TUI were very strict at check in with both Hand and Hold Baggage £18 per kg excess. Flew TUI, from Birmingham to Barbados which was excellent. Free dinks on route we were offered 3 Alcoholic Rounds of drinks and 2 Hot/Cold Drinks with our meals. The main meal was good and the afternoon tea was a small roll and a scone, staffs were very helpful throughout the flight. There was enough on screen games and films to keep us both happy, 5/5.
Transfer to the ship was delayed but quick and easy boarding when we got there. Bags handed in at BHX delivered to our door before we returned from Diner at 2100.
First impression of the room was poor, we paid for what we thought was a good cabin but this turned out to be a cramped area with totally inadequate storage, one rail, 4 small shelves and three small drawers. The bathroom was functional but again lacking any space. The balcony is very cramped. We did get used to the room but not to the extent of suggesting it is worth the cost.
Facilities and Dining
This is a huge ship with lots of venues, bars, casino, Spa and Gym, 4 main dining rooms, and 4 specialty restaurants. We had freedom dining and ate mostly in the Peninsular 4/5 Waiter Service, which was very good all white table cloths and a good menu selection for all three meals a day, tried the Beach Hut 5/5 (£22), Live Lounge 5/5 (£50) and Glass House 5/5 (£32) extra charges all per couple. The Horizon Buffet was poor compared to Celebrity very British with heavy Indian and Asian Bias, great if you like curry. The Salad Bar rarely varied. Breakfast was very much full English with the usual Fruits and Yogurts, very much a good canteen service 3/5.
Entertainment was excellent with three great resident bands moving round the venues, Headliners Theatre Group put on some outstanding shows, with five great singers and a brilliant dance troupe, we also had Revolvers, DNA and The Britones flown out to entertain us, all great but the Revolvers are an exceptional group who should go far 5/5.
Best advice is do not book ships excursions which are much more expensive than local tours and taxis.
We walked to the Harbour by the bridge in the Centre of town and had a few drinks in the Waterfront, 3 beers $6 Rum Punch $6, good wifi, and a very friendly service. Taxi back to the ship was $5. Expensive compared to other ports we visited.
It was a Public Holiday so everywhere was closed. We walked from the Port into town over the floating bridge and had a few drinks by the Harbour. The few shops that were open were expensive but it was one of the cleanest and most welcoming ports we visited. Good free WIFI in the Cafe next to the floating bridge.
The ship docked in the central area and there are good local tours, $25 for the open window bus ride lasting 2 hours with a beach stop if you wanted at no extra cost. Nice Bars and Cafes round the harbour. We walked to the Wilhelmina Park at the end of town to see the iguanas. Again a friendly place to visit. Good free open WIFI in the hotel/shopping mall in the centre of the harbour.
We did a Ships tour £43 each, but the weather was against us and we saw little of the island, the visit to the Fort and Botanical Gardens was very interesting but seeing two birds in cages should not be described as an Aviary Visit. The city is very rough and a bit of a shock to those less travelled, several guests we spoke to, started off into town but returned to the ship when they got to Front Street. This was a low point in our cruise but on reflection it was worth the visit, following the trip we complained to the on board excursion staff and had a very poor response, the guy didn’t even bother to ask my name or room number, as a result of which I cancelled the other trips we had booked with P&O.
St Georges, Grenada
Did the Hop on Hop of Trolley Ride $20 each which has 4 stops/pick up points 45 minute trip up to the fort and round the seafront. Lots of folks took the water taxi to Grand Anse Beach $20. We bought our duty free here as it was half the price of other ports $38 for 10X50g packs of Tobacco but shop around as the main duty free was much more expensive. Barter when you buy your spices you will get some good offers we went to the open market and had 15 nutmeg $2, Bag of Cinnamon $2 and Bag of Cinnamon Sticks $2 ($5 for all 3) Spice Necklaces $3 (4 for $10).
Castries, St Lucia
One of the Gems of the trip we did a full day tour with Cosol Tours, Cassius was our guide and I think the owners of the company which had about 10 nice air conditioned minibuses. $80 is a lot of money but the trip is virtually the same tour as the By Land and Sea Tour offered by P&O at £76. First stop is the Banana Plantation for short talk and a taste of Banana Ketchup, Banana BBQ Sauce and Spiced Rum. Our 2nd stop was a view point and our first drink of the day (Water, Beer, Soft Drinks or Rum Punch offered at all stops). We then move on to the breakfast stop where a wide variety of local buffet food was on offer, more of a taster event with 30 + items on offer (Curry Goat, Lamb Stew, Bread Balls, Meat Balls, Cakes, Coconut Ice, Spicy Toffee, Fudge, Candies) I suggest you get in quick and have a little taste of everything because it was sufficient rather than plentiful with some lovely treats to experience. Drinks were freely available. Our next stop was at Anse for A photo at the fishing village, then on to Soufriere where we boarded a speed boat to Golden Beach which is right between the Pitons, here I hired a snorkel kit with flippers $10 and swam in the reserve which has a wide variety of fish (Best $10 I spent on the whole trip). We had an hour on the beach before the return boat trip; a drink was waiting back at the bus. We then set of to visit the Mud Pools to bathe or the optional Volcano Tour, swimwear is a must, and you are invited to keep on your wet gear for the short drive to the waterfalls, for a second chance to rinse the mud of. The final stop on the tour is a stop for hot local bread and cheese with more drinks. The trip is expensive but everything bar the snorkel gear was included in the price and it has got to be the best way to see and enjoy sights of St Lucia. I can only add my thanks to our outstanding guide Cassius, and add another totally unreserved recommendation to the many which Cosol Tours have on Tripadvisor, Cruise Critic etc.
The port is across the bay from the beach and town centre, we decide to go local and caught the water taxi $7 all day return. There were lots of tours on offer and the round the island is worth a tour. I turned tourist catcher by asking fellow passenger to join a tour as prices reduced depending on the number of people, between the Downtown Taxi Driver (Sorry no name) and I we managed to get 10 people and had a 3-4 hour tour for $20 each ($60-80 for 2hrs for 2). We had an extensive tour and the devastation caused by the 2017 hurricane is everywhere, the amazing work being done to bring the island back to an upmarket paradise is astonishing. We visited the Nude End of Orient Beach, A Public Housing Development, and French Capital Margot for a lunch stop and Maho Beach for a short stop to see a few planes land. The driver provided a running tour on all aspects of Island life.
Before departing on the tour we prebooked sun loungers and a brolley on the beach $25 which included 5 drinks, we left our towels on the beds in the front of the beach. (Others paid $20 for the same deal). Great visit.
First place as we got of the boat wanted $34 for a tour and beach stop, we picked up the same tour at the pier exit for $20, Del was our guide and he is a colourful character, the tour stopped at the last working Sugar Factory, Bloody River and The Plantation Museum. Del’s commentary was as colourful as his character and he kept us amused and gave us a few drinks on the route, we stopped at the ridge between the Caribbean and Atlantic for some pictures and refreshment. At the Beach a trolley and chairs cost $30 but the facilities were excellent. Beers were $3 and Burger and Chips $22, so a bit expensive. We had 2 ½ hours on the beach before being picked up at 1530.
Our final tour was a shared tour prearranged with Gordon’s Tours on the internet with two ladies. The cost was $30 each and Jerome met us as arranged at the pier. We had a running commentary on all aspects of the history flora and fauna. The tour passed the Cricket Grounds, Abandon Sugar Factory and many villages. We visited the historic barracks and lookout post, for $8 we visited Dows Museum and saw a presentation tracing the history of the island, Shirley Heights, followed by The Blockhouse and Nelsons Dockyard foe a Rum Punch $5. The tour lasted well over 4 hours and Jerome gave us an excellent insight into life on the island. Well worth booking on the internet prior to your visit.
On our return trip cases were collected the night before departure and we didn’t see them again until we picked them up in Birmingham, there were no hand baggage weight check on the return flight. Barbados Airport was comfortable and the duty frees booze was good $25 for two litres of popular brand spirits, $14 for Mount Gay room.
The flight back was uneventful with an evening meal and a breakfast muffin, neither of which we enjoyed. Only 1 alcoholic drink was offered and wine with the meal.
On summary we had a great holiday, were disappointed with the standard of food, and size of cabin onboard Britannia, given the £5200 price paid.
Small with very limited storage
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