We have cruised twice before with P and O and decided to give Britannia a try mainly due to rave reviews. Delighted to be upgraded and looked forward to our balcony cabin at the aft of the ship. However as soon as our steward introduce himself he then told us about the 'soot deposit' issue at the back of the ship. Apparently soot from the funnels land on the balconies, mainly during the night and this was a problem for both my husband and myself as we both have lung conditions (COPD and emphysema) He suggested we do not use the balcony first thing in the morning until he had been in to clean the area. Not ideal as using the balcony first thing with a cup of tea is what we like to do. We went to reception who were very understanding but could not quite grasp why we were not happy to have a balcony and not be comfortable using it. Reception spoke to the housekeeping manager who basically said the same: don't use it until it had been cleaned. Not happy we insisted we met with her and eventually she agreed it would not be advisable to use it. She was unsure if we could be moved as the ship was full and asked for 24 hours to see what could be done. 2 hours later we were moved to a new cabin at the opposite end of the ship away from the downdraught of the funnels. . Very happy with the result until we realised we were directly over the area where the anchor was lowered and the ropes were stored. Very noisy from 6 am every morning. My advise is if you have any sort if breathing problem do NOT book the aft cabins as nice as they look
Food was very disappointing. We prefer to use the buffet but the choice was the worse we have ever experienced on any cruise line. Breakfast was appalling. Typical English breakfast was over cooked bacon which had been kept warm for so long it was like leather. Eggs under cooked and no egg station as on many lines where you have exactly what you wanted cooked fresh for you. Lunch and dinner were also very short of choice unless you liked noodles, curry and cold meats every single night. To top it off all food was barely warm.
Hygiene very poor. The first 2 days a member of staff made sure everybody entering the buffet washed their hands before eating but from day 3 nobody was there and many, many people were just walking in. Public areas not cleaned regularly and ash trays in all smoking areas overflowing with uncollected glasses and bottles. Lifts were not working and nobody seemed to be working on them. One was out of order for the whole 7 days.
Entertainment was badly advertised with no signs outside venues saying who was appearing. I cannot comment on the shows as we did not see any.
We would not use P and O again as they are now telling guests how to dress by banning certain types of t-shirts and no shorts in certain areas, although my husband did wear his shorts to the buffet and was not stopped. When on holiday we do NOT expect to be told what to wear. We totally know how to conduct ourselves and understand how to dress for the main dining room but do not like being dictated to.
Beautiful cabin kept spotless by Monica. Only drawback was the noise from the location and that the balcony had a metal 'wall' instead of glass so even though we could now sit out there was no view.
Fantastic shower and ample storage space.
Only used to park and board
Sadly it was absolutely pouring with rain and we were not dressed for wet weather.
We did take a local bus which took us all around the beautiful island. The trip was 90 minutes and well worth the £1 fare.