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freddie1974

Britannia Review

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Just posted this in the reviews section but thought I would share it here too:

 

I booked this cruise as a birthday present for my mother-in-law who is turning 70 this year and has always wanted to go on a cruise and to visit the Fjords, so two birds with one stone.

 

As we had booked two aft suites (A726/A727) we had priority embarkation upon arrival at Southampton (approx 12.30) and were in the Peninsular restaurant enjoying lunch before 1pm. It would be nice if they asked your cabin number as we had to tell them we were in a suite before being offered priority embarkation.

 

The cabins were ready by the time we had finished lunch, and first impressions were good. The layout compared to previous suites (on Princess and Cunard - though I believe other P&O ships are the same) was definitely an improvement with the very separate lounge and bedroom areas. The bathroom was excellent with separate toilet accessible from the lounge area of the suite and a large bathroom with whirlpool bath, shower and lots of storage space for toiletries.

 

However, there are some flaws in the cabin design; the only full length mirror is near the cabin door; nowhere near the bedroom or dressing area. The addition of such perhaps inside one of the wardrobe doors would be most welcome. The other issue was the total lack of a plug socket near any of the mirrors. There are two desks in the lounge area and one in the bedroom; the only one with a mirror (in the lounge) has no plugs there! The only sensible solution would seem to require standing up to use the mirror behind the bar area (which would need the removal of glasses from the shelves to see properly).

 

The other area of concern which luckily didn't apply to us (as our children slept in the bed with their grandmother each night) was that the lounge area is so separate from the bedroom, if using the sofa as a bed, it would be impossible to hear anyone exiting the cabin - and the lack of any high level lock on the cabin door would make that a distinct possibility for enquisitive 4 year old twins... Fortunately there were high level locks on both sets of balcony doors.

 

Our butler came to introduce himself, but whilst he was very eager to please, his distinct lack of English rendered him rather impotent. For example, we asked one morning if he could secure a day pass for my mother in law for the Thermal Suite; he advise going to the retreat on deck 17 and selecting a time we wanted (the thermal suite is in the spa on deck 5 and tickets are valid from 8am - 8pm, no time needed).

 

Both our cabin stewards were excellent (our kids called theirs the Chocolate Lady - for obvious reasons!). We made reasonable use of the huge wrap around balcony and aside from a few small soot marks on the floor, can't say we noticed any issues with soot at all.

 

We were overlooked from above which didn't bother us nearly as much as the very grumpy man in the cabin below my mother in law. It was actually quite nice to strike up a conversation. I suppose if you are on a hotter cruise and prefer sunbathing in privacy then the A or B deck aft cabins probably aren't for you.

 

The cabin was a little noisy with a squeaking cupboard door (easily solved with a piece of card) although I wouldn't book an aft cabin on a cruise with potential for rough seas as there was a fair amount of movement through the North sea.

 

One irritating point was the lack of refilling any of the cosmetics that had been used. If asked for, this was provided but one shouldn't have to ask when paying over £3,000 a week per cabin.

 

We found navigating the ship pretty easy, and had no issues (except for a lengthy wait after the Muster drill) for the entire cruise, with the maximum wait being under 2 minutes.

 

The public areas were all very clean and we particularly liked the live band in the Crystal Room and the pianist in the Crows Nest in the evenings.

 

We particiularly enjoyed the Thermal Suite which had six heated stone beds, two heated water beds, two steam rooms, a sauna and the largest jacuzzi I have ever seen! The absence of a clock seems an obvious oversight, and the changing rooms were tiny with over 50% of the space dedicated to showers and toilets when you can really only get 3 people in at a time comfortably (does the men's changing room therefore really need two showers, two urinals and a toilet cubicle?).

 

The MDR was good though to be honest, I would be in favour of doing away with the wine waiters and having your drinks order taken by the main waiters. We often waited up to 10 mins to order drinks, and our wine waiter added very little in value as he clearly wasn't a sommelier by any stretch.

 

The food was good, but not excellent (I found Princess better, though it has been 5 years since we last cruised with them - and not fair to compare to Cunard as we were in the Queens Grill). There was a lack of variety in my opinion though the food was presented well and was generally of a fairly high standard. Can't really complain too much for such a mass catered venue.

 

Sindhu on the other hand was one of the finest Indian meals I have ever had. We were also very fortunate to be given a private room for our party of five so the kids could move around without disrupting other diners so we were less on edge.

 

The buffet suffered from a lack of choice (in my opinion) and was a bit of a scrum at most times of day. I think the addition of a directional system (think Ikea) would be useful - though I suppose the same inconsiderate idiots who think their own needs outweigh the young and the infirm probably wouldn't adhere to it.

 

Epicurean for breakfast was a welcome break from the buffet, and although the staff were very friendly the service wasn't up to expectations - twice we had to ask for coffee as none was forthcoming, and even a simple request like a banana meant they had to trek down to the MDR and therefore delayed everyone's breakfast by a good 10 minutes. The food, however, was excellent.

 

Our children absolutely loved the kids club (Splashers) which had plenty of toys, a dressing up area and a soft play area. In the evenings, they had bean bags and movies for the kids to watch. We felt guilty leaving them in there so long but they adored it in there so much they didn't want to leave. The staff were all superb with the kids, and it was a very safe and secure environment.

 

Although the cruise was generally very good, I did feel that the benefits for a suite were not very good compared to other cruise lines (e.g. no free laundry, internet) and even priority disembarkation was withdrawn a week prior - though nobody bothered to tell some of the reception staff or our butler as we were given very conflicting stories. Fortunately we were able to get off at our desired time anyway and the process was extremely smooth.

 

In summary, we had a most enjoyable time but a lack of attention to detail and a little less cost cutting for premium cabins would have garnered an Excellent rating rather than Very Good.

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Just posted this in the reviews section but thought I would share it here too:

 

Thanks for a great review - very honest, sensible and useful.

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Thanks for a great review - very honest, sensible and useful.

 

Thanks - and with several errors as I wrote it in a hurry. The irony of my closing comments is palpable! Is it possible to edit a post/review as I can't see how to?

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Thanks - and with several errors as I wrote it in a hurry. The irony of my closing comments is palpable! Is it possible to edit a post/review as I can't see how to?

 

You can edit a post pretty soon after you've posted it but have no idea how to edit a review. Sorry.

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Thanks for taking the time to give your informative review. We are sailing on Britannia in three weeks on A deck - mid aft. Where did you have your muster drill please?

 

Many thanks

Susan

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Muster was in Sindhu, deck 7 - though I then made the error of going down to the spa at the front of deck 5 to book thermal suite so had a hike up the stairs to deck 15 then a walk along almost the entire length of the ship!

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Thanks for the review, we were on the same cruise as you.I travelled with my 88 year old Mum on a saver fare, we had a balcony cabin and freedom dining and that suited us perfectly. Considering the amount I paid I really felt it was value for money and no problems with the cabin, two full length mirrors desk and small mirror with hairdryer and plenty of hanging space.

Did use the assisted boarding and this was a fantastic service which I registered for before hand, we were met at the top of the stairs and whisked through.

Didn't bother with any of the shows other than the Overtones which were fantastic.:)

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Muster was in Sindhu, deck 7 - though I then made the error of going down to the spa at the front of deck 5 to book thermal suite so had a hike up the stairs to deck 15 then a walk along almost the entire length of the ship!

 

I think I walked several miles on that ship over two weeks.

 

:D

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Thanks for the muster information Freddie1974 - we can now work out our route :D

 

We had an aft cabin on the cruise before to the Canary Islands. Our muster point was The Live Lounge, this might be yours too.

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Many thanks, great comments.

I have just returned from an around Britain on Royal Princess (lead ship of Class), so it is interesting to compare experiences.

Embark / Disembark - Elite Passenger - directed immediately to 4 specific desks on board within 25 minutes of arriving at Ocean Terminal - Record indeed. Disembark - Elite have choice of time all worked very well, no hanging around at all - P&O take note.

Layout - The lack of a centre staircase did not detract, colour scheme interestingly Browns and Creams so Princess and P&O are sharing a similar scheme - what a surprise!!!!!. Food was miles better than P&O, although the occasional curry would have been nice, but otherwise night and day versus P&O......Entertainment again a couple of rungs above P&O. Free Laundry ... yes, and pretty good used twice 72 hr. tournaround. Paid restaurants averge cost 25US - or £ 16.75 - including Crown Grill, and Sabatinin's much better value than P&O. OK lots of colonials on board - mind you no cruising boards.

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Many thanks, great comments.

I have just returned from an around Britain on Royal Princess (lead ship of Class), so it is interesting to compare experiences.

Embark / Disembark - Elite Passenger - directed immediately to 4 specific desks on board within 25 minutes of arriving at Ocean Terminal - Record indeed. Disembark - Elite have choice of time all worked very well, no hanging around at all - P&O take note.

Layout - The lack of a centre staircase did not detract, colour scheme interestingly Browns and Creams so Princess and P&O are sharing a similar scheme - what a surprise!!!!!. Food was miles better than P&O, although the occasional curry would have been nice, but otherwise night and day versus P&O......Entertainment again a couple of rungs above P&O. Free Laundry ... yes, and pretty good used twice 72 hr. tournaround. Paid restaurants averge cost 25US - or £ 16.75 - including Crown Grill, and Sabatinin's much better value than P&O. OK lots of colonials on board - mind you no cruising boards.

 

Please don't take this the wrong way, but I think I am right that Princess cruises are far more expensive? We've always thought of doing Princess but have found their prices too high for us. Am only asking so that I can compare like for like. On our last cruise on Oceana we met a couple who spent the whole time comparing Oceana to Regent Cruise Lines ..... say no more.

 

Have to say, I am glad to read they don't do curry on Princess - hate the stuff with a passion !! ;):)

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Please don't take this the wrong way, but I think I am right that Princess cruises are far more expensive? We've always thought of doing Princess but have found their prices too high for us. Am only asking so that I can compare like for like. On our last cruise on Oceana we met a couple who spent the whole time comparing Oceana to Regent Cruise Lines ..... say no more.

 

Have to say, I am glad to read they don't do curry on Princess - hate the stuff with a passion !! ;):)

 

You can get late deals with Princess just as competitive than you can with P&O we booked a deal for 14nt Baltic in June/July for £899 but the advantage with Princess is that you can pick your cabin and dining unlike P&O.

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You can get late deals with Princess just as competitive than you can with P&O we booked a deal for 14nt Baltic in June/July for £899 but the advantage with Princess is that you can pick your cabin and dining unlike P&O.

 

Hi, we are stuck to school holidays so can't make use of late deals etc etc and have to book select fares to ensure we get the cabin we want and dining choice. No chance of booking anything even a day or half a day outside the school term dates.

 

Perhaps one day, when we retire --- that's a way off though ;)

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The public areas were all very clean and we particularly liked the live band in the Crystal Room

 

Couldn't agree with you more - the band and singer (Rachel Hockley) were nothing short of exceptional and were perfect for ballroom dancing. Incidentally, on paper the Queens Room on Cunard QV and QE are a lot bigger ... but it certainly didn't feel that way since the the dance floor doesn't suffer from the dreaded semi-circle at the end :D

Edited by davef65

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Couldn't agree with you more - the band and singer (Rachel Hockley) were nothing short of exceptional and were perfect for ballroom dancing. Incidentally, on paper the Queens Room on Cunard QV and QE are a lot bigger ... but it certainly didn't feel that way since the the dance floor doesn't suffer from the dreaded semi-circle at the end :D

Why does a dance band have a singer :confused:

If there was singing i might have gone in for a listen.

Maybe people are getting the impression that the Crystal Room is only for dancing, i did!

 

ps - they opened the Limelight club bar to all from 11pm, maybe because the Crows Nest was packed late evenings.

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I also got the impression that the Crystal Room was for dancing only - I'm disco only I'm afraid. We dined in the Limelight but never tried it at night, we always got a seat in the Crows Nest - loved Joe on the piano. Was the Limelight lively at night?

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I also got the impression that the Crystal Room was for dancing only - I'm disco only I'm afraid. We dined in the Limelight but never tried it at night, we always got a seat in the Crows Nest - loved Joe on the piano. Was the Limelight lively at night?

Scottish John?

 

Don't know, never went in as i had a (almost) reserved seat at the bar in the Crows Nest :) I found the staff friendly and would have tipped them if the Noro had not got me :(

 

ps - I overheard a conversation elsewhere where it was said the staff in the Crows Nest were unfriendly :confused::confused:

 

pps - the gins are great and even the John Smiths tasted OK, pity the place is too small

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Yes agree about the gin - had a different one each every night! Tbh, never noticed whether the staff were friendly or not. As far as I'm concerned, P&O staff are amongst the surliest I've ever come across on a ship.

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Why does a dance band have a singer :confused:

If there was singing i might have gone in for a listen.

Maybe people are getting the impression that the Crystal Room is only for dancing, i did!

 

ps - they opened the Limelight club bar to all from 11pm, maybe because the Crows Nest was packed late evenings.

 

Why should a dance band not have a singer. its true that many (myself included) usually find the singer off-putting but on this occasion the blend was perfect.

 

The crystal room music is suitable for ballroom / latin dancing but I suspect that many people in there were either socialising, watching or listening rather than just dancing.

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I also got the impression that the Crystal Room was for dancing only - I'm disco only I'm afraid. We dined in the Limelight but never tried it at night, we always got a seat in the Crows Nest - loved Joe on the piano. Was the Limelight lively at night?

 

There wasn't any disco dancing in the Crystal Room all week during the evenings - that was covered by plenty of other venues on board (Live Lounge etc). I got the impression that lots of people were in just listening to the music.

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