An Easter cruise to France and Spain 2018
Roger Bowden | April 16, 2018 | P&O Cruises | Britannia
Although my wife and I are seasoned cruisers with over 30 cruises completed (most of them with P&O) this was our first time on Britannia. I have to confess we were not particularly looking forward to it as we feel the ship is far too big but it did offer a good value for money option for us to take two of our grandchildren on a cruise for the first time.
The ship itself is beautifully decorated, the atrium, in particular, is splendid. The food throughout the ship was exceptionally good and the service was top class. The entertainment and guest speakers were good as were the 4 ports of call.
Our inside cabins were spacious and well designed, why oh why do not all cruise companies adopt the open wardrobe philosophy. Wardrobe doors are just a nuisance and add weight to the ship, well done on this one P&O.
having said all of the above there are some major issues with this ship, as follows:-
1. There is no traditional promenade deck where you can get outside and stretch your legs in the rain. The promenade/jogging deck is on the very top of the ship completely exposed to the elements. How can you introduce a ship to the British market without a promenade deck?
2. Despite the ship being labelled “family friendly” none of the outdoor pools had a roof and children were not allowed in the indoor spa pool. This is family unfriendly, not family friendly.
3. The ship is simply not designed to cope with the huge numbers of passengers on board. at the centre of the ship, which is the busiest section there is no continuous stairway beyond 7 or 8. As a consequence, the lifts are always congested here and a five to ten-minute wait for a lift is not unusual. The ship either needs more lifts or bigger lifts. The current layout does not work.
4. The size issue rears its ugly head again whenever the ship is in port. A normal size ship would have two gangways in operation, Britannia needs to have 4 gangways working. It never did, we only ever had two and at every port there were severe delays both disembarking and embarking, at times we waited in a queue for more than 30 minutes. This is just ridiculous if you build a ship specifically to carry over 3,000 passengers make sure you make the experience for those passengers enjoyable.
Overall a beautiful ship but the pile em high sell em cheap mentality takes the edge of what should have been a great holiday. Big ships only work if your name is Cunard, they understand that building a big ship is done to give people more space on board, not just to cram as many cabins as possible on the ship. Heaven knows what life must be like on the sun deck on Britannia on a sunny cruise.
Give me a medium size ship with a proper promenade deck every time.
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