After a great flight on Thomson Dreamliner we arrived into the chaos that was embarkation at Barbados. We were luckier than some as my Mum is in a wheelchair so we got fast-tracked but I felt sorry for the crowds awaiting processing.
Britannia is a 'nice' ship but a few things do need looking at. The entertainment was awful. What happened to the big names that used to put in shows in the evening? Apart from one comedian it was truly dreadful in Headliners. The P&O crew tried their best but we really didn't want to see the staff singing and dancing and had hoped to see some proper headline acts. The ex BGT ventriloquist was dire. Having recently gone on an NCL cruise the difference was really highlighted as the entertainment was excellent on NCL including a Cirque du Soleil show. A better system too of booking tickets in advance so that there is no scramble for seats at the shows. For some reason though, you cannot get a drink in Headliners. There is no bar and no waiter service which is odd.
I have never before known a P&O member of staff say 'no' previously but my Mum's request for a different starter before dinner in the Oriental was met with a firm 'no' one night. This upset her and she says she will never cruise with P&O again, certainly not on Britannia. On many occasions our wine arrived after our starter and one night my fiancé made a point of asking if we could have the wine with our meal for a change!
The other big problem was pools and sunbeds. If you put notices up saying 'don't reserve sunbeds' please adhere to your own rule. It's simple to monitor. Employ a member of staff to accompany people to the sunbed of their choice with a fresh towel. When they leave the bed, the staff member takes away the towel. If they want to come back, they take another bed. Yes it is a lot of towels but would save so much aggro. And don't get me started on the loud music round the pool. Totally too much so we sat away from the pools when we could get a bed. And they were absolutely packed in like sardines round the Serenity pool so that wasn't an option.
Things we liked were the Limelight Club, Sindhu and the range of tours on offer. The shops are far too exclusive and so we didn't shop onboard. We did use the spa and my fiancé had the foot analysis and has been out of pain ever since. Well worth the money. Also there were plenty of bars but they didn't feel too intimate. We drunk mainly outside Sindhu or in the Crows Nest where the pianist (who also doubled as a lifeguard!) was excellent.
One final comment was regarding Mum's wheelchair. Whenever we disembarked we could not take the wheelchair on the tours but we had to take her as far as possible in the chair as she cannot walk too far. However on leaving the ship the P&O staff were very unwilling to let us leave it at the disembarkation point and it very much depended on who was on duty as to whether we had to have a fight to leave it there! Sometimes we just took it with us and left it in the local tourist office who were far more accommodating. Very un P&O-like.
Having said all of this, my fiancé and I have booked to go back next year though Mum will not be returning with us so it will be interesting to see if anything has changed although we will not have the wheelchair to contend with next time. So not looking forward to the queue on embarking!
Very nice room but balcony is fully shaded. Bed is very comfortable.
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