashore, have deck privileges on days off and can enjoy formal nights etc. So it is no wonder they believe themselves to be a cut above others if they are treated with better privileges in comparison to other staff. Really disappointed with the Spa on Britannia and from speaking to other guests I know we weren’t the only ones. The spa offered daily treatment packages at discount prices and there was continuous leaflets being posted to our cabin on the various deals the spa was offering each day, so it was clear they were not booked up or they were struggling to fill appointments. It’s a shame the quality of the treatments and service was so poor as I would have likely booked to use the spa numerous times during my cruise had I of had a positive experience. P&O really need to look at the quality and experience of the staff in their Spa, would not recommend anyone else doing what we did and wasting a good deal of money on their services. LIFTS We read in lots of reviews before we went, that the lifts were a big issue. We didn’t experience this to the extent people have mentioned in other reviews. We found that there were busy times particularly when disembarking/embarking from port as you’d expect but other than that, we didn’t have any issues. We did find that some guests were not giving priority to those with limited mobility which was unacceptable. WIFI One of our biggest complaints of P&O - the wifi charges are extortionate. It worked out cheaper for us to use our data when in port than it was to pay for any on board wifi charges. P&O really need to address this as so many guests were complaining about it. If guests cannot upload holiday photos to social media P&O are losing out on some invaluable free marketing, if you search Instagram for other cruise lines you can locate hundreds of photos, if you search for P&O it’s quite limited as people are more likely to upload as they go rather than once they’re home. Also whilst we were away our niece was in intensive care and we weren’t able to keep in touch with family regularly unless we were in port, fortunately we only had four sea days so we managed. But in 2019 there should be a better more affordable wifi option on board. You spend the first hour of being in port looking for wifi to try keep in touch with family etc. DRESS CODE When you book a cruise, in my opinion you are aware and accepting that there is an onboard dress code that you will adhere to. It’s clearly stated when you book and on board there is reminders in the Horizon daily paper you get to your cabin and around the ship’s TV screens of what that evening’s dress code is. Formal nights- most people we saw had made effort however there was some people purposefully ignoring and choosing not to adhere to it. The night we visited Sindhu there was two couples not in formal wear (one had jeans on) who were turned away by the restaurant team for not wearing formal attire. However they were so rude back to the staff and kicked off shouting and threatening that eventually the staff gave in and accommodated them much to the frustration of other guests who were abiding by the rules. I have read on other reviews that the dress code is not strictly enforced however my experience of this is that it is the guests who choose not to partake that make it awkward and difficult for not only the staff on board but also the other guests. I’m almost certain some guests choose to ignore the dress code and test the boundaries just to make an exhibition of themselves, I would personally be embarrassed to be turned away from a restaurant for not being dressed appropriately but some of these guests seem to do it for the argument, seriously if you don’t intend on making an effort to abide by the dress code, don’t book a cruise. Football shirts and sometimes on an evening we saw people in smart shorts, which it stated were not allowed, but we did not see anyone enforce this. SUMMARY I would say as a taster holiday for the Caribbean islands that this is an option to see a little of a lot of places, but we found our days quite rushed by the time you have disembarked and explored enough to get your bearings you have to be back on the ship, it's a shame they don't dock later in each port. We were especially disappointed that the Captain announced just before our last port of Antigua (somewhere we were really looking forward to on the itinerary) that we would need to be back on board an hour earlier than usual cutting a day there very short. Overall, for a first time cruise, we booked P&O as we were led to believe that P&O were more prestigious than other cruise lines and we felt we would be experiencing a once a lifetime holiday for a special occasion. Having travelled all over the world everything from back packing to 5* luxury hotels, our expectations for a cruise were high, but were not met. The reality was, it did not live up to our expectations in many ways and we have come away with mixed feelings. There was some positives - the itinerary, the food and the quality of service from some of the staff but the negatives for us, much outweighed all of this to the point we are unsure if we would ever try another cruise and would more than likely choose a different cruise line if we do. Far from the relaxing, luxury experience we had imagined. P&O definitely need to up their game if they are to sustain a future customer base. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We chose this cruise for the itinerary mainly . I have been on over 20 cruises but never one as bad as this , the flight out with Thomas cook was fine but on arriving Barbados we were made to stand in lines on the tarmac like school ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary mainly . I have been on over 20 cruises but never one as bad as this , the flight out with Thomas cook was fine but on arriving Barbados we were made to stand in lines on the tarmac like school children waiting to get in the old battered coaches , we had booked private transfers but were not allowed to go to the terminal and had no choice but to get on the coach . On arriving at the ship more ques to get your credit card scanned and I was screamed at by ground staff for asking where I could smoke. The entertainment staff doing everything they could to make stupid jokes and cheer everyone up . We booked a balcony cabin which was tiny the only space was to one side of the bed about a 5 feet by 3 feet to get dressed in and the bathroom was just ridiculous a small 3 feet square impossible to dry yourself inside the bathroom once you get out the shower . Our luggage took 5 hours to arrive in our cabin and we had to ask for more hangers as only about 20 in the wardrobe for 2 people for 2 weeks . The food onboard was appalling school dinners in the Horizon with people carrying trays all pushing shoving trying to get food , the wine machines didn’t work and glasses and tables dirty even though you are made to sanitise your hands at every opportunity. The staff in the restaurants were rude and clearly something had upset all Of them , the food was poor to say the least, on the second formal night the choice was roast of the day , fish n chips, cottage pie I mean seriously we got all dressed up for that . The sunset bar staff were very rude , dirty tables all the time and over flowing ash trays . We had freedom dining but we’re made to go to first sitting on Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve which was 5.45pm just crazy . We booked and paid extra to see Asward with dinner instead on Christmas Day we were told we had to be there for 7pm we had two choices on the menu the same poor quality food and waited for 2 1/2 hours for Asward to come on stage , I complained to the f&b manager who was totally uninterested , when Asward came on the three guys sang to backing music for half an hour and then left just beyond a joke and felt very ripped off . Everything on this ship is just about making more and more money out if you , you don’t even get a bottle of water in your cabin each day , we paid 6k for this cruise . Formal nights were non eventful , some people dressed up , others walking around in shirts and t shirts , the entertainment was dreadful . We called reception several times on our cruise with problems and not once did they answer the phone , we even left it ringing for 45 minutes and still no answer, the que at reception was massive everyday and only three staff behind the desk, we spoke to Shona regarding our dining arrangements and was told we had freedom dining and there was no first or second sitting onboard , only to get a card through our door 3 days later to say we could only have first sitting Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve we were constantly given wrong information from the reception staff. Three nights we had to call security to stop the noise below our cabin at the smoking area on deck 7 (we were on 9 ) kids were partying and shouting at 3 am , it was more like Butlins at sea !!! Each port of call had so many ships visiting with thousands of people at each island making it really unenjoyable , we were constantly harassed as soon as you go out the port, people waving boards in your face and shouting at you to go on tours it was really awful , one port san Maarten had 7 cruise ships in on one day , 15000 passengers or more in one tiny port and all so expensive. There is no space around the pool onboard crammed in like sardines not even a space between loungers and no umbrellas so it was either bake in the sun or nothing , we didn’t even bother it was just so horrible . WiFi is £12.50 a day and doesn’t work so we had two weeks of no internet . I was really shocked how bad everything was and will never cruise with p&o again !! Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Embarkation was long and exhausting. After a long flight to Barbados we were stood in rows on tarmac in very hot conditions for 30 minutes whilst waiting for buses to arrive. Then when we arrived at the ship stood in long queue whilst we ... Read More
Embarkation was long and exhausting. After a long flight to Barbados we were stood in rows on tarmac in very hot conditions for 30 minutes whilst waiting for buses to arrive. Then when we arrived at the ship stood in long queue whilst we were all processed! The ship is clean to an extent. Smoking areas had cigarette butts and empty cigarettes packets lying around the floors but that says more about the passengers than the staff who just don’t seem to stop working and deserve a medal. Housekeeping work so hard and were the nicest part of this cruise, really lovely people. Bar staff were in my opinion rude and customer service was poor. Very little public space for the amount of people on board and we came to dread sea days. Trying to find any peace on this ship is impossible. The entertainment team thing makes it feel like Butlins. Constant hard sell every where you go you just generally get the feeling that p&o are finding new and creative ways to get your money as if this cruise wasn’t already expensive enough. Only drink included in the ‘all inclusive’ is water. Oh and the WiFi is very expensive and frustratingly rather useless. Excursions are expensive and surprise surprise involve queuing and more crowds of people. Locals tend to offer cheaper alternatives. I got shouted at twice by members of staff for not 1. Standing in line properly 2. Taking a piece of orange without using tongs. If I ever have the word madam shouted at me again I’ll scream. The constant tannoy announcements became intrusive after a while often with requests or orders about what we can or can’t do that day. Trying to have a quiet afternoon kip in the cabin and to escape the huge amount of people on this ship is hopeless as the announcements are VERY loud. If you like a bit of piece and quiet, like your independence, like to take each day as it comes and do your own thing including not having to follow dress codes/rules and regulations don’t come cruising. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Only cruise to the destinations at the right time. A lot of people who just like to drink eat and drunk a lot of the time. Dramas constantly going on with lots of people gossiping. Stealing from the shops and they are not that great ... Read More
Only cruise to the destinations at the right time. A lot of people who just like to drink eat and drunk a lot of the time. Dramas constantly going on with lots of people gossiping. Stealing from the shops and they are not that great either. Been on lots of other cruises with other company's and I must say this has to be the worst. Not A lot of choice of entertainment and what there is much the same pub quiz bingo etc. Every single thing you have to pay for even water now that I feel is bad. Dining seating times are not always suitable and they would not change ours to an earlier time for even a birthday night so we never ate in them. We only ate in what was called the push and shove / canteen or known as the buffet resturant. Think wisely on who you travel with. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Having been on the boat exactly a year prior when it was like a busman's holiday for the rescue services and the hygiene and couldn't give a monkeys attitude of the overwhelming majority of the staff was an utter disgrace, we put ... Read More
Having been on the boat exactly a year prior when it was like a busman's holiday for the rescue services and the hygiene and couldn't give a monkeys attitude of the overwhelming majority of the staff was an utter disgrace, we put it down to leaving on Fri 13th and them on their last cruise before leave. The ship itself is beautiful, not worthy of the clowns running it! So to this year, the above was more or less all addressed, night and day on that score truth be told, so could they ruin it?......Oh yes they can! The cost cutting was plain to see, embarrassingly so at times with the food and the entertainment, the accountants had been at work but overly so, very few of them look at the bigger picture. The choices of food this year was so small, i am a fussy eater but last year i always had 3 or 4 options which is more than i'd expect, this year i lived of ham rolls made up by myself. My other half who has no problems normally also struggled to find something edible. They claim British themed cruise line, since when did Britain live of cheap cuts of pork everyday. God alone knows what part of little England some of these dishes are from, never heard of the majority and upon seeing them quite glad of that fact. Day 14, we get beef, don't get excited it was brisket. As for the shows, last year full of top quality entertainment, this year 2 acts at the very end only thing worth watching. A comedian that was about as funny as a fire in an orphanage, the headliners theatre company (ship crew) were so bad people were cringing for them. What are you doing P&O, a ship Britain could be proud of if it wasn't owned by US company carnival, you sort out the major issues of 2017 when everyone got a Free cold only to let cost cutting spoil 2018. such a shame for a beautiful ship but to be living of ham rolls on a 5* cruise is poor beyond belief. We also got hoodwinked into taking a superior deluxe cabin on A deck, we had balcony on g deck previous which was totally fine, don't listen to their sales crap unless you want to hear high heels 24 hours a day on your ceiling. Go back to basics P & O, hygiene and good food choice, throw in a few good shows (nobody will like them all) and it will make such a difference. Good numbers by accountants does not equal repeat custom so false economy. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
After a first and very successful cruise on Ventura in 2017, my husband and i were immensely looking forward to our 2nd cruise on Britannia in October 2018. We read the reviews; just as we had for Ventura; but dismissed them as there ... Read More
After a first and very successful cruise on Ventura in 2017, my husband and i were immensely looking forward to our 2nd cruise on Britannia in October 2018. We read the reviews; just as we had for Ventura; but dismissed them as there had been bad reviews of Ventura too, but we'd not had a single issue (apart from a minor dislike of the buffet restaurant which we found cramped). Unfortunately; in hindsight the bad reviews of Britannia are accurate. It was a disappointing cruise from the start. I will say that our cabin was perfectly fine, and the steward service excellent, our steward was a delight and the highlight of our cruise. However service elsewhere on ship was somewhat surly from time to time and lacked the friendliness and attention to detail we experienced on Ventura. Embarkation was flawless and we were on the ship quickly; our luggage arriving quickly afterwards. We unpacked and found the cabin to be perfect; although we were disappointed that we couldnt folllow our spending on the TV like we could on Ventura. the Horizon Buffet restaurant is a massive improvement on the buffet restaurants on Ventura, far more wide, open spaces, easier to navigate with a tray. The restaurant is very popular and you are better to go earlier or later; avoid it at busy times if you want to find a seat. I felt the food on offer was better quality than on Ventura. Unfortunately the same could not be said for the MDR; we were booked on the 2030 seating and frequently across the 12 nights of the cruise the food quality was poor and once I even sent food back - food from Marco Pierre Whites menu, nonetheless! - because it was stone cold! Entertainment. The entertainment was abysmal. We saw PULSE so many times that we even started noticing when they rejigged their shows; meaning they'd perform some numbers on their 80's show, and then they'd appear later in the cruise slotted in on another show called something else. There seemed to be much more variety on Ventura and we had been able to see quite a few different acts. The Limelight Club. We were really looking forward to this - but our choice of act was either Claire Sweeney or Cheryl Baker. And we're not in our 70's, so that was rather disappointing. We had to give it a miss. The Crystal Room - what an utter, utter waste of a venue. Absolutely beautiful, elegant space, wasted night after night after night with a dreary singer, followed by " and 1,2 3, 4...!!" instructor led Ballroom dancing for old people. Utter, utter waste of a beautiful venue and a space that could have been put far better to use. Decor - believe the reviews. Posh ferry springs to mind. Ventura is not in the same league as Princess or MSc ships; but Britannia as the flag-ship was expected to have a sense of refinement and class. It doesnt. It is dark,dreary and... to our cost we found out, not as well maintained from a cleanlinless point of view. Everywhere we went on Ventura, there were staff cleaning. I lost count of the number of times i saw the handrails on the staircases being polished and cleaned with hand sanitiser. Not once did i see this on Britannia....as a result I caught a virus. By the end of the cruise, and after I had been too ill to get off the ship for 5 of the destinations, the whole ship had it and it was dubbed "Britannia Cough" amongst the passengers. On return home I saw my doctor who prescribed yet more antibiotics and steroids; and I was ill for a further two weeks. We are booked on Azura for September 2019 which we booked prior to booking Britannia; and we have high hopes that it will be similar to the lovely time we had on Britannia. Unfortunately the Britannia cruise has done its worst; and we are booking with Princess for 2020. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
First time on P& O but not first cruise ! To say it was disappointing is an understatement . Bland and cold food in the Buffet on a daily basis. Lack of organisation within the buffet area no flow around the area. Constant sell, ... Read More
First time on P& O but not first cruise ! To say it was disappointing is an understatement . Bland and cold food in the Buffet on a daily basis. Lack of organisation within the buffet area no flow around the area. Constant sell, sell , sell from the minute you walk in the ship. Was offered a beverage package on six separate occasions within the first three hours also offered the sunlight sailaway onfive different occasions. Speciality restaurants namely the Beach House serving ribs with congealed sauce on top. Totally inedible. Drinks served not as advertised . Everything seemed so much trouble . Pimms served without a straw ! When asked for straw as it really is quite impossible to drink without one. Told that they are sure I can manage without one! NoroVirus outbreak due to poor hygiene standards! Tables cleaned with same cloth throughout the bars! Staff using toilets but not washing hands following visit ! No cleaning seen throughout the cruise ... very poor standards . Epicurean restaurant afternoon tea experience was ruined by restaurant staff clearing tables whilst still eating. Told have to prepare for evening service ... not why people are still eating surely. Entertainment very ameteur performances . Used to West End standard shows. Would not recommend P & O at all. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We had sailed on Britannia previously. The second cruise she ever made. That was our first time with P&O and we disliked it so much (as my review at the time will explain) that we said we would never cruise with them again. This cruise ... Read More
We had sailed on Britannia previously. The second cruise she ever made. That was our first time with P&O and we disliked it so much (as my review at the time will explain) that we said we would never cruise with them again. This cruise was a present to us though. So the choice was made for us and we gave the ship and line another chance. Again, nothing has changed and we won’t be returning to P&O and the problems with Britannia are still the same as before. The food was the main issue. As we had a large suite, we had access to the epicurean for breakfast. This was an excellent restaurant and the service and food was perfect. Friendly servers who were great with our little girl. The same can’t be said for the Oriental dining room. The food was constantly dry and cold and could take up to 45 minutes between courses which made meal times drag out. With a one, nearly two year old with us late at night, this was a big problem. The choice of food was poor and we all often struggled to find anything to eat. The buffet was no better. Food tasted as if it had been left under heat lamps for hours and the choice was small and poor and repetitive. It feels as if they are purposefully making the food bad to force you to spend money in the other restaurants. They do seem to like to up sell and try to drain every penny from you at every turn, with ads almost every day for £25 sail away parties and drinks. I know every line does this. We are not strangers to it. But it seems more obvious and blatant with P&O. The grab and go is a great idea and handy for excursions, but again, the food is the same every single day and there is little choice. We were not the only people to complain about the food. Many other passengers mentioned how poor they thought it was and that they’d never had another line with such a poor main dining room experience. The waiters seem overworked. Too many tables each to actually be attentive or get anything to you quickly. Or even top water up. Something which should be simple. The reef kid’s club is better for older children than young. Lots of forms to fill in and lots of rules. We hadn’t come across anything like it on other lines. For you her children there isn’t much in the horizon program. Only the actual play room. A few times we went to the right venue at the right time for an activity, waited and nobody ever turned up. Kids arts and crafts for example, in the live lounge. A bit disorganised and disappointing. One big complaint that hasn’t improved from the last time on Britannia was how little there is to do during the day. The lack of activities on the horizon is pitiful. Largely leaving people to themselves, probably hoping they spend more money rather than sit, bored. The suite and balcony and all the extras were amazing. Great sized room and our stateroom attendant and butler were both very good. No faults there. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Ship: Britannia. Cruise Number: B809 Date of Cruise: 8th April 2018. Southampton Ocean Cruise Terminal: After arriving by transfer coach at the designated time we were directed to the cruise terminal. Although we had priority ... Read More
Ship: Britannia. Cruise Number: B809 Date of Cruise: 8th April 2018. Southampton Ocean Cruise Terminal: After arriving by transfer coach at the designated time we were directed to the cruise terminal. Although we had priority boarding status no P&O staff were available to inform us of which desk was allocated for priority boarding passengers. Finally after checking in and requesting access to the priority lounge which was ignored by the check-in staff, we were told to proceed through security and embark on the ship. Basically it felt as if we were herded like cattle without any concern by any of the P&O terminal staff for our wellbeing. Embarkation: On boarding the ship we were greeted by a barrage of sales people wanting us to book & sign up for selected restaurant venues, spas & photography sessions. At no time did we see a smiling P&O representative to either direct us to the ship`s reception area or to help us in locating our suite. After finally locating and arriving in our suite on the 11th deck which I may add was with no help from P&O staff. Believing the stress and harassment of the previous encounters at check-in and embarkation were over was short lived. We were not informed that our correctly tagged (as directed by P&O) luggage had gone astray. After many phone calls from the cabin staff & several stressful hours later I personally found our luggage in several different cabins. This was not a very good omen to the start of an expensive & hopefully relaxing cruise. Safety muster prior to departure. I can only speak for our designated suite but the muster point was the Headliners Theatre. This was fully packed with approx. 800 people attempting to put on life preservers. During the brief session on the muster drill no mention of which lifeboat station was designated in an emergency. This is a very serious safety issue that P&O should immediately address. Overview of Britannia. There is no promenade deck as such to walk around. There are open deck spaces on deck 7 (usually closed in the slightest of weather conditions) at the stern on deck 17 and of course the promenade deck on 18 which there is a staircase to negotiate as the lift only go to deck 17. Deck information & signs are on a brown background with beige lettering which can be difficult to read for people with impaired vision. People were still finding it difficult to find their way round even after 2 weeks. A tour of the bridge & engine control room was offered although this was expensive at £75 per person. There are a very large number of security cameras around the ship even overlooking the private balconies. In one instant a friend was reported and told by the deck manager that it was not acceptable to sunbathe topless on her balcony. Surely cabin balconies on a cruise ship are one`s private place where one can relax without the interference of security cameras. In general we felt as if our personal privacy had been invaded upon, even by the cabin staff who reported any suspected misdemeanours to the deck manager. I must also state that our cabin steward had a tendency to enter our suite without knocking, which we found unacceptable. The hospitality staff (waiters, waitresses, cabin stewards) were always polite but hardly ever smiled for one unknown reason or other. People who had cabins at the stern with balconies were always complaining about oily soot particles being deposited from the funnels. The general layout of the ship leaves a lot to be desired. Restaurants: For freedom diners there were four main restaurants without additional cover charges. Meridian, Peninsular & Oriental with waiter service and the self-service Horizon. We were informed by our butler that the Meridian, Peninsular & Oriental restaurants the menus were varied but were on a rotational basis for these three venues. Overall all the food quality was good. We dined in the Glasshouse restaurant one evening with an additional cover charge and the desert of a chocolate whirl (hard thick chocolate shell with a digestive biscuit base and false cream inside) was nearly inedible, even the waiter had difficulty in opening the shell with a sharp knife. On-board Entertainment. I can only comment on the venues attended. The Limelight Club: Additional cover charge £25 with a limited menu to select from. The Live Lounge: No cover charge and waiter service for drinks at all times. Shows were mediocre. Shore Excursions. Coach tours were arranged for La Palma, Tenerife, Gran Canaria & Lanzarote. The main observation were no P&O tour representatives on any of these coach tours. Any assistance, advice, wellbeing for P&O passengers was left entirely in the hands of the coach tour operators. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
This was a short mini cruise to Bruges but I didn't realise when booking quite how short it would be! Our embarkation time was 3.30pm Fri yet we were left waiting in the terminal for over 2 hours making us almost the last on board! ... Read More
This was a short mini cruise to Bruges but I didn't realise when booking quite how short it would be! Our embarkation time was 3.30pm Fri yet we were left waiting in the terminal for over 2 hours making us almost the last on board! Only to find other passengers had been onboard enjoying the facilities since midday. Then we found out we had the earliest disembarkation time of 08.15am Sunday! We felt sort changed to say the least! Add to this a 4hr delay in sailing meaning our time in Bruges was severely curtailed without as much as a 'sorry' and the rest of our time was spent either queuing for the bar or to get on and off in port! We had select dining and ate in the Oriental restaurant. On the first night the waiting staff rushed us so much that we were onto mains before the drinks even arrived and coffee was served during dessert. Plus all 8 meals were lukewarm at best and 5 were sent back cold! Drinks at the bar are tiny and overpriced when you do finally get served. Information on the various entertainment is limited if it even arrives at all and none of the staff seem to know anything about the rest of the cruise beyond their own small part. Food did improve though on the gala night and could even be described as 'lovely' and the choice in the buffet is good too albeit some of it is cold and again there is a queue. Overall the boat (what I saw of it when I wasn't queuing!) is nice. The cabins are reasonably sized but with tiny tiny bathrooms and there are some nice touches like white company toiletries (but only single ply loo paper!) all areas seemed clean but public loos were often without paper and if course there's not enough of them so again more queuing! Not a great cruise experience but issues exacerbated given the high cost of such a short sailing. If you do go my top tip is get a cab from the Port into Bruges - easy and far cheaper than the coach, take your own loo paper and of course be prepared to queue for England! Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We have never been on a cruise before and we thought it was a good idea to try the mini cruise to Brugge. How wrong was I? To start with, we were heavily delayed in Southampton and did not start to sail till very late at night, I do ... Read More
We have never been on a cruise before and we thought it was a good idea to try the mini cruise to Brugge. How wrong was I? To start with, we were heavily delayed in Southampton and did not start to sail till very late at night, I do understand it was a technical fault but this resulted in a very short day trip to Brugge which was something I had planned for myself and 2 kids for a year! However, whilst waiting for Britannia to start sail, the kids thoroughly enjoyed the swimming pool and the outside Jacuzzi, they loved the pool area where the party and entertainment was, we all looked so forward to the sail away party but we never got one as the ship was very very delayed! Food - We are not fussy eater, we enjoyed the food. Children clubs My children enjoyed the children clubs very well. Service charges I was not aware that £6 per person was payable per night. Nobody mentioned this to me when my debit card details were taken on board. I am not happy with this and so I have complained to P&O Excursions I would have preferred more time in Brugge, due to sail away from Southampton that was heavily delayed, we got to Brugge later than anticipated, by the time we got off the ship and got on coaches to take us to station for trains going to Brugge, it was well past 12 noon, we only had few hours in Brugge as we had to get back to coach to take us back to the ship. Ship Overall the ship was OK to us, we loved exploring it. In Summary, the kids thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I did not enjoy the experience due to so many things, heavy delay, our on board picture taken had a stranger's face in it, I had to complain which was time consuming. We were better off going to Brugge by train! Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Our First Cruise: For our 40th wedding anniversary we thought we take a cruise as many friends/family said 'We'd Love It'....... Well it was just about tolerable. We embarked at St.Lucia, the one island of the six I ... Read More
Our First Cruise: For our 40th wedding anniversary we thought we take a cruise as many friends/family said 'We'd Love It'....... Well it was just about tolerable. We embarked at St.Lucia, the one island of the six I was most looking forward to. Well, it was off the plane, into a mini-bus, register on baord then set sail. St. Lucia for 3 hours. This first island should not be included on the itinerary. Much misleading but lack of research on my part. We splashed out for a balcony cabin (G107) allocated. This cabin balcony was part of steel construction of the ship and when sitting on the balcony you were below eye level, could not see a thing..... In fairness we were after a request moved to F deck midship with this balcony being much better. The cabin we found was adequate but you do have to think about clothes and case storage. The guy who looked after us, Sagar, was very good and very accommodating to any request. Dining: We chose 'Freedom Dining' which allowed us to dine anytime between 6.30 and 9.00 in two restaurants and in truth the food you could not complain about, it was overall very good. Drinks prices were as expected, reasonable. As said in other posts, having to pay a further £25 per person to dine in the prime restaurants is a step too far in having to budget for additional or so called better dining. Sun Decks: It was the day at sea that sealed it for me that I will highly likely never cruise again. 3,000+ people on board and all decks were totally jammed and very uncomfortable. The only way you could get off a sunbed was to sit up and slide down to the bottom of the bed. And if you stretched your arms whilst lying down you were likely to give the person next to you a black eye. Maximimising space, maximising profit. Entertainment - Simply average, save for the one night we did dine in the Limelight Club and saw Jackie Graham. very talented 80's prominent singer. The Headliners Theatre is a very good theatre but the artists were nothing special in truth. The Crows Nest - A lovely bar to finish off the night in relaxation. The Live Lounge - No real comment, popular music but you will do well to find a seat after 9.30pm. Facilities - Why in this day an age there is no free WiFi especially when docked is beyond me and to charge approx $10 a day for this privilege is a disgrace. Maximimising space, maximising profit. Islands - Because you're limited to less than 10 hours the expense increases if you book through the ship at P&O extortionate prices and after two or 3 they all look the same. I appreciate that the majority of people on board enjoy cruising. I'm just glad I didn't book a two week cruise as it would have been 'man overboard' after a week. I wish I had the £3k+ it cost me to spend elsewhere. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
Staff & Service; Got the holiday feeling, the staff will get it out of you; Moody, ignorant and unhelpful on the reception desk, Sun decks and self service restaurants. The only exception for us was the Oriental Restaurant evening ... Read More
Staff & Service; Got the holiday feeling, the staff will get it out of you; Moody, ignorant and unhelpful on the reception desk, Sun decks and self service restaurants. The only exception for us was the Oriental Restaurant evening dining with an excellent, happy service staff. Also the room cleaner was happy and welcoming and did an excellent job keeping our room nice. Ship & Cabin; 3 years old and lacks functionality, lifts are a problem, sun beds jammed in and inside rooms are very small but just about manageable. Dinning & Bars: Food is excellent always something nice to eat; Bars are expensive with no all inclusive options. Ports and excursions. All the ports were well managed, clean and tidy. We had only 3 sea days out 14 so lots to see and do. P&O Excursions are very expensive compared to finding your own way through local taxis and tour operators which are many. You can save £ hundreds by doing your own exploring. Entertainment and Activities; £25 each per night for evening Diner and entertainment in the club..... RIP OFF!!!!!!!!!!!! Otherwise other entertainment will include 10-20 pub quizzes per day to keep the bar till ringing. Activities are basic Flights; P&O Charter Thomas Cook on the cheap; No free drinks service, food is OK. Flight back was 2 hours late on the way back after a late plane change. Problems getting the seats we had booked and paid for as 2 P&O staff would not move out of the extra leg room seats that we had paid for, delayed the plane for another 30 mins while they were going to be removed by security. They had 120 P&O staff returning into the UK on the flight, most were well behaved however, these 2 had been drinking heavily and in my opinion were not fit to fly. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
After 15 years of cruising with Royal Caribbean and Celebrity cruises ... the choice came up including Britannia for a transatlantic cruise to celebrate two 70th birthdays......assuming that the reputation of P&O was alive and well .. ... Read More
After 15 years of cruising with Royal Caribbean and Celebrity cruises ... the choice came up including Britannia for a transatlantic cruise to celebrate two 70th birthdays......assuming that the reputation of P&O was alive and well .. we decided to book with them ... even the cruise agent suggested that the standard passenger on P&O was more discerning and service minded... so we booked. From the first night - in freedom dining .. noisy faulty radio speakers (drowned us out)we were by a service station......... noise level was incredible ... we laughed it off as first night hiccups ...... food in main dining was mostly good ..... Grab & Go - terrible sandwiches along with greasy pale burgers from Market Place....... Boring, dull , unimaginative and uninviting décor throughout and many of us newbies found it very hard to find our way around - some stairways difficult to negotiate............ lack of signage and clocks!!! Balcony far too small .. no reading or bedside light (nightmare for those who wake in the night and don't want to disturb their partner) great having a kettle ! Sullen and disinterested crew on the whole like they were working out their notice ... We were not previously aware that 95% are from the Asian continent ... apparently a P&O tradition.... but every night our dining experience was hit and miss ........ mostly miss...... having been used to the rich tapestry of nations on RCI and Celebrity X great fun and above all great service .......it was a stark difference ....... I could go on about so many small issues ... continual drumming up of "extras" on board ... hard to find tap water ....... no interactive TV in the cabin .. therefore hard to keep a check on spending ..... no free ice cream ...... or towel babies ... wet slippery decks in the morning (a few bad falls resulting in ambulance departures) lack lustre in every direction! So - never again !!! Too many negative issues ............. boring, utterly boring ship ... food variable ...service generally poor and indifferent ......... so much for discerning cruisers ??? .. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
As the headline says, we expected better from P & O. For a ship that is just over 2 years old it is starting to show signs of wear and tear and the lack of staff for general maintenance, cleaning and restaurant service is much ... Read More
As the headline says, we expected better from P & O. For a ship that is just over 2 years old it is starting to show signs of wear and tear and the lack of staff for general maintenance, cleaning and restaurant service is much apparent. Pros: 1. Very good food. 2. Very good live entertainment and daytime presentations by guest speakers. Cons: 1. The 'Freedom Dining' is an absolute shambles. The lack of waiting staff and co-ordination between, the head waiters and the reception staff meant that queuing was inevitable and the paging system used failed to work properly the majority of the time. Lack of staff also meant that tables were not cleared efficiently - thus the wait for tables. Dropped food and utensils were not picked up - staff training maybe? This is the main reason for the 2 * rating. 2. General cleanliness was another area that could (and should) have been easily dealt with. The windows in the Horizon dining area were absolutely filthy and not cleaned at all during our two weeks on board. The same applies to the glass on the outside decks - especially Deck 16. 3. People should also be aware of the terrible soot problem on the aft decks and balcony cabins. All in all, a very disappointing experience with P & O and we will not be cruising with them any time soon. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Chose this as a family holiday to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. The excursions were brilliant and great value for money. On board our suite was lovely but the balcony door was stiff and hard to open and close. Also we had ... Read More
Chose this as a family holiday to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. The excursions were brilliant and great value for money. On board our suite was lovely but the balcony door was stiff and hard to open and close. Also we had problems with the blinds that took over a day to sort out. Service in the dining area was very hit and miss with dinner taking between 1h15m on a good day and over two hours on a bad one. Menus were over complicated and when staff were asked about dishes on the menu they were unable to explain them. Food was also hit and miss with some meals being fantastic and others being unedible. Service was similar around the ship with either staff falling over themselves to serve you or just ignoring you. Quizzes on board were good. The on board dance troupe were good but the actual shows, bar one, were unusual and not to my taste. The highlight was Sam Bailey singing. The gym was way too warm and although it said that there was an instructor available no body was ever around to help or explain the equipment. Jacuzzi facilities were way too small for a ship of this size as were the swimming pools. The lifts were a lottery with people waiting an age some times to go up and down. Luckily I'm fit enough to take the stairs, which 9 times out of 10, was quicker. Embarkation and disembarkation were fine, though I didn't understand why,as we were at the front of the ship on floor 11, we were told to disembark at the back of the ship on floor 5. My 18 year old son enjoyed the late night disco but if this wasn't your scene and you wanted a quiet drink after midnight then you were out of luck as everything shut down. This won't put me off cruising it will just put me off ever using P and O again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
Just returned from 2 week cruise on Britannia. The holiday was not cheap but it felt like a cheap one. There seemed to be a cover charge for everything. The Buffet restaurant was like going into a cafe food very poor selection cold and ... Read More
Just returned from 2 week cruise on Britannia. The holiday was not cheap but it felt like a cheap one. There seemed to be a cover charge for everything. The Buffet restaurant was like going into a cafe food very poor selection cold and sometimes still frozen and quality very poor. The juice machines turned off at lunch and dinner so had to pay for drinks. And the buffet Waiters informed me they are on some kind of bonus on selling drinks so very attentive or in some cases Pushy. Staff in meridian restaurant seemed to have no interest and on one occasion I was offered Stilton out of a tub of what looked like a mixed up blobs of blue marbles the cheese selection was very basic. Having only done one other cruise before which was last year on the Royal Caribbean I would not do P and O cruise again as it was a pale reflection no glamour or luxury, rooms and balconies smaller, entertainment poor and had to pay extra to see anybody worthwhile we saw Darren Day for free last year but if we wanted to see him on Britannia we would have had to pay. If this is the flag ship don't want to think of what the rest of the fleet would be like. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
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 3.1
Service 5.0 3.9
Value For Money 5.0 3.4
Rates 5.0 N/A

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