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I've cruised twice before - Ventura (P&O) and Independence of the Seas (Royal Caribbean). I chose this cruise because we were limited in terms of the dates we could take annual leave from work. Overall I enjoyed the cruise however there weren't many people my age or younger. I would estimate the average age of passengers to be 65/70+. I preferred the Royal Caribbean as the age range was more varied and this was reflected in the activities and entertainment. Ballroom dancing seemed to feature a lot - holds little/no interest for younger passengers Far too many black tie nights. At one point we had 2 black tie nights in a 3 day period. When dining I would prefer to dress more comfortably and casually. I have to dress up for work everyday so like to be more relaxed when on holiday. One black tie night per week is more than sufficient. I thought the food on Britannia was not as good as Royal Caribbean and on P&O Ventura. Staff were excellent. Cabin was excellent, clean with everything we needed. Ship Sun Decks - even though Britannia is a bigger ship with more passengers there seemed to better provision of sun loungers than compared with smaller P&O ship Ventura and Royal Caribbean. Atrium - a very large space with no atmosphere or buzz, occupied mostly by people drinking coffee, reading or eating cake to background of piano playing. I didn't use this area at all. It felt like an upmarket old people's home. Drinks - Reasonable prices, better value than Royal Caribbean. Drink packages - unless you are drinking well over healthy recommendations on a daily basis (verging on alcoholism) the drinks package is not worth having. We bought our drinks separately. Some passengers with drinks packages were unhappy as the bars weren't open very late - possibly due to the age range of the majority of the passengers. There were very few people about after 12am - most had retired for the evening. Some said the packages limited them to 15 drinks/day. Spa - Didn't use this - very overpriced. I had a tension headache and enquired about booking for a 30 minute treatment. The shortest and cheapest treatment (with a discount) was reflexology session for 50 minutes at £89. I didn't book in, not because I couldn't afford it but because it was not good value for money as this would cost less than half the price back home. I appreciate that things will be dearer on the ship but would have felt ripped off if I'd booked in for a treatment. They didn't seem very busy - possibly because the treatments are overpriced. If they reduced the price I feel people would be more inclined to book treatments. The prices for nail treatments seemed more reasonable. Entertainment Not enough provision for younger passengers below pensionable age, I was often bored during 'at sea' days. I was 50 at the time of sailing so i'm no spring chicken however I'm not ready to spend my nights ballroom dancing or sitting drinking coffee and eating cake in the atrium. There were seminars but most wouldn't appeal to my age and younger - swollen ankles, foot problems, health ailments etc. Marco Pierre White cooking demo and Q&A was excellent Tony Green featured as a speaker on several days. His stories about various war battles were brilliant and his knowledge was extensive. This became a highlight of our 'at sea' days. Brodies - pub feel. Went to Bingo and quizzes here which were good. Sail Away - We left the first sail away due to the volume of the speakers, it was so loud it actually hurt my ears and I'm someone who regularly goes to concerts and festivals watching live music so It's not that I'm noise sensitive. For this reason we didn't attempt any further Sail Aways. Headliners Theatre - most performances were singing and dancing and this became a bit 'samey' so we only went to a couple.The dancers were excellent and I assume many also have acting skills so why not perform a condensed West End type musical with acting and offer a bit more variety. Terry Cotta comedian was brilliant, made a nice change from all the singing/dancing performances. Another comedian or variety act would have been appreciated. Good space but chairs are very narrow and the drink holders only have one side so I don't use them as it's easy to spill your drink. This meant I had to hold my drink or place it under my seat throughout a performance. Film - There is a small theatre showing films which is good, we went there a couple of times. It was empty a lot of the time and the space could have been better used/occupied with additional films being put on. Cookery club - We were lucky enough to to do a Masterclass with Marco Pierre White. Cost of £100pp. This was excellent and made our trip. Marco was brilliant, we saw him around the ship a lot and he was always charming and friendly towards passengers. Dining First meal in restaurant wasn't very good - bland, not hot enough. Subsequent meals were an improvement however the food on Ventura was better and Royal Caribbean were much better. Most meals weren't hot enough. Horizon - buffet, very good, lots of choice and open later at night for snacks, hot chocolate etc. Was much easier to get a table when compared with Ventura and Royal Caribbean. There were grab and go fridges for snacks and a pizzeria, burger bar which were really good. Epicurean - a fine dining experience. We went twice for a £25pp supplement - excellent on both occasions. Limelight Lounge - excellent (evening meal with entertainment). We paid £25pp and saw Chesney Hawkes and Eric and Ern (Morecambe & Wise act) - both were excellent and good value for money Sindhu - we went there once for a £25pp supplement. Excellent food and atmosphere. Excursions Rome - Tiber Cruise and Walk. Booked this as we did a full walking tour of Rome last year to the main places of interest and thought this would be a bit easier on the feet. The cruise element of this tour is negligible, we were only on the boat twice for less than 20 minutes on both occasions and there's not a great deal to see from the boat. The tour was predominantly walking. There were several flights of stairs up and down from pavement level to the river which proved difficult for some people. Tour guide was excellent Gibraltar - WW2 tunnels This was interesting and the guide also took us via the monkeys on the Rock which was a bonus as it wasn't included in the excursion. Tour guide was excellent Florence on your own. Would recommend Barcelona Short walk away from the shuttle bus drop off there are hop on/off tourist buses. We bought a ticket and hopped on and off at several locations. Would recommend. Caution - the tourist bus drop off point for Gaudi Guell Park involves a significant uphill walk to get to the park

Ok but old fashioned, too many black tie nights, spa treatments expensive

Britannia Cruise Review by pgillymot

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: September 2019
  • Destination: Europe
I've cruised twice before - Ventura (P&O) and Independence of the Seas (Royal Caribbean).

I chose this cruise because we were limited in terms of the dates we could take annual leave from work.

Overall

I enjoyed the cruise however there weren't many people my age or younger.

I would estimate the average age of passengers to be 65/70+.

I preferred the Royal Caribbean as the age range was more varied and this was reflected in the activities and entertainment.

Ballroom dancing seemed to feature a lot - holds little/no interest for younger passengers

Far too many black tie nights. At one point we had 2 black tie nights in a 3 day period.

When dining I would prefer to dress more comfortably and casually. I have to dress up for work everyday so like to be more relaxed when on holiday. One black tie night per week is more than sufficient.

I thought the food on Britannia was not as good as Royal Caribbean and on P&O Ventura.

Staff were excellent.

Cabin was excellent, clean with everything we needed.

Ship

Sun Decks - even though Britannia is a bigger ship with more passengers there seemed to better provision of sun loungers than compared with smaller P&O ship Ventura and Royal Caribbean.

Atrium - a very large space with no atmosphere or buzz, occupied mostly by people drinking coffee, reading or eating cake to background of piano playing.

I didn't use this area at all. It felt like an upmarket old people's home.

Drinks - Reasonable prices, better value than Royal Caribbean.

Drink packages - unless you are drinking well over healthy recommendations on a daily basis (verging on alcoholism) the drinks package is not worth having. We bought our drinks separately. Some passengers with drinks packages were unhappy as the bars weren't open very late - possibly due to the age range of the majority of the passengers. There were very few people about after 12am - most had retired for the evening.

Some said the packages limited them to 15 drinks/day.

Spa - Didn't use this - very overpriced.

I had a tension headache and enquired about booking for a 30 minute treatment.

The shortest and cheapest treatment (with a discount) was reflexology session for 50 minutes at £89. I didn't book in, not because I couldn't afford it but because it was not good value for money as this would cost less than half the price back home. I appreciate that things will be dearer on the ship but would have felt ripped off if I'd booked in for a treatment. They didn't seem very busy - possibly because the treatments are overpriced.

If they reduced the price I feel people would be more inclined to book treatments.

The prices for nail treatments seemed more reasonable.

Entertainment

Not enough provision for younger passengers below pensionable age, I was often bored during 'at sea' days.

I was 50 at the time of sailing so i'm no spring chicken however I'm not ready to spend my nights ballroom dancing or sitting drinking coffee and eating cake in the atrium.

There were seminars but most wouldn't appeal to my age and younger - swollen ankles, foot problems, health ailments etc.

Marco Pierre White cooking demo and Q&A was excellent

Tony Green featured as a speaker on several days. His stories about various war battles were brilliant and his knowledge was extensive. This became a highlight of our 'at sea' days.

Brodies - pub feel. Went to Bingo and quizzes here which were good.

Sail Away - We left the first sail away due to the volume of the speakers, it was so loud it actually hurt my ears and I'm someone who regularly goes to concerts and festivals watching live music so It's not that I'm noise sensitive. For this reason we didn't attempt any further Sail Aways.

Headliners Theatre - most performances were singing and dancing and this became a bit 'samey' so we only went to a couple.The dancers were excellent and I assume many also have acting skills so why not perform a condensed West End type musical with acting and offer a bit more variety.

Terry Cotta comedian was brilliant, made a nice change from all the singing/dancing performances. Another comedian or variety act would have been appreciated.

Good space but chairs are very narrow and the drink holders only have one side so I don't use them as it's easy to spill your drink. This meant I had to hold my drink or place it under my seat throughout a performance.

Film - There is a small theatre showing films which is good, we went there a couple of times. It was empty a lot of the time and the space could have been better used/occupied with additional films being put on.

Cookery club - We were lucky enough to to do a Masterclass with Marco Pierre White. Cost of £100pp. This was excellent and made our trip. Marco was brilliant, we saw him around the ship a lot and he was always charming and friendly towards passengers.

Dining

First meal in restaurant wasn't very good - bland, not hot enough. Subsequent meals were an improvement however the food on Ventura was better and Royal Caribbean were much better. Most meals weren't hot enough.

Horizon - buffet, very good, lots of choice and open later at night for snacks, hot chocolate etc. Was much easier to get a table when compared with Ventura and Royal Caribbean.

There were grab and go fridges for snacks and a pizzeria, burger bar which were really good.

Epicurean - a fine dining experience. We went twice for a £25pp supplement - excellent on both occasions.

Limelight Lounge - excellent (evening meal with entertainment). We paid £25pp and saw Chesney Hawkes and Eric and Ern (Morecambe & Wise act) - both were excellent and good value for money

Sindhu - we went there once for a £25pp supplement. Excellent food and atmosphere.

Excursions

Rome - Tiber Cruise and Walk.

Booked this as we did a full walking tour of Rome last year to the main places of interest and thought this would be a bit easier on the feet.

The cruise element of this tour is negligible, we were only on the boat twice for less than 20 minutes on both occasions and there's not a great deal to see from the boat.

The tour was predominantly walking.

There were several flights of stairs up and down from pavement level to the river which proved difficult for some people.

Tour guide was excellent

Gibraltar - WW2 tunnels

This was interesting and the guide also took us via the monkeys on the Rock which was a bonus as it wasn't included in the excursion.

Tour guide was excellent

Florence on your own.

Would recommend

Barcelona

Short walk away from the shuttle bus drop off there are hop on/off tourist buses. We bought a ticket and hopped on and off at several locations. Would recommend.

Caution - the tourist bus drop off point for Gaudi Guell Park involves a significant uphill walk to get to the park
pgillymot’s Full Rating Summary
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