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103 P&O Cruises Repositioning Cruise Reviews

I have been wanting to see London, and also Norway (The Fiords) for quite awhile. I was going to do a land tour, but since my health is now working against me sometimes, I realize that I need to slow down (74ys), and a widower on top of ... Read More
I have been wanting to see London, and also Norway (The Fiords) for quite awhile. I was going to do a land tour, but since my health is now working against me sometimes, I realize that I need to slow down (74ys), and a widower on top of it. I love the people of Great Britain as they are polite and have a special way to be proud, so I put all of that together and I decided to sail on the newest ship and also visit the Norway coast and Fiords. I arrived early so I could spend 4 days visiting London and having a great time. I had to find a way to get to Southampton, but it is only about 2 to 2 1/2 hours from my hotel near the Victoria Bus Station to the station in Southampton in a comfortable bus. The crew of the ship were polite and efficient and took my luggage and got me on the ship very fast. The ship was beautiful, and my table mates were so nice, as they were from all over England, but did not hesitate to include me in all the festivities. The entertainment was excellent and the music and dancing was just wonderful. The food gave me a chance to sample British style, and I really loved it. We had to cross the North Sea to get to Norway, and the water was calm as a lake and I was glad as it could be rough if there were storms. We stopped at the main locations and had great tours as we headed toward our last stop in Bergen. The country was lovely and the Norwegian people are alos polite and glad to see everyone as we got to explore the views and shops. This was definitely a trip to remember. I was glad I sailed on the P&O line and someday will go back and sample other ships from the line. When we disembarked on the last day, I was amazed how smooth and fast, and how they had people in the large terminal area where you picked up your suitcases who were able to assist you and get you out very fast. I must say Great Ship and Captain and all the crew I met were the best personally and efficiently. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
We chose this ship because it was calling at ports that we had not visited before. The ship is tired and is really ready for it's refit at the end of the year. It was cold on board and people complained to reception. In the ... Read More
We chose this ship because it was calling at ports that we had not visited before. The ship is tired and is really ready for it's refit at the end of the year. It was cold on board and people complained to reception. In the evening the selection of food in the Plaza buffet was not very extensive and also lacked variety, however, the staff were excellent, we couldn't fault them. If, like me you are disabled and cannot get up and down stairs then this is not the ship for you because, if any of the ports on your cruise are tendered you will not be able to get to the tender platform. I was told there was not a lift that would take me from deck 4 down to deck 3 to get to the tender, so I was unable to go ashore. This is the only ship that I have encountered this problem . As this was our first cruise on Oceana, we gave them the information needed regarding my disability and needs when we booked but no-one advised me regarding the tendering situation of this ship. We are having to cancel another cruise booked on this ship in August/September because of this problem. Disembarking was excellent and the accessible shuttle buses were brilliant. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We use this cruise to relax and not get jet lag on the way back, just chill on sea days and enjoy the ships entertainment each night, Good bunch of passengers playing deck quoits each day and we was able to play until the day before ... Read More
We use this cruise to relax and not get jet lag on the way back, just chill on sea days and enjoy the ships entertainment each night, Good bunch of passengers playing deck quoits each day and we was able to play until the day before disembarkation. Freedom dining is our preference and this worked really well... Coach service back to Gatwick makes the trip really good value .... Done this trip 5 times and it's best sailing back from Barbados.....not sailing from Southampton. Buffet area does not work as it's a pain to get a table and the restaurant is so much better for all meals and the glass house tiger prawns.....are delicious. Sindu was ok and the Beach house was not bad for value.... Staff onboard varied and some were just not happy to be there, but we found that it's the sea days that make it long days for them and this does have an effect on tiredness, so I make sure that I let them know how much they are appreciated and give extra tips to those who go that extra mile..... Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We have just returned from the reposition cruise on the Britannia front the Caribbean to Southampton. We few from Manchester on a 15 year old TCX airbus that had great leg room and a great crew. At Bridgetown we left the plane straight ... Read More
We have just returned from the reposition cruise on the Britannia front the Caribbean to Southampton. We few from Manchester on a 15 year old TCX airbus that had great leg room and a great crew. At Bridgetown we left the plane straight onto the usual coaches to the port. I had chosen seats at the rear of the aircraft hoping that there would be front and rear steps to leave the aircraft but there was only front steps which meant quite a long delay leaving the aircraft whist the dodderers and chatterers left huge gaps in the queue to leave. At the ship we had a 10 minute queue before receiving a cabin cards and then proceeding through security onto the Britannia. Our cabin was ready and after about 10 minutes I spotted that my case was outside the staff lifts. One of the crew passed it to me. My wife's case arrived at our cabin about 30 minutes later. I always look by the nearest staff lifts as the poor stewards are so busy it can often be hours before they have time to deliver your case. We were on the starboard side of the ship which is the sunny side on the crossing to Southampton. Sadly we were on A deck which had a large overhang which meant that after about 2 hours from sunrise you are shaded from the sun. Another problem with our cabin was that between 4am and 5am every morning there was a sound like a 747 taking off as the staff in the buffet above moved heavy trolleys around then dropped something heavy on the floor above. I would not recommend A deck for those who want a peaceful night. At Dominique we parked at the berth about a mile from the town. Apparently the week before the ship had berthed at the town. It is pleasant 30 minute walk along the front into town or there is a private shuttle bus for 2$. Our next stop was Tortilla were we had a nice walk along the beach to the small colourful craft village 15 minutes away. Next was St Maarten where, along with the majority of the guests on the other 2 ships in port with us, we took the 7$ day return 5 minute boat across the bay to the beautiful beach. From here and after a few beers we had our Great British Sailaway party as we set off on the 5 day sail to Ponta Delgada. For the first 4 days the temperature slowly dropped from 27° to 22°. There was lots of sun and most people were sunbathing on the top decks. We had there nights were we lost an hour so the when we arrived in the Azores we were 1 hour behind UK time. The day we left the Azores the weather took a turn for the worst. We soon got a heavy gale with wind at 80mph and gusts of over 100mph. Britannia rode the winds and massive waves splendidly, it's huge hulk being steadied by her stabilisers. We then had a final hour removed so that we arrived in Southampton with UK time. We had a free P&O coach to return us from Southampton to Manchester Airport. We assembled in the theatre until our Group were called to go down one flight of stairs and disembark on deck 5. You then go into the large warehouse where the cases are all lined up in deck order. Make sure you grab a free luggage trolley as you enter as it is a bit of a walk to the Manchester coaches. After a bit of a search we found our cases, went through Customs and left the building.. We were directed to the Manchester coaches which were being loaded in arrival at your coaches order. We were lucky went on the coach used as the Southampton FC team coach which left at 8.45am. We arrived at Manchester Airport at 2.30pm, despite a section of the M6 being closed. You get off the coach at a coach dropping off bay next to Terminal 1. Overall it was another great trip on Britannia. The towels have lost a lot of their fluff since our last 2 trips but you expect that after a few years of daily washing. The cabin stewards now have to service 18 cabins. The centre lift stairs only go up to deck 7. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
Had a lovely cruise. But found that there was nothing at night. Freedom dining . Went at 7. O clock and was lucky if we finished at nearly 9.pm which meant that the show at 8.30 we missed and had to wait till 10.30 for next one. If we ... Read More
Had a lovely cruise. But found that there was nothing at night. Freedom dining . Went at 7. O clock and was lucky if we finished at nearly 9.pm which meant that the show at 8.30 we missed and had to wait till 10.30 for next one. If we did not go to show not much to do we are not drinkers so just walked about. Only 2 nights were la te. I am an older person but I won't go on another ship with most older people too many wheelchairs. I am sorry for saying that I know that but for the graceful of God I don't use one.i can't jive about but love to watch other people. Had a great rest bed by 9. 30 most nights. Cabin was lovely Steward looked after us. The ports visited were great and weather was kind to us. I suppose there were lots of positives as well as negatives can't please all Thanks to all will be back on another ship. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
Our 3rd cruise with 3 different cruise lines and it has to be said that the food and service was below standard, especially the waiter service in restaurants, making it the least desirable cruise we have been on. Not sure I will cruise ... Read More
Our 3rd cruise with 3 different cruise lines and it has to be said that the food and service was below standard, especially the waiter service in restaurants, making it the least desirable cruise we have been on. Not sure I will cruise with P & O again!! If you are employed to be a waiter, why don't you know how to wait on a table? Very poor service throughout the cruise, except for the odd one or two evenings/waiters. The food was average, some dishes were served barely warm, not great. Wine waiters had no idea about wine, let alone how to pour wine. Head waiters didn't seem to care, not interested in putting things right. The entertainment was very good, catering for all tastes. Roy Walker was superb, Rietta Austin was amazing, Victoria and Accent were energetic to the end, and a joy to behold. Some of the top deck entertainment was a little loud and tiring, bordering on school playground, which needs tailoring to the clientele a little more. The gala evenings were a big disappointment. Not much happening anywhere on the ship, following on from great performances in the theatre, it all felt a bit of a high became a crashing low!!! In summary. Sort the quality of the food. Throw the waiter staff overboard and replace with waiters who know how to wait on tables, know how to smile and know how to engage with customers. Until then, I think I would avoid P & O. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
Where to start?A booking of Four which included two frail passengers needing two nearby cabin,s placed fifty cabins apart? .I know that because I counted them every morning. They said we had got a special price and couldn't choose ... Read More
Where to start?A booking of Four which included two frail passengers needing two nearby cabin,s placed fifty cabins apart? .I know that because I counted them every morning. They said we had got a special price and couldn't choose but with the state of our health a bit of flexibility would not have gone amiss. We have travelled with most cruise lines and never had any trouble. Forty pounds for a shampoo and blow? Did I take it? No.Fifteen pounds for a book of bingo tickets? Did I play? No. Hair dryers with pins that wouldn't fit into the socket? Could we use them? No. Barely a morning in Gibraltar which we had so looked forward to visiting? Didn't even get as far as Marks and Spencers. On the plus side the cabin staff and catering staff were great. Maybe they should let them run the ship. Would I take a cruise with P and O again? No. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
Do not pay any attention to poor reviews about this ship..... This was our 2nd cruise on Ventura,and there was nothing at all negative about our time onboard.Some people,it seems,just have to moan about something.P and O are a good ... Read More
Do not pay any attention to poor reviews about this ship..... This was our 2nd cruise on Ventura,and there was nothing at all negative about our time onboard.Some people,it seems,just have to moan about something.P and O are a good company,and Ventura a good ship.Book,go,and enjoy.Far from being "tired",or "in need of updating",the cabins,restuarants,bars,shops,and all public areas are very cosy and stylish.The food onboard,be it in the main dining rooms,self service buffet areas,or speciality restaurants is always of a high standard.The staff are all attentive,helpful,and above all,very good at what they do.And what they all do is ensure you have a wonderful holiday whilst onboard.The entertainment is high quality and varied,with something for everyone.I certainly never saw signs of boredom or dissatisfaction as mentioned in some reviews.Embarkation and disembarkation was extremely efficient,as were the procedures and facilities available for going ashore at ports of call.So to sum up,if you take any notice of the negative reviews and decide not to cruise on Ventura,you will deprive yourself the opportunity to enjoy a brilliant ship,and a wonderful holiday.I only returned home from the cruise yesterday,and this is an honest review,with no connection to P and O cruises,except from being a satisfied customer. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
Hygiene was a concern, a used tissue on the gangway on embarkation. Cabin was OK, but was unwell and had nosebleeds, told by cabin steward when asking for clean sheets that this was not a hotel and they change the sheets every 3 days. No ... Read More
Hygiene was a concern, a used tissue on the gangway on embarkation. Cabin was OK, but was unwell and had nosebleeds, told by cabin steward when asking for clean sheets that this was not a hotel and they change the sheets every 3 days. No towel art at all during our stay, part of the cruising experience. Asked for water from waiters ,either ignored, took 20 minutes to arrive or looked at like I was a piece of muck, yet people ordering alcohol got their drinks immediately. Hygiene in buffet, whilst there were hand cleaners no-one insisted on people using. A lot of the staff were wonderful and helpful, especially the breakfast waiting staff and also the waiting staff in the Oriental. Food was average, nothing special, the food that was of a suitable standard you were required to pay extra. P&O never missed a chance to grip more money. The ship broke down in the Azores, delayed 1 and a half days there, but ship caught up almost on the time. Captain left the ship in St Maarten, he was the lucky one, I would say, another person had died during the cruise and the body was down in the medical and another was ambulanced off at St Maarten. Tragedy continued when a mini-bus on one of P&O's overpriced excursions had a head-on collision resulting in one death and several in intensive care. The next port, a water taxi sprung a leak and the passengers had to be rescued by lifeboat. The ship was jinxed, the moral of people was low generally. Making cruises cheap unfortunately seems to attract a different demographic than I have experienced on past cruises. The P&O experience continued on the flight home, with Thomsons who are usually great for long haul flights, charging £2.50 for a coffee which would normally be free. I would not go on P&O again if it was free or if I was paid. I could go on... Entertainment wasn't bad. The horseracing event was painful on the ears because the Geordie girl from entertainment team, whilst a lovely girl, screeched so loud it grinds on your nerves. We were originally a party of 4, reduced to two for unforeseen circumstances, and we two left behind would never have chosen or booked this cruise, usually travel Princess or Carnival or other similar standard. . Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
Clodia has already given a balanced an accurate review of this cruise so I will not go into so much detail. I would just further add that Captain Camby was superb, the staff were excellent,Benny the Entertainments Manager was exceptional, ... Read More
Clodia has already given a balanced an accurate review of this cruise so I will not go into so much detail. I would just further add that Captain Camby was superb, the staff were excellent,Benny the Entertainments Manager was exceptional, our cabin steward Leviston was simply brilliant. What a shame that this cruise was blighted by such bad luck. To summarise: - coach tour of Azores a complete £90 wash out and so foggy we could have been anywhere - starboard engine failure in the Azores causing 30 hour delay in port - late arrival, late departure and tropical storm soaking in St Maarten - late arrival in St Lucia - Dominica: tour bus accident (passenger fatality and injuries), exit/entry computer system inoperative, flood in the Malabar, breakdown of three lifts midship, stewards finger crushed in cabin door, late departure - Grenada: water taxi from Grand Anse beach overloaded and close to capsizing and drowning after taking on water (rescued by another water taxi and the Britannia launched a life boat) Apart from the above it was a good cruise but was upset to see drinks being served in Manhattan to a guy in a vest and shorts on a black tie evening (what happened to the dress code) and drinks being served to four underaged youngsters in the Malabar. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
Azura Transatlantic: not the cruise from Hell! Warning: long review! Just back from this cruise, with my oldest friend; it was certainly “interesting” and actually made me realise how P and O cruises (of which this was my 20th) ... Read More
Azura Transatlantic: not the cruise from Hell! Warning: long review! Just back from this cruise, with my oldest friend; it was certainly “interesting” and actually made me realise how P and O cruises (of which this was my 20th) usually do run like clockwork! This one didn't; however much of what happened was not the fault of the staff and was handled well. We had priority boarding and were aboard by 12.50 and in the fizz and canape lunch in Sindhu by just after one. As it was my 60th birthday I really enjoyed a glass or 3 and something to eat; what a start to the cruise and still dinner in Epicurean to look forward to! Our cases had arrived by the time we had eaten and chosen a library book each, so we unpacked, found plenty of hangers and our cabin steward Cliford, who was superb, got us some more as we'd slightly overpacked, despite the fact that we would be flying home from Barbados. Muster was a little late as there was a coach stuck in traffic, so we got some Peller Ice from the Glass House and watched the people boarding through the window as we sipped. This meant that we sailed late, at nearly 6 o clock, something we were to do repeatedly on this cruise though for different reasons! We had a wonderful birthday meal in Epicurean, with smoked salmon carved at the table; pea and ham soup, main courses of lamb and veggie option, and crepes flambeed at the table with Grand Marnier. There were little extras from the chef, and some very nice wine; shiraz for me and chardonnay for my friend. We were too tired and replete to see the show, so relaxed on our balcony before bed. We had a lovely A deck midships balcony which was an upgrade to HA category from the HD one we'd booked. It was opposite the midship lifts but there was no noise at all from them. The beds were soft and in no time we slept. For the next 3 days we were at sea, with very calm weather for the first 2 and only a little moderately rough sea on the 3rd, so we explored, and went to many activities. Films, shows, talks, quizzes and displays. We enjoyed the daily sudoku and crossword from Reception, though we quickly got to know the style of the crossword setter and got a bit irritated with his 2 and 3 word clues and the grammatical inaccuracy of some clues which led to wrong conclusions! However we got all or most of them right each day, and it kept our brains working along with reading, talks, quizzes and the excellent Murder Mystery which we absolutely loved. It's the first time I've done one on a P and O ship; more please! A retired detective, Terry Brown, gave 3 interesting talks on these first 3 sea days, leading up to the Murder Mystery on the 5 days to the Caribbean. He had 11 volunteer suspects from passengers, set the scene, and put the rest of us into teams of detectives who had to interview each suspect, ask for further relevant information, discuss, and then come to a conclusion on the final day. We got it wrong but that didn't detract from the fun. The sessions overran each time which was a bit annoying as it prevented us from doing other things in which we were interested, so perhaps the Entertainment Manager needs to allocate more time than the standard 45 minutes to sessions of this kind in future. But I'd love to do it again! We were allocated a table for 6 on 2nd sitting, but only ate there about half of the nights of the cruise, though we enjoyed both the company of our table mates and the menus, because as it was a special birthday cruise we had decided to do more speciality eating, and tried the Epicurean twice, the Glass House 3 times, Sindhu once and the Beach House twice. All were excellent, though Epicurean is the best of all and I shall be there again next time I cruise! We had chosen this cruise as there were a lot of sea days, as we enjoy time at sea. I heard some people complaining about the number of sea days (one of which was actually spent docked for reasons I shall explain) and wondered why on earth they had chosen a transatlantic repositioning cruise if they didn't like sea days! There was always plenty to do; a bit of something for everyone. Pub quizzes and bingo, talks, shows, bands, comedy, choir,art classes, dance classes both formal and informal, etc etc. No classical music though, which disappointed me as I love it. Nor were there any of the more “intelligent” art house type of films that the ships which have dedicated cinemas sometimes show; the seascreen was all very “popular” stuff and many repeats. We also enjoyed just chilling out on our balcony or on deck with a coffee, iced water, beer or glass of wine too. What sea days are all about! Sunbeds: well despite pleas in Horizon and announcements on deck, the Lesser Spotted Azura Sunbed Hog is still alive and well even if there are definitely enough beds for all when people use them considerately. One announcement actually told us that there was no real way of policing sunbeds and appealed to our better nature; that might work on Aurora, sunshine, but you've got to remember that the big ships attract a minority who don't have one! But we could always get a bed somewhere. During the cruise I enjoyed my Caribbean privileges of free champagne one formal night and at a sailaway, and the excellent lunch with the officers and engineers. Before we got to the Caribbean, things went wrong though I shall say from the outset that none of it (except perhaps the sadness we all felt on learning of the road accident) stopped us from enjoying our cruise. We arrived on day 4 at Ponta Delgada, where despite cool weather we spent a morning exploring the town. There wasn't a lot to see but it was new to us so we enjoyed it. Pouring 2 gin and tonics for drinking on the balcony as we sailed away at 6 o clock, we awaited the usual “bing bong” names of pax not aboard, but instead got an announcement from Captain Camby telling us that there was a mechanical problem and that engineers were working on it, and we would sail late, without an announcement if it was very late. We went to dinner and tried not to think of the possible consequences. We didn't sail, and the Captain updated us again. During the night I kept waking up and peering out of the balcony curtains to see if we were still there. We were. And we were in the morning. I went up on deck for an 8 o clock update from the Captain, who told us that parts were being flown in and the problem still being worked on. We eventually slipped quietly away from the Azores at about 9.30 that evening, as we were eating our dinner in Sindhu. The Captain had kept us regularly updated, but would not make announcements late at night. Apparently it had been quite a serious problem, but it was handled extremely well by the Captain and staff. Disappointing to be stuck in Ponta Delgada for another rather cool day, when we were looking forward to the sun, but better than having a problem in the middle of the Atlantic! We all felt for Captain Camby as his wife was about to give birth to their first child and he wanted to get to St Maarten to fly home to them. In the end she gave birth the day before we got there, to an “adorable” boy called Austin Robert after his father. We were all delighted for him and hope he is enjoying time with his new family. So we changed Captains, to Angelo Vago whom we didn't warm to nearly as much, in St Maarten, where we did eventually arrive only 4 hours late after sailing 30 hours late from the Azores! Quite an achievement if you ask me! Unfortunately, late arrivals did somewhat spoil our enjoyment of some of the ports at the end of the cruise. I didn't mind the heat, but the humidity really got to me, and while we could have coped with doing things in the morning, arriving after noon made walking about almost impossible, and I am quite fit! I used the gym every day until we arrived in St Maarten, but for the final 6 days just found it too much despite the aircon in there! We did walk to Philipsberg and were not terribly impressed. We walked around, got hassled by vendors, had a rather expensive rum punch, and visited a shop advertising “clean restrooms” to buy a bottle of local rum and use their toilets. The “clean restrooms” turned out to be a filthy toilet in a corrugated iron shack with no paper and a notice on the door saying “No poo poo only pee pee.” Culture shock or what! Wonder what the American tourists made of it? Afterwards we found a small beach and had a lovely cool swim, followed by a hot and uncomfortable walk back to the shopping centre near the docks, sand in toes etc. We did a bit of shopping, had a cold beer, and got back on Azura, hoping to be a bit more comfortable the next morning in St Lucia. Unfortunately the late sailings continued, as one of the trips was very late back to the ship after a rope got tangled around a boat propeller, forcing the passengers to have to be rescued by coach. I bet they were pleased! We eventually sailed in the late evening, having changed Captains (Vago didn't keep us nearly as well informed as Camby), which meant another late arrival into St Lucia, and leaving the ship in the full heat of the day. Waiting for a water taxi to the town, we were informed that we would be put into groups of 16 and there would be a 25 minute wait. I could have gone with this at 9am, but not at 1.30pm in the humid 32 degree heat! My friend and I reluctantly made the decision to forget going to town and just to explore on foot the area around the docks, shopping and gratefully subsiding into a seat at a bar for cold drinks. We stayed over an hour and listened to the local band playing which we enjoyed. At least the toilets, though simple, were clean here! St Lucia looked nice from our balcony. I'd like to see it from a boat or first thing in the morning another time. We still sailed late (another delayed trip) which was annoying as we had not had a single sailaway so far. I am not wonderfully keen on the manic activity round the pool, preferring to have a quiet drink on my balcony or in a quieter deck bar, but part of a cruise for me is that lovely moment when the ship's horn sounds and we pull slowly away from our dock. I was missing it keenly by now. However, as the distance was short, we were docked early in Dominica, so looked forward to going ashore after an early breakfast. Again we were disappointed. We docked miles out of town as Celebrity had the town berth (do they pay more?) and it was too far to walk in the heat. We expected a P and O shuttle as we were docked so far away but there wasn't one (nor anywhere in the Caribbean; are they not allowed or something) so we paid for a private minibus tour of the area, only to discover that we had to wait nearly half an hour for him to fill up and there was no aircon, only open windows useless in the humid heat. I hated every minute on that bus and was glad to be dropped near the port, opposite the Celebrity ship. We had a short walk in town and retired gratefully to a cafe for cold drinks, where at least there was a large fan which we sat behind! It was a little slice of life sitting drinking local beer and watching the world go by. We managed to get a private taxi back to the ship. But he tried to charge us twice. As we had paid the asked for 10 dollars at the start we refused to pay again, and were left still with a walk to the ship, though not a long one. We went to the market but most of the stuff was tat. The current exchange rate makes everything expensive so you only buy what you really want! Unfortunately that was the day that there was a road accident on Dominica involving a car and a minibus which was carrying passengers on a P and O tour. One was killed and a number injured. Captain Vago announced this at departure time though rumours were already around the ship, and asked us out of respect not to speculate, particularly on social media, as no names could be announced until relatives had been contacted. This was fair enough though we found out that it was already on social media by the time he made his announcement. I decided to ring my husband at home and get him to ring my friend's family, which was just as well as he was faced with calls over the following days from friends and family who had seen it on social media. We were Speciality dining that night and went for cocktails first in the Planet Bar, but the news took the shine off our and others' evenings a bit as we all felt for those involved. Eventually we sailed, again later, with some of the pax with minor injuries able to reboard the ship and continue their holiday, though several were left in hospital with relatives being flown out and the Port Agent taking care of their arrangements. We felt sad as we watched their cases being offloaded. The next day was Grenada, which was our favourite island of those we visited. We had booked on the Rhum Runner, originally in the afternoon, for a sail around the island, a beach visit and some rum punch! Our trip was changed by P and O “for operational reasons” to the morning, which actually turned out better for us. As Britannia the monster was docked opposite us, we guessed the “operational reasons”; their pax got the afternoon trip! As it happened, we got sunshine and they got rain! We were very apprehensive about the trip after the Dominica incident, but we really enjoyed the island cruise on the big flat bottomed catamaran, with a chance to see the marine life, and the visit to an idyllic beach with time to swim, drink and laze. And lots of rum punch, and a steel band and dancing all the way back. It was all good clean fun, no one was too drunk and we loved it! Getting back onboard for lunch, we enjoyed more swimming and lazing in the afternoon. This time we sailed on time, more or less, and looked in on the Great British Sailaway with Britannia and Azura trying to outdo each other, but found it a bit full on and took our cocktails back to our balcony instead for a more peaceful departure. I was up at 6 to see the last docking in Barbados, and was glad we'd gone for the 15 night cruise as it gave us a full day and overnight there. As it was early we tried a walk, and saw some of the town, but got hopelessly lost trying to find a nearby beach and gave in to one of the persistent taxi drivers. He of course took us to his mates' place on Carlisle Beach, but it was very nice, with cold drinks, chairs and umbrellas for hire, showers to get the sand off etc, and free wifi. We had a swim and a short sunbathe, then more cold drinks. The driver picked us up and delivered us back to the docks where we did our last shopping before getting back onboard to start the dreaded packing and get a quart into 2 pint pots acceptable to the aircraft! We threw a few things away or stuffed them into handbaggage! Cases outside and vanished within 5 minutes, it was time to enjoy our last night, where we ate in the Beach House, and then had a drink on deck. I went to the show and my friend went to see a film, (that was often our after dinner choice) then we met for a nightcap before our last sleep. I had never done a transatlantic fly cruise so didn't know what to expect, and it wasn't a good way to end a lovely holiday! We were picked up on time, the coach was airconditioned, but it was a long ride and we were waiting by the roadside for a time. The airport lacked facilities and the duty free was too expensive. The flight was on time but we were made to stand at the gate in the heat for an unacceptably long period. An 8 hour flight is not pleasant and I shan't be doing it again. The service on the aircraft was appalling, a complete contrast to the excellent service we had from all the staff on Azura, and when we landed there were no trains for hours. We spent a freezing 3 hours at the station trying to get warm with hot drinks. Not recommended! On balance, we really enjoyed the “cruise” part of this cruise: the food, entertainment, service, and the huge majority of the company. The Caribbean; well I'm unsure. I liked Barbados and Grenada, and probably would have liked St Lucia if we had got to see more, but wasn't impressed with St Maarten or Dominica. Maybe you can't judge after so few islands. If I return, it'll be on a cruise sailing both ways from the UK. We passed Aurora who was on her way home as we sailed out to the Azores and I was envious (we had a great horn competition!) We met lots of really nice fellow passengers, and unfortunately 3 very rude people; really not bad out of over 3000! One woman who thought we had pushed in front of her in a queue (we hadn't, and she wouldn't accept it and ranted on and on like a lunatic!) and a couple who obviously thought they were better than everybody else on the ship and got into a rant about our being “chavs” (we aren't). But it's Azura again. We've never had any rude pax on the mid sized ships! So much so that we have a phrase in our house when someone is rude or crass: “Oh how very Azura of you!” To sum up: a chapter of accidents, couldn't be helped and well handled. Some ports we loved, others not. Great food and service. Great entertainment though less for the more educated and more for the lowest common denominator; quite a contrast to Aurora! Made myself stay awake till the night after the sleepless flight, and rested now though a bit jet lagged. Can't wait for my next cruise (Aurora!). Might give Azura a miss for a while, unless the itinerary is a must! Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
To begin with, it’s only fair to say that all things considered, our time with the P&O Azura on this 15 night Caribbean cruise was good. The crew, accommodation, facilities and entertainment were excellent. The restaurant food was ... Read More
To begin with, it’s only fair to say that all things considered, our time with the P&O Azura on this 15 night Caribbean cruise was good. The crew, accommodation, facilities and entertainment were excellent. The restaurant food was most agreeable, however, it took us four days to get the freedom dining that we wanted. Initially, we had been assigned a late sitting, fixed table with fellow diners that were at least 30 years older than us. No disrespect to these people, but we had nothing in common largely due to the age gap and conversation was very stilted. When assigning tables I think the restaurant team should try and aim to have similar aged people wherever possible. As the cruise developed, there were numerous problems and events which made it unforgettable for all the wrong reasons (prompting one passenger we overheard in the atrium to call this the ‘jinxed cruise’). For us, it all started with the transfer coach from Manchester to Southampton which was struck by a pheasant. Speeding along the motorway, the coach collided with the hapless bird which smashed the windscreen forcing the coach driver to halt the journey at a service station until a replacement coach could be organised. This meant that we arrived as the ship was almost about to sail. However, in the embarkation terminal, we found that owing to some sort of IT issue, we could not be processed and so had to wait for what seemed like an eternity until we eventually boarded Azura. Because we then had to attend the lifeboat safety drill, it meant that the first day was pretty much over. A few days later at Ponta Delgada (Azores), the ship developed a technical issue which meant that we couldn’t depart and so had to spend another day in this unexciting port. Mechanical issues happen with something as complex as a cruise ship and the captain did his best to expedite things and get us on our way. However, because we were so delayed it meant that we had to cruise as fast as possible in a constant attempt to catch up. Despite this, we were delayed in getting to our next port of call and so had less time there than expected. Later in the cruise, we were shocked when an announcement was made that there had been an accident ashore in Dominica and one of the passengers had been killed. There was a road traffic incident in which their sightseeing mini-van was involved in a collision. There were apparently several injured passengers along with the passenger fatality. The driver was also killed. This was really sad news and to be honest, it was worrying since it was reported that some of the busses used for trips had seatbelts that were less than ideal and witnesses said that seatbelts had mechanisms that was so badly rusted they couldn’t close. Again, something P&O need to investigate thoroughly. Later, there were other incidents such as a small ferry that began to sink with cruise passengers on board and needed to be rescued. On another occasion, our departure from one of the islands was delayed again as one of the boats on an organised trip had mechanical difficulties (something to do with the propeller being snagged by fishing line). Of course, the incidents described could not be attributable to P&O, however they did have knock on effects and it is hard not to feel that some episode or other was likely to befall us. Some of the passengers on board did seem to be out of place and they did bring the tone down somewhat. For example, a man was exceptionally drunk and caused trouble in one of the bars. Eventually, he was restrained and put into isolation (I guess in the ships brig). When he had sobered up a little, he was interviewed and promised to behave, accepting that he would not be allowed access to any more alcohol - if he could be allowed to enjoy the rest of his holiday. Later, he was spotted drunk again as apparently, a friend had procured for him a bottle of spirits. To round the holiday off, after returning to the ship from a very exciting submarine trip, we were dismayed to find our cabin had been flooded. We were not upset by the flooding (water was coming in from the cabin next to us), but the way in which we were treated. For example, our door was open (a definite security risk) and the whole room was in disarray with carpets being pulled up and our belongings strewn haphazardly all over the place. Additionally, there were two large hot air blowers running noisily. Further, the cabin heating had been set to full (in an attempt to dry the carpets) however, this made the atmosphere like a sauna and it made our hanging clothes damp. Cutting a long story short, it took several frustrating hours to eventually be offered an alternative cabin. We understand that issues can happen with plumbing, however, after writing to P&O, they accept that things did not go smoothly and lessons would be learned. We have cruised with P&O nine times now. Despite the many things that happened on this particular trip on Azura, the unfortunate events have to be balanced against the positives. One of the highlights for us were the genuine, lovely people we met (shout-outs to Jim, Phil, John and Christine!). For that reason, coupled with the hardworking ships company, we would cruise with P&O again in the future. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
This was our first cruise & possibly our last ! The ship itself was nice. There are a lot of facilities & we couldn't fault these. The dining facilities were good with the evening meals very good & on occasion ... Read More
This was our first cruise & possibly our last ! The ship itself was nice. There are a lot of facilities & we couldn't fault these. The dining facilities were good with the evening meals very good & on occasion excellent. The service was impressive & professional, however some of the waiters/waitresses in the dining room at dinner were rude & perfunctory. The accommodation was very good considering this was a ship with a limited amount of space available. The cabin steward was very hard working & kept the cabin spotless. My biggest disappointment was the ports of call. The ports themselves with the exception of St Kitts & Barbados were uninteresting, probably as due to the restraints of time available ashore before sailing to the next port meant we were unable to traverse too far or explore any island very well. I think my overriding beef was for the money I spent I could have had better value by booking two beach-based Caribbean holidays with more possibility of a tan !! I appreciate that you either like cruising or not (the majority of people we spoke to were multiple cruise ship veterans who loved it) however I was not overawed & am unlikely to try a cruise again (unless the price was "right" !!) Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
I thought I would focus my review on the features of this lovely new ship I loved the most. Overall the interior of the ship is stunning. The variety of finishes of wood, fabrics, metal and marble used with effective lighting accents ... Read More
I thought I would focus my review on the features of this lovely new ship I loved the most. Overall the interior of the ship is stunning. The variety of finishes of wood, fabrics, metal and marble used with effective lighting accents plus the wide, spacious passageways are terrific. There are an infinite number of great places to sit in and enjoy. I was seldom conscious that I was sharing the ship with 4000 people. Another highlight was the Lido deck with three very large pools, one forward reserved exclusively for adults. There are plenty of lounges to go around. We took good advantage of the speciality restaurants as well. They cost extra, however. My favorite hands down was the Epicurean. It is elegant, quiet and the service as well as the cuisine on two different menus were outstanding. The other outstanding feature for me was the Retreat which costs extra, but provides a welcome opportunity to be in a more intimate, secluded outdoor environment, away from all the music around the lido deck pool area. Limited food is served at lunch in the Retreat as well. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
I'm astonished that it appears that over half of Britannia's passengers appear to have endured an unpleasant experience. Either their standards are infinitely higher than mine (possible) or they are more sensitive to ... Read More
I'm astonished that it appears that over half of Britannia's passengers appear to have endured an unpleasant experience. Either their standards are infinitely higher than mine (possible) or they are more sensitive to disappointment (equally possible). I've seen the decor complained about - others found it pleasing. I've seen the food complained about - others enjoyed it. I've seen the entertainment complained about - others had only praise for it. I've seen the staff complained about - I had no complaints. Are there niggles - of course. There were times when a mid ship staircase would have been appreciated and I found the deck area pretty slippery at times but I'm fortunate to be able to walk and it's no bad thing to watch your step. I probably wouldn't chose A Deck under the overhang again but my husband wasn't bothered by it at all and we had shade to read in the warmth of the Caribbean. The ship never felt crowded, the library was excellent and the performers in the Theatre exceeded my expectations. The talks that I chose to attend were informative and the Ship's Tour was one of the highlights of the Cruise. I would strongly recommend it. I think it's desperately sad if people didn't enjoy their holiday. What I find frustrating is that many of the reviews are both positive and negative but when it comes to rating Britannia they rate on the negative. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
This was our first cruise with P&O having previously cruised with Royal Caribbean, celebrity, NCL and Thomson. We didn't read the reviews until after we had booked it and once I saw them I was expecting very little. The cruise ... Read More
This was our first cruise with P&O having previously cruised with Royal Caribbean, celebrity, NCL and Thomson. We didn't read the reviews until after we had booked it and once I saw them I was expecting very little. The cruise was a 10 day repositioning cruise from Southampton to Genoa, stopping at Lisbon, Gibraltar, Barcelona, Cannes, Marseille and Livorno. Embarkation was the best I have ever experienced, the coach picked us up at Manchester airport where we were flying back to, and the check in was quick and easy. Unfortunately the sail out and the following 36 hours were very rocky due to storm Katie and then the bay of biscay. But the captain was fantastic constantly reassuring people, although from what I heard the water got quite high and some of the balconies were affected. The cabin was immaculate we had an inside and there was plenty of space for the 3 of us. The ships is generally in good condition, there are a few rust patches on the outside but you can't see them while on the ship and the places where the rust was would be impossible the reach unless you wanted to seriously injure yourself. The inside of the ship was immaculate and beautiful, plenty of shops to walk round (including a Pandora stand in the main shop with a very good range of charms). Staff were all very friendly and nothing was too much trouble for them. The entertainment was pretty rubbish, there was very little during the day and whilst there were a few good shows at night the rest of it seemed to be playing music or dance lessons and the cruise director really was none existent, whereas with other companies they are fantastic and outgoing he seemed to only appear when absolutely necessary, so that was a bit of a let down. The food was overall good. The only 2 let downs for me were chilli sausages for breakfast!!!! And 3 currys and not much else in the buffet for lunch and dinner. The food was always hot and very good quality. The ports were very good, although the weather in some of them weren't the best but that couldn't be helped. Gibraltar was my favourite. Disembarkation couldn't have been easier, they took our cases the night before and we didn't see them again until we got back to Manchester and everything was very organised. Overall we had a fantastic holiday aside from the lack of entertainment and would definitely cruise on this ship again and with P&O. I would also recommend it to others. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
This transatlantic cruise for us personally was our best yet . Many thanks to the P&O advisors who gave us excellent pre cruise help and advice. Same goes for you guys here on Critics, many thanks. Also the flight from ... Read More
This transatlantic cruise for us personally was our best yet . Many thanks to the P&O advisors who gave us excellent pre cruise help and advice. Same goes for you guys here on Critics, many thanks. Also the flight from Manchester (TCX 132) was as good as it could get, the crew looked after us and even gave us our head phones for the in-flight system, to keep. From what we saw of the £5 film upgrade it seemed limited so stuck with the free channels and were happy with them . The Azura is near on identical to the Ventura which we have also used in the past so we had no problems getting around the ship. The ports we visited were very good also .St Lucia being our most favourite. We took a visit to Reduit beach and contrary to us being told the " The sellers on the beach pester you all day long " They were not to bad and were friendly enough people. We took the water taxi over the bay in ST Maarten over looking our ship the Azura , also the Thomson Celebration and a French ship called Horizon joined us later that day. This seemed to be the worst beach for getting pestered with locals trying to sell their goods/services but hey , they are only trying to make a living . The crossing over the Atlantic was the best conditions ever seen in over 10 years was the words of Captain Robert Camby and we were happy with the conditions too. After leaving the Azores the weather cooled as we made our way back to the UK but that was to be expected really. The food on the ship was really good that we ate in only the buffet and the Glass House all of our cruise. The Azura crew have been tarred & labeled as offish in some posts I have read. We found them to be great if you spoke to them first, not everyone wants to chat so they let you make the first move so as not to come accross as in your face . We put our balcony to very good use using room service to supply our drinks . 12 PEPSI bottles £9.95 and a 1 ltr of SOUTHERN COMFORT £20 for our very own sail away parties... just remember to take your bottle opener . Azura never felt crowded even on sea days but it could get a little cramped with the book/kindle readers and card players who were not eating or drinking taking up the tables at main meal times in the buffet and the Glass House whilst down on deck 7 were two bars and one up on deck 18 almost deserted at these times. The coach and disembarkation was well organised , 4 hours back to Manchester Airport with a stop 2 hours into the journey for refreshments etc. So all in all , a very enjoyable holiday with good memories and a head full of Capt Camby's "Thought of the day." to remember. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Just back from the Barbados to Southampton Transatlantic. We were left feeling very disappointed. We don't usually moan and we never try to find fault with things but there was so many obvious problems that we just found the whole ... Read More
Just back from the Barbados to Southampton Transatlantic. We were left feeling very disappointed. We don't usually moan and we never try to find fault with things but there was so many obvious problems that we just found the whole experience not enjoyable. We so wanted to love this ship but P&O made it very hard for us. Firstly boarding in Barbados was fine, quick and efficient with friendly staff. We boarded and first impressions were good - we thought that she was a pretty ship. We had a balcony cabin on Deck 15 forward. It was very tasteful, on the small size but with a comfortable bed it was more than adequate. The TV was excellent, loads of free to watch movies and TV shows in on demand format. Our cabin steward was pretty good, we did have problems having our free conditioner and shampoo replaced when it ran out, he actually came in to our room when we asked him for it to be refilled after 10 days to check we had in fact ran out! How stingy is that? There was ample storage and tea and coffee making facilities. There was a small fridge to keep your own drinks in and a small safe to keep your belongings safe. The bathroom was tiny but very functional - the shower had a glass screen so no annoying shower curtain to stick too! The balcony was again on the small side but this wasn't helped with the ridiculous large furniture they had placed on there, we kept tripping over it! If made the balcony feel tiny with no room for maneuvering. The entertainment was excellent during the night, shows and acts were all very good. The big problem was that there was barely nothing on during the day, entertainment was basically non existent! We had 8 sea days, most of them with cooler weather - the horizons guide was full of activities but 90% were paid! All spa and shopping opportunities. We were incredibly disappointed. It was all money, money money - thats all P&O were interested in. They did not care that their passengers were kept entertained. This led to the ships interior areas being totally overcrowded. All the venues were too small for a ship this size, it was uncomfortable to say the least. Everywhere was packed, no seats anywhere. This included the theatre and live lounge too - the two main entertainment venues were massivley undersized. Finding a seat on a busy night in the live lounge was a nightmare - so many were left standing for the full night. This goes for the outside areas too - sunbeds crammed together like sardines. They were reserved from 6.30am on the warmer days with no action but empty threats from P&O. Two small hot tubs (if you don't count the paid Retreat) for a ship with 4000 passengers! Crazy! The whole back of the ship was covered in soot and stunk of engine fumes so mostly unusable on sea days when the engines were under power. The service in general was poor, no smiles or interaction. We are always very polite and try to talk to staff on the ship but this was like pulling teeth! They looked bored and uninterested. The waiters were only bothered about getting a drink sale. During one song in the live lounge we were asked 8 - yes 8 times!! If we wanted a drink. You were never left alone for more than 15 seconds if you didn't have a drink or were close to finishing one. There was no system in place to tell waiters we had already been asked. It became a running joke about how many times we could be asked! We were refused point black to the point of an argument in Java Coffee shop when we asked for our free cake! The waitress refused us and shouted "you should have asked when ordering" bear in mind that this was about 7 seconds after we placed the order! She continued to shout at us and refused us our free piece of cake. Well we were both bemused and astonished - had this really just happened over a free piece of carrot cake?! When trying to eat at the Glass House one evening we were told there would be a 45 minute wait. This was fine but when we saw a group of entertainment team being sat two minutes later we were so angry! I have no problem with staff using the ships facilities when it quiet but when paying customers were having to queue behind staff we could not believe it! We complained about both instances but were given a half hearted sorry. Now the food. It was very poor on the whole. The quality and selection was poor compared to other liners we have sailed with. It was so uninspired, it was often cold with poor cuts of meat and served with the same overcooked vegetables each day. The buffet was the same, the selection was very poor - especially the sea food which was only to be seen a few times throughout the cruise. The paid Epicurian was very good but we were left with the impression to eat well you had to pay more! The hygiene was a joke, the sinks outside the buffet barely ever worked. Hand sanitizers were often empty and none of the staff seemed to care. We reported it a few times and nothing was done about it at all. No enforcement, people just walked in without washing their hands - it was disgusting! No wonder P&O are failing health inspections on some of their ships! Would we travel on her again - not a chance! We didn't have the best time. I came down with food poisoning the morning we left the ship, it took me over a week to recover from it. It topped off a terrible cruise! Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
I had read numerous reviews about this vessel and in general they did not make for good reading but I joined the ship with an open mind. First impressions were good, a modern ship with what looked like modern facilities but this ... Read More
I had read numerous reviews about this vessel and in general they did not make for good reading but I joined the ship with an open mind. First impressions were good, a modern ship with what looked like modern facilities but this eventually just felt like window dressing. There is no one big thing wrong, rather lots and lots of little things that fail to hit the spot which meant that this felt like the worst cruise we have ever done to date. The Atrium should be the beating heart of the ship, however on Britannia, it is a lifeless, soulless void that feels more rest home than resort hub. On a trip that incuded so may sea days, we expected a wide variety of entertainment across the day to keep us occupied but this failed to happen, unless you like shuffleboard, whist drives, line dancing or juggling! Thankfully SINDHU and The Limelight Club help the dining experience here as without these 'select dining' venues that you pay extra for, the review score would have been lower. Poor quality and in some case, tinned food that was bland and repetitive. Who eats stodgy puddings and custard in the tropics? Some of the food was so salty it was inedible The toast at breakfast was white or brown and be careful as it will break your teeth, a request for just sliced bread brought blank stares from the crew. Eggs Benedict in the resturant came without the sauce which showed that they had also forgotten the ham! Asking for crispy bacon resulted in bacon so had and dry you needed a chisel and when asking for plum tomatos, you expect more than one! The Marco inspired Gala Dinner on Black Tie Night was terrible, numerous people sending back their badly prepared lobster, what a waste! Entertainment? Where? The ships team were conspicuous by their absence most of the time. The saving grace was that the guest entertainers were, in the main, good. Had to leave 2 songs into Sound of the Underground as we couldnt stand the poor vocals. The Limelight Club is a nice venue but you have to go to the other side of the Atrium to go to the toilet, poor thought there when you have paid extra for this intimate venue Service was provided by bored, uninterested staff. Unless you were close to a bar outside, the deck service was pretty much non existent and painfully slow at best. The upper deck areas were, in the main, unloved and never seemed to be cleaned at all. Poor product knowledge and inability to waiver from the menu showed a lack of training. Bad hygiene by the table clearing staff in the Horizon Buffet, using guests used napkins to wipe down tables. Wiping seating then tables with the same cloth, just wiping round what was left on the table and resetting, I could go on......... A real shame as I was hoping that all the bad reviews were people being overly fussy but, after speaking with plenty of people onbaord from newbiews to P&O groupies, the consensus is that 'Room for Plenty of Impovement' and 'Must Try Harder' is the report for this ship. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Very disappointed to see our cruise came down by 50% a few weeks before. This is the second time this has happened to us. My advice would be to not book early with P&O. Our cabin was situated mid ship, there was no access to any ... Read More
Very disappointed to see our cruise came down by 50% a few weeks before. This is the second time this has happened to us. My advice would be to not book early with P&O. Our cabin was situated mid ship, there was no access to any stairs so even if you wanted to go up or down one flight of stairs you had to wait on a lift. The lifts were very small and it could take up to 10 minutes to get a lift at peak times. The main buffet restaurant (The Horizon) was very poor for the size of ship. Very little choice of food on offer. At night there was a themed food cuisine (ie Indian, Mexican etc), if you didn't like the type of cuisine on offer then there was a one type of meat with potatoes and vegetables to have. Limited salad choice and only ever one type of soup on offer. We had freedom dining which we thought would be good to catch the shows as we could go when we wanted between 6pm and 9.30pm. We only went a couple of times as choice of menu wasn't great and it took approx 2.5hrs to get served all your courses. We treated ourselves to the Eric Lanlard afternoon tea which was a cover charge of £15 per head. It was beautifully presented but it was all types of sweet cakes there was very little savoury bites and no sandwiches at all. We also sampled the Sindhu Indian Restaurant (also £15 per head), service and food was great although the food offered wasn't your usual Indian restaurant type starters, curries etc. The sun beds on deck were crammed together, no room to move. The swimming pools were very deep, shallow end was 5.5ft and deep end was 7.5ft. To get a seat in the main theatre (Headliner Theatre) you had to arrive at least 45 minutes before. The theatre was very small for the size of the ship and the amount of passengers on board. There was also no waiter service in the theatre. Difficult to get out of the theatre at the end of a show due to small pathways and the amount of people trying to get out. Lack on entertainment on a ship of this size. Lack of selection of drinks and cocktails in the bars/entertainment venues. Internet packages very expensive and could only be accessed in the public areas (not always a seat available in the public areas). For this being P&O's flag ship, it didn't have that WOW factor, no real focal point that stands out. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Having read most of the reviews of the Britannia, we were a little concerned about what would be in store for us, have spent over £3K just on the booking. This would be our fourth cruise, having previously sailed with; Cunard/QE2, ... Read More
Having read most of the reviews of the Britannia, we were a little concerned about what would be in store for us, have spent over £3K just on the booking. This would be our fourth cruise, having previously sailed with; Cunard/QE2, Thomson/Celebration, and Celebrity/Solstice. What we found was plenty of good, and a little bit of not-so-good. The Good:- I've used P&O ferries fairly frequently, especially those from Hull, and you could be either cruel or kind by likening the Britannia to an upmarket ferry. I mean this as a compliment, in that they processed and dealt with the 3,600 passengers in a very effective way, and I think many of those who have written poorer reviews maybe haven't appreciated how well they did this, in comparison to other cruise lines. The embarkation was amazingly smooth as quick, as were all the shore excursion admin and logistics. OK, so they blotted their copy book a little with the disembarkation in Southampton where they could have staggered the departure times better, but in truth we only water half an hour longer than expected. The ship never felt too busy, other than when trying to get in to see the prime entertainment events, but we soon found that getting in there half an hour early ensured a seat. We did take advantage of a full cruise pass for 'The Retreat' which in hind sight was very poor value at £400 per couple, considering that it was only really usable for the first 3 sea days, due to the weather cooling rapidly as we approached the Azores. Other costs were better value, certainly the bar prices were very reasonable, and the shore excursions not the usual rip-off. Some of the entertainment was excellent; Cheryl Baker in the Limelight, Gareth Oliver the ventriloquist for example. Some not so good (The Beatles Experience was dire, and the in-house groups not so hot). Some of the food was great. Sindu for us was the best, for all reasons, quality of the food, service, ambiance, value. The food in the Limelight was also very good. The general look of the Britannia is fine. It does again seem to honor its P&O Ferry roots, rather than the glitz of the American ships, or the elegance of the Cunard etc. More function over form perhaps, but still quite stylish. Our cabin, a superior deluxe on A Deck was indeed superb, with its full bath, and separate lounge area. We were well attended to by the steward. Not so good:- Probably the general standard of food, and the service of such, was the biggest disappointment, and felt of a lower standard than all other cruises we'd been on. It wasn't bad by any means, but even the 'Pride of Hull' P&O ferry can deliver better food. They make a big play on food on the Britannia, what with all the James Martin promo stuff and cooking sessions, but we found it average, apart from Sindu and The Limelight. The worst meal we had during the 13 day cruise was actually in their prime Epicurian restaurant. This was all style and no substance for us, plus the service was shambolic. The overall 'vibe' on the cruise was quite low key, and seemed to lack the fun of their competitors. The pinnacle of this was the Captain's Reception Party, where his speech sounded like an apology for some obvious criticisms he'd been made aware of, and a self-indulgent intro to his 'senior management team' (you could even pay for group photos with them!). We agree with others that the general level of service in most restaurants (esp. Peninsula) was poor, the reception desk staff were chocolate fireguard material, and a distinct lack of Wow about the place. Summary:- The Britannia provides a sound base for your holiday. If you like to keep yourself to yourself and prefer a 'low key' style of cruise, but appreciate good organisation, little queuing, and plenty of choice of bars/restaurants, and reasonable prices for drinks and excursions, then this ship is fine. If however you like a little glitz, better food/service, but can cope with the 'hard-sell' in your face American style of cruise, then I'm sure you'd be much happier with Celebrity or Royal Caribbean etc. ps. Can't understand the complaints regarding lack of stairs at midships, all you need to do is walk a little along the corridor in either direction!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We are mid 50s husband and wife and have cruised for nearly 20 years more than 20 times. We have been with Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Princess, P&O, Cunard, Ocean Village, Regent, Holland America and NCL. (P&O three times now - ... Read More
We are mid 50s husband and wife and have cruised for nearly 20 years more than 20 times. We have been with Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Princess, P&O, Cunard, Ocean Village, Regent, Holland America and NCL. (P&O three times now - most sailings with Celebrity/RCI). So we have decent experience and a sense of standards. We had a Suite and organised our own flights and transfers as we had been in USA for a while. Embarkation at Barbados - signage a bit lacking at the port and not the slick operation one usually finds but still very efficient in a laid back Caribbean way. On the ship by 12, allowed into suite although it hadn't quite been finished. Ship - large and generally impressive. Some areas did feel a bit like a big hotel lobby especially the lower atrium but ships are really hotels at sea. Other reviewers have commented negatively on the décor - it was a bit beige/grey but not offensive. The atrium does have some wow factor and other areas are pretty standard. Ship was largely clean. As many people have said the stairs/lifts are a bit unsatisfactory in that the mid ship stairs do not run the whole range of floors so if you want to knock off a few calories you can only walk the full range of floors at the back or front and Britannia is a long ship. Otherwise you end up waiting for a lift at midships which could sometimes take a little time. Food - we were freedom dining being in a suite. We ate at the Peninsula for about half the dinners. Food and service was consistently either good or fair. Not massive portions but on 2 or 3 occasions I asked for extra beef/lamb and they simply brought another plated meal and gave me the extra meat - no fuss. Our waiting staff were always pleasant and helpful. On the one time there was a delay getting the main course they told us in advance and it was handled well. Food was not memorable but certainly pleasant. Cheese selection after dinner was a bit ordinary but if you asked for blue stilton you would get it, but only if you asked. One unbelievable naff thing in the main dining room was if you asked for a decaf coffee after dinner, they opened up, in front of you, a small paper sachet of decaf instant and put it in your cup then poured hot water on it! Very amateurish. Lunch in main dining room was ok, but not memorable. Curries pretty good. Any meal in Horizon buffet was pretty poor. Poor choice, poor quality, (a trough of baked beans and sausage rolls and swiss roll), people (Brits) pushing and shoving and eating like pigs, loud, bad tattoos and lots of football tops, and that was just the women! Many food items not labelled, poor or non-working wash hand basins and soap dispensers. Sindhu speciality restaurant very good modern Indian food. Well worth the price. Epicurean more expensive but borderline genuine fine dining. We ate there 3 times and they rotate the menu so worth checking which one you might get. Staff delightful. Because we were in a suite we had breakfast in Epicurean - high quality and choice and away from the buffet scrum. Wine choice - very good but mostly middle of the road and similar wines. Good prices and very good prices on vintage champagne eg Dom Perignon was £109.50 a bottle but it costs £100 in a shop (not restaurant) on land. Glasshouse - good selection of better wines and many flights of wine where you get to try small measures of 3 different wines. Some staff at Glasshouse not very friendly. Market Café - better coffee than Costa - cakes look great but are nothing special. Drinks prices - wine good but cocktails expensive and weak and small measures! On USA ships it's all free-pouring but on Britannia it was all carefully measured and stingy for the price. Suite - smallish for a suite and balcony a slightly odd long and thin shape. Bathroom in suite great - large with separate loo but shower was very weak indeed. Entertainment - great piano recitals and Beatles tribute very good but otherwise little to excite us. We saw Jaki Graham at Limelight Club - she has a great voice but too much inane chat and her piano player thought he was the star of the show. Overall? Some great speciality restaurants but far too many weak areas for the flagship of P&O. I think that P&O offer a fair experience for Brits who don't now any better and don't have high expectations. Celebrity still the one to beat. Disembarking (self help) was ok and pretty quick. Laughably there was no one at all at HM Customs and no one at all at Passport Control. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Previously cruised on nearly all of P&O fleet so were a bit apprehensive prior to cruise due reviews but really enjoyed Britannia. We have done the repositioning cruise before on Ventura so were happy for the number of sea days and ... Read More
Previously cruised on nearly all of P&O fleet so were a bit apprehensive prior to cruise due reviews but really enjoyed Britannia. We have done the repositioning cruise before on Ventura so were happy for the number of sea days and thought it would be ideal to see new ship. It is big but this is good as many places to experience and sit. We had no problem with theatre, possibly because we did not turn up 5 minutes before start and expect to sit where we wanted. Also able to walk into all restaurants including Horizon and no waiting. Tables always available. We cannot praise the crew or entertainment staff enough. Used the spa which was excellent and enjoyed the casino. Being picky we can say that the cabins and balconies are smaller than Ventura but still comfortable and the larger shower is great. Also disappointed not to see captain around ship as on all previous vessels. No trouble with lifts and the night club a lot better to see acts than on Ventura or Azura. Although artwork around ship excellent missed art gallery. Also although singers and dancers appeared very talented missed the Headliners. The shows on board were very modern and loud. Overall fantastic time would book Britannia again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Had been looking forward to a break, flew from Bournemouth Dreamliner up-grade for extra leg room..... my husband enjoys a G & T inflight only 6 cans Tonic on board for the whole plane. Arrived Barbados smooth transfer, strange ... Read More
Had been looking forward to a break, flew from Bournemouth Dreamliner up-grade for extra leg room..... my husband enjoys a G & T inflight only 6 cans Tonic on board for the whole plane. Arrived Barbados smooth transfer, strange boarding left to find own way to cabin. Cabin steward Lourenzo greeted us with smile and welcome. Did not experience any problems with lifts, ship is large so you will always need to walk. Cabin D612 adequate. Freedom dining: Meridian as long as willing to share a table usually able to sit down without waiting, occasionally issued with a bleeper 10min. max wait. Usually liked to go in for dinner 7.45pm ish. Food lacked flavour, imagination. Horizon: Ate here for breakfast. Would have liked to see a better variety of fruit - what happened to grapes? Coffee = brown liquid. (was this because they want you to buy coffee from Costa & Market Cafe). Lunch: geared for those wanting quantity. Beach Cafe: ok Sindu: Good Epicurean: over priced. Shows: As many have said the Headliners not big enough, or need another showing 3 not 2. No seats if you tried to get into the 10.30pm show at 10.15pm. Entertainment team perhaps need to look a little more closely at schedules. Excursions: Barbados: City walk good. St Lucia: Rainforest slightly disappointed after long climb up, no view over tree tops just a seat looking at cable car docking station.. Not circular walk, same way up-down. Porta Delgado Azores: Countryside & Wine Tasting: Expensive and disappointing not what I had expected. Wine & Cheese took place in hotel on harbour side opposite ship, no atmosphere, no information, & miserable staff. We took a horse & buggy ride in the morning with a very kindly gentleman who gave us a very informative excursion around the town. Overall I'm not at the moment thinking about booking another P&O Cruise, feel I paid an entrance fee to get on the ship and from then on asked for ££££. I will add I cruised 15years ago on the Arcadia which I enjoyed & have cruised with other shipping lines. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
My husband and I booked this cruise as we have never traveled with P&O before. We have however traveled with Cunard, Princess and MSC and didn't think P&O would be a lower star rating. Prior to the cruise, we found that the ... Read More
My husband and I booked this cruise as we have never traveled with P&O before. We have however traveled with Cunard, Princess and MSC and didn't think P&O would be a lower star rating. Prior to the cruise, we found that the customer services were particularly unhelpful and quite curt unlike the other companies we have traveled with When we arrived at Southampton, we were very surprised at the chaos in the the terminal however after a few hours people started to embark and we were left to find our own way on board and to the cabin. The balcony cabin was standard size and lay out as expected however cleanliness did not seem to be a priority. Furnishings were of poor standard, wall panels loose and lifting from the wall, unclean bedding, dusty and generally of a poor standard. The bathroom was of standard size with usual toiletries however the shower had cracked walls with cracked, smelly and spongy base, mold and mildew visible even on the wall mounted bottle of shower gel. The rest of the ship followed same pattern of general lack of maintenance and cleanliness. Staff appeared to be left to their own devices and as such service was poor. Food in the restaurant was average if not poor, waiters lacked personal hygiene which made it an unpleasant place to eat. We did however have a meal in the Glass house, which was very good and with good service, although this did incur extra cost. My husband has previously worked on board cruise ships and was very disappointed to see dirty public areas, even more concerned when we saw electric sockets hanging off the walls. He actually commented that Steam Packet ferry to the Isle of Man has higher standards of cleanliness and service throughout the public and cabin areas. I did speak to the captain in person and passed this information onto him, and although he did apologize there was no attempt to improve even our cabin cleanliness. All in all thoroughly disappointed and will in future not travel with P&O as it seems to be the very lowest end of the cruise market. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
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