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Britannia’s maiden cruise to the Baltic didn’t get off to the best start, with the visit to Kristiansand being cancelled due to the weather conditions. She did, however, handle those rough and windy Baltic conditions with absolute ease. And on the plus side, the cancelled visit led to a bonus, absolutely beautiful, evening in Oslo. After a subsequent rainy morning in Oslo, the weather was ‘perfect’ from then on and the cruise itinerary more than lived up to expectations, with a mix of stunning scenery and fascinating locations. Embarkation and Disembarkation were just about acceptable; with both definitely on the slow side. Balcony cabin on Deck 12 was well equipped and presented. Yes, the balcony and bathroom are on the smaller side, but both are perfectly adequate and fully functionable. The cabin steward was excellent throughout the entire cruise. The cabin TV system could be described as good in parts. Where it does fall down is in not providing a visual representation of on-board announcements, not providing any account information, and not providing recorded video access to the port talks. Horizon buffet was used for daytime dining. The organisation and hygiene arrangements were good and seating was always available. The food generally seemed to be correctly prepared and presented. The lunchtime/afternoon buffet was somewhat let down by the range of quality food available. It perhaps could be described as “what types of food do P&O think is acceptable to give to a mainly British clientele”, rather than “where might P&O be imaginative and creative in trying to excite the palettes of a potentially discerning, mainly British clientele”. Even just a seafood bar might help ! The Peninsular Restaurant was used for evening dining under the Freedom Dining arrangement. The ambience of this restaurant is very good and it appears to be well managed. Service was always efficient and food was very nicely presented and served. The daily menus are generally inventive, although fairly limited in range. However, the quality of the food cannot really be faulted. The really impressive thing is that, with perhaps up to 1000 passengers going through this one restaurant in an evening, it is at the end of the day ‘fast food’ – but it never feels remotely like it! The generally décor of Britannia is in the boutique hotel style. This is very agreeable and works well just about everywhere … apart from the Atrium! The Atrium is a nice space, but with little wow factor. The Starburst feature is badly lit with incorrectly placed spotlights and the rest of the Atrium lighting is overly dull, leading to dark, uninviting corners. The staircases are drab, whereas they should be lit in a way which makes them also a feature. To add to the overall gloom, possibly two of the café/bars around the Atrium close in the evening, creating an uninviting environment with just no ambience. Also, perhaps a little occasional Atrium entertainment would not go amiss – there is a grand piano already there, for starters. The only effort to provide any activity around the Atrium was a somewhat tacky table top sale of various items. This needs to be in a separate room which people can then visit if they choose. In essence, an Atrium needs to try to be all things to all passengers. It needs to be welcoming and relaxing, but with a buzz, and maybe a little sense of theatre – i.e. have a wow factor !!! Furthermore, for a virtually brand new ship, the number of malfunctions should perhaps be of some concern to P&O. Examples include regular lift failures, and toilets and soap dispensers out of order. The issue of the lack of a mid-ship passenger stairway to upper decks and the related problems with lift availability is well documented elsewhere. To summarise, Britannia is a nice ship, but has the potential to be better, with room for improvement in a number of areas. P&O has a few issues to consider in terms of missed opportunities on Britannia itself, and also in some of the inconsistencies in their general approach and positioning in the market. The above should be viewed as constructive comments, and in no way detracted from my personal overall enjoyment of the cruise. In fact, a very good cruise and a great experience.

Good, but Not Quite Great Britannia!

Britannia Cruise Review by PAS3333

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Trip Details
Britannia’s maiden cruise to the Baltic didn’t get off to the best start, with the visit to Kristiansand being cancelled due to the weather conditions. She did, however, handle those rough and windy Baltic conditions with absolute ease. And on the plus side, the cancelled visit led to a bonus, absolutely beautiful, evening in Oslo. After a subsequent rainy morning in Oslo, the weather was ‘perfect’ from then on and the cruise itinerary more than lived up to expectations, with a mix of stunning scenery and fascinating locations.

Embarkation and Disembarkation were just about acceptable; with both definitely on the slow side.

Balcony cabin on Deck 12 was well equipped and presented. Yes, the balcony and bathroom are on the smaller side, but both are perfectly adequate and fully functionable. The cabin steward was excellent throughout the entire cruise. The cabin TV system could be described as good in parts. Where it does fall down is in not providing a visual representation of on-board announcements, not providing any account information, and not providing recorded video access to the port talks.

Horizon buffet was used for daytime dining. The organisation and hygiene arrangements were good and seating was always available. The food generally seemed to be correctly prepared and presented. The lunchtime/afternoon buffet was somewhat let down by the range of quality food available. It perhaps could be described as “what types of food do P&O think is acceptable to give to a mainly British clientele”, rather than “where might P&O be imaginative and creative in trying to excite the palettes of a potentially discerning, mainly British clientele”. Even just a seafood bar might help !

The Peninsular Restaurant was used for evening dining under the Freedom Dining arrangement. The ambience of this restaurant is very good and it appears to be well managed. Service was always efficient and food was very nicely presented and served. The daily menus are generally inventive, although fairly limited in range. However, the quality of the food cannot really be faulted. The really impressive thing is that, with perhaps up to 1000 passengers going through this one restaurant in an evening, it is at the end of the day ‘fast food’ – but it never feels remotely like it!

The generally décor of Britannia is in the boutique hotel style. This is very agreeable and works well just about everywhere … apart from the Atrium!

The Atrium is a nice space, but with little wow factor. The Starburst feature is badly lit with incorrectly placed spotlights and the rest of the Atrium lighting is overly dull, leading to dark, uninviting corners. The staircases are drab, whereas they should be lit in a way which makes them also a feature. To add to the overall gloom, possibly two of the café/bars around the Atrium close in the evening, creating an uninviting environment with just no ambience.

Also, perhaps a little occasional Atrium entertainment would not go amiss – there is a grand piano already there, for starters. The only effort to provide any activity around the Atrium was a somewhat tacky table top sale of various items. This needs to be in a separate room which people can then visit if they choose.

In essence, an Atrium needs to try to be all things to all passengers. It needs to be welcoming and relaxing, but with a buzz, and maybe a little sense of theatre – i.e. have a wow factor !!!

Furthermore, for a virtually brand new ship, the number of malfunctions should perhaps be of some concern to P&O. Examples include regular lift failures, and toilets and soap dispensers out of order. The issue of the lack of a mid-ship passenger stairway to upper decks and the related problems with lift availability is well documented elsewhere.

To summarise, Britannia is a nice ship, but has the potential to be better, with room for improvement in a number of areas. P&O has a few issues to consider in terms of missed opportunities on Britannia itself, and also in some of the inconsistencies in their general approach and positioning in the market.

The above should be viewed as constructive comments, and in no way detracted from my personal overall enjoyment of the cruise. In fact, a very good cruise and a great experience.
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Cabin Review

Cabin
Balcony cabin on Deck 12 was well equipped and presented. Yes, the balcony and bathroom are on the smaller side, but both are perfectly adequate and fully functionable. The cabin steward was excellent throughout the entire cruise. The cabin TV system could be described as good in parts. Where it does fall down is in not providing a visual representation of on-board announcements, not providing any account information, and not providing recorded video access to the port talks.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews