We had never been to Norway or the Fjords so this Britannia cruise was an obvious choice. We hadn't heard too many positive comments about the Britannia on previous cruises so we were a bit apprehensive Despite the ships many shortfalls we loved the cruise and would recommend it to everyone especially anyone considering a first cruise.The Britannia is big and spacious and the Norwegian Fjords and scenery are stunning.
Well the ship wasn't full of old people as we thought it might be. Most were middle aged. There were families with babies, teenagers, young couples, middle aged couples and the elderly of course. It was very British in the sense that most guests dressed in shorts, t-shirts, lumberjack shirts the occasional set of braces. At the pool area you ha he usual adornment of pot-bellies, tattoos and the largest pod of beached whales south of the arctic circle..... If you haven't been on a cruise and thought the dress code might be a bit formal well take it from me...it isn't.
The Britannia is quite a large ship. It may be described as P&O's flagship but sadly it has too many shortcomings to be overawed by it. However its perfectly functional. There are some very pleasant areas to explore.There is no "Wow" factor however. The Atrium is pleasant but not stunning. The Theatres,cinema etc are on the smallish side and quite claustrophobic compared to other ships. The corridors with their grey and brown colour scheme could pass for any corridor in a certain Lodge hotel group I can think of. In fact the colour schemes everywhere on the ship seem to have been deliberately "dulled down". The lifts are dreadful and the waiting times plus stopping at every floor will drive you crazy. Clearly P&O were more concerned about cramming as many guests in as opposed to providing a more spacious guest environment. Despite the above there was plenty to like about the ship.
Food wise I loved the meals at fine-dining in the evenings. The food in the buffet was ok but personally I cant stand buffet food. It appealed to many including my Wife but I think all buffet food can best be described as ".... on a plate". There were only 2 formal nights so it was an opportunity for everyone to dress up particularly the Ladies. On informal nights at fine-dining most of the Ladies still dressed up with the odd one turning up in a vest or sloppy sweater .. eewww. Men tended to dress in short sleeved shirts or whatever they were wearing at the pool. It was quite amusing to observe quite elegant ladies in their finery walking with partners in t-shirts and track suit bottoms. Nothing like people watching on a cruise ship.
My son and girlfriend had a meal in the Epicurian restaurant. It was very reasonably priced and they highly recommend it. The Sindhu was full most evenings so I am guessing its good too.
Our room was a nice size a I had opted for a slightly larger inside cabin. It was really worth the extra few pounds. I would never consider a balcony cabin but for the Fjords ts could be a very good choice with all that stunning scenery. The staff on the whole were polite and hard working and we tipped them as always irrespective of P&O removing their gratuities. Just remember these staff earn peanuts.
Entertainment was quite good. I liked most of the evening shows but particularly Lloyd Wade who has a great voice. One of his shows we attended was spoiled by some uncouth and drunken northerners talking throughout his performance. Sadly you get that everywhere. The headliners would not usually be my cup of tea (having grown up in the hippy 60/70s) but you have to admire them. Some great voices and amazing dancers. Dont know where they get all that energy. Kirsty did a great job on her talks on Norway so do go to these lectures if you get a chance as they are very informative. Please make sure you use the crows-nest for those relaxing moments . Its a gem.
Norway is absolutely stunning. I much preferred it to our med and canary cruises. Beware however it is mega pricey. 2 x 400ml beers £21 , bar of chocolate £3 and a packet of biscuits £7 (£1 in £ shop in UK). So eat well for breakfast on the ship before you venture out. The local tour buses were £25-£30. Probably there were cheaper alternatives but we just legged it into town for an expensive coffee and cake.
So overall we really enjoyed he cruise.We were at a table for 9 in the evenings and all were really nice people. We have already booked our next Fjords cruise on the Iona. We took our son and girlfriend on this cruise (their first) and they loved it and are already planning their next cruise. Despite the shortcomings Britannia is a nice ship and we will be booking her again. Next cruise is in 12 weeks time on the Ventura. Cant wait..
Nice spacious cabin. Well worth spending a few more £ and getting a larger cabin. For the Fjords a Balcony cabin might be a better option tho.