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We chose this cruise primarily for the itinerary but also because we had enjoyed our previous cruise with P&O onboard Ventura. We were a little put off by the low satisfaction rating on cruise Critic however were willing to take the chance based on our positive experience with Ventura. Unfortunately we found that many of the complaints we had read about Britannia turned out to be quite justified. The main drawback of this ship is the layout which does not appear to have been thought through very well. Several times we found ourselves coming to a dead end when climbing up or down staircases as certain decks of the ship are only accessible from certain staircases. Likewise on deck 16, the main swimming pool deck, it is impossible to get from one end to the other without passing through the Horizon Buffet Restaurant, causing inconvenience and congestion for diners and those passing through alike. While on the subject of Horizon I would have to say that this was probably the most disappointing element of the ship. At times it seemed totally unable to cope with the number of passengers trying to use it, not helped by the fact that on very few occasions were all serveries actually open at the same time. On top of that the menu choice was not particularly extensive, though the food itself was generally of good quality. We were allocated the Peninsular restaurant on Freedom dining and would have to say the experience was no more than average. Although we only had to wait for a table on 1 occasion the design of the dining room is such that our table for two was often hidden away behind a wall so that, for example, when the parade of chefs was held, we were unable to see any of what was going on. Service in Peninsular was efficient if impersonal and at times rushed. The waiters seemed under quite a bit of pressure to get passengers in and out as quickly as possible to make way for the next lot. The food itself was good rather than great and again the menu was fairly restricted, lacking the popular choice options that featured on Ventura. This was a problem for my wife who is quite a picky eater as their was rarely a chicken option on the menu and she rarely eats anything else. We pre-booked a table in the Limelight Club which seemed a good option for a combined dining and entertainment experience. Unfortunately on boarding we were given the menu for our evening which turned out to be even more restricted than that in the MDR. It featured only 3 main course - 1 fish, 1 meat and 1 vegetarian - and needless to say none of them chicken. It also stated to contact the Limelight room if you had any special dietary requirements so we did and asked if it would be possible to have a chicken dish - any chicken dish- for my wife. The answer was a flat no. We then asked if we could change our booking to a night when there was a chicken dish on the menu but were told that they did not serve chicken in the Limelight Club. Through reception we took this up with the restaurant manager as I found it impossible to believe that on a ship this size, which boasts 193 chefs, they could not manage to prepare one piece of chicken for us but she only confirmed that this was the case. She was then quite astonished when we cancelled our booking, apparently of the opinion that it was quite normal to spend an extra £22 on a meal you could not eat. We went to the theatre every night and were quite disappointed by the variety (or lack of) of entertainment available. On four nights out of seven the ships company provided the show and while they were very talented it all got a bit samy and boring after the first couple of shows, to the extent that I slept through most of the second two. The guest acts were a mixed bag. Comedic magician Manuel Martinez was very good, the acrobatic act Lyodji were very talented however would have been more suited to a ten minute slot in a variety show than a full forty five minutes on their own. Apparently they kept getting better and better as the show progressed but again I'm afraid I was in the land of nod by the time they got to the good stuff. The final act was big name soul star Jimmy James who while a star in his day was well past his sell by date. Better entertainment was to be found in the Live Lounge where the ship's resident band 'Pulse' held court. They were excellent with a very wide repertoire - often playing three 45min sets a night and never repeating themselves - featuring many different genres. Stand outs for me were singer Verity and guitar player and band leader Mark who were both outstanding. Also in the Live Lounge on a couple of nights was guest comedian John Ryan who was also very good. We didn't take part in many of the enrichment events, partly because we spent most days ashore and partly because they didn't appeal. The one we did attend was the Spanish lessons by Bjorn from the entertainments team. Why Spanish lessons on a Norwegian cruise I don't quite know but as we're trying to pick up the language anyway it seemed worthwhile going along. Turned out Bjorn was a 6' 4" Jamaican and camp as Christmas. Turned out he was also the best Spanish instructor I have encountered in the many lessons I have attended. He had a brilliant manner and was great at breaking things down into easy to understand pieces. Undoubtedly one of the stars of the ship. As I said at the start our main reason for choosing this ship was the itinerary. Unfortunately this was changed prior to sailing meaning we missed out on the opportunity to visit a glacier which was something I was really looking forward to. However the ports we did visit were all very good and Norway is a truly beautiful country which did not disappoint. We did our own thing in Stavanger, Bergen and Alesund but booked a ship's tour in Andalsnes. This turned out to be a good choice as Andalsnes is a tiny little town and you would be hard pushed to occupy yourself there for a full day. The tour we went on was excellent though with a coach trip up into the mountains through breathtaking scenery. All in all then a great holiday but on a somewhat disappointing and fairly average ship. Our previous trip on Ventura showed that P&O can do better than this and they really need to up there game on their flagship.

Great cruise, average ship.

Britannia Cruise Review by ts636

9 people found this helpful
Trip Details
We chose this cruise primarily for the itinerary but also because we had enjoyed our previous cruise with P&O onboard Ventura. We were a little put off by the low satisfaction rating on cruise Critic however were willing to take the chance based on our positive experience with Ventura.

Unfortunately we found that many of the complaints we had read about Britannia turned out to be quite justified. The main drawback of this ship is the layout which does not appear to have been thought through very well. Several times we found ourselves coming to a dead end when climbing up or down staircases as certain decks of the ship are only accessible from certain staircases. Likewise on deck 16, the main swimming pool deck, it is impossible to get from one end to the other without passing through the Horizon Buffet Restaurant, causing inconvenience and congestion for diners and those passing through alike.

While on the subject of Horizon I would have to say that this was probably the most disappointing element of the ship. At times it seemed totally unable to cope with the number of passengers trying to use it, not helped by the fact that on very few occasions were all serveries actually open at the same time. On top of that the menu choice was not particularly extensive, though the food itself was generally of good quality.

We were allocated the Peninsular restaurant on Freedom dining and would have to say the experience was no more than average. Although we only had to wait for a table on 1 occasion the design of the dining room is such that our table for two was often hidden away behind a wall so that, for example, when the parade of chefs was held, we were unable to see any of what was going on.

Service in Peninsular was efficient if impersonal and at times rushed. The waiters seemed under quite a bit of pressure to get passengers in and out as quickly as possible to make way for the next lot. The food itself was good rather than great and again the menu was fairly restricted, lacking the popular choice options that featured on Ventura. This was a problem for my wife who is quite a picky eater as their was rarely a chicken option on the menu and she rarely eats anything else.

We pre-booked a table in the Limelight Club which seemed a good option for a combined dining and entertainment experience. Unfortunately on boarding we were given the menu for our evening which turned out to be even more restricted than that in the MDR. It featured only 3 main course - 1 fish, 1 meat and 1 vegetarian - and needless to say none of them chicken. It also stated to contact the Limelight room if you had any special dietary requirements so we did and asked if it would be possible to have a chicken dish - any chicken dish- for my wife. The answer was a flat no. We then asked if we could change our booking to a night when there was a chicken dish on the menu but were told that they did not serve chicken in the Limelight Club. Through reception we took this up with the restaurant manager as I found it impossible to believe that on a ship this size, which boasts 193 chefs, they could not manage to prepare one piece of chicken for us but she only confirmed that this was the case. She was then quite astonished when we cancelled our booking, apparently of the opinion that it was quite normal to spend an extra £22 on a meal you could not eat.

We went to the theatre every night and were quite disappointed by the variety (or lack of) of entertainment available. On four nights out of seven the ships company provided the show and while they were very talented it all got a bit samy and boring after the first couple of shows, to the extent that I slept through most of the second two. The guest acts were a mixed bag. Comedic magician Manuel Martinez was very good, the acrobatic act Lyodji were very talented however would have been more suited to a ten minute slot in a variety show than a full forty five minutes on their own. Apparently they kept getting better and better as the show progressed but again I'm afraid I was in the land of nod by the time they got to the good stuff. The final act was big name soul star Jimmy James who while a star in his day was well past his sell by date.

Better entertainment was to be found in the Live Lounge where the ship's resident band 'Pulse' held court. They were excellent with a very wide repertoire - often playing three 45min sets a night and never repeating themselves - featuring many different genres. Stand outs for me were singer Verity and guitar player and band leader Mark who were both outstanding.

Also in the Live Lounge on a couple of nights was guest comedian John Ryan who was also very good.

We didn't take part in many of the enrichment events, partly because we spent most days ashore and partly because they didn't appeal. The one we did attend was the Spanish lessons by Bjorn from the entertainments team. Why Spanish lessons on a Norwegian cruise I don't quite know but as we're trying to pick up the language anyway it seemed worthwhile going along. Turned out Bjorn was a 6' 4" Jamaican and camp as Christmas. Turned out he was also the best Spanish instructor I have encountered in the many lessons I have attended. He had a brilliant manner and was great at breaking things down into easy to understand pieces. Undoubtedly one of the stars of the ship.

As I said at the start our main reason for choosing this ship was the itinerary. Unfortunately this was changed prior to sailing meaning we missed out on the opportunity to visit a glacier which was something I was really looking forward to. However the ports we did visit were all very good and Norway is a truly beautiful country which did not disappoint. We did our own thing in Stavanger, Bergen and Alesund but booked a ship's tour in Andalsnes. This turned out to be a good choice as Andalsnes is a tiny little town and you would be hard pushed to occupy yourself there for a full day. The tour we went on was excellent though with a coach trip up into the mountains through breathtaking scenery.

All in all then a great holiday but on a somewhat disappointing and fairly average ship. Our previous trip on Ventura showed that P&O can do better than this and they really need to up there game on their flagship.
ts636’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
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Cabin Review

Cabin C701
Cabin was comfortable and kept spotlessly clean by our steward Manoj. Balcony and bathroom were both a bit on the small side.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews