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184 P&O Cruises Europe Cruise Reviews

We decided to go on the Britannia to celebrate a 30th Birthday. We didn’t know what to expect because we heard that the entertainment on board was more focused on older people, we have been with Disney many times besides the fact of me ... Read More
We decided to go on the Britannia to celebrate a 30th Birthday. We didn’t know what to expect because we heard that the entertainment on board was more focused on older people, we have been with Disney many times besides the fact of me being an entertainer and performer for disneyworld and Disney Cruise Line for 8 years. Also, we have cruised with Royal Caribbean and we knew we wouldn’t find a climbing wall, a flow rider or ice skating on this ship but the reality is that we really wanted to cruise on the beautiful and famous Britannia, so we gave it a try. To start with, the ship is one of the most elegant ones I’ve ever seen, the deco and furniture are just fantastic so I couldn’t stop loving it since I got on board. Obviously when you have been on other cruise ships it’s hard not to compare one with the other ones, so I decided to compare it with a different ship that also leaves from Southampton, in this case I compared my experience with the Navigator of the Seas by Royal Caribbean. This is very difficult because both ships are very different in many ways but I liked more some things about the Britannia and I liked more other things about the Navigator. Let’s start with the dining experience. -The differences I saw between the Britannia and The Navigator are more positive for the Navigator. Even when the food is really good on the Britannia and with menus made by celebrity chefs, I will stay with the great hospitality from the servers on the Navigator, which to me makes my dining experience more pleasant. The Buffet in the upstairs restaurant on the Britannia was very limited and with a very poor variety, curry based everyday. In the other hand the buffet on the Navigator was fantastic and with a great variety of dishes everyday. Something I have to give to the Britannia is the late night Buffet open until 2am, that was great I have to say. The Navigator doesn’t have any of this which is a shame to be honest. Drinks and Bars -Even when the bars and venues are so much better on the Britannia in many ways, the lack of a drinking package makes me prefer the Navigator once again. The prices of alcohol on the Britannia are pretty decent but I still prefer the drinking package which makes your cruise experience even better. The internet -Wow the internet, I haven’t seen such a terrible internet since 1999. The internet on the Britannia is expensive and incredibly bad. Royal Caribbean uses a company that offers the latest, fastest internet at sea (VOOM) and even when its very expensive, it’s worth every penny. I couldn’t work at sea because the terrible internet would even open my email account. The shops -This time I am going to give it to the Britannia because the shops are actually really good, not expensive at all and the merchandise staff are friendly and not pushy. The Gymnasium -Fantastic equipment, location and venue. The entertainment in your room. -For the very first time in my cruising life I actually wanted to be in my room and watch TV without using my own shows or movies I have in my iPad because normally TV in your cabin on other cruise lines is boring and repetitive. The room entertainment on the Britannia is fantastic in every single way. Great job! The Entertainment on Board. -Well, this part is my favourite and absolutely one of the main reasons I want to come back to the Britannia again. As I mentioned from the beginning, my expectations about the entertainment were very low, because I knew the ship didn’t have as many attractions as the Navigator or The Independence of The Seas but I will tell you that the program and the entertainers on board make you forget about all that. To start with, the shows on board are original and fantastic, with the latest technology and production in the theatre and one of the best talented casts I’ve ever seen. All the shows are 5 stars but definitely my favourite ones are “ASTONISHING” and “The Sounds of The Underground”. Astonishing, is a fantastic show not just because of the magic tricks which are not something you haven’t seen many times before, but it is fantastic because the same cast actually takes part of all this, making a fantastic show out of a combination of magic, great voices and dancers. BRAVO! And all my respect for the creator of this fantastic and original idea. The sounds of the underground, I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t seen it, but in this show the cast shows their talent in such a fantastic way. Adam the piano player was fantastic, always friendly and his singing show with the guests was definitely a highlight of the cruise. -The Entertainment team is in charge of keeping the guest having fun during the day with activities, quizzes, dancing classes etc. Good job guys! Special mention to Fiona who besides being an excellent host an entertainer she was always smiling and keeping everyone up and going the whole time. I wanted to take her with me but my lady wasn’t really very agreed with this. The entertainment on the Britannia was just fantastic! In summary, I will definitely go back to the Britannia because after getting off two days ago, I still miss it and remember with a nostalgic feeling and a happy face. Thank you to all the crew who made my first visit a really good one. Except for the internet company, you suck! Oscar Coria Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
I chose this cruise as the cabins are stylish, it is British in personality, and passengers are allowed to take their own alcohol onboard (1L each, although I did take a bit more onboard with no problems). My balcony cabin with sofa was ... Read More
I chose this cruise as the cabins are stylish, it is British in personality, and passengers are allowed to take their own alcohol onboard (1L each, although I did take a bit more onboard with no problems). My balcony cabin with sofa was not only nice to look at, but so well designed that it felt much larger. The bed was extremely comfortable, the TV had a lot of films to watch, the White Company products were excellent quality, and the towels were large and fluffy. The cabin was seen to by the steward twice a day, even though his cleaning and tidying skills were not always on par. There is a free laundry and iron as well, which is a helpful touch. The buffet for breakfast is fine in quality and has more than enough variety. The buffet for lunch and dinner is, however, awful. The food is worse than at a service station and how they "get away" with serving such slop is a mystery. I had freedom dining given for free (as I think everyone does, so don't pay extra for it) so ate when I liked in the restaurants the rest of the time. The food was sometimes very tasty, other times just okay. Imagine going to a restaurant in the 1970s and you'll have the right idea...prawn cocktail and well-done roast beef, anyone?!? The drinks onboard are the same as in a decent pub. The entertainment is not awful, but it's not very good either. I saw "Astonishing" and "The Sound of the Underground", which while billed a magic show/musical, are really a selection of dance routines and songs. The best thing about the shows is how attractive some of the dancers are (!) which says a lot about their dancing and singing talent. I saw Zoë Tyler as well, who was excellent on account of being a real performer and not just a hotty who can hold a note and twist a bit. The "Sail Away" things were as embarrassing as they were tacky, although it was interesting to experience what Butlins must be like. Also embarrassing/ irritating was when they paraded the chefs and waiters around to the bellows of Tina Turner while we were eating. The gala evenings were a non-event. I was stressed that my dinner jacket was too big for me and that I had to wear a dark suit, but I need not have worried as there were as many people in full black tie, as the were in just a suit. The reality is that it is not nearly as special as P&O make out: you dress up, you have a free drink (or three) listen to the captin's speech, the (also very good looking) photographers try to get you to have your photo taken, and then you go for dinner as normal. That's it! Nothing magical happens. The service was odd. The woman were all very friendly but a lot of the men had a chip in their shoulder and were very cold with me. One waiter, strangly, started off being very chummy and chatty, and then when I started eating my food (thus, signaling our chat was over) he became very rude by banging things on the table and ignoring my requests...it was like that for the rest of the cruise! I got on and off the boat very quickly and had no problems with the lifts. I did not take any P&O shore tours as they are a rip-off. Will I cruise agian? Yes! Will I cruise on Britannia again? Yes! Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
I have been on Azura previously but this was my first time to Norway. I had previously only done fly cruises so it was a first sailing from Southampton. When we arrived in Southampton it was well organised with lots of information ... Read More
I have been on Azura previously but this was my first time to Norway. I had previously only done fly cruises so it was a first sailing from Southampton. When we arrived in Southampton it was well organised with lots of information about the embarkation process. We were on the ship by 12 and sat having lunch at 12:30. Thr cruise itself was very good. The weather was perfect and seeing the fjords in the early morning was amazing. As usual the food on board was very good. We went Freedom dining again as that works best. Never had to wait for a table as we are always happy to share. Entertainment was good but was annoyed with fellow passengers constantly taking photos in the theater which was off putting. Our cabin was nice. It was a guaranteed cabin and had pull an beds. They made it feel a bit smaller than normal. I wouldn't choose a cabin with pull an beds in future. We were both sad when the cruise came to an end but we both enjoyed it. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Having been on Ventura twice before, thought we would be ok in E112, deck 8 , (affectionately now named "roller coaster" deck), bad mistake - which was admittedly our own fault. After 5 days was unbearable, P&O duty managers ... Read More
Having been on Ventura twice before, thought we would be ok in E112, deck 8 , (affectionately now named "roller coaster" deck), bad mistake - which was admittedly our own fault. After 5 days was unbearable, P&O duty managers excellent and very understanding and changed our cabin to C424, which was so much better. Were told interactive service in cabin was not working for this cruise, however it appears to have been removed long ago. Both cabins were clean, stewards were good. Had freedom dining, which was good as always (saffron), buffet was better than before, lots of choice, only rude passengers pushing in spoilt this. The staff in the buffet and the bars were excellent. Could have a better design in the tea/coffee area, always ends up as a bottleneck trying to get a coffee. Didn't see any evidence of the 30 mins sunbed towel removal rule, but we don't really spend all day sunbathing so not really an issue for us. Disembarkation in ports was good, not in Oporto though and some passengers couldn't get off as shuttle buses were a problem. Tours to Rome and Sorrento & Pompeii really good value for money, tender in Alghero was well organised and not much waiting time. The evening entertainment wasn't as good as on previous cruises but there was enough choice. Overall we love this ship, yes there are some things that may not be as good as previous cruises, but P&O still really good. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We had cruised on Oriana before, in 2013 and 2015, and enjoy its atmosphere. This cruise was affected by 'Storm Hector' and we had an extra sea day instead of calling at Portree in Skye, which was to have been a 'tendering ... Read More
We had cruised on Oriana before, in 2013 and 2015, and enjoy its atmosphere. This cruise was affected by 'Storm Hector' and we had an extra sea day instead of calling at Portree in Skye, which was to have been a 'tendering port'. There was not much more that the company could have done in the circumstances, and we made the best of the extra time to enjoy the ship's facilities and entertainment. Oriana is now called a 'mid-size' ship by P&O, who have recently chosen to turn their back on those who enjoy smaller ships in favour of enormous mega-ships with many thousands of guests aboard. Oriana is a throwback to an earlier era and has a different feel to the company's newer ships. At 23 years old she is also becoming middle-aged by ship standards. Embarkation at Southampton was affected by problems with the 'air-bridge' (covered gangway) and although this did not cause a late departure, it was frustrating for both the terminal staff and passengers during the delay. One factor outside of the ship's control, but readily obvious to all on board, was the unfortunate attendance of Emergency Ambulances to remove ill passengers from the ship at every port where we docked alongside. The one at Ringaskiddy (Cork) made the ship late departing, and must have made the poor couple involved feel very conspicuous. So here are the things we loved about our Oriana cruise: + Embarkation and disembarkation were both handled very professionally + The entertainment on our cruise was outstanding. The 'Oriana Orchestra' produce a superb sound considering there are only 7 musicians, and we enjoyed the performances of theirs that we attended. The young girl drummer, Esme, is amazing! We also enjoyed some 'Headliners' shows and the duet that performed in the Crow's Nest bar. George Dorogi, the cocktail pianist who mostly played in Tiffany's, also charmed us with his skillful piano playing. + The Conservatory seemed much improved following its recent refit, although it has to be said that the manners of some passengers when using it left a lot to be desired. The new layout seemed to speed up the preparation of drinks. In the evenings the staff seemed especially helpful, serving teas & coffees after your meal. This latter service made dining there in the evenings much less like a canteen. However, we avoided the Conservatory at breakfast times, when it is still rather a bun-fight. + The ship has had all of the moveable deck seating replaced, and although it was sad to see that all the wooden steamer chairs had gone from the Promenade Deck, the metal replacements were reasonably comfortable. + We chose to dine in SINDHU on two occasions, and the service there is second-to none. Personally I considered that it was well worth the modest supplement charged. + The staff on reception were very helpful, and one of them went well beyond the call of duty during a personal emergency when we required some laundry tablets urgently. + The Front-of-House staff in the Peninsular Restaurant were very professional, friendly and made you feel welcome upon arrival. + P&O now require Cruise Cards to be shown during the safety drill, making it harder for guests to avoid attending this important briefing. So, here are the not-so-good bits.... - Cruise Cards. Oh dear. Mine worked satisfactorily throughout the whole cruise, but my companion was on card No.7 by the end. We spoke to many other passengers who had also needed multiple replacement cards during the cruise. The cards can be affected by proximity to mobile phones, something that was not emphasised when boarding, but there clearly was a software bug in the system or faulty encoding, because it affected so many passengers. One card lasted only 2 hours! - The Great British (Tacky) sail-away. I avoid these like the plague as Butlins-on-Sea is not my style, but the one leaving Guernsey was ridiculous as it finished long before the ship actually sailed! - The bar area at the back of Deck 12, overlooking the stern, had piped pop music played 'ad nauseam' on a continuous loop. By the middle of the cruise it had become very tedious indeed, and by the end we avoided the area as it just grated on the nerves. If this bar area had a better ambience, we might well have used it a lot as it affords a great view of the ship's wake. - The sheer number of mobility-impaired guests on this cruise actually alarmed me; there were many more than I had ever seen on a cruise before. I am very much in favour of those who have impaired mobility being able to enjoy cruising and actually am pleased to see them on board, but if there had been a marine incident requiring everyone to muster or abandon ship then the crew would have been overwhelmed. I would be interested to see the risk assessment/s for the maximum number of mobility-impaired/wheelchair-bound guests that can be safely carried on board Oriana. - The professional standards of the wait staff in the Peninsular Restaurant seemed somewhat lacking on occasion, something neither of us had noticed on previous cruises. We partook of two official Shore-Excursions (Kirkwall & Dublin) but did our own thing at most of the ports. Three in particular I will mention: Kirkwall: A really knowledgeable and personable courier made this shore excursion to Scapa Flow a pleasure, despite me becoming ill towards the end of it. (I quickly recovered and was able to walk back to the ship unaided). He was a local man, enthusiastic for his subject, and more than ready to answer any questions. Belfast: We took a taxi from the ship to visit HMS Caroline which is berthed opposite the cruise terminal, across the river. A really superb attraction, and one not offered by P&O. Dublin: A boring and dull guide made this tour something of an anti-climax, only offset by the superb Irish Dancers that we saw during the second half of it. Dublin is not one of my favourite places, being full of traffic, tourists and ugly buildings. To sum up overall, we would gladly cruise on Oriana again but I am not optimistic about the ship surviving past the introduction of IONA to the fleet. Enjoy it while you can! Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Our first time on a cruise and we loved every minute of it. Arrived at the port, car unloaded by porter,car taken to the car park,booked in at the cruise terminal,no problems. The ship is very big but getting around was not a problem ... Read More
Our first time on a cruise and we loved every minute of it. Arrived at the port, car unloaded by porter,car taken to the car park,booked in at the cruise terminal,no problems. The ship is very big but getting around was not a problem for us, but the lifts on the ship were a bit of a let down whilst you were waiting for one it just went past your floor. Found our cabin, large inside midship,(as this was our trial run did not want to waste money on a balcony cabin if we did not enjoy the trip)cabin was very nice plenty of space, cabin maid very good. We booked freedom dining so we could do as we pleased and try various locations around the ship. The food in the restaurants both formal and buffet was very good.The service in the restaurant could not be faulted it was quick and the staff very effecient. The cruise was themed on the Strickly Come Dancing show, which we do not watch, but the shows put on by the variouse artist were in the main very good and entertaining. The only critism i have about the entertainment was that some of the shows shown in the live lounge should have been held in the theatre. We did a number of shore excursions, some were very good, but a couple i did not feel gave value for money,i think a bit more research would have been helpfull.. We really enjoyed this cruise and after 3 days at sea booked a cruise for next year Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Staff - couldn't fault the staff for the most part they were exceptionally good. Drinks – P&O don’t do a drinks package other than a buy 20 soft drinks for the price of 19 so those who enjoy a drink run the risk of finding ... Read More
Staff - couldn't fault the staff for the most part they were exceptionally good. Drinks – P&O don’t do a drinks package other than a buy 20 soft drinks for the price of 19 so those who enjoy a drink run the risk of finding themselves with a high bar bill at the end of the cruise. Swimming pools and recreation activities - P&O have the basics in the form of pools and hot tubs but not much else. The main pools are busy but the adults only one can be reasonable and is for 18 years and over. We had an unfortunate incident in that a small piece of rust splashed up from the hot tub and embedded itself in my Husbands eye. We weren’t aware that was the problem but after his eye had been hurting for some time we went to see the on board medical staff where the receptionist informed us that just to get looked at would cost us around £80. My husband decided to try some eye wash from the on board shop however as it was getting worse we went to medical at around midnight to discover they were closed. The problem started on the penultimate day of our cruise and my husband decided to wait until we got home to see the optician who sent him off to the hospital to have it removed by a surgeon. We reported the issue to P&O and they offered a £250 refund. We were happy this was a freak accident however they should consider an option to have the medical staff look at the problem before charging as this was a problem caused by their ship and as such they should have helped with it on board rather than just telling us it was £80 just to get an opinion. Quizzes and shows - you need to turn up between 30 and 45 minutes early to these things if you want a good seat (or in some cases any seat at all) the shows were all of excellent level, although they don’t do a full broadway show they do 1 hour shows that are very entertaining. Photo's & other items to purchase - all your pictures £100 not bad we only got a couple of pictures and they were a good price also. Bathrobes £30 for 2 total bargain. Anything extra you may want to pay for was mostly reasonably priced. Food - Breakfast Breakfast in room good, big queues for buffets, sit down breakfast very good. Food - lunch, snacks and late night food. Buffet busy and staff miserable, good snack options and food available pretty much all night. Food - dinner Buffet at dinner time was horrific but main dining was really good including 'always available' options which were nice. Food - room service Food was nice and service was excellent. Complimentary drinks – Water or Tea/Coffee with your meal, bit limited in options. All around P&O was a good experience ignoring the unfortunate incident with the hot tub and we have booked another cruise with them this time to take our teenage kids as well. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Very hit and miss cruise. Daytime activities on board were geared towards the many older people on board and didn't appeal to us at all. Entertainment was made up of the usual pub quizzes, name that tune, name that comedy series ... Read More
Very hit and miss cruise. Daytime activities on board were geared towards the many older people on board and didn't appeal to us at all. Entertainment was made up of the usual pub quizzes, name that tune, name that comedy series etc. Much of it very old fashioned and dated, We'll Meet Again is a case in point. We didn't go and see anything by the Headliners as they did nothing remotely modern the whole of the cruise! We did see a good comedian and Ida 4 very talented ladies with great voices, the talks were interesting and we enjoyed a couple of films but that was about it over a 19 night cruise, we had some early nights! The Oriana proved to be too small for us, a week would more than enough. We weren't keen on any of the public spaces, everywhere seemed half asleep! The shops were dire selling out dated products at inflated prices and their sales were a joke - total rubbish. This is the first time we have cruised over 14 nights. The experience has taught us that we can do longer cruises but we must be careful which ship we cruise on next time. On the plus side this was the first time on P & O that we have been able to eat in the dinning room every night because the food was so good. This was a big plus as there is very little in the way of alternative dining (Sindhu and the Beach House) we saved a lot of money not having to pay extra to get a decent meal which we have had to do in the past! We missed the Glass House and wouldn't sail on a P & O ship without one again. Service was overall pretty good with the odd exception of a moody waiter. We think service has improved since P & O have introduced other nationalities to their on board staff. Our cabin steward, as always, did an excellent job. We had an inside cabin unfortunately immediately above the theatre which wasn't too much of a problem until the Headliners started singing! The itinerary which attracted us to this cruise in the first place was good with the exception of Cagliari which was very disappointing. We did 2 shore excursions, wine tasting in Sicily and Krka National Park in Croatia, both were very good. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We chose this ship as we were travelling with friends who have never cruised before, so they wanted a small cruise from Southampton, this was my 14th cruise along with my partner, so we have experience on numerous ships, from Azamara ... Read More
We chose this ship as we were travelling with friends who have never cruised before, so they wanted a small cruise from Southampton, this was my 14th cruise along with my partner, so we have experience on numerous ships, from Azamara small ship to the massive NCL epic and many more in between. Getting on board was very easy, and we were having our first drink by 1pm, cases were delivered very quickly by 1.30pm, so checked into our cabin G529, deck 8, our friends were next cabin, we had a balcony, cabins very clean, as other reviews mention bathrooms small, but to be honest they were spotless and that’s all that matters to us, we have also had smaller bathrooms before, good toiletries supplied by The White Company, really couldn’t complain about cabin at all. Our first lunch onboard we opted for the buffet not a great fan of these, but wanted our friends to experience it, and let them make their own mind up, very nice selection, very clean and nice staff, only downside are the British people NOT washing their hands, what is it with the older generation, I think they should have a better system in place instead of all lining up at sinks, this does take a while, so much easier with washy washy staff standing there or the self service soap dispensers. Main dining room we used for breakfast and main evening meals, all very good great selection to choose from, hot plates, nice staff. We tried the beach house, and the steak on the lava stone was so tender and tasty, we all enjoyed our meals that night, also had a fabulous dolphin show from our window fantastic. Entertainment was so so, Im never impressed with the cruise dancers and singers, so only saw them once, Sam Bailey was on, she was brilliant and a lovely lady to speak to after the show, another good show in the Live Lounge was a guy called Vernon Lewis. a soul singer music from 60’s and 70’s all Motown had everyone up dancing, then a DJ after, good selection of drinks in every bar, and not expensive, we wanted to book the Limelight club but the guests they had on board really didn’t do it for us. Never booked excursions as we always get off and wander around, the weather was lovely so always had the afternoons around the Lido Deck pools, only problem we saw were parents taking babies and toddlers into the pool with their nappies on yuk!!!! This needs to be addressed Sail away parties were great, a brilliant team, got everyone up and dancing. Always had quizzes going on around pool and in Brodie’s, bar which was like a weatherspoons, full every night, great atmosphere, I’ve never laughed so much playing Bingo with the great Jo B, what a character she was, eyes down teeth in she would shout out, great work Jo. Casino was ok little on the small side, to many people around roulette tables and not always playing just watching, never have experienced this before on other ships. We paid for a gin tasting lesson as my partner loves gin, I’m a vodka drinker, but the bar manager of the whole ship called Avalon invited me as his guest to try and convert me, and after 4 different cocktails and different gins, he has converted me, great guy and very informative about making the most of mixers as in fruit not just using tonic water, really enjoyed that. Can’t think of much else to add, this being our first p&o cruise, all I can say is, yes read the reviews make up your own mind, and give this ship a try, I wouldn’t hesitate going onboard again, but I will never go from Southampton I prefer to fly and cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
i chose this cruise fir my wife as a thank you and christmas present as the intenary covered santorini a longed for place to go! by and large the cruise was very good exceptionally good staff food and very well kept ship however ... Read More
i chose this cruise fir my wife as a thank you and christmas present as the intenary covered santorini a longed for place to go! by and large the cruise was very good exceptionally good staff food and very well kept ship however p&o have a way of extracting money from you with stealth and the service charge fir tips at£98 for the week is unacceptable as you shouldn’t be expected tp subsidise the staffs wages in such a blatant manor ! this with the high cost of alcoholic drinks etc makes the cost much higher than it sholud be uk pub prices on duty free seas ?? i dont think that p&o provided much difference to thompson cruises we have been on before at much bettet prices the very inexperienced show crew were er ... fairly poor and lacked direction didntvsee them interact around the ship and the ships animation team were awful and badly led all the charisma of wet cardboard!! the guest acts were very good tho maybe a longer show would’ve been better for them and the passengers takingvall this into consideration we had a very good week met some really lovely people and staff but not sure we’d rush back to p&o Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
I had the opportunity to travel on the Britannia on May 13th on a lovely trip to Norway. I wanted to provide some comparisons of this ship and P & O in general vs. other lines that cater more to American travelers. I am an ... Read More
I had the opportunity to travel on the Britannia on May 13th on a lovely trip to Norway. I wanted to provide some comparisons of this ship and P & O in general vs. other lines that cater more to American travelers. I am an American and no offense is meant in some of my generalizations to either American or British folk. Ship The décor is beautiful yet understated. It feels more like a 5 star hotel than a ship. There is great use of color, blues, greys, golds and different venues decorated elegantly. The ship is the same “make and model” as the Royal Princess (and Regal). This includes some of the design flaws such as no mid-ship stairs, odd floor 7 bathroom availability, no Promenade deck. Some of these were corrected on the Regal Princess but persist on these 2 ships. The ship caters to folks from the UK, so there are some differences in how the ship is laid out and space is utilized. Atrium – Unlike the Royal there is only 1 atrium spiral staircase and the atrium is rectangular. Most shops are located on deck 6, making the shopping isolated. I liked this. The atrium is much more spacious. With that said, if you love entertainment and dancing in the Atrium, that is not what it is used for. There are several bars and coffee shops on deck 7 and 5, however, these are for lounging and relaxing. There is music that is played in the atrium, but it’s usually an accent and not the main attraction. If you are a dancer, there is a specific dance venue, where lessons and music are held. Crow’s Nest – The forward staterooms normally found on deck 16 (Lido) have been removed. They were replaced with a dining venue, several private rooms, and the Crows nest. The Crows nest is a beautiful bar with forward views of the upcoming destinations. A wonderful place for sail away, pre-dinner drinks or watching the scenic views. This is a wonderful change from it’s sister Princess ships which offer no forward- facing views. Pub and Casino – There is a very small Casino. Perhaps the 3rd of the size on American style ships. The remaining space is used for a Pub type atmosphere, Brody’s. If you go on a cruise with your primary objective being to gamble, this may not be the line to take. The pub is very nice and brings in a great fun crowd for sporting events, quizzes, bingo like games and of course on our cruise, the Royal Wedding!! Aft Bar – Beautiful. A wonderful place to relax in port or watch the ship’s wake. Decorated well despite being outdoors. Lots of comfortable seating. Another interesting way that the décor changed the feel of the ship and made it more like a hotel patio bar. Cabins – No differences here in shape/size, decorated quite differently. My opinion is it was a better utilization of space. There was one North American Plug, but the rest were UK style. One thing to note is that there were several plugs instead of only one. They do have a kettle for tea or coffee in the room. The shower has a glass door. I found that much nicer, but if you are a very large person this may not be as accommodating as a shower curtain. Pools – just as many pools but only a couple of hot tubs. This results in a more open deck, particularly in the Sanctuary, Adults area. Food & Drinks The food was absolutely fabulous. However, there were more pay for, ala carte options than you may find on a ship catering to Americans. There were several coffee shops that offered alternative coffee drinks from the buffet. Dining rooms had amazing food, I never had a bland meal, meals were always hot, the service impeccable. I don’t typically eat sweets, but I must say I did every night. So much more tasty than the other lines. As an American I was asking for things such as ice water, more ice in my drinks than most…all available. Buffet’s are buffets. They are not my favorite. Expect an English breakfast. Since folks are not as keen on ice, there was no ice machine in the buffet, however the cabin steward, waiters etc. all took care of this for me. There is an Indian style venue called Sindhu. It is my understanding this is on most P & O ships. British folk love their Indian, and it was quite good. There was usually some sort of curry available on the daily dining room menu and buffet as well. I love interesting food, and all of this was a great change. However, it was intended to be spicy and was. American’s should keep that in mind when booking a reservation. Don’t go if you don’t like spicy food and don’t complain that it is. In the “Glass House”, situated where “Crooners” would be on the Princess ship, they had a small venue that served food, or bites to eat. The food here was very good and also included some interesting dishes/small plates such as pate, sliders, cheese boards. Prices are not significant £3 - £7 ish. Now the topic of drinks. If you are a cruiser who goes on a cruise to imbibe on mixed drinks and expecting an American “pour” you will be disappointed. The shots are 1 ounce, a North American pour is 2 ounces. Expect a significant difference in cost of mixed drinks since you will order a double. Also, the pours are measured more so than on other lines. This includes wine/beer etc. However, if you are a beer drinker, there are several beers on tap in nearly every bar allowing for pints or half-pints at a reasonable cost. The wine is also reasonable, and many varieties by the glass and bottles. My one complaint about this ship, and frankly all ships in the Carnival Line I’ve been on, is that the wine is inconsistent between venues. The varietals in the Glass house were different from the Crows nest and different from the Aft Bar etc. This is not a P&O complaint, but a Carnival Line consistent challenge for me. Entertainment Just like any cruise there were shows, magicians, comedians, etc. However, none of the entertainment is positioned to be in your face unless you are in the venue. For example, there are several entertainers that play in the Atrium, but they are a compliment to the ambiance, not the main attraction. Very classy piano players, solo and duet acoustic guitar music at the Crow’s nest. The pub was typically crowded nightly with quizzes or Karaoke. Very interactive and American’s will probably feel a little “dumb” as the Brits know their history, music etc. and sure take those quizzes seriously. Sail Away heading back to Southampton was so fun. Union flags passed amongst the deck, a variety of British/UK songs and anthems. Lots of flag waving fun. I wouldn’t doubt at least 1/3 of the passengers participated. Service and Staff The captain/officers of the ship were interactive. Giving many points of information that you don’t receive on other ships, including some problems that we had on board. Ringing the bell at noon, “honking” the horn on queue at sailaway were always quite coordinated. The service staff is very professional. There is less casual interaction with the guests on the ship than you might see on a more American line. There were very few Americans/Canadians on this ship. The staff is trained to accommodate British tastes and service requirements. Staff was not used to MY accent and ways of requesting things. I had to adapt to them and not believe the world revolves around me. I would like to note that, this is why I travel. I loved that I experienced things differently, had to slow down my conversations, inquire more about different utilization of words or words I’d never heard. Importantly, I will say the staff did their best to accommodate my American taste for Bloody Mary’s, double drinks etc. Several ran to the galley to get things like tobasco and were always willing to consult me on my requirements. The one complaint that I had on this ship was Passport handling. I have drafted a separate letter to P&O and Carnival in general about that item. As an American on a British ship (this ship is registered in Southampton), my passport was collected and needed to be retrieved prior to the end of the cruise. It was not the collection that concerned me, but the caretaking of the passport by the staff. Costs Additional fees for coffee, dining venues, etc. are not new to the American traveler, but remind yourself how much you might spend on a Starbucks coffee daily. I didn’t find any of these to be unreasonable and didn’t have any complaints about the coffee, food I was paying extra for. There were just as many no cost items as any other cruise ship, however, this one had more options. Rules American’s should take note of a couple things that I did not mention above. Folks dress up at night, most nights. It is not required, but this wasn’t the venue to wear ratty jeans on smart casual night. On formal nights men wear tuxes, kilts etc. and women wear gowns. Queuing is an art for Brits. No one cuts the line and when someone is in greater need such as wheelchair bound folks, they are keen to allow that person priority access to elevators. I wouldn’t doubt that folks might scold anyone who didn’t adhere to this. It was made clear by the captain himself, that parents were in charge of their children. There weren’t many children, but parents had a handle on them. When a baby cried, parents took them out of the dining room or venue, children are expected to dress appropriately for dinner etc. Thank you P & O! I highly recommend this note of advice to parents on all ships in the Carnival line. There was no yelling, shouting across the Atrium or even overt drunkenness. Misc. & Overall This was my favorite cruise of all time. I have been cruising since 1976, have logged 100 days on Princess, 50 days on Carnival, done some Royal Caribbean cruises as well as Viking. The destinations (Norwegian ports), the ship, the service, the food was all exceptional. I found very little to complain about and enjoyed it thoroughly. I spoke to other passengers and they discussed how they like American style ships and the atmosphere. This speaks to how truly folks like to “get away” from the every day. I found this particular journey to be nothing less than spectacular and understood I was a token American on a British ship. Thank you for reading! Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Very smooth and efficient embarkation at Southampton. Our luggage was outside our cabins when we got there. We were disappointed that the late departure meant missing Cadiz, and if P and O were aware of this problem, then surely they ... Read More
Very smooth and efficient embarkation at Southampton. Our luggage was outside our cabins when we got there. We were disappointed that the late departure meant missing Cadiz, and if P and O were aware of this problem, then surely they should have sorted it. The visit to Vigo in Sunday was a non event, my husband stayed on the ship, my son and I got off. The place was dead apart from some Africans selling handbags. We were only ashore about half an hour and spent nearly as long as that in the queue to get back on board. Very rough sailing on the second night but didn't bother us. I don't understand the comments from people saying they were so ill they got off at Barcelona as by then it was calm anyway and surely if anyone was that poorly they would have gone to the ships doctor for an injection. We had freedom dining in Cinnamon which we used for breakfast and dinner every day. We always managed to get a table for 3 and only needed the pager once. We all thought the food was delicious and the waiter service friendly and efficient. We also enjoyed the pizzas and burgers on deck at lunchtimes and the great cakes. The bars were lovely, especially the Metropole, very relaxing, but we did think the drinks were expensive and think an all-inclusive drinks package should be offered. We also felt the waiters were rather intrusive, asking all the time if we wanted more drinks but I guess this is due to pressure from the management. Entertainment was very good, I enjoyed the Strictly shows and liked seeing the beautiful dresses on display. We also enjoyed the interesting series of talks on air crashes from Ricky Bastin and I liked the art talks by Alice from Whitehall galleries. Our cabins were spotlessly clean and Emily, the Steward, was friendly and hardworking. The port excursions were all brilliant with knowledgeable and helpful guides. On a negative note, I think free WiFi would be good. We also do not like P and O gratuity charge, and a lot of other passengers were also angry about this. We compromised and paid half but I know some people refused to pay anything in protest. Also, we feel very strongly that the use of plastic bottles should be reduced. For that reason we took our own water bottle with us in the expectation that drinking water would be provided in the cabins and that there would be water fountains around the ship. It was very disappointing to find that this was not the case, apart from one small bottle. We had to pay £10 for 6 bottles, plastic unfortunately, just to have some drinking water. We felt very sad to think that some of that plastic could end up in the throats of some of the dolphins we could see swimming around, in addition to having to pay for a basic requirement which should be included. Please take note P and O. Disembarkation was efficient and would have even more so had it not been for some inconsiderate people blocking the doorways. We will definitely cruise again, but maybe a fly cruise next time with fewer sea days. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Apart from the delayed start at Southampton for engine troubles and the aborted trip to Cadiz (instead it was a port stop at Virgo on a Sunday afternoon -that was poor),the rest of the cruise was very good.we choose freedom dining and ate ... Read More
Apart from the delayed start at Southampton for engine troubles and the aborted trip to Cadiz (instead it was a port stop at Virgo on a Sunday afternoon -that was poor),the rest of the cruise was very good.we choose freedom dining and ate mainly in the buffet resturants.we found the food and its variety very good. the entertainment was first class, had to get to the venues a little early though ,but that was no problem. the ship was always clean and tidy and the ships crew did thier utmost to please you and with a smile.the shore excursions were well organised. Embarkation and dis-embarkation went smoothly. All in all we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and have booked a further cuise with P and O for May of next year. We done the Stickly Come dancing theme and found it brillient. the dancing team put themselves about the ship and they were all happy and polite. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
This was my wife and I's first cruise and thought it best to start with a short 7 day cruise to see if we liked it. Our friends and family who have been on cruises have been raving about them and saying that once you do one you will ... Read More
This was my wife and I's first cruise and thought it best to start with a short 7 day cruise to see if we liked it. Our friends and family who have been on cruises have been raving about them and saying that once you do one you will be hooked. We travelled as a party of 5 with my wife's sister and brother in law as well as her dad First the positives all of the staff on the ship were without doubt some of the most pleasant and helpful we have come across from our cabin steward (Anil) to our waiters in the Bay Tree restaurant and all the entertainment team. The dancing instructors (Roanna and Goran) were great and very helpful with beginners like us. We managed to do quite a few of their classes and saw their evening shows. It was a real highlight of the cruise. We went for the select dining option and had the bay tree first sitting at 6:30 which meant that we didn't have to wait for a table. The food was of good quality and the wine package was a good deal so worth considering. The prices were in line with high street restaurants with a very good selection and quality. The selection of food changed every night with some choices always available. The evening entertainment shows were excellent from the comedians to the dancing and singing shows. The standard was very high and you would have to pay a great deal for these in your local theatre. there were loads of day time entertainment options and even a large children's area which we didn't visit but seemed well organised. The negatives the other passengers were on the whole the complete opposite of the staff i.e. rude and didn't seem to be enjoying their holiday the ship seemed to have some technical problems which meant that it could not call at Oporto as planned and seemed to more unsteady than we had been led to believe. This led to the pools being out of action some of the time as well as an additional day at sea which could have been the cause of the issue with our fellow passengers the air conditioning in the cabin made it quite stuffy even with the thermostat turned down to the minimum. It was great to have a balcony so that we could open this to get fresh air the food in the buffet restaurant could be a little sloppy and not very hot, this was not helped by our fellow passengers who insisted on piling their plates so high and taking lots of food. For breakfast its probably best to go for something cooked to order e.g. an omelette or poached eggs to ensure you get piping hot food Overall Would we cruise again - definitely but probably try a different cruise line like Cunard or a river cruise Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
The staff on board Aurora were wonderful, especially the dining staff who were polite and professional. I was particularly impressed with the Horizon buffet staff who helped the disabled/elderly choose their meals and carrying their ... Read More
The staff on board Aurora were wonderful, especially the dining staff who were polite and professional. I was particularly impressed with the Horizon buffet staff who helped the disabled/elderly choose their meals and carrying their trays to their tables etc. The entertainment team were good, especially Karl who had tons of energy and really put effort into making you enjoy your holiday. Headliners were on every other evening and their dancing was great but the girls did tend to screech the high notes! P&O brought guest bands on-board throughout the cruise and The Runaround Kids were amazing - really got the ship partying. The cabins are looking a bit tired and dated but were extremely clean and the rest of the ship was spotlessly clean. Some people opted out of paying gratuities and considering how hard the staff worked I thought this was a little unfair. All the shore excursions were well organised and P&O staff were there to guide you to the correct coach etc - it couldn't have been easier! My only criticism of the whole holiday is to do with disembarkation. Packed bags have to be on the corridor before you go to dinner on the last evening, and you need to vacate your cabin by 8am. Waiting in the room for our allocated disembarkation time was long and tedious with no drinks or newspapers to keep people occupied. Felt like P&O were more interested in getting the ship ready for the new arrivals. Overall a great holiday though!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
The ship was large but the staff were friendly and helpful. The décor didn’t have the “Wow” factor some ships have but was easy on the eye but fairly bland. Our cabin was of a reasonable size and well-equipped with plenty of ... Read More
The ship was large but the staff were friendly and helpful. The décor didn’t have the “Wow” factor some ships have but was easy on the eye but fairly bland. Our cabin was of a reasonable size and well-equipped with plenty of storage space. We ate at the Horizon buffet breakfast and lunch and found it fairly efficient for such a large help yourself restaurant. We dined in the Peninsular Freedom dining restaurant (no sittings) and found the choice and quality was very good. There was a wide range of interesting bottled beers in Brodies (pub bar) and plenty of sun-loungers in external areas (in both sunny spots and shaded areas and there were some quiet areas available). There was only a short promenade walkway for such a large ship. The production shows in the evening were of a high standard as were the guest entertainers and on-board musicians but for our tastes, we would have preferred more production shows. Although we have cruised with P&O before, we are used to the departure and arrival times at ports to be published before the cruise as do most other cruise lines. We know that these may be subject to change due to weather conditions or delays with ship’s excursions returning to the ship but we did not even know what time we were due to leave Southampton. We enjoyed the ship’s choir. We would book with the Britannia and/or any other P&O ship again as we enjoyed our cruise overall but P&O wouldn’t be the only cruise company we would consider. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
just returned from our 12 nt cruise around the med. I always read the reviews and often wonder what a lot of moaners us Brits have become. embarkation: once through security we found our cases already by our cabin. Good start Cabin: ... Read More
just returned from our 12 nt cruise around the med. I always read the reviews and often wonder what a lot of moaners us Brits have become. embarkation: once through security we found our cases already by our cabin. Good start Cabin: Inside (as always) not a bad size. Plenty of storage space. One small picky thing, no hooks anywhere just to hang lets say your bag or coat when you enter cabin (they have them on their other ships). comfy bed, changed regular and looked after by our cabin steward Cristo. Flat screen large tv., films etc but couldn't access your bill as on Azura. Bathroom usual size but brilliant shower with glass doors, better than any other in the fleet. Restaurants: we were freedom dining, had table for 2 a couple of times but enjoyed the tables for 6 and 8. met some nice people and had good conversations. Enjoyable. Beach House: surcharge of £7 50 pp. nice food but very american and big portions (very filling). Limelight club: We had a lovely table for 2 by the dance floor. Shaun Williamson (eastenders) Good all rounder and a very good singer. Good meal and a very enjoyable night. Horizon Buffet: very large, we always found a table even though its gets very crowded, baffles me why people walk around with a tray full of food trying to find a table and causing trouble bumping into everyone.find a table first. Plenty of choice of all foods, breakfast, lunch and afternoon teas (which we used). The amount of food people pile on their plates at each venue is astounding. Peninsular: this is the freedom dining venue, served well by all waiters and wine waiter too. Enjoyed the company each night with lots of nice food. no probs. Lifts: now we never had a problem with them, we were on deck 11 for/mid so walked to mid for Peninsular and aft for horizon. This is where people caused arguments and lots of moaners. remember there are 4000 passengers on this ship and the lifts will be up and down all the time. People seem to think as soon as they press the button the lift should be there!!!! Pools. always found a bed to sun bathe, we liked the aft very quiet to read your book. Theatre: not as nice inside as other ships in the fleet, but enjoyed all the headliner shows, Sam Bailey, Peter Howard (the hollies) tucker (comedian) Stephen Mullhern, produced a new show for P&O named 'astonishing' with tech lighting and an illusionist. very unusual but enjoyable. Live lounge. resident band Pulse good singers, good nights in there Brodies: sports bar, live football and quizzes. Crows nest: quiet bar with pianist all in all we had a lovely cruise, which we always do what ever problems there are. We have been on all of P&O fleet, and really like the mid size ships, but will still use Britannia again in the future, We have quite a few booked on their other ships. Each ship as its own character. Disembarkation: I have just read the latest reviews people saying it was dreadful organisation people sitting on the floor waiting to be called. we have seen this alot on the other ships, i am afraid to say its not the organisation its the people themselves. we were in brodies and never uncountered a problem although there were some moaning. It must be a nightmare to organise 4000 passengers, all wanting to get off when they they want to get off not when they are given a time!!!! go on your cruise and enjoy it take no notice of the moaners about P&O standards dropping, this is the what it is, prices have never been so low for cruising enabling all walks of life to enjoy a cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
My partner and I (72 and late 60s) went by coach with Intercruises to Southampton on 29th April, 2018, to board P&O Britannia for 12 days cruising to Portugal, Spain and Ibiza. We were quickly transferred from the coach to the ... Read More
My partner and I (72 and late 60s) went by coach with Intercruises to Southampton on 29th April, 2018, to board P&O Britannia for 12 days cruising to Portugal, Spain and Ibiza. We were quickly transferred from the coach to the embarcation lounge, but my partner discovered she had left some important hand luggage on the coach which was by then on its way back to the M3. I explained our plight to the baggage handling supervisor who phoned our coach driver, and he returned to the ship and handed the bag to a much relieved Jill. Fantastic service from Intercruises personnel! Once on board we quickly found our cabin on Deck 9, where the cabin steward introduced himself. Ours was a balcony cabin, and although it was not large, what space there was had been used carefully to provide reasonable storage space. However, the shower room has just enough room between the washbasin and toilet to open the shower door. Our luggage soon arrived and we had time to shower and change before dinner in the Peninsular restaurant. We were on Freedom dining (no fixed sitting),and could eat in either the Peninsular or Meridian restaurants. Both the Meridian and Peninsular restaurants serve the same extensive menu. Service is first class, and the reception teams are super efficient at getting you to a table with minimal delays, even on formal nights when they can be very busy. I thought the food had suffered since our first cruise on Britannia in November, 2015, with increased use of pre-prepared (probably bought in frozen) dishes, especially desserts, which are not even good (and the sherry trifle and baked Alaska were quite unpleasant). On our previous cruise we had found that the hot dishes were served hot, but several of our main courses on this cruise were no more than lukewarm. There is far too much use made of salt and sugar, which is really unhealthy - no wonder P&O have not adopted the practice now common in some restaurants of stating calorie, fat and sugar content of all menu items. Even the smoothies - which are usually promoted as a healthy way of getting your 5-a -day - were so sweet that I could not drink them, and as well as being far too salty the vegetables were sometimes also overcooked. Most main courses are often covered in sauces. Sauces should be served separately to allow diners the option of not having them. I had roast lamb one night and this was one slice of reasonably lean meat and three slices of fat. On another night I had darn of hake which was full of tiny bones that were impossible to remove and I had to ask for it to be replaced, which meant my partner had finished her main course before my replacement choice had arrived. The kitchen staff seemed incapable of getting ice cream from the freezer to the table before it melted - on one occasion I was served a dish which had more the appearance of soup than ice cream. I also felt the waiters were under pressure to get diners out of the dining room as quickly as possible, and there was no time between courses or for interaction with the waiters. We had our first two breakfasts in the Meridian restaurant, which was a leisurely and pleasant way to start the day. Unfortunately on both occasions my perfectly cooked poached eggs were cold and the toast was rock hard. Subsequently, we had breakfast and light snacks during the day in the Horizon, and dinner in either Peninsular or Meridian restaurants. Waiters in the Horizon generally were very good, but sometimes a little over eager to clear tables before passengers have actually finished, but that is better than leaving tables covered in dirty dishes. We never had any difficulty finding a table which is credit to the staff when the restaurant is very busy throughout the day. The food assistants were very helpful, and quick to replenish dishes so there was never an occasion when we had to wait for food. Our only criticisms of the Horizon would be that afternoon tea is just an extension of the lunch service with too many hot dishes and that salad is not always served with the afternoon snacks. When salad is available it is frequently served as a mixture covered in oily dressings rather than as individual unadulterated items. The food choice in the Horizon is extensive, but the labelling of dishes should be improved, including a translation/explanation of unfamiliar foreign dishes, and highlighting of dishes which contained nuts. It is difficult to get the ambient temperature right for everyone but we thought the air conditioning in public areas was too cold, especially around the lifts and stairwells. Fortunately I remembered this from our previous cruise on Britannia and remembered to take a casual jacket to wear in the dining room. Cruise ships have to prevent the spread of illness in such a confined space where several thousand passengers are in fairly close contact, and there are hand washing facilities at the entrance to the Horizon, as well as hand sanitiser stations. There was a member of the catering team stationed at the wash basin to remind customers to wash their hands, but they did not stop passengers who walked in without doing so. On our final day we witnessed a cleaning crew in protective clothing entering a cabin on deck 15, which led us to think there might have been a sickness problem, so all the measures to prevent sickness on board may not have worked. We had only one interaction with the Reception staff, and Holly dealt with our problem sympathetically and professionally. One of the things we had previously liked about Britannia was that the Atrium was a music-free zone, but unfortunately this is no longer the case, and it now plays recorded music and has a resident duo in the evenings. The duo are actually very good but I would still prefer quiet when enjoying a cocktail before dinner. The furniture in the atrium and other public areas has stood up well to the intervening years since our cruise in 2015, but there are signs of wear on banisters, and carpets. The carpet in our cabin was badly stained in places. We also were not greatly impressed by the cleaning of our cabin before we boarded - I found a used tissue under the bed on arrival, and the glass screen on the balcony was quite dirty. Obviously maintenance has also been cut back - the hinge on the shower screen was broken. The beds are fairly comfortable, but, because we were woken by the alarm call to our neighbours' cabin every shore day, we rarely got a full night’s sleep. The docking process causes the ship to vibrate so if our neighbours' alarm call had not prevented further sleep this completed the job. I used the gym a couple of times and it is an excellent facility, and very well equipped. However, it is let down by the changing room, where very few of the lockers actually lock, and there is only one shower which was cold. I could not find a member of staff to ask about the equipment which was more high tech than I am used to, or replace the empty sanitiser dispensers. There are three formal nights on this 12- night cruise, and these were very well observed. The first formal night also combines the Captain’s welcoming address in the atrium. Captain Dunlop is an amusing speaker and gives the impression of loving his job and his ship, although his daily broadcasts were a bit "Hi De Hi". Most passengers observed the ship's dress code but there are always exceptions such as the man who wandered about the ship in a sleeveless vest and shorts, usually carrying a glass of beer, even in the shops. The only show we went to was a performance by Sam Bailey, but it was standing room only, and since our discomfort outweighed our enjoyment of her performance, we left after two songs. We enjoyed the dance demonstrations by the resident dance teachers, Andy and Victoria (sorry I do not know their surname), which were in the Crystal Room, but the resident singer is far too loud for a small venue, and we could not tolerate being in there when she was on. We also enjoyed the syndicate quizzes in the Marlowe suite hosted by members of the entertainment team. Jo, Shannen and Martin were pleasant and amusing hosts, but Lewis seemed to regard it as a chore, and gave the impression he would rather have been doing something else. The ports of call were Lisbon, Cadiz, Barcelona, Ibiza, Cartagena, and Gibraltar. We had visited Lisbon on a previous cruise, so knew that it was a beautiful city, and this time we took a full city tour on a local open top bus which is as good a way as any for seeing it but of course you miss out on walking the streets and savouring the local atmosphere. Unfortunately it was quite a cold day for May, and also showery. The return to the ship was shambolic, which was blamed on the port authorities, but there can be no excuse for keeping elderly, and in some cases infirm, passengers standing in a bitterly cold wind for almost half an hour whilst they sorted out the embarkation process. In contrast the weather in Cadiz was warm and sunny, perfect for strolling around this picturesque city with its attractive open spaces and parks. In Barcelona we again took a local open top bus tour, and again the weather was showery and cold. Fortunately it cleared up long enough for us to walk back from the main square along Las Rambla and back to the ship. Obviously more time is needed to see the many well-known sights of this very large city, but the tour took us to some of the best known places such as the Sagrada Familia, and Nou Camp Stadium, and gave us a good flavour of the place. In Ibiza the weather was again a pleasant temperature for strolling around, and we walked up to the castle for a good view of the town, with the ship in the background. It was a Sunday so many shops were shut, but my overall impression is that there is not a lot there. Cartagena is a very attractive walled town, and for anyone interested in archaeology there is probably quite a lot to see. I was not prepared to pay to see old ruins, but we took a look at the amphitheatre which is visible through railings. From what we could see of it, it is heavily restored. Cartagena is a good shopping place, and easy to walk around, and we had very nice coffees at El Mirador Del Mediterraneo, on Paseo de Alfonso XII. There is not much to say about Gibraltar. We have been before, and we were due back on board at 2.00pm so did not have time for more than a quick walk to the duty free shops. You have to leave any purchases with the crew for collection before disembarkation. Our last two days were sea days before returning to Southampton, and there was a heavy swell most of the way, causing the ship to roll, and we both felt a bit queasy, but Britannia is well capable of withstanding much worse. Disembarkation was not very well organised. We were told to be ready for disembarkation at 8.15am but when we arrived at the assembly area we were told that we would be sent off according to who had arrived first, so the time we had been given was totally irrelevant. Although we had got there about 25 minutes before our allotted time, we did not get off until 8.30am, and when we got to the baggage collection area my suitcase was not in the designated place and I had to go hunting for it. In doing so I found that many suitcases had been taken to the wrong place, which is astonishing when you consider how many times the crew will have carried out the process of disembarkation. The cruise represented reasonable value, and on the whole we did enjoy it, but the unfavourable comparison with our previous Britannia cruise will probably put us off going on Britannia again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We chose this cruise as it was at the right time of year for our school holidays, went to the places we wanted to go and we got a great deal on a balcony cabin. We flew from Perth Western Australia to Heathrow, and had a transfer to ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it was at the right time of year for our school holidays, went to the places we wanted to go and we got a great deal on a balcony cabin. We flew from Perth Western Australia to Heathrow, and had a transfer to Southampton. We arrived in Southampton and put our bags in and went to the local shops to get phone sim cards and shop. The cruise was fantastic, the kids club however was empty as the UK school holidays had finished, so the kids mainly hang out with mum and dad. Luckily after cruising from Southampton to Spain we got over our jet lag and were busy in each town every day.. The restaurant was great, as we had 4 people, we never waited for a table. The buffet was very crowded so we would grab a table on entry and take it in turns to get out food. Almost everyone on board was from the UK and over 60. The comedians were pretty good and there was plenty of activities during the day. Our cabin was great, it had 2 bunk beds, but during the day the top 2 are folded into the ceiling so the cabin is quite spacious. At night with the beds down it's a bit cosy. We're Australian and quite anti-tipping, so opted out of the gratuity which is automatically included unless you fill in a form to opt out. As a first time Europe trip with our kids it was a great experience, they saw France, Spain, Italy and England. We went to Florence, Pisa, Rome and Barcelona. I think it is a trip they will remember for a lifetime. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
After going on two two-day mini cruise breaks, we decided to book a longer cruise. We were departing from Southampton on a 7-day P & O cruise calling at Vigo, Lisbon, Porto and Cherbourg. We were travelling as a group of 6 and it was ... Read More
After going on two two-day mini cruise breaks, we decided to book a longer cruise. We were departing from Southampton on a 7-day P & O cruise calling at Vigo, Lisbon, Porto and Cherbourg. We were travelling as a group of 6 and it was our main holiday of the year. Embarkation was very busy (as expected) but it was well organised and as painless as possible. It was great that we didn't see our cases after putting them onto the coach until we got to our cabin. Our Balcony cabin room was very clean and spacious enough for a couple sharing. We have certainly stayed in much smaller hotel rooms in the UK. The balcony was big enough for both of us. Our cabin steward was absolutely amazing - he cleaned, made the bed and replenished our cabin supplies twice a day. As soon as we got settled and got our bearings, we went to Reception and cancelled the automatic gratuities for service (which would have been £98 for a couple). We decided to tip individual staff as we thought best by the end of the week. Dining on board was simply outstanding. Service by all waiters, wine waiters etc was amazing! Food was delicious each night - with a large enough variety and choice. One of our party was rather picky, but they could not do enough to accommodate us. We dined for breakfast and Evening meal in the Peninsular Restaurant. We could not fault the service, the food and the whole restaurant experience at all! Occasionally for lunch and once for breakfast, we ate in the self-service restaurant Venezia. The choice was wide and quality was good, but it could be very busy and we sometimes had to walk quite a way to find a table. Apart from the busyness, it was fine. There was a wide range of activities for all age groups. The entertainment during the day was sparse but the evening entertainment was better. We visited the Playhouse a few times for the evening performance and to watch other performers in various bars across the cruise ship. The performers were good but unfortunately due to the adverse weather and choppy conditions, one of the musical performances had to be cancelled and replaced by a film. Service in the restaurants was excellent but some staff on Reception, some bar staff and P and O sales staff were not pleasant and not very helpful at all. In general, however, we did not let this spoil our week's holiday. Food was fully included (apart from the select restaurants which we didn't go to). Drinks were no more expensive than 3* or 4* hotels in the UK - about £4.50 per pint or from £15 upwards for a bottle of wine. Our ports of call were: Vigo (Spain) - on Sunday very few shops were open. We walked up to the large park and castle on the hill. After a couple of hours we had exhausted the main attractions and returned to the ship. Lisbon (Portugal) - a beautiful, fantastic day trip and the weather had improved also. Rather than booking a bus trip, we paid a local taxi driver €20 each for a 2 1/2 hour trip round Lisbon - well worth it. Saw the main sights with time taken for photos etc. Would visit Lisbon again for a long weekend. Porto (Portugal) - very wet and cold. A quick tour of the town and a coffee (which were very inexpensive) then we caught the shuttle bus back to the ship. Don't bother visiting - we weren't keen! Cherbourg - it was absolutely freezing when we visited! We spent two hours walking round the market and then returned to the ship. Very expensive, but may be more enjoyable in the summer!? However, we did enjoy waking up in different ports. Disembarkation was very smooth and well organised. Our cases were collected by from 11:00pm on our final night and easy to collect to board our coach for home. The whole trip was amazing ... too much to say here and our comments don't really do justice to our week aboard The Azura. Without doubt, my wife and I have definitely caught the cruise bug and will be booking a different cruise some time soon! Thank you P & O for giving us such a great experience! Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
This was our third time on the Azura and as usual we had a good time, despite the best efforts of the weather to try and spoil things. Let's break the review down a bit... Embarkation. We had a 3:30 slot but didn't get onboard ... Read More
This was our third time on the Azura and as usual we had a good time, despite the best efforts of the weather to try and spoil things. Let's break the review down a bit... Embarkation. We had a 3:30 slot but didn't get onboard until almost 4:30 as there was a sudden flurry of people all seeming to turn up at the same time. I was a bit annoyed that I couldn't log my credit card at check-in as the machine wasn't working and meant I had to queue up at reception. That said, it didn't take too long so not worth moaning about! Ship. As I said it was our third time on the Azura so we knew what to expect. It's generally clean and well kept and but it did creak a lot in the swell which interrupted our sleep on a couple of nights. It felt like we were on Nelson's flagship at times! The layout is logical but you have to remember to descend the right staircase otherwise you'll find the restaurants will block your way Cabin. We had a balcony cabin on deck 10 which was a good size with plenty of room for clothes and cases. The balcony is overlooked by a couple of decks above which we didn't really like and something to look out for on future cruises. Dining. We were on freedom dining in the Meridian and had to wait some nights for a table to come free, regardless of whether we shared or not. Table service was generally good and the food for the most part was excellent. Note to steak lovers; if you want it cooked medium, ask for rare as they always seem to overcook. We ate at Sindhu one night where a £20 cover applied but was worth every penny as the food was superb. The buffet is a problem in my opinion. Too many people pushing and shoving and looking for tables with passengers taking far to much time to decide what to pick from the selection. Get a move on for God's sake! To be honest the buffet layout doesn't help. Entertainment. Not brilliant. A rock n roll act called the Runaway Boys was very good but the comedian wasn't funny and the Take That tribute act were woeful. There are lots of quizzes which we enjoy and quite a few lectures although these seem designed to get you to buy things from the shops or the gallery. Service. Only one word needed - faultless. Ports. Vigo, Lisbon and Porto we explored on our own. They are good destinations, although Vigo doesn't have a great deal to offer. At Cherbourg we took an excursion to the Utah D Day beach which was very good, although marred by the grim and foggy weather. Disembarkation. Piece of cake. We took our own cases off and were out of the Southampton by 8am. So overall a good cruise and one that comes recommended! Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Had a great holiday on the lovely BrittaniaI! This was my first cruise – France and Spain 7days from Southampton. The ship was impressed, large and magnificent with lots of activities to do, such as dance classes, gym, sauna, swimming ... Read More
Had a great holiday on the lovely BrittaniaI! This was my first cruise – France and Spain 7days from Southampton. The ship was impressed, large and magnificent with lots of activities to do, such as dance classes, gym, sauna, swimming pools, bars, etc. Food was good and plenty with lots of places to eat and drink - buffet, grill bar and black tie restaurants. There were also plenty of places to sit quiet and relax if you wanted to. Service was brilliant and staff were friendly and helpful. Our cabin was comfortable and the cabin steward hard working and efficient. In part entertainment was ok, but could be better. We met many nice people and had a great time chatting and having fun. P&O had computer problems on the last day of our cruise, so we weren’t able to get our final bill, this was posted to us a week after returning home. Overall, my first cruise was amazing, with really good food and excellent service from staff, but on the not so good side, I didn’t enjoy most entertainments and the P&O computer problem was a big let-down. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We booked this cruise 18 months before departure so have been looking forward to it for some time. As this was a re positioning cruise we were bussed from return airport to Southampton. Everything went well and embarkation was efficient. ... Read More
We booked this cruise 18 months before departure so have been looking forward to it for some time. As this was a re positioning cruise we were bussed from return airport to Southampton. Everything went well and embarkation was efficient. We enjoyed this cruise. The food was good, and we met some good company when freedom dining in restaurant. The ship is in great condition throughout with the exception of Footlights theatre. We found the seating in there uncomfortable, although not too uncomfortable to enjoy shows. The only negative I had issue with was the timing of the shows, first one at 8.30pm and second at 10.30pm. This was an issue for us as in other ships first show starts at approx 7.30pm which allows you to see first show, have dinner in restaurant and then see second show. We mainly ate in restaurant for dinner and had breakfast and lunch in the limited menu Cafe Jardin (no cost for breakfast or lunch). Menu consists of a small buffet and limited served options, which we found more than satisfied us. I have never seen this option on other P&O ships. We do not generally like the buffet option (smash and grab) for our dining, but on the two or three occasions we used the Plaza buffet we were pleasantly surprised. I would say that the Plaza buffet was the best we have experienced on any ship. Initially we thought our cabin on the small side, we soon got used to it and everything was fine. In general we had a great cruise even though the weather was a bit colder than expected. We failed to land at Mykonos due to high winds. We felt that service, food and entertainment were great. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We chose this cruise as we wanted to see the Northern Lights and experience Norway with snow. We have previously been to the North Cape on P &O’s Arcadia, but in the summer. Embarkation on Oriana was a breeze...we arrived at 1pm, ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we wanted to see the Northern Lights and experience Norway with snow. We have previously been to the North Cape on P &O’s Arcadia, but in the summer. Embarkation on Oriana was a breeze...we arrived at 1pm, and were on board by 1.30...even though our official embarkation time was 2.30. Our cabin, a deluxe outside on C deck, was clean and spacious with lots of storage. A bit dated, but then we have been on Oriana once before and know that she is an old lady. Our luggage arrived shortly after us, and having unpacked had fun getting the suitcases stowed away under the bed...clearance is not great but leaving the cases open worked a treat. We were on Freedom dining in the Peninsular restaurant...and as we were happy to share with others (we were 3 adults, although not all in the same cabin) we never had a problem getting seated for dinner immediately. Food was consistently of a good or high standard...Certainly no complaints at all, and in my opinion, was better than on our previous P &O cruise last summer. Could have been a bit hotter on a couple of occasions but not cool enough to warrant sending back. We also often asked for extra veg, as we like our veg and the standard portions can be a bit small. Dining staff (with one exception) were always efficient and friendly, but we could see they were pretty rushed at times, so lengthy dialogue with the waiters did not feature! We dined in Sindhu one night...fabulous food and service. Had afternoon tea in the main dining room a couple of times, very nice, better than the buffet. We were not overly impressed with the buffet, but we tend to use Al Fresco for breakfast (much more civilised!) and dont bother much with lunch. On the days we did have lunch in the buffet we had no problems getting a table, and stuck mainly to salads which were fine. We didnt avail oursleves of much of the entertainment...we have seen all the Headliner shows before, although we did see the comedian, the Harpist ( briliiant!), and Ben Makesi ( excellent). We are happy to retire to the Crows Nest after dinner and listen to whoever is performing there. Particularly liked one artiste..... Also, this was a specialist cruise...so many evenings whilst up in the Arctic circle , we were out on deck with our camera in search of the elusive lights...drinking mulled wine. Lovely! The ship is old, but the atmosphere on board was very friendly. The public areas are lovely and well maintained. I have read a couple of other reviews about this cruise and wonder if we were on the same one! The average age on board (as quoted by one ) was definately NOT 74...there were a lot of younger people on board and far, far less people with scooters and wheelchairs than normal...as expected really bearing in mind the itinerary and time of year. I really get quite annoyed when genralising sweeping statements are made about the passengers ages on this ship. Yes, of course some are quite elderly, but that is the same on any ship, and because it is adult only you dont get young families with children. I am not elderly, but really enjoyed my time onboard, chatting with people of all ages...which we did. Ports...Andalsnes...we went on a P &O trip on the Rauma railway...amazing scenery. We went by coach to Bjorli ski resort and got the train back...definately the best way to do it as the guide on the coach was very informative, whereas information on the train was less so. Tromso and Alta.....between us we went on Husky rides and Reindeer rides ...not cheap but great fun. We visited the Ice Hotel (a must), went in search of the lights...not too sure about the value here but just one of those things really, and went to a concert in the Arctic Cathedral in Tromso....beautiful. This is one of those cruises where I think you just have to bite the bullet and book at least a couple of trips if you want to get any real benefit of a cold cruise. Stavanger we just mooched around...it is an easy port to do just that and the town is very nice...the old town being particulalrly pretty. I am now looking forward immensely to 3 weeks in the Med this summer on the same ship. She is not modern and glitzy, but offers a more traditional cruising experience....has a lovely tiered aft, and is like a ship should be ...rather than a block of flats on water! Some will not enjoy that experience, so my advice is do your research before you book a cruise! She is also very expensive if you want a balcony cabin.... Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We arrived at terminal at 2 30 it was slower than usual cases taken promptly but had to wait awhile for them to take photos and take car away. Check in quick. Our inside cabin good a little smaller than other p&o ships. Never been on ... Read More
We arrived at terminal at 2 30 it was slower than usual cases taken promptly but had to wait awhile for them to take photos and take car away. Check in quick. Our inside cabin good a little smaller than other p&o ships. Never been on the Oceania before but found her a wonderful ship easy to navigate. The atrium was decorated absolutely beautifully. We were freedom dining and enjoyed each nights company. The headliners shows, once again put on fab performances. The jingle bell rock on New Year’s Eve was magical really set the tone for the night. Our gala meal was great with good company, we then went to starlights bar to watch ‘beautiful world’ a celebration of ‘take that’ it was outstanding. Then on deck 12 to watch the lovely fireworks. All in all a wonderful New Year’s Eve, after spending the day walking around Amsterdam. Thoroughly enjoyed Bruges. All in all we had a fab time love the oceana, booked next new year Hamburg/Brugges, whilst on board. Disembarkation good even after a delay due to high winds, the port handled it well with 3 large cruise ships in. Looking forward to our next cruise in April on Britannia. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
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