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As a young(ish) couple of 26 & 33; we are trying cruising as an alternative to having to fly to destinations abroad (due to me being sadly scared of flying). We chose to go on the Britanna for a 7 nights Fjord trip, from Southampton, as we went on a cruise a years ago with Celebrity from Southampton and loved the fact that we can park up the car and get on the ship straight away! Embarkation was efficient; we were held for parking for only about 20 minutes, after which point we were on the ship within 30 minutes (my mum is a P&O fan and said that we experienced what sounded like a very efficient and quick embarkation for P&O). The first thing we saw when we got on the ship was the lovely atrium area with its impressive centre feature. I know this has not been the most popular use of the centre of the ship, but as a seating area to have a drink, it seemed nice (however as the cruise went on, the cigarette smoke from on deck did ruin the ambiance somewhat, if you are sensitive to the smell of smoke). The cabin was nice and modern, not as small as we were expecting, having been on Celebrity Equinox & Eclipse and having read some negative reviews of Britannia's cabins. The bathroom was plesant and the shower size as of a good standard (not having a shower curtain was definately nice!). The only issue I had was that the shower smelt of damp, sitting water quite badly. I even resorted to clearing out the plug hole and wiping with a hygiene wipe, but alas I think it was in the plumbing and not something that I or the cabin attendant could probably have resolved. The water pressure was not brilliant either, but adequate for a wash! The hanging space and cupboard for clothes, with safe in; was very roomy and it was a well designed area so you could put your suitcases nicely tucked away. The bed is very generous and comfortable, the coffee making facilities a plus. The balcony was again, bigger than we were expecting based on some reviews, the furniture was perhaps a tad clunky for the space. I did notice that the handrails on the balconies were very weathered looking for a 1 year old ship (compared to Celebrity ships). We booked a last minute deal with Thomas Cook, and we were very lucky to have cabin upgrades to be located low down, centre back of the ship. It was a nice steady, quiet location (especially for me who is a bit sensitive to wave movement!). We found out that we were having 8.30pm dining, which was too late for our preference I went down to the restaurant the first night and was put on the waiting list for freedom dining or earlier dining (sadly we never heard back about this). We ended up having the buffet or Sindhu most nights, but as we had a last minute deal - we knew we were never going to get priority seating etc. So it didn't bother us. Surprisingly the quality of the buffet was actually very decent and better quality, in our opinion, compared to Celebrity's. The choice was nowhere near as good as Celebrity, but again we always had enough choice to be satisfied. My partner is of Bengali origin, and there was always a back up curry option, that was always tasty! There were lots of English options like Shepherd's Pie or Roasts, we would have liked a few pasta/pizza dishes, but again that was just our preference. The first Formal night we decided to try Sindhu; we thoroughly enjoyed the food here. The surcharge is definitely worth it. We felt like we were in a Michelin starred restaurant! Beautifully cooked seafood, little extras like sorbet to clear the palette for dessert/appetisers to try before starters. Definately go hungry! The service was perfect too. We enjoyed it so much we went a second time for the 2nd formal night! The entertainment was good, but not quite as excellent as Celebrity. The Britannia cast shows were good, with a Britain through the decades theme and a musicals night. An issue I have read before is about the location for the comedian being too small and this was definately the case, we weren't able to see the comedian on either night. The shops onboard were a nice selection, having a Pandora jewellery store was very dangerous for the bank balance (especially as there was not VAT, so there's a 20% discount!) the washing tablets to use in the very handy washing machines were only 60p for 2, which was a nice surprise. In regards to the outside space... The lack of whirlpools & pools was evident, however for the Fjords, this was not a problem. The outdoor Serenity pool area was nice, often I had the pool to myself. Both the showers there were broken, which again was a bit surprising for the age of the ship. We had beautiful weather in the Fjords, we were in t-shirts most of the time, and only a tiny bit of rain in Stavanger. The Flam railway was beautiful. The waterfall was still frozen over, but still lovely and atmospheric. I know some people complain about this, but that is unfair and doesn't detract from the beauty here. We were sunbathing in the afternoon in the Fjords in April! We couldn't have asked for nicer weather! We only had to pay for the Flaam railway excursion, all other ports we could walk from the port and wonder round, discovering the Oil Museum in Stavanger (very modern and interesting!), going on the phonicular railway to the beautiful lake and views at Bergen was nice. Climbing the many steps in Alesund was lovely for the views. It's a lovely itinerary where you don't have to pay much extra for excursions if you don't want. It was lovely exploring the Fjord towns, they are lovely and clean and very much more multicultural than we were expecting. It is of course expensive (we paid £15 for a McDonalds meal for 2), but there's so much food to eat onboard, that this is not an issue. Overall, we enjoyed our cruise on Britannia. Perhaps the lovely weather gave us a rose tinted view of the ship itself. The lifts were a bit of an issue if you had mobility problems, and the layout took a little while to calculate, but it is a big ship and that wasn't an issue for us. Being totally honest, we did find the negativity of some of the cruise goers off putting. There were complaints about silly little things, that weren't warranted. However, we are quite insular and so didn't let it be a problem for us. It did seem that some cruise goers didn't treat some of the buffet staff, for example, very nicely. Sometimes the waiters did seem quite serious and not relaxed, which is all very different to onboard Celebrity ships. I felt sorry for them, as it might have been from too many complaining holiday goers! Disembarkation was delayed a little, but we didn't mind waiting around for a while (obviously some were sitting there complaining). These are things that are out of P&Os control and so we felt were unfair to comment negatively on. We would go with P&O again, but perhaps with Ventura or Arcadia, which I believe have covered pools and are slightly smaller ships. We got such a good deal with this cruise, that Britannia was still a lovely accommodation for a beautiful, scenic cruise. We are thinking of trying Royal Caribbean next, to hopefully get that balance of more onboard activities and perhaps a less negative crowd, along with the more plesant American style friendliness/relaxedness of staff.

Britannia Fjords April cruise; beautiful weather & itinerary, nice ship.

Britannia Cruise Review by WendyemmaA

5 people found this helpful
Trip Details
As a young(ish) couple of 26 & 33; we are trying cruising as an alternative to having to fly to destinations abroad (due to me being sadly scared of flying). We chose to go on the Britanna for a 7 nights Fjord trip, from Southampton, as we went on a cruise a years ago with Celebrity from Southampton and loved the fact that we can park up the car and get on the ship straight away!

Embarkation was efficient; we were held for parking for only about 20 minutes, after which point we were on the ship within 30 minutes (my mum is a P&O fan and said that we experienced what sounded like a very efficient and quick embarkation for P&O).

The first thing we saw when we got on the ship was the lovely atrium area with its impressive centre feature. I know this has not been the most popular use of the centre of the ship, but as a seating area to have a drink, it seemed nice (however as the cruise went on, the cigarette smoke from on deck did ruin the ambiance somewhat, if you are sensitive to the smell of smoke).

The cabin was nice and modern, not as small as we were expecting, having been on Celebrity Equinox & Eclipse and having read some negative reviews of Britannia's cabins. The bathroom was plesant and the shower size as of a good standard (not having a shower curtain was definately nice!). The only issue I had was that the shower smelt of damp, sitting water quite badly. I even resorted to clearing out the plug hole and wiping with a hygiene wipe, but alas I think it was in the plumbing and not something that I or the cabin attendant could probably have resolved. The water pressure was not brilliant either, but adequate for a wash!

The hanging space and cupboard for clothes, with safe in; was very roomy and it was a well designed area so you could put your suitcases nicely tucked away. The bed is very generous and comfortable, the coffee making facilities a plus. The balcony was again, bigger than we were expecting based on some reviews, the furniture was perhaps a tad clunky for the space. I did notice that the handrails on the balconies were very weathered looking for a 1 year old ship (compared to Celebrity ships).

We booked a last minute deal with Thomas Cook, and we were very lucky to have cabin upgrades to be located low down, centre back of the ship. It was a nice steady, quiet location (especially for me who is a bit sensitive to wave movement!).

We found out that we were having 8.30pm dining, which was too late for our preference I went down to the restaurant the first night and was put on the waiting list for freedom dining or earlier dining (sadly we never heard back about this). We ended up having the buffet or Sindhu most nights, but as we had a last minute deal - we knew we were never going to get priority seating etc. So it didn't bother us.

Surprisingly the quality of the buffet was actually very decent and better quality, in our opinion, compared to Celebrity's. The choice was nowhere near as good as Celebrity, but again we always had enough choice to be satisfied. My partner is of Bengali origin, and there was always a back up curry option, that was always tasty! There were lots of English options like Shepherd's Pie or Roasts, we would have liked a few pasta/pizza dishes, but again that was just our preference.

The first Formal night we decided to try Sindhu; we thoroughly enjoyed the food here. The surcharge is definitely worth it. We felt like we were in a Michelin starred restaurant! Beautifully cooked seafood, little extras like sorbet to clear the palette for dessert/appetisers to try before starters. Definately go hungry! The service was perfect too. We enjoyed it so much we went a second time for the 2nd formal night!

The entertainment was good, but not quite as excellent as Celebrity. The Britannia cast shows were good, with a Britain through the decades theme and a musicals night.

An issue I have read before is about the location for the comedian being too small and this was definately the case, we weren't able to see the comedian on either night.

The shops onboard were a nice selection, having a Pandora jewellery store was very dangerous for the bank balance (especially as there was not VAT, so there's a 20% discount!) the washing tablets to use in the very handy washing machines were only 60p for 2, which was a nice surprise.

In regards to the outside space... The lack of whirlpools & pools was evident, however for the Fjords, this was not a problem. The outdoor Serenity pool area was nice, often I had the pool to myself. Both the showers there were broken, which again was a bit surprising for the age of the ship.

We had beautiful weather in the Fjords, we were in t-shirts most of the time, and only a tiny bit of rain in Stavanger. The Flam railway was beautiful. The waterfall was still frozen over, but still lovely and atmospheric. I know some people complain about this, but that is unfair and doesn't detract from the beauty here. We were sunbathing in the afternoon in the Fjords in April! We couldn't have asked for nicer weather!

We only had to pay for the Flaam railway excursion, all other ports we could walk from the port and wonder round, discovering the Oil Museum in Stavanger (very modern and interesting!), going on the phonicular railway to the beautiful lake and views at Bergen was nice. Climbing the many steps in Alesund was lovely for the views. It's a lovely itinerary where you don't have to pay much extra for excursions if you don't want.

It was lovely exploring the Fjord towns, they are lovely and clean and very much more multicultural than we were expecting. It is of course expensive (we paid £15 for a McDonalds meal for 2), but there's so much food to eat onboard, that this is not an issue.

Overall, we enjoyed our cruise on Britannia. Perhaps the lovely weather gave us a rose tinted view of the ship itself. The lifts were a bit of an issue if you had mobility problems, and the layout took a little while to calculate, but it is a big ship and that wasn't an issue for us.

Being totally honest, we did find the negativity of some of the cruise goers off putting. There were complaints about silly little things, that weren't warranted. However, we are quite insular and so didn't let it be a problem for us. It did seem that some cruise goers didn't treat some of the buffet staff, for example, very nicely. Sometimes the waiters did seem quite serious and not relaxed, which is all very different to onboard Celebrity ships. I felt sorry for them, as it might have been from too many complaining holiday goers!

Disembarkation was delayed a little, but we didn't mind waiting around for a while (obviously some were sitting there complaining). These are things that are out of P&Os control and so we felt were unfair to comment negatively on.

We would go with P&O again, but perhaps with Ventura or Arcadia, which I believe have covered pools and are slightly smaller ships. We got such a good deal with this cruise, that Britannia was still a lovely accommodation for a beautiful, scenic cruise.

We are thinking of trying Royal Caribbean next, to hopefully get that balance of more onboard activities and perhaps a less negative crowd, along with the more plesant American style friendliness/relaxedness of staff.
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