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4,154 P&O Cruises Cruise Reviews

Have travelled with P & O several times and although there have been issues, we have returned as they do represent good value for money, up until now that is. 16 day Baltic Cruise on Arcadia, first time on this ship and tips now ... Read More
Have travelled with P & O several times and although there have been issues, we have returned as they do represent good value for money, up until now that is. 16 day Baltic Cruise on Arcadia, first time on this ship and tips now included. BIG MISTAKE!! Ship was tired, maintenance work forever going on around the deck, why do we pay for a holiday to have this, should be in dock to get it done. Staff were deplorable, couldn’t care less, never saw our maid for the first 2 days after which she would shout along the corridor to her colleague at 7.30 in the morning. Had to speak to her about this several times. Freedom dining was a farce, only dined there 4 times in 16 days as the wait was at least 30-40 minutes after which the table service was even worse. First night it took 3 hours to complete our meal. Food was acceptable but totally boring. Resorted to the Belvedere “café” for the remainder of the days where the waiting staff couldn’t even be bothered to supply us with water of an evening. The food here was shocking, totally mixed up, fried cod in batter next to curry dishes so had to go elsewhere if you wanted chips. Too salty and the same old thing night after night. Couldn’t get ice cream, imagine that. Our cabin wasn’t clean either, spilled stuff on ledges was still there after the whole holiday and it wasn’t our spillage either. Toilets around the ship were mostly blocked and out of order and nothing being done about it. Norovirus broke out the last week. Thankfully never caught it due to being careful. Entertainment was boring, no guest acts, no-one we had ever heard of, they usually have someone of renown but not this time, never attended one show. The cruise itinerary was good though and we enjoyed all the ports although Fredericia was our least favourite. We only booked trips in St. Petersburg for obvious reasons (no visa needed) and they were fine although the evening river cruise was like an old ex serviceman’s outing, all old tables on an old boat, one glass of sweet plonk and the nibbles were inedible to me. The shuttle bus to town from the ship in places that were too far to walk was £4 per person each way, a total rip off and P & O homed in on this knowing there was little choice for us. I could write a book on this cruise. All in all it was like a cheap package holiday to Spain. They stress when booking that no logo clothes or words to that effect are to be worn but there were plenty about the ship and no-one ever attempted to do anything about it. Will look forward to trying a better cruise line next time. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Our fifth time with P +O, most things as expected with a few differences having been used to Ventura and Azura. There was a great feeling of space on this ship with very few queues and a much calmer atmosphere than the family ships. We ... Read More
Our fifth time with P +O, most things as expected with a few differences having been used to Ventura and Azura. There was a great feeling of space on this ship with very few queues and a much calmer atmosphere than the family ships. We had an outside balcony cabin which was clean and absolutely fine. I’m unsure why people criticise the ship for being outdated, it was a bit rusty in places but the cabins and public rooms were absolutely in keeping with other ships and certainly better than the average/budget cruise lines. Most staff were great but at times very secretive, the waits for freedom dining and length of service in the restaurant were unacceptable at times, some staff went a long way to make us happy and some didn’t. The itinery was great with the highlights being St Petersburg and Helsinki. Gdynia was a short train ride from Gdansk. Entertainment was very good. The ship employed a number of resident musicians performing all styles from classical to jazz to popular. There were bands, an orchestra, soloists, a dance group and an entertainment team, more than on many cruise lines. There was more choice of entertainment and venues than other larger ships. The food was mainly good but at times bland. The Belvedere buffet was as you would expect from a self service restaurant. Trips and shuttle bus were too expensive. P+O continue to look at ways to get extra money. This doesn’t seem as bad on slightly older ships like Arcadia but it certainly is a trend on newer larger ships which have less space per passenger and seem to find more and more things to charge for, although it might try Arcadia does offer done welcome relief from this. Staff regularly go the extra mile but I can’t help at thinking times this is driven by money. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Travelled to Southampton with Intercruises. A very comfortable coach, and pleasant driver. Speedy check in and then straight to the Meridian restaurant where we had drinks and snacks. We had cabin B40 and we were very pleased with the ... Read More
Travelled to Southampton with Intercruises. A very comfortable coach, and pleasant driver. Speedy check in and then straight to the Meridian restaurant where we had drinks and snacks. We had cabin B40 and we were very pleased with the space. Balcony was a decent size and there was the usual facilities - kettle fridge etc. We had been a little concerned re some very negative reviews, but honestly found the ship in good repair and evidence of maintenance being carried out most days. We always have room service for breakfast on the first day to avoid the scrum in the buffet. This was delivered on time and correct orders then and on the other occasions we used it. We enjoyed a couple of the shows, some weren’t for us, but that never bothers us at all. We enjoyed the Arcadia orchestra playing in the Crows Nest on a few occasions.We enjoyed an evening at the cinema which was well attended and is designated seats by ticket only, saving any problems of people bringing in chairs and parking themselves in front of you. Freedom dining was a little frustrating as we had quite long waits on a few occasions. We then tended to go down for dinner earlier, and didn’t seem to have to wait as long. We found the food to be ok. Vegetarian menu is available each evening, so that’s a change from previously where you had to order the night before. There were good choices and we were quite happy with the food in the main. Dined in Sindhu - absolutely delicious, and Ocean grill, again very nice food and excellent service in both restaurants. The first two ports of call in Denmark, Skagen and Fredericia were wonderful. Blessed with great weather, we loved the atmosphere in both of these places. Pricey though! Having been to St Petersburg before and used Alla tours, who were amazing, we wanted one day tours this time and used P&O. Faberge eggs on day one - very interesting. Day 2 we did a trip where we were dropped at 3 different locations and left to our own devices ( complete with a note which said , in Russian, I am lost, please ring this number! That was a great day. We rented the map and audio pen and found that useful. Gdynia was a delight. A lovely marina and a really interesting museum which was in an old sailing ship in the harbour. Cheapest and most delicious ice cream of the trip! Oslo was super - saw the amazing sculptures, and we loved Helsinki . Weather wasn’t marvellous for the last two ports, but it was Norway so we kind of expected it. We also had a norovirus outbreak during the last few days. Still witnessed people using the toilets and walking straight out. So, all in all, a good time was had. We love trying different cruises lines and have tried eight, but do pick cruises for the itinerary so we are booked again on Arcadia in 2021 on an itinerary that suits us. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This was a special holiday for us – my mum was 80 last year and always wanted to visit St Petersburg, but she won’t fly – so a Baltic cruise we thought would be ideal. This was our second cruise we had wanted to book the cruise to ... Read More
This was a special holiday for us – my mum was 80 last year and always wanted to visit St Petersburg, but she won’t fly – so a Baltic cruise we thought would be ideal. This was our second cruise we had wanted to book the cruise to the Baltics last year but had left it late to book, as there was 3 of us and we couldn’t get a deal for a cabin for 3. Last year we went on a short cruise (6 days) with Royal Caribbean – before booking a more expensive 16 day cruise with P&O this year. I must say the best part of the P&O cruise was the staff and service – we had a really great cabin steward who just made our cruise better with the warm service and the waiters and waitresses as the bars and restaurants worked hard and were great. On the whole though we rate the cruise a 3 out of 5. Three days in to the journey and some of the lifts weren’t working, some of the public toilets weren’t working (which was blamed on travellers putting things down the toilet systems) and 3 days before the end of the cruise we had a Norovirus breakout. You may think these things happen, but then I’ve since read that during Arcadia’s previous cruise in July 2019 (and June) – all these three things occurred during those journey's – broken lifts, blocked toilets and the norovirus breakouts? The ship needs serious overhauling – these things are basic. I think P&0 have their loyal core travellers - but to us as new to cruising I’m afraid we wouldn’t pick P&O again – the main thing for us was the food – it just wasn’t as good quality as food with Royal Caribbean last year. We had two meals at the Meridian restaurant which were inedible – pork fillet (so tough you couldn’t get your fork into it) and Hake was a lump of small grey fish, full of bones – looked and tasted disgusting. We ate at the Ocean Grill, twice – first time was exceptional and second time was just ok (again the fish was awful with the fish not being white, having the skin still on and bones) we also ate at Sindhu which we enjoyed. We felt the entertainment fell way short of what the Royal Caribbean had offered last year – just couldn’t get the hype with the singing/dancing group – who seemed to be involved every other night – just stage school singing and dancing. We booked 3 excursion trips with P&O – the first was exceptional – vintage tram tour of Helskini, we had a great tour guide who just made the day - everything was spot on. We also booked a 2 day tour of St Petersburg – very expensive – but there was a lot to see and do and we didn’t want to miss anything. I would question the need to visit the food market on the first day – I saw this as a waste of our time. The food we had to eat on both days wasn’t good – we understood that we were visiting a local restaurant on the first day – but then to get Greek salad (what’s Russian about that) beef stroganoff (with some sort of meat that had been cooking it seemed for days and no sauce) and then a piece of cake with ice cream that was frozen and couldn’t eat – the only part we enjoyed was the bread, water and wine. Plus the service – there was no welcome, hello or smile to be had by anyone serving us. Again the tour guide was exceptional. The third trip was the Leisurely Oslo tour – which was £40 for a 2 hour trip – 1.5 hours in the coach seeing the sights of Oslo – which was ok – we had picked this at mum being 81 had two full days in St Petersburg so though a coach tour would have been ideal and more leisurely – but the destination to the ski jump just didn’t work when out of season and you didn’t get to see the ski jump in use so to speak – they would have been better stopping at the park. Really overpriced and a bit of a rip-off. Another thing was the location of the cabin, as not being regular cruisers we were given a cabin in the front of the ship and we felt the ship moving quite a bit and indeed got motion sickness when the weather was rough travelling to and from Oslo. I had phoned as we had booked so far in advance and prices had fallen by £600 when I made a call to see if we could upgrade to another part of the ship – but was told there wasn’t any point there was not difference in the cabins – but why then do you have the different price ranges for the same cabin class. Felt we had been fobbed off with this – not good customer service. Embarkation and Disembarkation – went smoothly – from arriving at the terminal to checking in – we were in our rooms in half-an hour. Our cabin steward (Michael) was superb – friendly, efficient and good humoured. . Perhaps because we had meals that we didn’t enjoy and a couple that were inedible we felt that paying the extra £700 between the three of us for the Select Price/Option for freedom dining we just didn’t see the value on this occasion as we only “walked in” on 2 of our nights on all the other nights when we ate at the Meridian restaurants we had to wait between 20-40 minutes – no big deal as you could go to the piano bar for a pre dinner drink – but maybe this should be limited to numbers for it to work.Seemed to us that most people had opted for the freedom dining – the 8.30 sitting in the bottom restaurant was more than half empty With regard to the destination the highlights for us apart from seeing St Petersburg, was Helsinki (would definitely go back) and indeed enjoyed all the destinations apart from Gdynia (there was nothing there you would need to fork out for an excursion to Gdansk) would have preferred perhaps an extra day in Helsinki or could stopping in Estonia be an option. P&O beats Royal Caribbean in terms of drinks prices – much cheaper paying for your drinks in pounds – RC much more expensive with cocktails being around $11-$14 dollars – where here we paid just under £7 for a cocktail and wine here much more value for money. It’s not a cheap trip with on board spend, and excursions we spent over £9K for the three of us – so we wanted it to be better. We enjoyed ourselves and I don’t normally complain but we so wanted to love this cruise so we could pick P&O again – but it fell short for us. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We’ve sailed with p & o on several occasions now, and I choose P & O because I loved the attentiveness of staff, the cabin cleanliness and the quality of the entertainment. Unfortunately, for us, it didn’t match to our ... Read More
We’ve sailed with p & o on several occasions now, and I choose P & O because I loved the attentiveness of staff, the cabin cleanliness and the quality of the entertainment. Unfortunately, for us, it didn’t match to our expectations. Our room was spotless, as was the whole ship. The attentiveness of staff was very lacking. We could go int9 a bar and not be served for over half an hour. If we went to the bar to request a drink, we were told to sit down and someone would come and take our order. Mostly, they didn’t. The entertainment was disappointing too. On previous P & O Cruises we have always found the theatre shows to be outstanding and so much entertainment on in the Horizon magazine that we have been virtually running from one venue to another time catch the great acts. Sadly, not on this cruise. I’m not sure if it was the fault of the entertainment crew or not but why would you put Whitney House n soundalike in one theatre and Diva’s in the other on the same night?! Again one night with a magician in one place and a mind reader in another?! It didn’t make sense to us. The resident band Pulse, thought they were better than they obviously were. One thing for everyone to bear in mind when booking a cruise to the Norweigan Fjords is that there cannot be any sail away parties on top deck as it’s against Norwegian policies to have music on deck at any of the Norwegian ports. This is something that’s not made aware to you when you book the cruise. Also, you cannot use plastic Britannia flags at a ‘sail on’ anymore and neither do they give them out (because of the harmful effects on the enviroment). We had a sail on party in the Atrium instead but it’s no where near the same. I’m not trying to sway anyone’s mind here, this is just a view of hw we found our cruise. I was shocked how different this cruise was to m last one with Pn& O but I’m not sure entirely what.m Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
I have lucky to have cruised quite a bit over the last 15 years, on a number of different ships and different cruise lines. With PO I have experienced Azura, Britannia and Oceana but I am sad to say that over the years I have seen a ... Read More
I have lucky to have cruised quite a bit over the last 15 years, on a number of different ships and different cruise lines. With PO I have experienced Azura, Britannia and Oceana but I am sad to say that over the years I have seen a steady decline in the cruising experience offered by PO. I was able to experiance the Azura in its ingrual year and a quite a few times since. Although it clearly is ready for a re-fit, this is not the main reason review. I have tried to be as fair as possibe and give merit when derserved and not so good service where experianced. Embarkation; As expected at Southampton, CPS was bit bit slow nd it took around an hour queing in a car line to wait to be able to check in luggge. Luggage porters were in short supply so be prepared to load your cases into the loading bays yourself. We did not see any Ship staff in the Embarkation area on this cruise, but not a big issue. Check in and security ok, did not take for ever this time! As we have been in this ship a number of times, did not stop for photos but they seemed to be more organised this time and there was not pressured sale rotuine - There were a lot of first time cruisers this time and a definate lack of ship staff greet them and help with finding cabins etc. First time we have experianced this on any cruise ship, maybe this is due to cutbacks. Cabin; Looking a bit tired but OK. We had a balcony on C deck, which was nice only issue was the balcony furiture was very old and mismatched and we only had one footstall! We noticed that other cabins had much nicer and newer furniture, maybe ours was the last cabin on their list. Cabin Steward, excellant,greeted ius on arrival, knew our names and delivered ice as requiested without fail. Kept our cabin really clean, tempted to say that they were the best we have experianced on any ship for a long time. Luggage arrived promptly, and we were able to unpack before depature. Dinning: Big improvement on this ship, did not have one bad meal. Service staff efficent, and friently - well done PO! Entertaimnent and activities: In general the entertament was not good. Starting with Headliners only 2 shows in 7 days and both were not great. After being on another cruise where the show were really good and entaining, the cast members interated with the passangers, the number of productions they did were professional and far in excess of PO limp offering. To put in context these show were the worst I have seen in 15 years of cruising. PO have a band called pulse on most of there ships, on the Britannia they were great, young and fun and played great music and good singers, On other cruises on Azura they were also good, but this time the singer lacked personalilty and voice. The other acts were also not great, to many commedians. Other activities: Not a lot of offer other than Spa talks, occasional quiz and sales pitches, what happened to lectures, hosted art and crafts etc etc, very poor on this ship have experienced much better. One good point though, great new sunbeds!c Service:There seem to be a large cutback in staff in the lounges and very oftern we had to order our drinks from the bar then wait 30 minutes for them to arrive at our table. On a few occassions we have to retrive our cruise card and cancel drinks due to time restraints. 30 minutes is too long to wait, 10 minutes acceptable. Port and Shore Exursions: We did not use PO exursions and arranged our own, Norway is beautiful and a lot to do. But be aware it is expensive. The big question is would I go again; I would serioulsy have to think about Cruising with PO again. We tend to pick cruises for their ports of call. I have been with PO on quite a few occassions but this could be our last cruise with them. As a first cruise experience its ok, but I feel there is much better available. Although their drinks/bar prices and cheaper than their counterparts, their cruises are not always better value, the rest of the cruise service/experience they offer is not as good and I feel you get much more for you hard earned money on other cruise ships. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Been 6 times now and this was up there with the rest of them. SHIP Been on the larger ones but Aurora is my favourite. Very attractive ship with lovely wide Promenade Deck and tiered aft. RESTAURANTS Medina and Horizon ... Read More
Been 6 times now and this was up there with the rest of them. SHIP Been on the larger ones but Aurora is my favourite. Very attractive ship with lovely wide Promenade Deck and tiered aft. RESTAURANTS Medina and Horizon restaurants were excellent as always. Great selection of food and always fresh and hot. Everyone smiled and welcomed guests in and out. Where we had to wait for a table for two in the Meridian the wait was only 25 minutes max. Just enough time to pop to Andersons bar to enjoy a pint. We also paid £15 each to see the galley where they make and prepare all the dishes and it was a real eye-opener. Spotless and everyone working to a Trojan standard. Told there is only one Soup Chef and one Potato Chef, etc. This is partly so if there are any complaints the Galley Manager knows who to talk with and also where they are only cooking these items day-in-day-out they always come out perfect. If you do this make sure you have a very early breakfast or none as the visit starts at 10.30am and they serve large trays of canapes along with Champagne. SERVICE Five star throughout. Many staff who you made eye contact with would say 'Good Morning/Afternoon' as they passed you in the corridor. This included the lowest-ranked staff all the way up to the officers. Ask for anything and you will get it. SHOWS The Headliners Theatre Company performers were outstanding as were the comedians and guest singers. The show choreography was also really good. ISSUES Just a couple. Room Service used to be free. It still is for breakfast but other things are chargeable now. The mattress was only 5 years old but was one with springs that had had their day. Woke up the first couple of mornings with bad backs but reception sorted it. When booking it is also not made clear that you CANNOT do Freedom Dining unless you are a Select booking or you are very lucky. We assumed Select booking meant you could choose which fixed dining time you could have, ie 6.30 or 8.30. We assumed that Freedom Dining was for everyone - but beware it isn't. The dining Manager showed us a list of over 150 people who were trying to change to Freedom Dining. Maybe some of these also made this mistake. Due to personal health reasons we did manage to get this changed and greatly thank P&O for this. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Rooms are like prison cells. Bathroom is tiny you literally can’t move in it. For a ship of this capacity the swimming pool is the size of a bath. The outdated rules of no shorts gets boring especially when men are allowed to dinner in ... Read More
Rooms are like prison cells. Bathroom is tiny you literally can’t move in it. For a ship of this capacity the swimming pool is the size of a bath. The outdated rules of no shorts gets boring especially when men are allowed to dinner in scruffy Adidas trainers. Not only are you woken up early with the annoying, pointless announcements but the ship is a dictatorship. Never cruised before and because we booked through a 3rd party we weren’t informed of the dinner attire rules, we was reprimanded for not booking direct with p&o but p&o still accepted the booking and happily took our money via 3rd party. Avoid this ship. It’s tired and lacking any character or luxury. You can hear every noise the cabin next door/ above makes also. Drawers constantly being pulled in and out. Entertainment was dated and not much for children in fact the only child’s disco that was organised what set at the same time of the black tie event so nobody showed up. When eating at the buffet you practically had to beg the waiters to take your drinks order otherwise they just avoid you. I went and asked one to order a drink and he told me to go to the bar. Many of the wait staff are arrogant and unhelpful. Would never cruise again and would advise anyone considering it to avoid the Oceana. Ports were efficient and no problems going through just don’t forget crew card. Upon disembarking you have to provide your crew card of which this was taken off of us when we checked out at reception. As stated before we have never cruised and as no information was given to us as they assume every passenger has done many cruises it caused a confusion and delayed us getting off the boat as we no longer had our cards. Then the man started shouting over me aggressively when I was pointing out that reception staff should not have taken my card if I needed it to disembark and leave the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We chose this cruise as we were Interested in all the ports that it was going to, particularly that it left and returned to Malta. We did all our own city tours using local buses, which was very easy and very cost effective. Saved ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we were Interested in all the ports that it was going to, particularly that it left and returned to Malta. We did all our own city tours using local buses, which was very easy and very cost effective. Saved ourselves time and money, and would happily do it again. Was great having a duty free shop at the port in Malta and were able to buy 2 litres of spirits, a bottle of liqueur and as much mixers as we wanted for our cabin. We were able to stock up on our mixers when we stopped in at Malta at the end of the 7 day cruise before we carried on for the next 7 days. The entertainment onboard was excellent, at least two shows a night, all different, the best being a comedian from Cuba, a jazz player and the tribute to Queen on the last night. As we didn’t do any shore excursions due to the cost, I rated this poor. Would recommend this cruise Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
First cruise. Pleased with the look of the ship. Very clean and sparkly. Pleased with cabin, it was compact but had lots of little drawers and shelves so all our stuff had a home. Buffet was like being at school! You were presented ... Read More
First cruise. Pleased with the look of the ship. Very clean and sparkly. Pleased with cabin, it was compact but had lots of little drawers and shelves so all our stuff had a home. Buffet was like being at school! You were presented with a tray with napkin and cutlery and you queued round the counters, Horrible! You made your own coffee/ tea and then found a table. Staff in bars, atrium, shops and restaurants were generally uncommunicative, at times surly and curt and NEVER friendly or smiley. We ate in the Ligurian each night. Good, tasty, well cooked and well presented food with lots of choice but again, service very poor. Slow, careless and frustrating on the whole. We had to ask repeatedly for things like sugar, milk etc. We had the Champagne breakfast in our cabin which was lovely. Way too much food for two people and we had to leave an almost full basket of rolls etc which was a shame. Such a waste of food. We had a meal in Cafe Jardin which was very good and worth doing. The Formal nights were good and it was lovely to see most people dressed to the nines. Cabin steward was the exception. She was happy, friendly and did a great job. Went to Pilates session. The instructor was miserable as sin. He failed to ask if we had done Pilates before and more importantly, if we had any injuries or weaknesses he should be aware of. Appalling practice! He spoke as though he despised us both (there were only two of us) and didn’t want to be there! It was like a gym workout and when I asked him to explain a position again for me he just pointed to the other person as he was in the required position! How rude!! He was however, much more friendly when he led a seminar on improving your metabolism but that turned out to be nothing more than a sales pitch!! No wonder he was friendly! Entertainment was good and in fact was better than we expected. We went to the theatre group’s shows, the magic shows and enjoyed all of them. The public spaces were nicely kept and always very clean. Our big problem was that there were way too many people, big noisy groups in the bars which were always packed. The main pool area awful!! We nicknamed it Benidorm! The sun beds were so close they seemed welded together! Adult only area was quiet but soooo windy and had no shade. We did not take any of the excursions on offer so I can’t comment on them. Nor did we take part in other activities such as ballroom dancing, but people seemed to be enjoying them. So all in all, I’m sorry but this was nothing more than an all inclusive family holiday on water. Glad we did it but really don’t see why people get hooked on cruising and can’t wait to boast about how many they have done! Lol. There are lots of nicer, quieter ways to spend your hols. Maybe P and O aren’t a luxury cruise line, I don’t know. We won’t be repeating the experience. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We choose this cruise as we wanted to see Greece & Croatia as not been before. We loved every port we visited, Mykonos was my favourite and the wife’s was Venice & Dubrovnik. The ships food was amazing. So much to choose ... Read More
We choose this cruise as we wanted to see Greece & Croatia as not been before. We loved every port we visited, Mykonos was my favourite and the wife’s was Venice & Dubrovnik. The ships food was amazing. So much to choose from every night. The waiters looked after us with extra chips and veg & Ice cream every night. The headliners were the best I’ve seen on any cruise, we loved the killer queen & musical shows. Also north by northeast singers were really good. Around the pool was really busy on sun days but as I’d get the pool at 8.45 it was easy to get beds. After 9 it was hard to get one in front of the pool. Service for drinks was great and not long to wait. My favourites bar was winners with football on and the casino was great and wasn’t busy so always a seat. Le club was great for a dance and was in there most nights. Stayed open till 2 but you could get a drink in and stay till 3am. Peroni on draught was good and they had doom bar in big bottles which I like. Our kids 11 & 13 girls loved the kids clubs and soon made friends. The only tours we Done was In Dubrovnik the game of thrones walking tour. That was amazing but hard going as very hot and a lot of steps. But me and my wife enjoyed seeing all the locations and the views. Also in split we went on the KrKa waterfalls tour which we didn’t enjoy that much as it was a long day on the coach and very rushed so didn’t get to enjoy the walk in the park and not much time to have a swim. I love this ship as it’s a smaller one so not hard to get seats for shows and space in bars and casino. Would definitely cruise again on oceana as staff are friendly and like the less busy areas. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This was our second cruise with P and O, the first being last year on Britannia, which was disappointing. We have cruised with different companies previously so do have some idea of expectations! We returned from a cruise to Norway on ... Read More
This was our second cruise with P and O, the first being last year on Britannia, which was disappointing. We have cruised with different companies previously so do have some idea of expectations! We returned from a cruise to Norway on Ventura yesterday we were disappointed to find that there was a lack of activities during the cruise. The tables in some of the bars and on the tables on deck 15 were not cleaned after use. There didn't seem to be enough staff to serve guests in any of the bars and we were not the only ones who failed to be served in the exchange or on deck 15. Some staff we found to be rude. This was not what we expected. We ate in the restaurant and in the Glass house. The Glass house was excellent, it is a shame that the same can not be said for the main restaurant, we were either rushed through courses and left with the menu for desserts for a cknsiderable period, on some occasions we were asked if we wanted cheese and coffee and others not and felt that although we were asked, we shouldnt have said yes we wanted both, there didnt seem any consistency within the restaurants Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
As first family crew chose p and o. Buffet food was average and bland especially at dinner time.Very difficult to find a table at buy times. Staff in buffet restaurant not particularly friendly. Believe other worked. Restaurants included ... Read More
As first family crew chose p and o. Buffet food was average and bland especially at dinner time.Very difficult to find a table at buy times. Staff in buffet restaurant not particularly friendly. Believe other worked. Restaurants included in price Cinnamon and Saffron. Had lovely food and very good service. We paid for food one night in the glasshouse (tapas) that was amazing. Beach house food which you had to pay extra for was average. My food had a hair in it yuk. Put me off. Our steward was excellent very friendly. Most of the other staff were not very smiley and seemed disinterested. Reception staff not very friendly or smiley either. Swimming pools were good but sometimes full of screaming kids. Entertainment was good. We3 - vocal group were amazing. Adele impersonator very good. Metropolis bar was very classy with good views and a guy playing piano. I used the gym. It’s very good with up to date equipment and nice views into the sea. Overall good. But customer service standards could be better. Maybe staff not getting tips anymore is having an affect. We are thinking of trying another cruise company next time to get a better standard of customer service and friendlessness. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
What an amazing experience overall with very little to fault! Embarkation was swift, we used CP Parking and had priority boarding through our suite booking. It took us less than 20 minutes from arrival at the dock in our car to ... Read More
What an amazing experience overall with very little to fault! Embarkation was swift, we used CP Parking and had priority boarding through our suite booking. It took us less than 20 minutes from arrival at the dock in our car to stepping on board the ship - couldn't have been any easier! Once on board we did find that there was no assistance/help for those new to cruising to know where we should go or what to do! I felt this was the one element of the cruise that was a little bit of a let down. Safe to say we walked aimlessly around for a while before working out where to go. All meals and food were fantastic. We had a mix of breakfasts at the Epicurian, the waterside buffet, the bay tree restaurant and on our balcony. All were wonderful. Lunches were taken at the waterside buffet or the poolside grill / pizzeria. Good choice and plenty available. We had select dining at the 6.30pm slot in the bay tree restaurant where we had the same table for 4 by the window each night. Our waiters Wilson and Suresh were exceptional and brilliant with the children showing them new drawings and tricks each night and serving up the odd extra chocolate treats! Ports visited: Stavenger - we did our own thing here and just took a long walk around the different areas of the town, plenty to see and keep the children busy Olden - amazing sail down the fjord - simply stunning. In Olden we did the beautiful Stryn exursion which was a lovely coach drive through the mountains stopping off at various points for photographs etc. It also included a stop at the national park centre for traditional pancakes, tea and a chance for the children to play at the small beach by the lake. definately our stand out day. Alesund - we did our own thing in the morning climbing the 416 steps to the viewpoint high above the town. Stunning views but be aware it costs once you get up there to enter the viewpoint area with the cafe/toilets etc. In the afternoon we did the exursion to the Atlantic Sea Park - much nicer than the sea life centres in the Uk, but we did find that the 3 hours allocated was a little long - we were done in 2 hours and had to wait for the coach to return. Bergen - biggest port of call and very busy with numerous cruise ships all in dock at the same time. Again we did our own thing and took in the sights of the old shopping quarter the park and lake and the fish/traditional food market. Both children attended the Reef childrens' clubs in the evening - surfers and scubas and had an amazing time, meeting lots of new friends onboard. this enabled us to have time in the evening to relax and take in some of the entertainment on offer. The Beatles experience were fantastic as was the Astonishing magic show. Spice Girls tribute and comedian also good fun! We felt the cleanliness of the ship and attentiveness of staff was excellent throughout. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
There's a lot of cruising snobbery with the judging different "classes" of passengers so here's the deal, P&O are clever enough to cater for a broad market, love it or pay more and go Seabourn!! The joy of a big ... Read More
There's a lot of cruising snobbery with the judging different "classes" of passengers so here's the deal, P&O are clever enough to cater for a broad market, love it or pay more and go Seabourn!! The joy of a big ship is that you can avoid the areas which aren't to your liking and if you feel that way inclined the "types" you might want to avoid are away from the areas you probably enjoy. Yes, the ship decor is rather dark and my first reaction was to pine for the bling of Ventura but sultry Britannia grows on you. The public areas are cleverly designed with many nooks and crannies so you can be in the heart of the action or tuck yourself away as you choose. The Glass House is, as ever, excellent. The Crow's nest bar is back at the front of the ship and wonderful for pre dinner drinks. Recommend sitting away from the piano as it can be very loud. The atrium is very spacious with plenty of seating to people watch with a post dinner drink/coffee. Drinks service was excellent everywhere. If we were waiting we only had to indicate to someone and they were there. Crystal room was surprisingly pleasant late evening with lots of people taking to the floor. Didn't frequent Brodies or the casino but it was popular and pretty packed each time we walked through. Breakfast, lunch and evening restaurant food service couldn't be faulted and the attention for special dietary needs was outstandingly accommodating. A couple of meals were overcooked but there was absolutely no issue with getting plates changed. Of course it would be better if they didn't need to be returned but with thousands of guests give the staff a sporting chance by asking for better, they are happy to oblige and would much rather you went away happy. Desserts weren't too special but OK. Didn't frequent the buffet much but when we did there was plenty of room, staff were very helpful, friendly and food good. Spend a moment to talk to the buffet chefs, they don't get much guest interaction and will appreciate it... Joseph, my daughter thought you were fantastic! Theatre plush and the Cinema is a nice addition. I missed the theatre waiter service but my husband hates it so goes to show can't please everyone. Gym well equipped and spacious. First 3 machines I approached were out of action but there were still plenty even when the gym was busy. Came to the conclusion that for the amount of hours spent in it, the Retreat is expensive when securing a fortnight complete package. Would we do it again? yes because the service in the Britannia Retreat was amazing and engaging, Sebastian and Jovan both a real credit to P&O. I've previously moaned about unhelpful reception staff on other ships but not so on Britannia, spoke to Carl a few times and he was very helpful and extremely likeable. Daily service charge has now been removed and here's the interesting bit, we left far more in tips to far more staff than ever before. I've once previously asked for service charges to be withdrawn because of poor service so it was great to reward such a change. I was told that the teenage Reef space wasn't as good as Ventura and Azura but the Reef Rangers were as cool as ever. The great part of cruising with youngsters is that because there are relatively few cruises in school holidays the kids look forward to reuniting with friends from previous cruises, you don't get that with most holidays. Security always checked that minors were accompanied when leaving ship, which showed they were on their game. We've done the port stops bar Cadiz before so no surprises there. Cadiz, Cartagena and Barcelona were our favourites. Although a really positive experience, there were 2 areas which fell short. The first was that the entertainment was by far the poorest we've had on a P&O cruise. Tucker's "comedy" material hadn't changed since last time we saw him! Thankfully, there were a couple of notable exceptions with the superb Lloyd Wade and We3. We paid extra to see La Voix in the Limelight club and were treated to a magnificent night and great food (menu is surprisingly small so we may have been just lucky to have what we wanted on the menu), brilliant vocals and comedy, La Voix, we'll be back to see you again. The 2nd area was the Captains Gala, which we look forward to for the pomp and ceremony. I've never known a Captain to be late for his own party and not have the decency to apologise, we walked out to go for dinner as he arrived and started his speech, really bad form and example Sir. Finally, of course there's the much talked about lack of stairs mid ship. This didn't bother us at all as we consciously try to burn off a few of those naughty calories by walking and climbing stairs, plus our group don't have mobility issues or a pushchair. Heard lots complaining though. Oh yes, embarkation, nearly forgot that. We've always found Southampton port staff to be brilliant and cheerful (even when they are trialling new arrangements for the huge Iona), disappointing that for the first time ever we were checked in by Mrs Sour Face Grumpy but soon forgot about her!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
First the good points of our cruise. We feel there has been a big improvement in the quality and variation of the food on Britannia, we cruised with P & O twice last year on Azura & Ventura and without doubt the food this time was ... Read More
First the good points of our cruise. We feel there has been a big improvement in the quality and variation of the food on Britannia, we cruised with P & O twice last year on Azura & Ventura and without doubt the food this time was improved. It was of good quality and varied even in the Buffett. The Buffett area is also a much better design than on other P & O ships which are too ‘tight’ and get very crowded. The entertainment was very good and there were some good deck parties. Our ‘restricted’ balcony G408 was not really restricted and neither was G410, G412, G414, G416 these rooms fall between a large gap between the lifeboats yet they are lower priced due to a very slight restriction. We could see straight out and sideways With nothing directly in our view. If you want a bargain balcony then these are the ones to go for. Our room was nice and a decent size. We didn’t have the drinks package because it is just to expensive but the drinks purchased separately are of a very reasonable price. Now for the negatives. As I say we booked a midship balcony room on deck 8 but the balcony is the smallest we have ever seen. You cannot sit straight looking out to sea they are that small. The ship in parts is very poorly designed. The stairs in midships only go up to deck 7? So unless you walk to either end of the ship you cannot walk up or down from midships from deck 8 and upwards. It’s just bonkers. The lifts are also small. On deck 17 at the aft is what I can only describe as a large bath, it is supposed to be a plunge pool but it’s just too small with vast amount of wasted deck either side. We never used it because it was always full. This pool should fill the width of the deck. The ‘sunset bar’ at the aft is lovely but they play background music that is so quiet it may as well not be on. The reason given for this was because guests in the suites below complain?? We and others asked for the music to be raised to a very reasonable level, not loud, until at least 11.30 but it was refused. It takes away a lot of the ambience of the bar. Towards the front of the ship is the ‘Serenity pool’ for adults only but the bar stops serving at 6pm?? So there is not an adult only bar on outside decks after 6pm. On deck 16 in the centre of the ship is the Lido pools, a great family area but above this on deck 17 looking down on the Lido the ship is crying out for a bar just like on Ventura or Azura. A couple of entertainment planning issues we had and that other guests complained about were that the ‘Crystal bar/room’ was just not used to anywhere near it’s capacity. It was almost predominantly used for old style dancing and apart from a few times was always only a quarter full. This is fine if like Ventura and Azura there are two live music bars to chose from but there isn’t so most people only have the choose of the ‘Live lounge’. In respects of the ‘Live lounge’ there was no thought given to the fact that most passengers see the last but one night as a party night and with that in mind many of us turned up to party and dance the night away only for the party to be flattened by a poor comedian who came on at 23.45hrs when lots of guests were dancing. The problem then was that there is no where else to go to dance or party. The service we received was also very patchy and on the whole was below standard. We had done nine cruise before this one with four being P & O ships so we know what to expect but I’m afraid the smiles, interaction, attention to detail has gone from many of the waiters, waitresses on deck and within the restaurants with the exception of the ‘Glasshouse’ for some reason. Without doubt they work hard and we are very chatty, polite people who love having a laugh and it must be hard doing their work day in day out but that’s what we pay our money for. It may seem like it just us morning but there were lots of other passengers who noticed this. One last moan and something to be aware of and it will probably be the same on most ships is that if you go on a cruise in school holidays be ready to expect uncontrolled children approx 8 to 16 running around throughout the ship at all times especially in the corridors. We watched many parents just let their kids do this without a word being said. A constant ‘thump, thump, thump’ was heard. We have had our own children and now have grandchildren but we would never let ours be totally out of control like a lot of what we saw were even in the ‘Glasshouse’ whilst we ate some were running around our table whilst their parents drank oblivious to everything. We wouldn’t go on this ship again although in spite of everything we had a great cruise because the food was good, we met lots of great new friends and the weather was great. Something to ponder though is that someone probably got paid thousands of pounds to design this ship yet there seems to have been some glaring mistakes. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We chose this cruise as it stopped at nine destinations, six of which we had not visited before on previous cruises. Journey from Valetta airport to ship was fine, registration efficient. As always you are met with friendly faces and ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it stopped at nine destinations, six of which we had not visited before on previous cruises. Journey from Valetta airport to ship was fine, registration efficient. As always you are met with friendly faces and a beautiful atrium, we immediately bought the non alcoholics package which included soft drinks as well as costa coffees/hot chocolate. We didn’t use the gym, hair or beauty facilities so cannot comment. The main pool area is compact with lots of sun beds squashed very closely together, however, there are some areas, particularly around the front of the ship where you can spread out a bit. Pool towels are easily accessible and can be refreshed daily, we left ours in the bathroom and they were replaced no problem Food - had better. The breakfast buffet had very little choice, the fried eggs looked like they had been sitting there for hours, the porridge had a weird taste. The plastic glasses used for juice were always warm and wet as if they had just been dragged out of the dishwasher so not ideal when you want a cold drink. The lunch buffet wasn’t great, not much choice and very repetitive. (Depends what you are comparing it to I suppose) The plates were sometimes in shortage and often warm (once again straight out of the dishwasher) and not ideal putting salad on it. We had our evening meal at the 6.30 sitting and the staff were great. We shared a table with six others which worked out well. The first week the food seemed fine, we looked forward to seeing the menu. There was always some items on every single night. For example prawn cocktail, tomato soup and steak. By the second week, the food became very repetitive and some nights we were struggling to choose the best. For better quality food and service I would recommend you eat breakfast and lunch in the main restaurant or Cafe Jardin. (You do have to pay extra in the Cafe Jardin in the evenings but not for breakfast and lunch. Entertainment- plenty to do, you get a news sheet left in your cabin for the following day which is full of information and you can plan your day. Talks, demonstrations, films, singalongs, quiz, dance classes etc are ongoing then in the evening there is two theatres, each have a show at 8.30 and 10.30. Some nights it is by the in house entertainers and also each week three entertainers are brought on the ship, some from “Britain’s got talent” tribute acts etc and like everything some are better than others. If this is not your thing then there are several bar/coffee places to sit. Some quiet, some with background music, some a bit more lively. Overall, the ship is fine, if you want to pick faults you will find some, but overall it’s clean and well organised and all staff were great, except the girl who was supposed to look after our cabin. More about that below. There was a mixed age group from young to old. I watched the younger generation and as long as they were in the pool they were fine, but soon started to wander back and forth in groups, almost looking a bit of a loss of what to do with themselves. I twice came across a group of lads about 14ish being a nuisance with the lifts, going up and down pressing the buttons for every deck whilst their mates raced down the stairs to try and beat the lift. This at times was annoying. Overall, I wouldn’t recommend this ship for children as their is not enough to keep them going and as it was blazing hot they were being dragged around sightseeing. Excursions- quite expensive. We only did one. Half day to Pisa and it chucked it down in rain. £55 each. The tour guide chatted non stop all the way there, the coach took us to a car park outside the main area and we transferred to a little train which took us around Pisa streets. We had free time then returned. However, we talked to some who had shared a taxi and it cost them £22 each so can be done a lot cheaper as it’s not too far away. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Having enjoyed a number of cruises on Oriana over the years we felt we had to be on her for her last P&O voyage sailing to Svalbard via the Faroe islands, Norway and Belfast. She was still in very good condition after 24 year's ... Read More
Having enjoyed a number of cruises on Oriana over the years we felt we had to be on her for her last P&O voyage sailing to Svalbard via the Faroe islands, Norway and Belfast. She was still in very good condition after 24 year's service although mechanical issues on recent voyages have shown that she is feeling her age The itinerary worked very well and, although the weather was usually a bit dreary at sea, the ports were generally warm and clear and we had no rough seas. The highlight of the voyage for us was the terrific evening/night sailing the Svalbard glaciers in beautiful weather (and midnight sun). First class. Considering the fact it was the last voyage, P&O pulled out the stops any many extra activities were organised. There were a couple of surprisingly empty sea days but they were more than made up for by: • The presence of Oriana's first captain and her first cruise director (Captain Ian Gibb and Ian Fraser) was much appreciated. They both gave very entertaining and nostalgic presentations and were very keen to get involved and were very accessible. It was good to see how Captain Sarah Breton interacted with Ian Gibb in particular. They obviously have great respect for each other. She was the life and soul of the party at the excellent auction of memorabilia held for the Teenage Cancer Trust which raised several thousand pounds. • Ken Vard (speaking on the history of ocean liners) is one of our favourite guest lecturers and to have him aboard was a real bonus. He was on our first P&O cruise on Aurora back in 2004 and is as good now as he was then. A pity that Tom O’Connor is no longer sailing, he’s almost part of the furniture • P&O UK President, Paul Ludlow, joined in Belfast and made a good impression. It’s good to have the top man recognise such an occasion. At a cocktail party he hosted he very sensibly steered away from the subject of big ships and was even heard to say that he has no plans to sell Aurora . Lets hope he’s right! • The formal celebration, unusually held on the last night, was a very good, though inevitably nostalgic, evening • And the sail-in to Southampton left not a dry eye in the house. We were later in than usual so that everyone could be on deck to witness the event. The fire tug made it an event and even the Captain had a catch in her voice in her final announcement One of the strongest impressions we had was that the crew were feeling sad too. For a lot of them Oriana has been home for many years and it was obviously a wrench for them to leave both her and their fellow crewmembers. But they kept their standards sky high to the bitter end. And now they too have gone to pastures new. Good bye old girl, we'll miss you! Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We booked on this cruise long before the news of Oriana's sale broke, because Svalbard was on the destination list. The cruise itself was blessed with good weather for nearly all of the port days and even some sea days, and the ... Read More
We booked on this cruise long before the news of Oriana's sale broke, because Svalbard was on the destination list. The cruise itself was blessed with good weather for nearly all of the port days and even some sea days, and the sea was calm throughout. We had some foggy days which kept the ship's siren busy, but otherwise the cruise went very well. The Oriana offers large amounts of deck space and it was very sad to disembark her at Southampton for the final time on the 9th August. We did have one medical emergency during the cruise requiring a helicopter evacuation, which was handled very professionally by the captain Sarah Breton, but it did not disrupt our itinerary. The cruise to the glaciers in Svalbard was made in calm and clear weather, which gave us stunning views and a lifetime's worth of fantastic memories. At some ports we partook of the ship's excursions, whilst at others we did our own thing. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
The Ship was good, staff miserable, didn't smile much especially in the Medina restaurant, Food was awful, very funny combinations, Who serves Salt & Vinegar Ice cream for a sweet if was disgusting, peppercorn sponge. Please ... Read More
The Ship was good, staff miserable, didn't smile much especially in the Medina restaurant, Food was awful, very funny combinations, Who serves Salt & Vinegar Ice cream for a sweet if was disgusting, peppercorn sponge. Please Chef go back to school and learn some basics. Normal food required. No jacket potatoes in Horrizon Buffett only on first day on ship, after that never again..Why because they have them on other ships all the time. I have cruised with P & O before and food on Oriana was a lot better, basic food options, no concoctions put together, it was lovely all the time, but not on this ship. Please improve this, as otherwise you will get more complaints, also need more options for Gluten free customers, as not enough choice also for Diabetics, as there were a lot of these people onboard too. Please P & O sort the food issue out. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
I've just returned from a 7 night cruise to the beautiful Norwegian Fjords on the Britannia. After reading some of the reviews, I must admit I was a little apprehensive about my upcoming trip, but I had no need to worry. I've ... Read More
I've just returned from a 7 night cruise to the beautiful Norwegian Fjords on the Britannia. After reading some of the reviews, I must admit I was a little apprehensive about my upcoming trip, but I had no need to worry. I've decided to stay in Southampton the night before, so was a couple of hours early for my designated embarkation time. I was able to go onboard an hour earlier and the whole process was seamless. Our cabins wasn't ready yet, so I used the opportunity to have a look around the ship and had some lunch. The Britannia is a beautiful ship and the atrium did take my breath away the first time I saw it. I opted for a single balcony cabin on Deck 16 so that I can make the most of the scenary travelling through the fjords. It was worth every penny and early mornings and late evenings was spend on the balcony watching the world go by. My cabin was very spacious for a single and had everything I needed for a very comfortable stay including plenty of wardrobe space and spacious shower cubicle. Patrick, the Cabin Steward was very helpful and friendly. I've mainly opted to eat in the Horizon buffet and there were always plenty of choice and variety. The food is replenished very often, so I never had to worry about getting cold or slightly soggy food. I thought the quality of the food was really good. I used Freedom Dining on two occassions in the Peninsular Restaurant and again the food was of a very high standard. Although the entertainment was quite varied, I only really enjoyed the group "Pulse" and thought their "Tribute Night" was brilliant. We were very lucky to have good weather so on the 2 sea days the pool area were quite busy. I opted to go one deck up that overlooks the pool area and always had plenty of sun loungers to choose from. Despite the amount of passengers that were on the cruise, it never felt claustrophobic...I never had to wait more than a couple of minutes to be served at the bar, I always managed to get a table in the buffet by the window (my preference) and I could always find a little quite corner (on deck or inside in one of the many communal areas) to read a book and just find some peace and quite. I've booked 2 shore excursions with P&O and did 2 on my own. I must admit, the excursions were a bit over priced in my view, but I still had a very enjoyable time. All the crew I've encountered were very helpful, friendly and professional. Disembarkation was well organised and I thought the letter we've received the day before to explain the disembarkation process and arrangements was a really good idea. Seeing the Norwegian fjords has been on my "must see list" for a very long time and doing it on the Britannia was brilliant. I'm looking forward to returning to her next year for a 14 night Mediterranean cruise. Our cruise was the one that unfortunately made the headlines due to the actions of a very small group of passengers. However, all credit to Captain Paul Brown and his crew for dealing with this incident so professionally and discreetly. Other than the tannoy announcement I had no idea what happened and it didn't spoil my last day onboard. I only saw it on the news after I got home on Saturday. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We have done 4 previous cruises, all with Celebrity (Equinox, Silhouette twice and Reflection) but when looking for a fjords cruise it was this one on Britannia that appealed based purely on itinerary. The price was not a major factor at ... Read More
We have done 4 previous cruises, all with Celebrity (Equinox, Silhouette twice and Reflection) but when looking for a fjords cruise it was this one on Britannia that appealed based purely on itinerary. The price was not a major factor at the time but was certainly welcome as less expensive than Celebrity, plus our first non-fly cruise, which not only saves more money but is a lot easier and gives flexibility for luggage - great for when you have to pack suits for formal nights and a fair bit of clothing knowing we could have any kind of weather. This review is not written purely as a comparative exercise, but given our only previous points of reference have been on Celebrity it was a natural thing to do, so I will draw out the main differences we noted and which we preferred. Some things are really the 'little extras' that add to a more luxury experience, that come with Celebrity, but we also acknowledge they come with a price tag. So drawing attention to them is not necessarily a criticism, simply an observation of what you may not get with P&O but which you pay for to get on Celebrity. Once booked we did have some apprehension as it seemed most people who'd sailed both lines came down clearly in favour of Celebrity, and a couple of forums online seemed to attract some horribly snobby people. We don't mind dressing up for a formal night but do object to people who seem to think that cruising is only about dressing up and when conversations turned to the newly introduced drinks packages 'attracting the wrong sort of people' we wondered what we were letting ourselves in for! Luckily I found some other groups with more normal people and while we appreciated there would be more formality than Celebrity have, we were prepared to embrace it. In advance I had looked into what we'd do on each of our port days and one thing I did notice was how much more affordable the ship's own excursions were compared to Celebrity. We prefer to do our own thing, or go with a small private group, but for various reasons found that harder to sort this time on 2 days so opted (initally reluctantly) to book with P&O and were pleasantly surprised at the cost. The only other reservation I had which we could do nothing about, was the amount of children on board, as this was our first cruise in school holidays. Having got 4 kid between us, all now grown up, we do enjoy being able to avoid other 'little darlings' on our holidays but due to a number of factors had booked this knowing it would be holiday time, but hoping that the fjords would be less of a family attraction than a Med cruise. On the day we embarked we had stayed a couple of hours from Southampton and had opted for inclusive car parking with CPS. Their directions, along with sat nav, were nice and clear and we found our way to the correct gate easily. We'd been given an arrival time of 3pm and had heard mixed stories about whether we'd be able to get on early or would have to wait. As it worked out, we arrived at the dock gate around 1.30pm. CPS staff directed us efficiently and advised we would have to wait in a queue for a little while, We saw some people who knew the score taking cases out onto trollies but we just waited for only 10-15 mins before being asked to drive forward. Another CPS person then told us we should unload our cases and take a trolley as there were very few porters now. There was no feeling of being rushed, she was polite and helpful and it was a nice calm experience. We handed over the key and headed off to a loading area just across the road where our trollies went onto a conveyor belt and we went to the departure area. We were able to pack my husband's suits into a proper suit carrier and put that through as checked luggage which made things much easier, especially as we had in our hand luggage one small wheeled case containing bottles of drink :) Yes, we were allowed to take a litre each of wine or spirits, plus whatever soft drinks we wanted, for drinking in our cabin, so we took advantage to save us a bit of spending money. More helpful staff inside checked our tickets and then gave us a card with a letter on it, telling us to go wait in the lounge until called, saying we would have enough time to get a drink if we wanted; this was around 2pm. There was plenty of seating and a small but well stocked cafe. We were duly called into the line for check in around 2.45 and this moved along nicely so no standing waiting too much, and so we met our 3pm time in the end! We made our way onto the ship and the first thing we noticed was that we were greeted with a smile but no glass of bubbly! We were directed to some lifts where we noticed there were also stairs - these aren't always open on 'normal' days and the lifts did have quite a wait on them but we weren't lugging the drinks up the stairs! Once out the lift we made our way to the cabin and were delighted to find our cases were already there waiting for us. Full cabin review is provided below We'd taken a look at the Horizon daily leaflet telling us what was going on and when. There was quite a lot on but we're not really into doing a lot other than maybe a quiz. Similarly, we were not majorly fussed on the theatre shows unless something had seemed exceptional. We were pretty sure in advance we'd be fairly low key on this week, so this review doesn't cover entertainment to any extent. We didn't go to the Headliners theatre which is where the main shows are, generally twice nightly, and also used for other events during the day. Although we chose not to go to any shows on board, I did like the fact they had late sessions so one could comfortably eat at say 8pm and then go to the late show after. On Celebrity we often found ourselves having to get ready early to get to the first show and then eat, as we rarely enjoy eating dinner earlier. We did make it into the studio, another small theatre style venue, but that was only for muster! We decided to take a wander around the ship before things got busy and get an idea of what was where, and give an idea of where we'd want to be spending our time over the next week. The first thing we had found out was the lift and stair locations. There are fore, mid and aft lifts, but staircases only fully available for and aft. In mid the stairs only go to deck 7. This caught us out a few times as we often lost track of where we were and decided to walk stairs only to find there weren't any! There are also some areas where it's not possible to walk through so you need to be at the right level. More than one occasion we went down to deck 6, arrived at the Oriental restaurant and could go nowhere else without going back up to deck 7 and across. My Fitbit did well during the week! The ship is big and very long and this is most obvious when finding your way round. The little map we were given on embarkation was invaluable along with the wall plaque diagrams by the lifts. Took us a little while find those as they are not very obvious as signage goes. The lifts were definitely one of the less impressive things. In any lift area there seemed to be a couple that we never saw in action. Lifts were slow to arrive, and sometimes seemed to skip floors out altogether. On one occasion in a lift it announced deck 11 but was still at previous deck 10, the lift floor indicator was flashing between 10 and 11 and then we stopped at 12. We got out saying we'd get the stairs back down a floor only to realise we were mid ship and no stairs. The lift/stair thing never ceased to be something of an irritant! The overall feel of the ship was one of size but well used. I've described the different areas in more detail below, but our overall impression was of space and simplicity. Decor was uncluttered and unfussy with an immediate contrast with the vast range of art on Celebrity ships, which is found pretty much everywhere, in any corridor, any wall space and on all stairwells. I generally preferred this more simply style on Britannia, although in some areas a little more colour wouldn’t have gone amiss. Where we did appreciate space was in the atrium where it was given over to seating for the bars/cafes downstairs. It was also used as a space for showcasing the restaurants and activities, and worked well for that purpose; it manages this as the guest services area is kept away from the central space. What I did feel the ship lacked was a central focal point for activities in evenings as there is a different focus in different areas at different times. If you like Celebrity with the cafe on 5, Martini Bar on 4 and then music from 3 with people generally all involved from each deck, you will miss this on Britannia. That's not to say we didn't find a nice 'home' in the evenings but it is a very different feel, more low key. When we had done our last cruise on Celebrity Reflection we had felt a bit disappointed in a number of areas where we felt that the basic provision in terms of bar space was same as on the smaller ships in the class, pretty much same layout, but catering for an extra deck of passengers. To us it felt busy and harder to get service, and we were concerned about how things would feel on the even busier Britannia but the increased ship size of this P&O flagship meant it did not feel overly crowded. Another vote in favour of P&O so far, things were looking up a lot more than we'd expected Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
My husband and I have just returned from a lovely, memorable holiday on Britannia visiting Norway and the fiords. We went with our two daughters, husband of one daughter and four children. Britannia is a really great ship and the ... Read More
My husband and I have just returned from a lovely, memorable holiday on Britannia visiting Norway and the fiords. We went with our two daughters, husband of one daughter and four children. Britannia is a really great ship and the cruise exceeded all expectations. Our cabins were spotlessly clean, very well fitted and serviced by a a very nice steward. We liked to sleep with the balcony doors locked open and listen to the sea at night. Watching the sunset from our balcony at 10.30 at night was a joy. We were very lucky with the weather and on both at sea days the sun shone and we spent our day on deck enjoying the warmth and views. I was surprised how easy it was to find a sun lounger available either in the sun or shade. Around the pool it could become busy but go up to the deck overlooking the pool and there was usually plenty of space. We all used one or other of the pools (there is an adult only pool and sunbathing area). The children ( 9, two 12 year olds and a15 year old) preferred to play in the pools or do their own thing rather than go to the kids clubs. They were never ever bored! Norway is stunning. We had some lovely excursions not all booked through P&O and easy to source online. The longest zip wire in Scandinavia, the rib ride, hiking up a mountain to visit a goat farm, Flåm railway and walking up to Brikstal glacier were highlights. All the food we had either in thie buffet or the restaurants was excellent. We had an exceptional meal in the Epicurean restaurant that I feel was well worth the supplement. Yes there were little niggles but nothing I feel I have to highlight. You will mix with people from all walks of life on a cruise, young and old, but our experience was very positive. We thoroughly enjoyed it and would do it all again Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We are experienced with cruising and this is our second trip with P&O. Not expecting too much but more for the company price per nigyt was not exactly cheap but there were not service charges or tips and everything in UK £'s. 3 ... Read More
We are experienced with cruising and this is our second trip with P&O. Not expecting too much but more for the company price per nigyt was not exactly cheap but there were not service charges or tips and everything in UK £'s. 3 night trip with friend for birthday. Bit of a blow to start as ship had a "technical" problem so would not sail on Friday but midday on Saturday to allow for repairs. Disappointed but we would get over it. Then the Captain revised this, for us to leave earlier on Saturday morning so we were cheered up a bit. Embarkation was very smooth and quick. Went to get buffet lunch which was typical P&O roast beef that was fine but not exceptional - as was the case with nearly all meals on board but it was what we were expecting. Then a drink in the Lords Tavern bar. Largish bar with seats very close together. Asked for a Pina Colada - Whoops not on the list so no. Asked about the 3 taster beer selections - Whoops this not available either - I sensed a theme here! Ship looked in generally good condition though a very dated. Liked the Tiffany ceiling at the Tiffany bar and the other smaller bars such as Anderson's. Pacific lounge looked good too. Cabin OK but some funny bits see below. There was to be a life boat drill but they kept this secret till about 20mins before it was due. Had to take life jackets with us - really do not know why. As other lines have abandoned this and you just turn up and get the lecture. Weather raining so under shelter on pool deck for drinks with friends. Now dinner. Bit of a surprise it all looked pretty good and lamb shank is one of my favourites so off to good start. Made the mistake of asking for bottle of Pinot Grigio. "sorry we have run out" Eh! first day of cruise and 24hrs in home port? Seems the ship is being run down for sale in about a month. Great entertainment is the evening - Singers and Dancers did a medley of Bill Board Hits which everyone knew and was one of the best. Then off to the Drifters tribute which was likewise very good. Comedian Mike Doyle was excellent well worth seeing. He did some reminiscing about past cruises on Oriana as he had been there from the start. Mentioned some of the staff that were on this cruise to say farewell to the ship. Sailed as promised at around 930am Saturday. Bought our duty free which was particularly good value then a relaxing day. Had lunch which was a bit bland and then almost time to get ready for formal night and some photos. Guernsey was fine and we simply walked around St Peter Port there was a market and car show on the quay side which was interesting as many of the shops were shut as it was a Sunday. Have to say here didn't they know there would be 2 cruise ships in with people eager to spend their cash! Now the really BAD news as we walked in to the Oriental dining room for early sitting I could hear a loud rumble accompanied by a lot of vibration. This increased as we approached our table and was now overpowering so much so you could hardly hear yourself talk let alone think. So bad that if you left your cutlery on the plate it danced across it! Meal was fine lobster and beef wellington but they do not seem to like you asking for seconds - felt a bit like Oliver Twist. So uncomfortable actually that they won and I never asked again. Once we dropped anchor outside St Peter Port and the turned off the engine all was OK but we were now halfway through the meal and the Sunday night there would be no respite as we hammered our way up the English Channel. We discovered the best bar being the Crow's Nest at the front of the Ship. Large bar with live music - similar in many respects to the Commodore clubs on Cunard. P&O have now said there is not need to tip staff. Well this time around there was really no one apart from our cabin steward that would deserve anything. Service was pretty poor all around and very basic. You had to ask for everything whether it be ketchup and mint sauce or trying to catch someones eye because they had forgotten an order - everything seemed too much trouble. I just wonder if they have dropped the tips and not increased their pay? The ship was fine despite its age and some bad design decisions around the cabins. I liked the smaller bars but it was simply too crammed in the Lords Tavener. I am sorry to say I pity those passengers on the remaining cruises if they have to put up with the engine noise and vibration in the Oriental Restaurant. As we had experienced before there were many on board who cruise only with P&O and there were also lots of ex staff who were saying farewell to the ship. They will just not hear anything mildly critical or constructive said about the ship. Which is sad really because every company should be aiming to improve. There many things on this ship and cruise that were great but others not so. If all you surround yourself with is yes men then you will fail. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Have had some wonderful times on Oriana (we still have fabulous memories of the 5 week cruise we did in 2011&the cruise sailing around Cape Horn in 2004) &wanted to have a final cruise before she sadly is off to a new venture . ... Read More
Have had some wonderful times on Oriana (we still have fabulous memories of the 5 week cruise we did in 2011&the cruise sailing around Cape Horn in 2004) &wanted to have a final cruise before she sadly is off to a new venture . We were not disappointed, had a great 3 nights, (shame it wasn’t longer )with superb food ,fantastic entertainment &very efficient happy staff. It was great to see so many ex crew on board as passengers what a feat of organising.Well Done Steve . The entertainment was excellent .the boundless energy of the Headliners Theatre Company is a credit to them .&the live musicians did not disappoint . We were blessed with fine weather for our stop in Guernsey,(which is a bonus as the stop there is always weather dependent ) A huge thankyou to the in seen behind the scenes crew who work equally as hard to ensure a great time is had by all . Sad to see Oriana go Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
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