Britannia Cruise Review by Angela1
- Sail Date: June 2017
- Destination: Norwegian Fjords
I read with interest the reviews of P&O and I've always been intrigued by some of the comments by people I personally know, who have sailed with them who have enjoyed it very much. I must say, that the people who did review this ship 'on line' who were quite gushing, must have 'only' experienced P&O or don't have the vast experience of a serial cruiser which is what my hubby and I are, without sounding 'too full of it' as a lot of us cruisers tend to do ! My objective here is not to compare how many cruises I've enjoyed, but to help those who are first timers or for those thinking 'I love a certain cruise line but I wonder what it must be like to be onboard a P&O ship' - if I can help any of you out there with your decision not to pay your hard earned cash and board this ship, then this is what I hope to achieve.
The Norwegian Fjords were beautiful and due to the itinerary not being 'full on' like many can be, we thought it would be more about the relaxation and taking time out which is what this particular cruise offered. As we were celebrating our silver wedding that week, we thought it ideal, so this part of the thought process was totally justified and understandable, which lead to the actual booking of this cruise.
The booking staff and the choice of cabin which was a balcony on B deck was in a good location near the rear of the ship. The transfer there and back on the private coach from Chester was one of the highlights as the staff involved where highly experienced, full of wit and very helpful - I over head a couple saying its unfortunate that the cruise staff couldn't be the same! If you get the chance to book your private coach there and back to your port - do so, as its worth the money and is quite pleasant, even if you are on there for 5-6 hours, depending of course, on whether you are travelling to/from Southampton, as we were. This was no problem so think about it as its a huge bonus for the start of your holiday and provides peace of mind.
Now the cruise itself; all I can say is, having been used to a high level of service, a variety of food on the menu (low fat options offered in addition to the 'usual' menu) during first or second dining, including the anytime dining, I am still deeply shocked by the lack of choice, the food preparation and taste, from this ship. Everything looked like you could have cooked and served this up personally. The additional restaurants (there are only two for a ship of this size) the Epicurean and the Sindhu came with an additional cost (and Michelin star) and well worth a visit although we were very disappointed with the 'so called grand' Epicurean due to the food not really tasting good and the staff were quite bizarre in that they didn't explain the courses well at all and their English wasn't very good - you shouldn't need to work hard to understand staff on your holidays, this should be a given like it is on the other cruise liners we've enjoyed, where English hasn't been their first language but you would never know this. The Indian restaurant was, I am pleased to say, very tasty and up to expectation. The staff, not all of them, were also pleasant and the variety was what one would truly expect from a chef and restaurant of this standard.
The limelight club had the 'best service staff on board' and the food was just about over average although it came at a cost of 22.00GBP per person but still enjoyable.
The Glass House tapas/wine bar also offered a good variety of food that came at an extra cost, but this was well worth a visit. The staff were also extremely pleasant and knowledgeable about wine and also showed an interest in their guests.
The Spa was amazing. These people were there to make your life and holiday the best it could be but unfortunately, just like the staff in the limelight club and the Glass House and a percentage of the Indian restaurant, they were in the minority.
The limelight club featured the Morcambe & Wise duo which, I must admit, had hubby and I fooled as they were exactly like the originals and were a real treat. Very professional and if you, like me, enjoyed the TV and Christmas specials of ' Eric and little Ern' you will really enjoy being entertained by such a talented duo.
There was also another guest on board, Mark Walker, who was a comedian/singer/impersonator and highly talented, so the entertainment some evenings was very enjoyable, however, I must stress, the on board entertainment staff 'shows' were comical as in they were very unprofessional and childlike in their themes at times.
The dancers were fabulous and are highly experienced in this field, but when it came to the actual shows, they were, unfortunately, very boring and forgetful. We were in the majority of this view, so if the onboard team looked into their own acts, I believe this could be improved.
The activities were satisfactory but there wasn't a lot to choose from in the evenings which is when after dinner, you want to be entertained and enjoy yourselves.
The cabin steward just 'offered enough' service to us, even though it was our silver (you would never have known as he never showed any interest nor offered anything special which is unusual for a cruise liner) and wasn't overly friendly, which made us feel a little awkward whenever we saw him. He would also knock on the door at very unusual times, putting himself and his duties before his cabin guests which we found intrusive. His English wasn't good at all, so once again this added to the unpleasantness and unfriendly staff onboard this ship.
The most unfortunate example I would like to stress for those of you who enjoy dining and look forward to this onboard your cruise which, for all of us, is one of the most enjoyable and relaxing moments of your cruise, was when we were sat at our table for the first time on second sitting, which was quite late at 08:45pm. I say this, as on board other cruises its normally around 8pm which has been great for us personally. Usually, the waiter, the head waiter and all the staff who serve you introduce themselves, offer their preference of drinks that evening, taking the time to discuss the menu with you where there is usually some great banter along with any recommendations for the food choice that evening. None of this happened which was highly unusual and we were very upset and shocked. The lack of service, the shabby waiter asking what you wanted without even smiling, was highly irregular especially when on board a cruise in your main dining area. Also and this is most unfortunate, as soon as our starter was removed our main course was in its place - this also applied to the dessert, tea/coffee, cheese and biscuits. All in all, our dining experience was over and done in one hour and I'm not exaggerating. Due to this, we moved to 'anytime dining' although here the waiter would stand next to me and not really smile, nor ask what I wanted, but merely indicated to me his pad and pen.
I could mention a few other areas that added a pure lack of service and care as to me, this should be paramount for any guest on board a ship, especially when you chose your holiday, pay your money and look forward to this all year. The staff onboard this liner who coaches and trains these people to interact with their guests, really needs to take this seriously, as people like us will never use this liner again - we are their main audience!
P&O are most definitely the worst cruise liner we have sailed with, as they can never compare to: Celebrity, Princess, Cunard, Certain Norwegian cruise liners and I also believe Royal Caribbean are much better too. These liners and their staff know how to treat their guests and offer a much higher level of service, entertainment, variety of onboard dining experiences and most of all, value for money. You do feel like new when you leave these ships unlike P&O which leaves you sad albeit a little happy you have ended your holiday and can disembark.
I do hope this helps those of you thinking of booking a P&O cruise as please look elsewhere and spend your money wisely on one of the liners I mentioned above, you will thank me for it!
250,000+ people have entered their email
Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
Saga Islands and Atlantic Sea ParkVery unusal species to see at the sea park. The park was very clean and the variety of sea fish, creatures was quite informative even if you have been to Blue Planet or other similar sea themed parks. Once again the local tour guide was pleasant and knowledgeable.View All 10 Saga Islands and Atlantic Sea Park Reviews
OldenBeautiful scenery including an ancient glacier. The local tour guide was very pleasant and knowledgeable.View All 161 Olden Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Olden Cruise Port Review