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12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
We picked this cruise because we liked the itinerary. This was our fourth cruise and it did not come up to the standard of the other cruises. The dress code is almost non-existent. I went into the indoor restaurant (Horizon) and ... Read More
We picked this cruise because we liked the itinerary. This was our fourth cruise and it did not come up to the standard of the other cruises. The dress code is almost non-existent. I went into the indoor restaurant (Horizon) and although casual dress is accepted in there - no dress code is applied at all and a man of vast tattooed proportions and sweaty armpits wearing a vest plonked himself next to me. Minimum dress code should be applied in the self-service restaurant. Bare bodies and vest-tops are not acceptable when eating inside. The dress standard in the other restaurants is lax. The Britannia should be re-named The Benidorm - if you want to attract riff-raff you're going the right way about it. Entertainment was very Butlin's Holiday Camp - a lot of shouting "Are you enjoying yourselves" and inviting the audience to shriek back. Tasteless and totally lacking in class. Quite a nice cabin and balcony - excellent attendant - very helpful at all times. Shower floor cracked. Our cabin was quite nice and our cabin attendant was excellent. Most of the staff, however, seemed to have a low morale and service was slow in the restaurant. Food was OK (ish) Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
Reasonably (though still a bit dear) priced 14 night cruise to the eastern Caribbean in a balcony cabin, boarding at Castries, St Lucia on the Britannia, visiting 9 islands in total, mainly in the Lesser Antilles group. First timers ... Read More
Reasonably (though still a bit dear) priced 14 night cruise to the eastern Caribbean in a balcony cabin, boarding at Castries, St Lucia on the Britannia, visiting 9 islands in total, mainly in the Lesser Antilles group. First timers with P & O, though had cruised several times with Celebrity X and once on Royal Caribbean. Good flight out on a chartered Thomas Cook Airbus A330 (I think), disappointed to find that although flight time was about 1.25 hours less than scheduled, had to sit on plane for about that time or longer without full ECS, because buses weren't available to take us to the ship until the scheduled time. Why we weren't allowed to disembark and wait in the airport I guess was down to the rather small size of the airport and its limited lounge facilities, though this was rather uncomfortable given the temperature and following the long flight. Travel to port was in rather cramped mini bus type vehicles, the small bottle of water we were each given was very welcome if a bit minimal for the 1.5hr journey. Had to wait quite a time on arrival at the port to register and get on to the ship, and by that time nerves were a bit frayed. On first sight cabin and its balcony and bathroom seemed very small compared to other ships, though subsequently felt they were adequate after a day or two. Bit surprised to find that the cabin fridge did not contain any drinks for purchase. The ship itself seemed very smart with a nice, perhaps slightly understated opulence without being at all spectacular. Dining and general eating experiences were fairly good, our evening dining was in the ship's Meridian restaurant, we like to dine with others so after the first evening (when we couldn't be asked to change after travelling and ate in the self service Horizon restaurant on deck 16) we joined a table for 8, food and service in the Meridian was of an acceptable standard generally, though some times main portions seemed a little small and were not always particularly hot. Though these points were willingly remedied by the staff. We took breakfast in the Horizon self service a number of times, which was a bit of a bun fight at times, and mirrored the British wish for a big "fry-up" to start the day, also using on some mornings the quieter ambience of the waiter served breakfast in the Peninsular or Meridian. I was a bit critical of the lunchtime or later in the afternoon meal availability of food in the self service, particularly after returning to the ship at around 3pm after a trip ashore when choice seemed rather limited because the range of food available say at about 1pm had largely been consumed and not fully replaced, several times I was unable to find things like fresh lettuce or tomatoes etc. to knock-up a nice salad. We did not use the speciality or premium restaurants. Alcoholic drink prices were generally excellent, much, much cheaper than other ships I have sailed on, in fact very competitive with pub prices in the UK particularly with draught beers and lagers and a vast array of spirits and bottled beers. I also was happy with shore excursion prices which were good value and offered a great variety of opportunities to experience local attractions, with the added safeguard of not missing the ship an extra benefit. These seemed significantly less expensive than previous experiences. On board entertainment was very good with a variety of types, from well produced muscal shows in the theatre of "West End" quality, as well as solo shows with two performances to fit in with dining times. Also disco, pop, or intimate cocktail bar type music in the smaller venues. In fact something available to suit all tastes every evening including ballroom dancing. In addition there were many different themed quizzes and cash prize bingo to have a go at as well as movies and interesting talks to attend. The "sail away" shows on the pool deck were definitely not to be missed. Disembarkation, which of course,is always a low point went ok, though was not too impressed with having to remain in one place without easy access to drinks or food for over an hour while waiting for the coaches to arrive, as it felt a bit like we were being treated like school children who could not be trusted to be at a specific place at an exact time. You may note I said "coaches" as unlike the vehicles used at the start of the trip, this time the transfer was in the comparative luxury of 40-50 seat, very new, coaches. I was unhappy with having to pay £20 each to reserve specific seats on the aircraft home as we were told that was necessary to ensure my travelling partner ( who is a slightly nervous flyer) and I would have seats together. Like many other travellers, I guess, we really have no particular preference for where we sit on the plane, as long as we have adjacent seats to each other. As the seats were allocated whilst still on the ship, there seems to me to be no reason why this wish could not be met free of charge. This practice of charging seems to be coming a standard way of effectively increasing the cost of flying without openly appearing to do so. On balance, I enjoyed the cruise and would certainly cruise with P & O again, strong points for me were the itinerary, drinks and excursion prices and entertainment. Small reservations re food and cabin, balcony and bathroom sizes would not deter me though price would be a determining factor with these in mind. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
Flight / arrival at the island / check in We'd booked what turned out to be the first trip where Britannia home ported at St Lucia. I say home ported; obviously, Britannia still made the two day stop in Barbados a week later but ours ... Read More
Flight / arrival at the island / check in We'd booked what turned out to be the first trip where Britannia home ported at St Lucia. I say home ported; obviously, Britannia still made the two day stop in Barbados a week later but ours was the first P&O charter flight out to the island to start a 2-week cruise. Thomas Cook was the carrier and it was just fine. We splashed out on Premium (which was very good but not quite as enjoyable as Thomson’s premium on the 787) which also helped when it came to disembarking at the airport through the one and only exit, namely the front stairs. It was a bit chaotic to be honest, it being left to the aircraft captain to apologise on P&O’s behalf for the fact that our early arrival meant there were no buses to collect us. After about 45 mins we all traipsed past the solitary immigration officer (at the top of the aircraft steps bizarrely) and got on what can be best described as a glorified minibus for the 1 hour trip on St Lucia’s steep and windy roads over to Castries. It was a bit hairy, to be honest and there were moments that I thought we’d have to get out and push, but eventually we got to the city and soon Britannia came in to view in her berth and what a welcome sight it was.. can never get over how massive the ship is up close. We parked up right next to the ship at Pointe Seraphine and the check in process was as smooth as you like; partly on the quayside but most of the processing was done on board, in the Atrium. After a bit of comedy “back a bit”, “forward a bit” with the security photo we were on the way to our cabin! This being our first cruise there was a genuine sense of excitement as we headed up the stairs and into F112. Main Dining We had expressed a preference at the time of booking for Freedom Dining on the Saver and were pleased to get it. Over the 9 or so occasions that we ate in the MDR we only once had to take a pager and wait in a bar, and that was on the Captains' Gala Evening; otherwise, given that we were happy to share a table, we got to sit down straight away. Despite some of the complaints I’ve read elsewhere about the MDR menu, we can safely say we didn’t have a bad experience at all. Whilst there are numerous courses, the portion sizes were reasonable, so you didn’t feel that you were gorging yourself just to get through the dinner… We enjoyed the menu variety and thought the quality was just fine. Service was unobtrusive and efficient, just how you want it really. On a couple of occasions when we had shore excursions leaving early-ish in the morning, we decided to have breakfast in the Buffet, which was a bit manic for us, so subsequently we just got up a bit earlier and headed down to the Peninsular Restaurant allowing a bit more time for a full-service meal. BTW I would say that overall the formal nights were pretty well observed as far as dressing up was concerned, 80+ percent of the gents were in black tie / DJ’s. It made for a pretty special feel although towards the end, the fourth formal night I couldn’t wait to get out of the trousers given that I had, er, filled out a bit. Select Dining This is where Britannia’s food and drink really comes into its own; we tried pretty much all the Select restaurants: Epicurean, Glass House (tapas), Sindhu, the Beach House (very popular with the crew, which is always a good sign) and the Limelight (see Entertainment below). Our favourite was the Beach House, a chilled feel and the food was awesome. Second favourite was the tapas – type meal we had at the Glass House (which you don’t have to book for). Overall, we thought the select dining was good value for money (assuming that you can get over the fact that you’re paying on top for the privilege, but we were happy with that). Bars and Entertainment Our favourite bar was the Crow’s Nest; as a fan of gin I tried my best to get through the selection Read Less
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