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Like many of the reviewers on this site I was concerned by the number of negative reviews written about Britannia. Given the ship is only 6 months old there are always likely to be some issues arising and some modifications and adjustments required to her. However, this cruise came close to being an almost perfect cruise for us and almost earned 5 stars. The ship and its crew/company are very capable of achieving 5 stars in the future. Firstly, and before going any further, I must make comment on the number of obvious long time P&O cruisers who continually tried to criticise and find fault with Britannia, often comparing her negatively to one of the older boats in the fleet, and being quite vocal in this! This is not any other ship, this is Britannia, and as far as I can see some effort has been made to depart slightly from the traditional P&O format. For us this can only be a good thing and is part of life's natural progression. Lets start with embarkation and disembarkation. This is one of those areas which does require some change. To be hearded into the cruise terminal at 12.15pm to find hoards of other passengers also sitting around awaiting information and boarding is not a good start to ones holiday. Our experiences of other cruise terminals and companies shows that there is a much easier way of boarding passengers. Also, allocating boarding times is not, in our opinion, a suitable way of achieving this. Allow people to arrive and then allocate boarding cards seems a simpler way of doing things! Disembarkation was quite chaotic, the chief reason being lack of communication within the disembarkation lounge (theatre). We still had a long queue to get off. Luggage collection was as in other cruise terminals. Once on board ship we made our way to our cabin where our luggage was waiting and we met our room attendant - Manfred - for the first time. We were unpacked and out on deck by 3.15pm. Excellent corner cabin at the very front of the ship directly over the ships Bridge. The balcony was huge, but not generally very accessible on sea days. You could feel some sea movement but certainly not enough from preventing you from enjoying the cabin. Both slept like logs! Room steward - Manfred - was excellent. A very pleasant chap who kept the cabin as it should be. Lots of storage spaces, and the bathroom was not as small as we'd been led to believe from some reviews on this site. Our dining experiences were, on the whole, very good, and sometimes excellent. The main Peninsular dining room provided a very good standard of food, with the odd disappointing dish. Some of the service was a little slow, and a very small minority of the service staff a little "miserable". On some occasions the wine waiter was very slow, but he did appear to be dealing with a lot of tables - not necessarily his fault but needs looking into. The Horizon buffet restaurant was always busy, although we never failed to find a seat, and we never queued long to obtain food. The food was of a good standard. Midnight buffet was good! Grab and Go is an excellent idea, along with the burger bar and pizzaria. We ate in 3 of the speciality venues - Epicurian/Sindhu/Limelight Club (twice) - where we ate excellent food and enjoyed fantastic service. The Limelight Club is an excellent concept and well worth the additional expense. Our sort of place! We saw Kiki Dee and the excellent Madaleine Bell. There were plenty of pubs and bars around the ship. The hub of the ship appears to be Brodies Bar and was obviously a place where lots of people liked to drink. One of the highlights of the cruise was having such a good range of real ales available in Brodies, as we both enjoy a good pint of ale! The downside was that we often got the feeling it was "death by pub quiz"!! We enjoy the odd quiz but there is a limit. We used the Live Lounge on a few occasions, but sadly (and unlike many others) we didn't particularly enjoy the live band - sorry fella's! We did see an excellent late night comedian - Tucker. Not laughed so much in ages. The Crows Nest was another nice venue and the Gin Menu was very good. Often popped in for a late night tipple. The piano player was superb. Service in all bars was very good. Entertainment in the theatre varied from OK to excellent. Must make mention of the excellent Badness, Leanne Mitchell and Jimmy James (legend). Shows given by the ships company were OK. We never failed to get into the theatre, and usually seats of our choosing. We just went into the theatre about 20 minutes before the start, and enjoyed a pre-performance drink. We were lucky enough to have some beautiful weather whilst on the boat and we never failed to find a sun-bed in a good sunny position. There is plenty of space for everyone. We pre-booked on 4 ship organised tours: 1) Aerial Ropeway and toboggan ride in Madeira - excellent. 2) Mountain of Fire in Lanzarote - excellent. 3) Obidos in Lisbon - beautiful and small place. Good. 4) Santiago de Compostella in Vigo - OK, but only got 10 minutes in the church due to slight mis-timings of the guide! Now for those infamous lifts. I have to admit that we never really experienced a problem with these, possibly because we chiefly used the front lifts most of the time due to cabin location. The centre lifts also appeared to work fine for us. One suggestion would be to have a dedicated lift for wheelchair users. Also the centre area would benefit from stairs, but once we got to know the ship it wasn't an issue. Having thought we would miss not having a lower deck space to walk around, I have to say we didn't miss it at all!! All in all we really enjoyed our cruise, especially visiting areas of the world we have never managed to venture to (Azores and Canary Islands). When and if you find yourself on Britannia please do so with an open mind and look for all the positives. There are many.

Britannia: A Ship Full of Promise and Potential

Britannia Cruise Review by petereaves

Trip Details
Like many of the reviewers on this site I was concerned by the number of negative reviews written about Britannia. Given the ship is only 6 months old there are always likely to be some issues arising and some modifications and adjustments required to her. However, this cruise came close to being an almost perfect cruise for us and almost earned 5 stars. The ship and its crew/company are very capable of achieving 5 stars in the future. Firstly, and before going any further, I must make comment on the number of obvious long time P&O cruisers who continually tried to criticise and find fault with Britannia, often comparing her negatively to one of the older boats in the fleet, and being quite vocal in this! This is not any other ship, this is Britannia, and as far as I can see some effort has been made to depart slightly from the traditional P&O format. For us this can only be a good thing and is part of life's natural progression.

Lets start with embarkation and disembarkation. This is one of those areas which does require some change. To be hearded into the cruise terminal at 12.15pm to find hoards of other passengers also sitting around awaiting information and boarding is not a good start to ones holiday. Our experiences of other cruise terminals and companies shows that there is a much easier way of boarding passengers. Also, allocating boarding times is not, in our opinion, a suitable way of achieving this. Allow people to arrive and then allocate boarding cards seems a simpler way of doing things! Disembarkation was quite chaotic, the chief reason being lack of communication within the disembarkation lounge (theatre). We still had a long queue to get off. Luggage collection was as in other cruise terminals.

Once on board ship we made our way to our cabin where our luggage was waiting and we met our room attendant - Manfred - for the first time. We were unpacked and out on deck by 3.15pm. Excellent corner cabin at the very front of the ship directly over the ships Bridge. The balcony was huge, but not generally very accessible on sea days. You could feel some sea movement but certainly not enough from preventing you from enjoying the cabin. Both slept like logs! Room steward - Manfred - was excellent. A very pleasant chap who kept the cabin as it should be. Lots of storage spaces, and the bathroom was not as small as we'd been led to believe from some reviews on this site.

Our dining experiences were, on the whole, very good, and sometimes excellent. The main Peninsular dining room provided a very good standard of food, with the odd disappointing dish. Some of the service was a little slow, and a very small minority of the service staff a little "miserable". On some occasions the wine waiter was very slow, but he did appear to be dealing with a lot of tables - not necessarily his fault but needs looking into. The Horizon buffet restaurant was always busy, although we never failed to find a seat, and we never queued long to obtain food. The food was of a good standard. Midnight buffet was good! Grab and Go is an excellent idea, along with the burger bar and pizzaria.

We ate in 3 of the speciality venues - Epicurian/Sindhu/Limelight Club (twice) - where we ate excellent food and enjoyed fantastic service. The Limelight Club is an excellent concept and well worth the additional expense. Our sort of place! We saw Kiki Dee and the excellent Madaleine Bell.

There were plenty of pubs and bars around the ship. The hub of the ship appears to be Brodies Bar and was obviously a place where lots of people liked to drink. One of the highlights of the cruise was having such a good range of real ales available in Brodies, as we both enjoy a good pint of ale! The downside was that we often got the feeling it was "death by pub quiz"!! We enjoy the odd quiz but there is a limit. We used the Live Lounge on a few occasions, but sadly (and unlike many others) we didn't particularly enjoy the live band - sorry fella's! We did see an excellent late night comedian - Tucker. Not laughed so much in ages. The Crows Nest was another nice venue and the Gin Menu was very good. Often popped in for a late night tipple. The piano player was superb. Service in all bars was very good.

Entertainment in the theatre varied from OK to excellent. Must make mention of the excellent Badness, Leanne Mitchell and Jimmy James (legend). Shows given by the ships company were OK. We never failed to get into the theatre, and usually seats of our choosing. We just went into the theatre about 20 minutes before the start, and enjoyed a pre-performance drink.

We were lucky enough to have some beautiful weather whilst on the boat and we never failed to find a sun-bed in a good sunny position. There is plenty of space for everyone.

We pre-booked on 4 ship organised tours:

1) Aerial Ropeway and toboggan ride in Madeira - excellent.

2) Mountain of Fire in Lanzarote - excellent.

3) Obidos in Lisbon - beautiful and small place. Good.

4) Santiago de Compostella in Vigo - OK, but only got 10 minutes in the church due to slight mis-timings of the guide!

Now for those infamous lifts. I have to admit that we never really experienced a problem with these, possibly because we chiefly used the front lifts most of the time due to cabin location. The centre lifts also appeared to work fine for us. One suggestion would be to have a dedicated lift for wheelchair users. Also the centre area would benefit from stairs, but once we got to know the ship it wasn't an issue.

Having thought we would miss not having a lower deck space to walk around, I have to say we didn't miss it at all!!

All in all we really enjoyed our cruise, especially visiting areas of the world we have never managed to venture to (Azores and Canary Islands). When and if you find yourself on Britannia please do so with an open mind and look for all the positives. There are many.
petereaves’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
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Cabin Review

Cabin A108
Excellent corner cabin at the very front of the ship directly over the ships Bridge. The balcony was huge, but not generally very accessible on sea days. You could feel some sea movement but certainly not enough from preventing you from enjoying the cabin. Both slept like logs!
Room steward - Manfred - was excellent. A very pleasant chap who kept the cabin as it should be. Lots of storage spaces, and the bathroom was not as small as we'd been led to believe from some reviews on this site.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Santiago de Compostela
    This was slightly disappointing due to the fact that we only got 10 minutes in the cathedral - main reason for going! The guide seemed to have got his timings wrong. Refreshments in the old Parador gave us a chance to see a beautiful old and famous Spanish building. Will come again on our own if possible.
    View All 27 Santiago de Compostela Reviews