Firstly, we did have a great time. The ship is enormous and, as a result of being all-balcony, suffers from having no deck on which to walk around the whole ship.
Our balcony cabin was on the small side with a bit of a dark colourway, but the bed was comfortable, the shower was excellent, the TV Films were good and our steward was fab.
We had Freedom Dining and used this every night rather than eat in the cover charge applicable restaurants on board. We had all lunches in the Horizon buffet and some served breakfast and some buffet ones.
The evening food was fairly good but freedom dining does not bring the service that set seating does as you don't build up a rapport with your regular waiters. Some of the food was very uninspiring - lasagne and garlic bread as the only Italian choice on Italian night is not really very adventurous. The soups were served in school dinner crockery and were watery and relatively devoid of any meat/vegetables.
The desserts were, in the main, very good and the ice creams were delicious. Cheese and biscuits almost the same every night and like a Sainsburys Xmas Cheese Selection with eiether digestives or cream crackers (round or square!). We only discovered, with 2 nights to go, that they have a secret stash of stilton and other cheeses. Not sure why they are not offered out.
The buffet was, frankly, really poor for lunch. Homepride Sauce (or similar) curries, chips with everything and worse of all, most of the food was tepid. P and O seem to pitch their cruises at British cruisers whom have become hooked into their loyalty programme and know no different. American and other non-British guests would not put up with such poor quality food. The fact that the only soft drink available is water is also mean. It can't really be that expensive to offer lemonade and/or iced tea. Ditto Mr Whippy style ice cream or frozen yoghurt.
Breakfasts were not as bad although the omelette choices in the buffet were identical every day. Heaven forbid they should spice them up or do something "exotic" every now and then.
The entertainment was good but 4 out of 7 nights it was provided by the very talented ship's singers and dancers. Two other nights were also singers. I can understand this on multi-language ships but almost everybody on board was English speaking. More comedians, ventriloquists etc were needed. They had one comic and one Derren Brown type "mentallist" and for some daft reason they both appeared at the same time on the same night in different venues. No planning whatsoever!
Daily entertainment, even on sea days , was pretty amateurish. Events such as Table Tennis "organise it yourself" did lead one to wonder what the Ents Team actually did all day.
Some of the service was excellent. The bar staff work like trojans. Some of the waiters and chefs can't do enough. There are others, however who had a permanent scowl. The pool boys were just miserable and seemed to be making a statement by always wearing huge coats even when people were sunbathing on deck. The sea days were actually warm and sunbathing was possible when out of the wind. In fact we were very lucky with the weather for the whole cruise.
The stops were great although we did leave Bergen too early. I am not sure why as the ship sails very slowly back to Southampton. We chose to do our own thing at every stop.
Embarkation and disembarkation was excellent and brilliantly efficient.
Overall we had a great time but, with a little more effort and a little less penny pinching we would go on the Britannia again
No complaints. Small balcony but well designed seats on it so it didn't seem small.
Stavanger is a quaint town with lovely clapperboard housing and some good shops. The lake in the centre is attractive and makes for a good walk.
There isn't much to do except walk around but that is just fine after 36 hours at sea.
Whatever you plan you must include a trip to the Briksdale Glacier. By all means take an orgabnised tour either from the ship or pay the €30 or so to the tour company outside of the ship.
Alternatively, and best of all, get the #14-175 bus from the stop just to the left of where you get off of the ship. This leaves at 10.00am and returns at 1.30pm. It costs NOK104 (£10.50) and offers no less than the tour buses.
Once dropped off and, if able, walk the 45 minutes or so to the glacier. Don't take the "trolls" as you whizz by the views.
I can honestly say that it was one of the most memorable experiences in my 51 year existence.
Once back, Olden itself is small but perfectly pleasant. Worth a walk to the shops just to see just how much Norwegians have to spend to buy cornflakes!
Flam is lovely but is a bit of a one trick pony with the railway
We were too late for tickets so couldn't get on it. The ship takes most of them and we weren't quick enough to buy what was remaining.
Instead we walked up to the waterfall, using a plan supplied free by the Tourist Info Centre. It was a lovely way to spend a morning and the weather was very kind to us.
It only rained at the end! We were the cruise who got the sun!
What a lovely city and the funicular ride is a must do. The views from the top are quite incredible and we didn't move from them for about half an hour. When we did do so we took the short circular walk at the top of the mountain to the lake. We sat there for a long while as that was lovely too. We even got a bit burnt which is unknown in Bergen!!
The only disappointment was the ship leaving too early as we didn't have time to do Bryggen properly.