Having heard conflicting reports about P&O, we decided the launch of the new Britannia was the best time to try a P&O Cruise and judge for ourselves.
I must say our experience on board the Britannia was practically identical to our previous reviewer, Cragglerock. P&O had one opportunity to make a good impression on us, and they blew it with a chaotic embarkation. This was our 19th cruise with 6 other cruise lines, but our first with P&O. We have never had to wait more than 30 mins to get on board and enjoy lunch in the buffet restaurant. This time we waited 2 hours, missed our lunch and finally embarked at 4.15, followed by a lifeboat drill at 5.15, not a good start.
The cabin, as well as the ship's decor in general was beautiful, but the bathroom was miniscule, the smallest we have ever seen. It was a challenge to have a shower in it, and we are slim people. The balcony too was tiny in comparison to other ships, you couldn't stretch out your legs on the deck chairs. One plus point that we really did think was excellent was the walkin wardrobe area without doors. Excellent idea.
One other bugbear where we believe they have messed up is the fact that midships there are no stairs beyond the 7th deck, so if you are on the 10th as we were, it meant waiting for the lifts every time. They took ages and when they arrived they were invariably full of disabled people in wheelchairs. We ended up having to take the lifts going up to ensure we could go down, crazy. Either that or walk forward or aft to access the other set of lifts. After a week of this we were glad we had only booked a 7 day cruise.
As to the service, we would describe this as lacklustre, the guests are clearly not King. The only one who was up to standard was our cabin steward who really stood out from the rest.
The choice and quality of food too was not up to the standard we have been used to. One morning I asked for smoked salmon with my omelette and the waiter asked twice: "where is it". What he meant was: where was it on the menu. It wasn't, you only get smoked salmon on certain days, like eggs Benedict, you only get them on Mondays, and as I had missed it, I never got them all week. Small things, nothing major to spoil the holiday, but they just haven't got it.
I think P&O must either depend on first time cruisers or else on those who have only tried P&O and have nothing else to compare with. As for us, we will stick with Celebrity, they are miles better.
Very well appointed with a walkin wardrobe, however the bathroom was very small and the shower was difficult to exit as there was no sliding door. Balcony was very small too and not enjoyable as two people can't stretch their legs out.