Cannot understand the negatives about Britannia

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#1
Cumbria
150 Posts
Joined May 2009
I'm just back today from a two week cruise on Britannia in the Caribbean. I read so many bad reviews prior to sailing I honestly thought "well they can't all be wrong" well guess what.... They were! The food was lovely every single night and the buffet was some of the best food I've had in cruise buffets. The bars we used were mainly the glasshouse, the crows nest and the deck bars and they were all great. We had no trouble getting seats anywhere and there were 10 of us. I saw 3 shows in the theatre and thought they were excellent and we went about 15 mins before the start to get seats but could probably of got seats up until show time, although not all together. We rarely encountered problems getting a lift except after lifeboat drill when the whole ship wants them at once. I agree that sun beds were an issue if you weren't up early but I don't think it's any worse than Azura or Ventura were or most hotels even.
Anyway the point was to say we had a great time and did not want to come home so don't be put off by the negative people on here, form your own opinions.
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#2
Staffordshire, UK
1,161 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
We were on the Britannia over xmas / new year and had a great time. I loved the ship. Although we didn't "do" the entertainment or bars, there was plenty of chance for us just to relax and read on a beautiful and friendly ship.

I would go back on Britannia in a heartbeat. It may be the expectations of some cruisers are too high - you won't get perfection even if you expect it, or the ship just may not be done out to everyones taste. Its a good job we don't all like the same thing.

I take most of the "moans and groans" and poor reviews with a large pinch of salt, as I've been on the same cruise but had a totally different view of it than some of my fellow passengers. There are times when things go wrong and people get upset, and sometimes they are genuine reasons. I try not to let negative things get me down otherwise it could spoil my cruise. I'd rather try to see the positives rather than the negatives.

Glad you enjoyed your cruise Lynnek. happy cruising in the future on Britannia or any other ship.
#3
Devon, uk
1,662 Posts
Joined Feb 2010
2 lovely posts! thanks !

Ive never been on Britannia.....and probably won't, for the sole reason that I honestly think she is too big for my taste. But the bad reviews wouldnt stop me - like homeless bear, i am a "glass half full" person......well, almost full a lot of the time...
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#4
Scotland
2,305 Posts
Joined Aug 2012
We cruised on Britannia for 29 days TA-Caribbean in Oct/Nov 2015 and we had a wonderful time, no complaints whatsoever. We enjoyed it so much we have booked again for December 2016.
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#5
manchester England
248 Posts
Joined Aug 2012
Originally posted by Mysticalmother
2 lovely posts! thanks !

Ive never been on Britannia.....and probably won't, for the sole reason that I honestly think she is too big for my taste. But the bad reviews wouldnt stop me - like homeless bear, i am a "glass half full" person......well, almost full a lot of the time...
We were on Britannia in December and personally didnt find the ship much bigger than Ventura or Azura when you were onboard.The only place that did seem large was the buffet which is a good thing- plenty of seating and more room to move around, much better than Azura.

Looking at the ship from the outside it does look huge!

We didnt find anything to complain about either.Ok not everything was perfect but I wouldnt expect it to be.I dont know what some people want.
#8
UK
143 Posts
Joined Sep 2010
We have also cruised on Britannia.

The public rooms are lovely and we did not have any problems with getting seats in the theatre or using the lifts.

Overall we thought the quality of the food was very good but found the lunch time buffets to be boring and repetitive. We all have different opinions on what suits us and what doesn't.

We will not sail on Britannia again as the balcony has always been a major part of our holiday. As most people are now aware the balconies are very small, more like window boxes. In fact we found the balcony so small that we did not use it as much as we would normally have done. From what we can gather the balconies are also smaller on the new Royal and Regal Princess. A lot of money for in our opinion not a lot of space. We knew when we booked but wanted to decide for ourselves.

Each to their own.............
#9
UK
349 Posts
Joined Jul 2013
There is so much choice these days when it comes to choosing a cruise holiday. Like most other people we look towards trip adviser, cruise critics and others to get an overall slant on what to expect.

Why is it that only 54% Loved it ? That is an average of all opinions, they can't be all wrong. Never listen to die-hard P&O fans, you never get a true picture.

When we analysed a wide selection of the comments we conclude that the P&O have squeezed in too many people. It has the same footprint as Regal Princess but has 800 more passengers, it doesn't take an expert to realise that Sea days will be a nightmare with everyone fighting for deck space. Their commercial brain over-ruled their design sense with the $ sign sparkling in their eyes, which has resulted in a Butlins-At-Sea - a real shame when it could have been so different.

We will not be taking the risk, we will choose others as the average opinion are seldom wrong !
#10
Solihull
1,827 Posts
Joined Sep 2013
We are really pleased we sailed on Britannia, and she would be my ship of choice in the future. The balconies are small but this was far outweighed by all of the other amazing things she has to offer. I wouldn't describe the atmosphere as "Butlins" at all, but I was going 'Around Britain' in term time. If she does attract a more lively and upbeat atmosphere with smiling, happy people, I consider that to be a very positive thing - far less oppressive than sailing with wasp-chewers.
#11
Essex
62 Posts
Joined Aug 2010
Originally posted by jody75
There is so much choice these days when it comes to choosing a cruise holiday. Like most other people we look towards trip adviser, cruise critics and others to get an overall slant on what to expect.

Why is it that only 54% Loved it ? That is an average of all opinions, they can't be all wrong. Never listen to die-hard P&O fans, you never get a true picture.

When we analysed a wide selection of the comments we conclude that the P&O have squeezed in too many people. It has the same footprint as Regal Princess but has 800 more passengers, it doesn't take an expert to realise that Sea days will be a nightmare with everyone fighting for deck space. Their commercial brain over-ruled their design sense with the $ sign sparkling in their eyes, which has resulted in a Butlins-At-Sea - a real shame when it could have been so different.

We will not be taking the risk, we will choose others as the average opinion are seldom wrong !
We sailed on the Britannia in November on it's maiden Caribbean cruise, we went with an open mind as having cruised with Celebrity in 2013 and 2014 around the Med we chose Britannia for it's itinerary and the fact that it was P & O's newest ship and was being touted as it's flagship. However, this wasn't the case, we have sailed with P & O on the Azura which we enjoyed but the Britannia in our opinion left a lot to be desired, the main gripe we had was the behaviour of a lot of the passengers. As you stated Sea days were a problem with people reserving sun beds as early as 6am, drunken behaviour and the feeling that something was going to kick off at any time spoilt it for us. This was proved correct with a brawl on the Lido deck one night between 2 feral families and resulted in people being kicked off in Antigua, prior to this people were also removed in Aruba. I have never seen anybody being kicked off a ship prior to this cruise.

P & O need to get their act together as this seems to be becoming the norm which has resulted in the recent poor reviews, too much capacity and the need to fill ships is dumbing down the cruising experience by selling off cabins too cheaply which attracts the wrong type of people.

A recent reviewer of Britannia on Cruise.co.uk really upset a lot of people from up North and Scotland with his comments but some of his comments - not all, were true, but you cannot tar everybody with the same brush. Over the years we have met some lovely people from all over the Country and still keep in contact with them but in all honesty some of the passengers on our cruise were the worst that we have experienced over the many years of travelling.
#12
York, UK
4,364 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
We sailed with P&O around 5 times before trying Celebrity Eclipse and getting hooked on that ship. However we gave Britannia a try on her second outing after launching. Overall we enjoyed the cruise especially the food, the shows, the buffet design, the decor though there was things we didn't like such as the tiny balcony and bathrooms, kids running amok and parents that saw nothing wrong in this, some bars were too small and the theatre was way too small for the number of passengers and the lifts! However, we went back on the Eclipse a few months later and this really underlined that we like Celebrity much more than P&O and the Eclipse more than Britannia. Britannia now has over 300 reviews on here with an overall score of 52% which sort of suggests half the passengers like her, half don't. Some 32% below the overall rating for the Eclipse.


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#13
UK
143 Posts
Joined Sep 2010
We did not see any trouble on our cruise on Britannia but we do know that people were reserving sunbeds from the crack of dawn. However, that happens on most ships, not just Britannia.

I must admit that we are also Celebrity converts and have two cruises booked with them, one on the Eclipse and one on the Equinox.

However, P & O in our opinion still have the edge with their caribbean cruises with the itineraries (although these could do with updating) but more importantly the ease of getting into Barbados.

Shame about the balconies as that just leaves Azura which was becoming tacky despite having some sort of a re-fit.
#14
United Kingdom
430 Posts
Joined Jan 2013
People reserve sunbeds from the crack of dawn on most ships, but on the other P and O ones on which I've sailed it only seems to affect the area around the pool where they play loud music, which deters me from going there anyway. I've always found that I can get a bed fairly easily if I avoid this area. And it's the same people who have these beds, day after day.
I honestly think it's about time that the crew did something to enforce the no reservations rule. If they stuck to it for a short while, and removed towels and sunbathing books etc to a reception area after they'd been left for more than an hour, then people would stop trying it on. They might reserve a bed while they went to breakfast or lunch, say, but they would know that they's have to come and occupy it or lose it after the meal.
It does sound as if there is no room on Britannia unless you're prepared either to join the hoggers, or face a conflict with them. I don't like the sound of that. I'm going on Azura soon and know I'll just avoid the main pool areas and get a bed further away.
#15
Staffordshire, UK
1,161 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
I have been on Princess, NCL, Celebrity and P&O, and I'm certainly not a "die-hard P&O fan". I can only say how I found my cruise. Our next cruise booked is with Princess.

Having been on Azura, Ventura (both a number of times) and now Britannia, I would say that I've never experienced anything like "Butlins at Sea", as has been described. Yes I've occasionally seen some people's "poor" behaviour (including on Celebrity), but this can be seen anywhere and everywhere in life, and not just confined to ships.
I remember when Ventura also earned that reputation, but I've enjoyed my time on her very much. As others have said, the sun bed issue is not only applicable to Britannia but to many other ships and not just P&O.

Having been on Celebrity a few times, I certainly didn't come away the last time with a positive impression. Although some aspects of Celebrity I found good, I'm sorry to say that my experience was that the staff, food and the way our food allergies were dealt with (by being ignored) were not as good as on other cruises and cruise lines.

I know that many folks love Celebrity which is great as we're not all the same, but it's just not for me. Anyone reading this thread who is worried about the "poor reviews", I'd say go on your cruise with an open mind (whichever ship / cruise line you're going on), don't expect perfection, relax and just enjoy. If you look for problems or issues, I'm sure you'll find them, but look for the good things and you'll find those too.

Happy cruising.
#16
England
334 Posts
Joined Jun 2013
Just read this thread and pleased to read explanations of both the positives and negatives so that I can make up my own mind; nothing in life is perfect and I don't expect a holiday to be either. I will go with an open mind.

However, I found Raymondo's comments rather rude - what a snob! There is a place for everyone in our society - and therefore on a cruise ship. If you have the money you're entitled to book a cruise and you are also entitled to be yourself on your well-earned break. Obviously if you are breaking the ship's rules or offending others you will face the consequences, but you seem to be saying that cruising should be the preserve of the middle classes which is elitist and wrong! I enjoy seeing people from all walks of life, nationalities and age groups on my cruise holidays and it makes a more interesting cruise experience. Gosh life would be boring if we were all cut from the same mould.
#17
England
334 Posts
Joined Jun 2013
I think I owe Raymondo an apology for calling them a snob - I re read your post and can see you are referring to those people who exhibit offensive behaviour - swearing, drinking too much and being offensive, inappropriate dress... etc etc, rather than the perceived class of passengers. I can understand how this would ruin one's cruise experience and hope that these groups are in the minority.

However, that said, I still don't think there is anything wrong with P&O attracting younger clientele who might be viewed as the type that would holiday at Butlins rather than Center Parcs. I would also love P&O to attract a more international crowd. I have enjoyed the mix of nationalities on Celebrity and NCL and will likely miss this on P&O
#18
Solihull
1,827 Posts
Joined Sep 2013
I've read a few things about that particular cruise and as I understand the particular large group in question would be given a wide berth by any of us. Hopefully this sort of incident isn't commonplace but if were, it would certainly put me off cruising!
#19
Essex
62 Posts
Joined Aug 2010
Originally posted by kfowinst
I think I owe Raymondo an apology for calling them a snob - I re read your post and can see you are referring to those people who exhibit offensive behaviour - swearing, drinking too much and being offensive, inappropriate dress... etc etc, rather than the perceived class of passengers. I can understand how this would ruin one's cruise experience and hope that these groups are in the minority.

However, that said, I still don't think there is anything wrong with P&O attracting younger clientele who might be viewed as the type that would holiday at Butlins rather than Center Parcs. I would also love P&O to attract a more international crowd. I have enjoyed the mix of nationalities on Celebrity and NCL and will likely miss this on P&O
I am glad that you now understand where I was coming from believe me I am not a snob my wife and I were both brought up in Council house's as both sets of parents were never inclined to buy their own house, however, when I got married my wife and I decided to buy our own house as even 38 years ago the chance of getting a Council house was very slim so we scrimped and saved and with a bit of help from a redundancy payout we bought our first house. We have both worked hard throughout our careers and are now retired so we like to have nice holidays before we get too old to do long haul flights hence the Caribbean cruise on Britannia. We were brought up to say please and thank you and always be thankful for what we have achieved but when you spend over £7k for 3 people in a balcony cabin I expect something better for my hard earned money. This was the most we have ever spent on a cruise and I consider it our worst cruise ever, especially when you know that some of the people that I referred too spent a lot less than us. As I said in my original post I don't have a problem with people from all walks of life but I do have a problem with rude belligerent people who don't have any concern for other people only themselves.

Not everything on the Britannia was negative, some things were fine, the majority of the people working on the ship were excellent, food was pretty good in the Peninsular Restaurant, Sindhu was also excellent. We found that the Horizon Buffet was hit and miss and the Grab and Go awful, hygiene standards when entering the Horizon Buffet were very poor and the amount of people walking out of the toilets and straight into the buffet without washing their hands was unbelievable.

Entertainment was again hit and miss when you could actually get into a venue, but the one redeeming aspect was the party band Pulse who were superb and really worked hard. The other acts that were good were the Bruno Mars tribute, the 3 Motown singers from South London a comedian and the ventriloquist, the rest of the acts/performers we didn't actually see because we couldn't get any seats in either the Live Lounge or the Theatre.

Overall we enjoyed being off the ship and visiting some of the Islands that we hadn't been to before but as soon as we got back on the Britannia we had the feeling that something else was going to kick off.

P & O are aware of the problems that occurred on our cruise and hopefully they will try and improve things for future cruisers but all the time they sell off cabins too cheaply the situation will not improve and the review ratings will stay low. Reading a lot of the recent reviews it would seem that a lot of the reviewers are new to cruising and I would guess that as a first experience they didn't know anything better hence the 4 and 5 star reviews whilst the seasoned cruisers hopefully will tell it as it is.
#20
Kent, England
6,002 Posts
Joined Mar 2008
Originally posted by jody75
There is so much choice these days when it comes to choosing a cruise holiday. Like most other people we look towards trip adviser, cruise critics and others to get an overall slant on what to expect.

Why is it that only 54% Loved it ? That is an average of all opinions, they can't be all wrong. Never listen to die-hard P&O fans, you never get a true picture.

When we analysed a wide selection of the comments we conclude that the P&O have squeezed in too many people. It has the same footprint as Regal Princess but has 800 more passengers, it doesn't take an expert to realise that Sea days will be a nightmare with everyone fighting for deck space. Their commercial brain over-ruled their design sense with the $ sign sparkling in their eyes, which has resulted in a Butlins-At-Sea - a real shame when it could have been so different.

We will not be taking the risk, we will choose others as the average opinion are seldom wrong !
Actually it probably has less passengers!

Maximum capacity of Britannia is 3647 lower berths and goes up to 4324 if you include upper/other berths.

Maximum capacity for Royal/Regal Princess is 3600 for lower berths and 4380 including upper/other berths.

The one thing I did not like about Britannia was the lack of a promenade deck. those 2 shelves are in no way a substitute. As I normally book an inside or ocean view I really appreciate that promenade as it means I can actually see the sea

I remember some excuse for no promenade deck which basically claimed the latest safety rules meant they could not have one. Nonsense, MSC are getting newbuilds which have promenade decks - check out the MSC seaside project.
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