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OVERVIEW. As a maiden cruise, this was a non-event. Extremely disappointing. Nothing special at any port of call. The ship has a number of basic design flaws such as no staircase midships above deck 7, no boat deck, Live Lounge much too small for size of ship. Crows Nest very nice but not big enough, always over-full. Beautiful theatre but hopeless for wheelchair-bound passengers.Lifts too small, continual congestion. We have a severely disabled, wheelchair-bound son and have taken him on many cruise ships including Ventura and Oceana. We would NOT take him on Britannia. The much vaunted atrium left us cold, no 'WOW' factor, reminded us of the Trafford Centre shopping mall. Much prefer a traditional atrium. At no time did we feel that the ship was on a "Maiden Cruise' or was it??? Our cruise number was B502, B501 ( the first cruise) was a shake down cruise but could be argued as the maiden cruise. There was no 'Maiden Cruise' merchandise or memorabilia for purchase on the ship ( we all got a free tea a cup and saucer marked maiden cruise), the only goods for sale were marked 'Maiden Season', perhaps all the merchandise that might have existed was bought by passengers on B501!! Stability of the ship was excellent, at no stage did we ever feel as though we were on a ship. Weather was very unkind to us, but that's what you get in the Med in March. DINING We were allocated to Club dining in the Oriental Restaurant as was our choice. Unfortunately 2 of the 3 restaurants on the ship were allocated to Freedom Dining. A decision that angered hundreds of passengers who wanted Club Dining and could not get it, poor decision by P&O, should have been 2 Club dining and 1 Freedom Dining .I suspect, however, that within a couple of years P&O will change all restaurants on all ships to Freedom Dining, in spite of passenger preferences.We used to cruise with NCL until they introduced Freestyle Dining, we have not been on any of their ships since, we do not like it. if P&O change to total Freedom Dining, we would not sail with them again. Oriental dining room was excellent, food mostly good, waiters superb. Epicurean Restaurant was OK, but not worth £28 extra per person. Limelight club was great, good meal and good service. Kiki Dee was excellent except for her manic guitar player who often totally overpowered her. Sindhu was good, great service in lovely surroundings.Best place on the ship. Glass House is a particular favourite of ours and we used in on many occasions. Unfortunately its position on Britannia is not good as it is a walkway through the atrium.On our last day at sea we went for lunch in the Glass House at 2pm to be advised that the waiting time for food was approximately and hour and a half!! Totally ridiculous. Unfortunaley we had to go to the Horizon Buffet. The Horizon Buffet is laid out differently to other P&O ships and works well except for wheelchair-bound passengers who have little room to move between tables. For a few days there were teething problems with fruit juice and water dispensers, but it was quickly overcome. Breakfast was OK, the usual mad scramble, but we always found somewhere to sit.One complaint was that there was no low fat milk available at the tea making stations, only a large urn full of whole milk. Despite visits to reception to complain and conversations with Horizon restaurant managers, we never managed to get them to give us an option of low fat milk at the tea making stations. Food at lunch was very poor, cold selection was abysmal, same stuff every day, hot selection was poor and mostly over-cooked.We usually ate at the Glass House despite having to pay extra. On a number of days there were no name tags on the hot food, you had to guess.I had a word with a Head Waiter, she advised me that the machine which produces the labels was broken (for 3 days), when I suggested that as she had a pen and paper, she could write the labels by hand she gave me a look that said i must be insane and just walked away. We did not use Horizon at night or the Beach House so cannot comment. ENTERTAINMENT Apart from 4 full stage shows in the Headliners Theatre, the entertainment for us was dire.The worst we have had in 24 years of cruising. We were told by a member of the entertainment team that, as an experiment, all entertainment on Britannia was outsourced to a separate company and THEY had decided that ,on a 14 night cruise, we would have 4 stage shows and 10 cabaret acts in the Main Theatre. Even the quizzes were supplied by this company. There was no Headliners Company, the performers were titled 'Britannia Show Cast'.They were not introduced by the Entertainment Manager as is usual. The lights went down, the show started, when it ended the lights went up and out we went. The 10 cabaret acts were, in our opinion, 3rd and 4th rate has-beens/never will be's!! It was not what we expected on a P&O ship, much less maiden cruise.NO BIG NAME FOR THE ENTIRE CRUISE.Absolutely dreadful. P&O will probably argue that the theatre was full for these shows. It was, BUT ONLY BECAUSE THERE WAS NOTHING ELSE TO DO, unless you wanted to sit in a bar (and drink) or listen to karaoke (and drink) or go to the pianist in the Crows Nest (and drink) or sit in the atrium (and drink). The Live Lounge is much too small, it gets filled with passengers on early dining who stay there all night leaving no space for passengers on late dining.Most of the time in the Live Lounge there would be a 45 minute set by the resident group supplied by the outsourcing company and then 45 minutes of the ships DJ and so on ad nauseam.On two nights there was a comedian on but, as late diners, we could not get in. On 2 of our 6 sea days there was not even a decent film in the main theatre. For the first time ever on a cruise, we spent an inordinate amount of time in our cabin watching TV. We could have stayed at home and done the same in greater comfort. I suspect (again) that P&O will roll out this type of entertainment package across the entire fleet. It is not what we want and talking to others it was not what they wanted either.But P&O will give us what THEY want and not what we want, to save money. We will not sail on Britannia again, it is not for us, if P&O change the entertainment across the fleet to that offered on Britannia, we will cease cruising with P&O. On Britannia there is not enough place to go for 3600 passengers in the evening. On many occasions, we finished our dinner at about 10.20pm and walked through the ship and wondered where all 3600 passengers were. Probably in their cabins watching films as we often did. Cabin Inside cabin was ideal for our needs, our Steward, Sanjay, was superb. Beds were comfortable, plenty of hanging space (as on Ventura and Azura), cabin layout was very good.Shower room was good, even the shower cubicle with its glass door was no problem for me as a 19 sone man.We were on E deck towards the bow and were never disturbed by any noise ( except on the first night at sea when at 5am a foolish Officer of the Watch put an 'alpha' emergency call through all passenger cabins, thereby giving an early morning alarm call to 3600 passengers. Service Cabin steward was brilliant, waiters and wine waiter in Oriental were superb. Neil Oliver and his team were great as usual, given the new constraints they were under. The Great British Sailaway spoilt by a late sailing due to Cadiz security staff being very slow to get returning passengers cleared. The only letdown was the Horizon buffet, many staff were good, but many of them were sometimes surly and offhand. Conclusion. A poor cruise, did not come up to our expectations. No big name artiste, nothing special at all. We will not sail on Britannia again.

Britannia maiden cruise: A non-event

Britannia Cruise Review by jabbathe hut

Trip Details
OVERVIEW.

As a maiden cruise, this was a non-event. Extremely disappointing. Nothing special at any port of call.

The ship has a number of basic design flaws such as no staircase midships above deck 7, no boat deck, Live Lounge much too small for size of ship. Crows Nest very nice but not big enough, always over-full. Beautiful theatre but hopeless for wheelchair-bound passengers.Lifts too small, continual congestion.

We have a severely disabled, wheelchair-bound son and have taken him on many cruise ships including Ventura and Oceana. We would NOT take him on Britannia.

The much vaunted atrium left us cold, no 'WOW' factor, reminded us of the Trafford Centre shopping mall. Much prefer a traditional atrium.

At no time did we feel that the ship was on a "Maiden Cruise' or was it???

Our cruise number was B502, B501 ( the first cruise) was a shake down cruise but could be argued as the maiden cruise. There was no 'Maiden Cruise' merchandise or memorabilia for purchase on the ship ( we all got a free tea a cup and saucer marked maiden cruise), the only goods for sale were marked 'Maiden Season', perhaps all the merchandise that might have existed was bought by passengers on B501!!

Stability of the ship was excellent, at no stage did we ever feel as though we were on a ship.

Weather was very unkind to us, but that's what you get in the Med in March.

DINING

We were allocated to Club dining in the Oriental Restaurant as was our choice. Unfortunately 2 of the 3 restaurants on the ship were allocated to Freedom Dining. A decision that angered hundreds of passengers who wanted Club Dining and could not get it, poor decision by P&O, should have been 2 Club dining and 1 Freedom Dining .I suspect, however, that within a couple of years P&O will change all restaurants on all ships to Freedom Dining, in spite of passenger preferences.We used to cruise with NCL until they introduced Freestyle Dining, we have not been on any of their ships since, we do not like it. if P&O change to total Freedom Dining, we would not sail with them again.

Oriental dining room was excellent, food mostly good, waiters superb.

Epicurean Restaurant was OK, but not worth £28 extra per person.

Limelight club was great, good meal and good service. Kiki Dee was excellent except for her manic guitar player who often totally overpowered her.

Sindhu was good, great service in lovely surroundings.Best place on the ship.

Glass House is a particular favourite of ours and we used in on many occasions. Unfortunately its position on Britannia is not good as it is a walkway through the atrium.On our last day at sea we went for lunch in the Glass House at 2pm to be advised that the waiting time for food was approximately and hour and a half!! Totally ridiculous. Unfortunaley we had to go to the Horizon Buffet.

The Horizon Buffet is laid out differently to other P&O ships and works well except for wheelchair-bound passengers who have little room to move between tables.

For a few days there were teething problems with fruit juice and water dispensers, but it was quickly overcome.

Breakfast was OK, the usual mad scramble, but we always found somewhere to sit.One complaint was that there was no low fat milk available at the tea making stations, only a large urn full of whole milk. Despite visits to reception to complain and conversations with Horizon restaurant managers, we never managed to get them to give us an option of low fat milk at the tea making stations.

Food at lunch was very poor, cold selection was abysmal, same stuff every day, hot selection was poor and mostly over-cooked.We usually ate at the Glass House despite having to pay extra.

On a number of days there were no name tags on the hot food, you had to guess.I had a word with a Head Waiter, she advised me that the machine which produces the labels was broken (for 3 days), when I suggested that as she had a pen and paper, she could write the labels by hand she gave me a look that said i must be insane and just walked away.

We did not use Horizon at night or the Beach House so cannot comment.

ENTERTAINMENT

Apart from 4 full stage shows in the Headliners Theatre, the entertainment for us was dire.The worst we have had in 24 years of cruising.

We were told by a member of the entertainment team that, as an experiment, all entertainment on Britannia was outsourced to a separate company and THEY had decided that ,on a 14 night cruise, we would have 4 stage shows and 10 cabaret acts in the Main Theatre. Even the quizzes were supplied by this company.

There was no Headliners Company, the performers were titled 'Britannia Show Cast'.They were not introduced by the Entertainment Manager as is usual. The lights went down, the show started, when it ended the lights went up and out we went.

The 10 cabaret acts were, in our opinion, 3rd and 4th rate has-beens/never will be's!! It was not what we expected on a P&O ship, much less maiden cruise.NO BIG NAME FOR THE ENTIRE CRUISE.Absolutely dreadful.

P&O will probably argue that the theatre was full for these shows. It was, BUT ONLY BECAUSE THERE WAS NOTHING ELSE TO DO, unless you wanted to sit in a bar (and drink) or listen to karaoke (and drink) or go to the pianist in the Crows Nest (and drink) or sit in the atrium (and drink).

The Live Lounge is much too small, it gets filled with passengers on early dining who stay there all night leaving no space for passengers on late dining.Most of the time in the Live Lounge there would be a 45 minute set by the resident group supplied by the outsourcing company and then 45 minutes of the ships DJ and so on ad nauseam.On two nights there was a comedian on but, as late diners, we could not get in.

On 2 of our 6 sea days there was not even a decent film in the main theatre.

For the first time ever on a cruise, we spent an inordinate amount of time in our cabin watching TV. We could have stayed at home and done the same in greater comfort.

I suspect (again) that P&O will roll out this type of entertainment package across the entire fleet.

It is not what we want and talking to others it was not what they wanted either.But P&O will give us what THEY want and not what we want, to save money.

We will not sail on Britannia again, it is not for us, if P&O change the entertainment across the fleet to that offered on Britannia, we will cease cruising with P&O.

On Britannia there is not enough place to go for 3600 passengers in the evening.

On many occasions, we finished our dinner at about 10.20pm and walked through the ship and wondered where all 3600 passengers were. Probably in their cabins watching films as we often did.

Cabin

Inside cabin was ideal for our needs, our Steward, Sanjay, was superb. Beds were comfortable, plenty of hanging space (as on Ventura and Azura), cabin layout was very good.Shower room was good, even the shower cubicle with its glass door was no problem for me as a 19 sone man.We were on E deck towards the bow and were never disturbed by any noise ( except on the first night at sea when at 5am a foolish Officer of the Watch put an 'alpha' emergency call through all passenger cabins, thereby giving an early morning alarm call to 3600 passengers.

Service

Cabin steward was brilliant, waiters and wine waiter in Oriental were superb. Neil Oliver and his team were great as usual, given the new constraints they were under.

The Great British Sailaway spoilt by a late sailing due to Cadiz security staff being very slow to get returning passengers cleared.

The only letdown was the Horizon buffet, many staff were good, but many of them were sometimes surly and offhand.

Conclusion.

A poor cruise, did not come up to our expectations. No big name artiste, nothing special at all.

We will not sail on Britannia again.
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Cabin Review

Cabin E135
Inside cabin excellent (see above)