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Britannia Cruise Review
5.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
961 Reviews

This is what happens when bean counters take over.

Britannia Cruise Review by Bruce Caton

46 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Jun 2016
  • Destination: Canary Islands

First the good:

Dinner in the evening was always excellent, never had a bad meal.

The buffet restaurant always had seating where on other cruises we have struggled to get a seat at breakfast and lunch.

The Steward for our cabin (D728) Savio was brilliant, was always on hand and ready to help.

The shows laid on by the headliners team were brilliant and the guest acts were always good.

..... That's it!

The Bad:

Starting at the beginning..

Getting on board was a nightmare, turned up at the correct time and had a 3 hour wait to get on board.

Travelling with 2 other couples and asked us to be inked (and promised we were) 2 couples at the very back and the others at the very front. When questioned the couple at the front were told they have been upgraded, when we compared it was obvious they had been downgraded. When we complained at reception we were told it was all down to the onshore people and nothing they could do. Reception staff in general were really not interested and couldn't be bothered to lift a finger.

The rooms were disappointingly small but we expected this reading previous complaints. I very much doubt if 2 ladies sharing could get ready for a formal night at the same time.

You were very lucky if you could get to see 2 shows a night as you usually have to get to either the Headliners theatre or and especially the Live Lounge a good 45 minutes to an hour early to make sure you get a seat. The theatre reports to hold around 900-950 people but looked a lot less to us, I estimated around 800. Even with 3 shows a night there are still not enough seats to let all passengers see the show. The resident band Pulse supplied the majority of the entertainment in the live lounge and were quite honestly terrible, they seem to think that playing everything full blast is the way to go. We were forced to watch them on several occasions while we waited for the good invited acts, if we walked out in disgust as we wanted we would have lost out seats and, at best, would have had to stand for the good acts.

There was an outbreak of Norovirus while we were on board and we accept extreme measures have to be taken but we were treated as complete lepers to the point of being shouted at if we picked up something in the shops; forced to wash our hands at the buffet restaurant (even though the soap dispensers didn't work) even if we are just walking through so get to the sun deck and told not to swap papers in the quizzes as if we were all diseased.

The Limelight Club had several guest speakers/entertainers on during the cruise which we would like to have seen including Dean Andrews (actor), Darren Day and a Morcombe & Wise tribute but you have to pay a £22 surcharge on the meal in the club if you want to see them. This is the first time I have ever seen this on any cruise, having to pay to see certain entertainment!!

There were a couple of very good entertainment crew, little Scotty and the one that ran the dukebox quiz (forgotten his name) were the best but most were terrible. They rushed through quizzes like they wanted them finished as soon as possible and they really couldn't be bothered.

In the bars there seems to be a new idea that each of the bar staff have a quota of drinks to be brought via them every day. That would be the only explanation as to why we get constantly got hassled as soon as our drinks got half drunk. On the last night we timed it and in the space of 24 minutes after my pint was half gone we got asked 8 times whether we would like more drinks, some people has hardly touched theirs. During the football (Euro 2016) England games it almost came to blows as they constantly stood in front of the TVs asking if people wanted more drinks and on the odd occasion they got an acceptance they would stand there taking orders and again giving drinks. Saying that the bar staff were generally nice and seemed to be under a lot of pressure by P&O to sell more drinks.

The decks and especially the sun loungers at the back are very dirty from soot from the funnels.

Something new to watch out for is that now it is mostly freedom dining. We thought this was going to be a problem for us as we usually like to get to know our own waiters but as it turned out the 6 of us managed to get the same table most nights and when there was something special to see we could get in early and finish sooner to ensure we could get a seat at one of the venues.

The bottom line is that this is what happens when bean counters start running a cruise company. They cram as many people as possible into a ship (seems ridiculous to say it was too small but it was for the 3,500 passengers crammed into it) and to do that they have cut back on in many areas and have started charging for everything they can (including Yoga/Pilates in the morning). There is a Sindhu restaurant that looks bigger than the Live Lounge but because it makes money for them they give that the most space. Although I would always recommend P&O for cruises I ask everyone not to go on the Britannia. If we start making this popular this is what all future cruise ships will be like, the Ventura, Oriana, Arcadia and even little Adonia are 10 times better than the Britannia, use them and boycott this P&O cash cow,

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