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Britannia - My Thoughts


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Just came back off B513 - Around the UK, so food for thought.  My views only.

 

Just love her colour scheme, browns, creams, blues, reds, greens and they blend in to make her interiors very modern.

 

We did not use, Limelight, Crystal Room, or the top decks (due to weather) so I cannot comment on these. We also did not do quizzes, talks etc so again no comment.  I am not going to say anything about the lack of Promenade deck, too much has been said already.  Due to our type of cabin I am not going to comment on cabin size or balcony size. That leaves us with......Britannia.

 

Interior
We think her colouring is very contemporary and modern and suits her style. Her public spaces are large and open but you can still find quiet places to sit and relax. Her corridors and the flow take some getting used to, but once you have master this it is easy to find different areas quickly.

 

The Atrium must be seen to be appreciated; photos do not do it any justice, its Crystal Chandelier must be seen to take in its majesty. It is open with lots of tables and chairs and with plenty of room to just sit. The surrounding bars, coffee shop and market stall blend in well to this open area.

 

In the evenings then the Atrium bars are nice places to relax and enjoy your pre dinner drinks and if you look closely enough they have some hidden spaces behind the bar areas and outside space on deck 7.

 

Her dining areas have been well planned with the Meridian and Peninsular restaurants seeming to have more space, they have been divided up into sections and the tables are well spaced out. For those liking tables for two, lots of these and room in between so you do not feel like you are sitting at a table for eight like Azura or Ventura. The staff here work hard and always have a pleasant way about them. The MDR food was good and most importantly hot. The Horizon Buffett is open, lots of tables and her food area well laid out and easy to access.

 

The Speciality restaurants of Sindhu and Epicurean are stunning places to dine and they have some nice touches like booths for two so you can have that special intimate meal without feeling watched from other tables.  Worth the supplement.

 

Staying with Sindhu it is in a great location, Deck 7 between mid and aft lifts. As well as the restaurant area it has a nice people watching bar to the front that was well used by everyone, including us.

 

I thought the Glass house was a little underwhelming and I think that this stems from its location in the Atrium on Deck 7, see niggly bits later. However, the food is still excellent and worth trying, especially the little, or not so little plates.

 

The other bar areas have great staff who are there for you. Brodies, Crows Nest, Blue Bar are all great areas to sit and have a drink, people watch and just enjoy. We loved the Crows Nest with its forward looking seats. However, they could have made the windows bigger.

 

The entertainments areas are good. The Theatre is well used and the headliners have upped their game with great shows. But again on some occasions this was only 2/3rds full and on others you just could not find a seat with queues outside.

 

The Live Lounge is brilliant, with the resident band Pulse here most nights. This area is also used for some speciality acts and sometimes the queues for these acts were from its front doors to the photography area which makes trying to get past to go somewhere a little difficult. On some days when the resident group was on it was less than half full, shame really they are a good group, but I can see this changing when Britannia does the Med or the Caribbean with a younger clientele.

 

For those that require them then the daily newspapers are placed outside the Blue bar.

 

Top Decks
On top, well due to the weather this was a very quiet.

 

I mentioned the Buffet area earlier.

 

The Sunset Bar to the rear is mainly undercover and spacious and a fantastic place to watch the sailouts. There is also a quiet area with pool to the front of the ship with some nice seating areas.

 

For us the niggly bits, not complaints, just not thought through and they did not spoil the cruise or enjoyment of the ship.

 

Going back to the Atrium. Yes a great place to sit and enjoy during ports days or even at night but a sea day and everything changes. It seems everyone want to sit here and enjoy the ambiance. That makes finding a seat and table to enjoy a drink or meal difficult because these are taken by passengers reading papers and doing crosswords. So for areas like the Blue Room, Java, Market Garden and for us the Glass House almost unusable.

 

Staying with the Glass House, not the best place to put it. Just not enough tables and too open to the Atrium, even at night.

Whoever designed the Cinema needs shooting. It is flat and so unless you are 6' 11" or more do not sit at the back because you will not see half of the screen.

 

What I call the nick nack shop, you know the one that sells everything has been hidden on Deck 5, away from all the other shops and out of sight of the Atrium near to Reception, also hidden away and the Excursion area. Whilst the Future Cruise desk has been given prominence on deck 7. I can understand its location but the problem with this is again passengers sitting outside enjoying the comfortable seats reading papers etc and if you are waiting to see someone, you a) do not know who is also waiting and B) you stand, sometimes up to 30 mins.

 

The shops, the upmarket shops, are taking the mickey with their prices. We have seen and Jennifer owns Swarovski and Colgau Jewellery that we have purchased from local Jewellers cheaper. By this I mean even if you take 10% off they are still £50 - £100 more expensive on board. I have a watch purchased in Chester that was £150 cheaper than on board. In my opinion they are taking up good public space.

 

Now the lifts and what I see as the problem. For public areas you can only walk, use a wheelchair, walking frame etc from Aft to Forward on Deck 7, ie: deck 7 is the only deck with a passage from the aft lifts to the forward lifts. On decks 5 & 6 you cannot access the aft lifts at all from the atrium. However, you can access the forward lifts. This causes problems to those with walking disabilities. Because if they are on deck 5 and want deck 6 or 7 the only way is either the mid-section lifts or the forward section lifts. But, the MDRs of Meridian and Peninsular are mid-section and the Blue bar, Limelight Club and Market Garden are mid-section. So for them they can only be reasonably expected to use the mid-section lifts. To me the big problem is passengers without any difficulties using the mid-section lifts. They need to get real and leave these for the passengers that need them. If they want a lift then can either walk to the forward section or use the stairs to deck 7 and walk to the aft section. Shock and horror I hear you say, walk that distance. Well it is 130 steps, I know I paced it. But, they scream we need stairs. Well I saw able bodied passengers get on lifts and get off at the next floor, I saw passengers in a cabin near to where our cabin was get in a mid-section lift, we walked to the aft section lift and found that they had walked the length of the passageway to their cabin in the aft section of deck 11. Now they could have walked to the aft lifts on deck 7 and used them. We are both in our 60s and use the stairs as much as possible and definitely not use the lift for one floor, up or down. OK, if your cabin is mid-section it is a pain to walk to the aft or forward sections to use lifts and then walk back to the mid-section. But I see this has exercise and with all the good food something that most passengers should do.

 

Because we had an Aft cabin if required we used these lifts and must say never waited more than a minute for on, mainly empty, seems everyman and his dog wants to use the mid-section ones.

 

Ok, for you diehards she is not like Canberra or even the the QE2. Saying that I bet cruisers who had been around for a while thought the same about these ships when they were launched. My thoughts is that this is the 21st Century and she is a ship for the 21st Century. That from a 60+ year old.

 

Overall we really enjoyed Britannia, for us a 9/10.  Now, would we go back on her. That would depend. Our favourite ship is Azura and after our cruise it still is. So, that would be our first choice. However, right destination, right cabin, we were spoilt in ours and of course right price yes we would. For us, well guess what, we are back on her next month and now having been on her once really looking forward to all she has to offer.

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Guest Solent Richard

Is there anyone who has been on any of Britannia's rivals to make a comparison? I refer to Anthem of the Seas, Quantum of the Seas, MSC Divinia, NCL Breakaway, Costa Diadema and other ships built in the last 2-3 years.

 

Hmnn. Good morning Old World Traveller.

 

I for one would not consider those ships you have nominated as 'rivals' to Britannia and her passengers

 

Each has a different ethos and style to their cruising and are highly unlikely to appeal to P&O's cruising rump.

 

16965024485_a5c4df606a_z.jpg

 

Something you'll never see on NCL, Costa or MSC...

 

17209585531_703ec51792_z.jpg

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This was our first time on P and O wow what a beautiful ship.I agree totally with Peter about the lack of stairs adjacent to the lift lobbies.I would also ask what would it be like in a proper emergency?To be guided by staff via the crew stairs is all well and good for safe conditions but in a real life threatening situation it would be a shambles.Hopefully this will never happen but.Finding the Orient dining room each evening was something of an adventure and there were always lots of others behind us with the same problem.We enjoyed the limelight club on 2 evenings,very intimate atmosphere and on formal nights felt very special.W will after our first Pand O experience certainly trying the brand again.

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Guest Solent Richard

This was our first time on P and O wow what a beautiful ship.I agree totally with Peter about the lack of stairs adjacent to the lift lobbies.I would also ask what would it be like in a proper emergency?To be guided by staff via the crew stairs is all well and good for safe conditions but in a real life threatening situation it would be a shambles.Hopefully this will never happen but.Finding the Orient dining room each evening was something of an adventure and there were always lots of others behind us with the same problem.We enjoyed the limelight club on 2 evenings,very intimate atmosphere and on formal nights felt very special.W will after our first Pand O experience certainly trying the brand again.

 

Good morning Cabin Boy.

 

"To be guided by staff via the crew stairs is all well and good for safe conditions but in a real life threatening situation it would be a shambles.Hopefully this will never happen but"

 

I would imagine no different from using the normal stairs except that the crew/service stairways are better lit.

 

We actually used them on two occasions, once for the drill once when there was a spot of congestion.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Peter, great review and very informative for those who really do depend on lifts.  My two cruise tips are: 1: avoid bread, and 2: avoid lifts.  Only because its so easy to put a pound of weight per day on!!  The Limelight club is a superb venue, we also used it twice, and I also agree with you about Sindhu.  As I am in a particularly agreeable mood I would also come down on the side of Solent Richard, a guardian of common sense.  In terms of the Glass House, it is spoilt by being in the middle of a walk-through area and in my opinion would have been better sited where the dance area is: I accept that this would be disagreeable to the dancers, but if the dance area was moved to somewhere in the lower atrium it would be better utilised, with a greater viewing area, and the music would drift around the rest of the atrium on all floors.  You are also right about the shops: perhaps its time that Harding Brothers either had a rethink or were replaced.  Keep cruising!!

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Great Review Peter.

We agree with most of your comments and as regular P&O customers have used all the ships and wonder why Azura seems to be a favourite with most people, perhaps because it is the best. Britannia runs it close but perhaps because it is new. We were on cruise B5i5, first week of school holidays and Strictly Come Dancing stars onboard and although there was close to 4000 passengers onboard we were suprised that it did not seem as crowded as we expected. We found the Beach House the best dining experience, in particular the steak on a lava block, although it not always easy to get a table. Expicurion was disappointing due to its location,on Azura and Ventura the location is much better with the option of outside dining watching the sun go down. We are in our 70s and fit and wonder why there are no stairs to the cabins in the middle of the ship, perhaps that why the lifts are always busy. We enjoyed the Glass House but agree its in the wrong place, if you are able to get a seat at the bar the whole ship squeezes by you on the way to the stern of the ship.

 

However, we loved the ship and will be back, although perhaps after we have been on Azura again.

 

 

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