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I had the opportunity to travel on the Britannia on May 13th on a lovely trip to Norway. I wanted to provide some comparisons of this ship and P & O in general vs. other lines that cater more to American travelers. I am an American and no offense is meant in some of my generalizations to either American or British folk. Ship The décor is beautiful yet understated. It feels more like a 5 star hotel than a ship. There is great use of color, blues, greys, golds and different venues decorated elegantly. The ship is the same “make and model” as the Royal Princess (and Regal). This includes some of the design flaws such as no mid-ship stairs, odd floor 7 bathroom availability, no Promenade deck. Some of these were corrected on the Regal Princess but persist on these 2 ships. The ship caters to folks from the UK, so there are some differences in how the ship is laid out and space is utilized. Atrium – Unlike the Royal there is only 1 atrium spiral staircase and the atrium is rectangular. Most shops are located on deck 6, making the shopping isolated. I liked this. The atrium is much more spacious. With that said, if you love entertainment and dancing in the Atrium, that is not what it is used for. There are several bars and coffee shops on deck 7 and 5, however, these are for lounging and relaxing. There is music that is played in the atrium, but it’s usually an accent and not the main attraction. If you are a dancer, there is a specific dance venue, where lessons and music are held. Crow’s Nest – The forward staterooms normally found on deck 16 (Lido) have been removed. They were replaced with a dining venue, several private rooms, and the Crows nest. The Crows nest is a beautiful bar with forward views of the upcoming destinations. A wonderful place for sail away, pre-dinner drinks or watching the scenic views. This is a wonderful change from it’s sister Princess ships which offer no forward- facing views. Pub and Casino – There is a very small Casino. Perhaps the 3rd of the size on American style ships. The remaining space is used for a Pub type atmosphere, Brody’s. If you go on a cruise with your primary objective being to gamble, this may not be the line to take. The pub is very nice and brings in a great fun crowd for sporting events, quizzes, bingo like games and of course on our cruise, the Royal Wedding!! Aft Bar – Beautiful. A wonderful place to relax in port or watch the ship’s wake. Decorated well despite being outdoors. Lots of comfortable seating. Another interesting way that the décor changed the feel of the ship and made it more like a hotel patio bar. Cabins – No differences here in shape/size, decorated quite differently. My opinion is it was a better utilization of space. There was one North American Plug, but the rest were UK style. One thing to note is that there were several plugs instead of only one. They do have a kettle for tea or coffee in the room. The shower has a glass door. I found that much nicer, but if you are a very large person this may not be as accommodating as a shower curtain. Pools – just as many pools but only a couple of hot tubs. This results in a more open deck, particularly in the Sanctuary, Adults area. Food & Drinks The food was absolutely fabulous. However, there were more pay for, ala carte options than you may find on a ship catering to Americans. There were several coffee shops that offered alternative coffee drinks from the buffet. Dining rooms had amazing food, I never had a bland meal, meals were always hot, the service impeccable. I don’t typically eat sweets, but I must say I did every night. So much more tasty than the other lines. As an American I was asking for things such as ice water, more ice in my drinks than most…all available. Buffet’s are buffets. They are not my favorite. Expect an English breakfast. Since folks are not as keen on ice, there was no ice machine in the buffet, however the cabin steward, waiters etc. all took care of this for me. There is an Indian style venue called Sindhu. It is my understanding this is on most P & O ships. British folk love their Indian, and it was quite good. There was usually some sort of curry available on the daily dining room menu and buffet as well. I love interesting food, and all of this was a great change. However, it was intended to be spicy and was. American’s should keep that in mind when booking a reservation. Don’t go if you don’t like spicy food and don’t complain that it is. In the “Glass House”, situated where “Crooners” would be on the Princess ship, they had a small venue that served food, or bites to eat. The food here was very good and also included some interesting dishes/small plates such as pate, sliders, cheese boards. Prices are not significant £3 - £7 ish. Now the topic of drinks. If you are a cruiser who goes on a cruise to imbibe on mixed drinks and expecting an American “pour” you will be disappointed. The shots are 1 ounce, a North American pour is 2 ounces. Expect a significant difference in cost of mixed drinks since you will order a double. Also, the pours are measured more so than on other lines. This includes wine/beer etc. However, if you are a beer drinker, there are several beers on tap in nearly every bar allowing for pints or half-pints at a reasonable cost. The wine is also reasonable, and many varieties by the glass and bottles. My one complaint about this ship, and frankly all ships in the Carnival Line I’ve been on, is that the wine is inconsistent between venues. The varietals in the Glass house were different from the Crows nest and different from the Aft Bar etc. This is not a P&O complaint, but a Carnival Line consistent challenge for me. Entertainment Just like any cruise there were shows, magicians, comedians, etc. However, none of the entertainment is positioned to be in your face unless you are in the venue. For example, there are several entertainers that play in the Atrium, but they are a compliment to the ambiance, not the main attraction. Very classy piano players, solo and duet acoustic guitar music at the Crow’s nest. The pub was typically crowded nightly with quizzes or Karaoke. Very interactive and American’s will probably feel a little “dumb” as the Brits know their history, music etc. and sure take those quizzes seriously. Sail Away heading back to Southampton was so fun. Union flags passed amongst the deck, a variety of British/UK songs and anthems. Lots of flag waving fun. I wouldn’t doubt at least 1/3 of the passengers participated. Service and Staff The captain/officers of the ship were interactive. Giving many points of information that you don’t receive on other ships, including some problems that we had on board. Ringing the bell at noon, “honking” the horn on queue at sailaway were always quite coordinated. The service staff is very professional. There is less casual interaction with the guests on the ship than you might see on a more American line. There were very few Americans/Canadians on this ship. The staff is trained to accommodate British tastes and service requirements. Staff was not used to MY accent and ways of requesting things. I had to adapt to them and not believe the world revolves around me. I would like to note that, this is why I travel. I loved that I experienced things differently, had to slow down my conversations, inquire more about different utilization of words or words I’d never heard. Importantly, I will say the staff did their best to accommodate my American taste for Bloody Mary’s, double drinks etc. Several ran to the galley to get things like tobasco and were always willing to consult me on my requirements. The one complaint that I had on this ship was Passport handling. I have drafted a separate letter to P&O and Carnival in general about that item. As an American on a British ship (this ship is registered in Southampton), my passport was collected and needed to be retrieved prior to the end of the cruise. It was not the collection that concerned me, but the caretaking of the passport by the staff. Costs Additional fees for coffee, dining venues, etc. are not new to the American traveler, but remind yourself how much you might spend on a Starbucks coffee daily. I didn’t find any of these to be unreasonable and didn’t have any complaints about the coffee, food I was paying extra for. There were just as many no cost items as any other cruise ship, however, this one had more options. Rules American’s should take note of a couple things that I did not mention above. Folks dress up at night, most nights. It is not required, but this wasn’t the venue to wear ratty jeans on smart casual night. On formal nights men wear tuxes, kilts etc. and women wear gowns. Queuing is an art for Brits. No one cuts the line and when someone is in greater need such as wheelchair bound folks, they are keen to allow that person priority access to elevators. I wouldn’t doubt that folks might scold anyone who didn’t adhere to this. It was made clear by the captain himself, that parents were in charge of their children. There weren’t many children, but parents had a handle on them. When a baby cried, parents took them out of the dining room or venue, children are expected to dress appropriately for dinner etc. Thank you P & O! I highly recommend this note of advice to parents on all ships in the Carnival line. There was no yelling, shouting across the Atrium or even overt drunkenness. Misc. & Overall This was my favorite cruise of all time. I have been cruising since 1976, have logged 100 days on Princess, 50 days on Carnival, done some Royal Caribbean cruises as well as Viking. The destinations (Norwegian ports), the ship, the service, the food was all exceptional. I found very little to complain about and enjoyed it thoroughly. I spoke to other passengers and they discussed how they like American style ships and the atmosphere. This speaks to how truly folks like to “get away” from the every day. I found this particular journey to be nothing less than spectacular and understood I was a token American on a British ship. Thank you for reading!

An American review of Britannia

Britannia Cruise Review by grinchychick

19 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2018
  • Destination: Europe
I had the opportunity to travel on the Britannia on May 13th on a lovely trip to Norway. I wanted to provide some comparisons of this ship and P & O in general vs. other lines that cater more to American travelers.

I am an American and no offense is meant in some of my generalizations to either American or British folk.

Ship

The décor is beautiful yet understated. It feels more like a 5 star hotel than a ship. There is great use of color, blues, greys, golds and different venues decorated elegantly.

The ship is the same “make and model” as the Royal Princess (and Regal). This includes some of the design flaws such as no mid-ship stairs, odd floor 7 bathroom availability, no Promenade deck. Some of these were corrected on the Regal Princess but persist on these 2 ships.

The ship caters to folks from the UK, so there are some differences in how the ship is laid out and space is utilized.

Atrium – Unlike the Royal there is only 1 atrium spiral staircase and the atrium is rectangular. Most shops are located on deck 6, making the shopping isolated. I liked this. The atrium is much more spacious. With that said, if you love entertainment and dancing in the Atrium, that is not what it is used for. There are several bars and coffee shops on deck 7 and 5, however, these are for lounging and relaxing. There is music that is played in the atrium, but it’s usually an accent and not the main attraction. If you are a dancer, there is a specific dance venue, where lessons and music are held.

Crow’s Nest – The forward staterooms normally found on deck 16 (Lido) have been removed. They were replaced with a dining venue, several private rooms, and the Crows nest. The Crows nest is a beautiful bar with forward views of the upcoming destinations. A wonderful place for sail away, pre-dinner drinks or watching the scenic views. This is a wonderful change from it’s sister Princess ships which offer no forward- facing views.

Pub and Casino – There is a very small Casino. Perhaps the 3rd of the size on American style ships. The remaining space is used for a Pub type atmosphere, Brody’s. If you go on a cruise with your primary objective being to gamble, this may not be the line to take. The pub is very nice and brings in a great fun crowd for sporting events, quizzes, bingo like games and of course on our cruise, the Royal Wedding!!

Aft Bar – Beautiful. A wonderful place to relax in port or watch the ship’s wake. Decorated well despite being outdoors. Lots of comfortable seating. Another interesting way that the décor changed the feel of the ship and made it more like a hotel patio bar.

Cabins – No differences here in shape/size, decorated quite differently. My opinion is it was a better utilization of space. There was one North American Plug, but the rest were UK style. One thing to note is that there were several plugs instead of only one. They do have a kettle for tea or coffee in the room.

The shower has a glass door. I found that much nicer, but if you are a very large person this may not be as accommodating as a shower curtain.

Pools – just as many pools but only a couple of hot tubs. This results in a more open deck, particularly in the Sanctuary, Adults area.

Food & Drinks

The food was absolutely fabulous. However, there were more pay for, ala carte options than you may find on a ship catering to Americans. There were several coffee shops that offered alternative coffee drinks from the buffet.

Dining rooms had amazing food, I never had a bland meal, meals were always hot, the service impeccable. I don’t typically eat sweets, but I must say I did every night. So much more tasty than the other lines. As an American I was asking for things such as ice water, more ice in my drinks than most…all available.

Buffet’s are buffets. They are not my favorite. Expect an English breakfast. Since folks are not as keen on ice, there was no ice machine in the buffet, however the cabin steward, waiters etc. all took care of this for me.

There is an Indian style venue called Sindhu. It is my understanding this is on most P & O ships. British folk love their Indian, and it was quite good. There was usually some sort of curry available on the daily dining room menu and buffet as well. I love interesting food, and all of this was a great change. However, it was intended to be spicy and was. American’s should keep that in mind when booking a reservation. Don’t go if you don’t like spicy food and don’t complain that it is.

In the “Glass House”, situated where “Crooners” would be on the Princess ship, they had a small venue that served food, or bites to eat. The food here was very good and also included some interesting dishes/small plates such as pate, sliders, cheese boards. Prices are not significant £3 - £7 ish.

Now the topic of drinks. If you are a cruiser who goes on a cruise to imbibe on mixed drinks and expecting an American “pour” you will be disappointed. The shots are 1 ounce, a North American pour is 2 ounces. Expect a significant difference in cost of mixed drinks since you will order a double. Also, the pours are measured more so than on other lines. This includes wine/beer etc.

However, if you are a beer drinker, there are several beers on tap in nearly every bar allowing for pints or half-pints at a reasonable cost. The wine is also reasonable, and many varieties by the glass and bottles. My one complaint about this ship, and frankly all ships in the Carnival Line I’ve been on, is that the wine is inconsistent between venues. The varietals in the Glass house were different from the Crows nest and different from the Aft Bar etc. This is not a P&O complaint, but a Carnival Line consistent challenge for me.

Entertainment

Just like any cruise there were shows, magicians, comedians, etc. However, none of the entertainment is positioned to be in your face unless you are in the venue. For example, there are several entertainers that play in the Atrium, but they are a compliment to the ambiance, not the main attraction.

Very classy piano players, solo and duet acoustic guitar music at the Crow’s nest.

The pub was typically crowded nightly with quizzes or Karaoke. Very interactive and American’s will probably feel a little “dumb” as the Brits know their history, music etc. and sure take those quizzes seriously.

Sail Away heading back to Southampton was so fun. Union flags passed amongst the deck, a variety of British/UK songs and anthems. Lots of flag waving fun. I wouldn’t doubt at least 1/3 of the passengers participated.

Service and Staff

The captain/officers of the ship were interactive. Giving many points of information that you don’t receive on other ships, including some problems that we had on board. Ringing the bell at noon, “honking” the horn on queue at sailaway were always quite coordinated.

The service staff is very professional. There is less casual interaction with the guests on the ship than you might see on a more American line.

There were very few Americans/Canadians on this ship. The staff is trained to accommodate British tastes and service requirements. Staff was not used to MY accent and ways of requesting things. I had to adapt to them and not believe the world revolves around me. I would like to note that, this is why I travel. I loved that I experienced things differently, had to slow down my conversations, inquire more about different utilization of words or words I’d never heard.

Importantly, I will say the staff did their best to accommodate my American taste for Bloody Mary’s, double drinks etc. Several ran to the galley to get things like tobasco and were always willing to consult me on my requirements.

The one complaint that I had on this ship was Passport handling. I have drafted a separate letter to P&O and Carnival in general about that item. As an American on a British ship (this ship is registered in Southampton), my passport was collected and needed to be retrieved prior to the end of the cruise. It was not the collection that concerned me, but the caretaking of the passport by the staff.

Costs

Additional fees for coffee, dining venues, etc. are not new to the American traveler, but remind yourself how much you might spend on a Starbucks coffee daily. I didn’t find any of these to be unreasonable and didn’t have any complaints about the coffee, food I was paying extra for. There were just as many no cost items as any other cruise ship, however, this one had more options.

Rules

American’s should take note of a couple things that I did not mention above.

Folks dress up at night, most nights. It is not required, but this wasn’t the venue to wear ratty jeans on smart casual night. On formal nights men wear tuxes, kilts etc. and women wear gowns.

Queuing is an art for Brits. No one cuts the line and when someone is in greater need such as wheelchair bound folks, they are keen to allow that person priority access to elevators. I wouldn’t doubt that folks might scold anyone who didn’t adhere to this.

It was made clear by the captain himself, that parents were in charge of their children. There weren’t many children, but parents had a handle on them. When a baby cried, parents took them out of the dining room or venue, children are expected to dress appropriately for dinner etc. Thank you P & O! I highly recommend this note of advice to parents on all ships in the Carnival line.

There was no yelling, shouting across the Atrium or even overt drunkenness.

Misc. & Overall

This was my favorite cruise of all time.

I have been cruising since 1976, have logged 100 days on Princess, 50 days on Carnival, done some Royal Caribbean cruises as well as Viking. The destinations (Norwegian ports), the ship, the service, the food was all exceptional. I found very little to complain about and enjoyed it thoroughly.

I spoke to other passengers and they discussed how they like American style ships and the atmosphere. This speaks to how truly folks like to “get away” from the every day. I found this particular journey to be nothing less than spectacular and understood I was a token American on a British ship.

Thank you for reading!
grinchychick’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin G612
Cabins – No differences here in shape/size, decorated quite differently. My opinion is it was a better utilization of space. There was one North American Plug, but the rest were UK style. One thing to note is that there were several plugs instead of only one. They do have a kettle for tea or coffee in the room.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews