Cruising Mates Forum: Cruise reviews, chat, answers and information. cruisingmates.co.uk • View topic - Britannia April 23rd 2016 Norwegian Fjords review

Britannia April 23rd 2016 Norwegian Fjords review

Britannia April 23rd 2016 Norwegian Fjords review

Postby Downbythedocks » 09 May 2016 06:02

Just returned from my first cruise ever and as a first time cruiser this is my first review of such a holiday. It's possible of course it's coloured somewhat from not having anything to compare it with, however this is how I feel about the holiday and Britannia in particular. It's not a day to day blow by blow of what we did or didn't do it's more of an overview of the whole week.

Britannia 23April - 30th April 2016 Norwegian Fjords

We arrived in Southampton from Lincolnshire on the Friday before the embarkation the next day. We live in Southampton but were staying with family the week prior to the cruise. On the Friday night we stayed in the Dolphin Hotel where we left our car for the week. The Dolphin was as ever never changing, it's seen better days and there are better hotels but we are used to the Dolphin and because it's always the same it suits us. I was confident the service and car parking would be efficient as it always was and a breakfast to match. We weren't due to be at embarkation until 13.30 so had a few hours to kill before our taxi arrived to take us to the ship so we walked down to take our first look at Britannia. She looked good in the morning sun and the thought of being onboard her in a few hours was unbelievable.

The taxi arrived at the Dolphin a little early so we arrived at the docks at 13.05 but by 13.35 we were in our cabins (staterooms, cabins or rooms? Still not sure!) We went up on deck to take a look at my hometown from a view I've never seen it from before and Southampton looked pretty good from up there.

Eventually we found our way down to where everything is going on in Britannia from the Atrium, shops, Headliners theatre, Brodie's and just about everything else. I thought it would take about a week to find our way around but by Monday I was confident that I knew where everything was and how to get there but by Thursday I was still getting the decks wrong! Never mind it will be easier next time. Now time for the safety drill in the Headliners and everything was explained carefully and slowly about life jackets etc even though it started later than it should have done. Now back up on deck to watch us leave Southampton. We left half an hour later than we should have but soon we were going down Southampton water and on past the Isle of Wight. Our cruise our first but one of hopefully many had begun.

Good points and bad points which seem to get a lot of mentions on reviews and forums on the web.


Lifts on Britannia......many have mentioned the middle lifts are a problem on Britannia as there are no stairs at their location. True there isn't stairs but lifts are no problem whatsoever as the longest we waited was about two minutes and if people can't wait two minutes then perhaps that says something about them more than the design? There were a few passengers that huffed and puffed about the lifts being stopped at every floor by would be other passengers but that's just ignorance on their part. Anyone would think the lift belonged to them and nobody else should be allowed to use them!

Food...... No problems with food at all as its good, hot or cold as it should be and the service is just fine with no hiccups along the way. We did eat in the Limelight Club one evening as we wanted to see the act but the food in my opinion was nothing to write home about for the extra cost and perhaps the menu needs looking at there. One tip if anyone is not sure about booking the Limelight Club when on board then look through the large back window to the club in the mornings and you will see and hear the act rehearsing before booking.

Staff/crew...... Most of the crew are friendly and helpful but there was one young lady who was obviously homesick or just didn't like her job as she never smiled or said a word to passengers unless spoken to first but she then responded in a friendly manner. I did wonder if it was shyness? I felt sorry for her as many people tended to ignore her which was a shame. Our cabin steward was second to none and helpful in explaining things to us if we didn't understand something or at first couldn't find our way around. He seemed to know when we were in or out and things got done invisibly! We did make it easy for him by leaving everything neat and tidy when leaving the cabin.

Shops...... Great for the ladies perhaps for a man not so great but the general shop had everything you may need on a cruise. The other shops were a magnet for the cruise card though!

Entertainment...... Superb we enjoyed every show, act, quiz or whatever other entertainment that was going on. Hats off to the entertainments team in Headliners. Tip....go to the 7pm entertainment in Headliners as the 8.30 show gets a bit busy. We were out of our cabin by 7.30 every morning only popping back occasionally during the day and finally returning there late evening. We made the most of everything available to do during the day and can honestly say not once was I stuck for something to do.

Beer...... Prices are about the same as those in Southampton and they had John Smiths so I was happy. Service in Brodie's and other bars was just on the right level and we were never pestered to buy more as others have mentioned on the web. Entertainment in Brodie's was good but could do with longer performances as they are only on for 45 minutes before being replaced with a quiz or bingo.

Crows Nest...... Not good but not the ships fault more to do with other passengers sitting at the forward facing windows while reading, crosswords, iPads or just sleeping and many did the latter. I lost count of the number of people doing neck breakers when trying to remain awake. If only they had given others a chance to sit there if all they were going to do was sleep! Not fair and not British old chap. I am 66 years old so not so young but at least I can stay awake and if sleepy would have moved to a more appropriate location of which there were many in the Crows Nest.

Formal nights......about 95% make the effort as we did and about 50% of those in both the buffet and bars were still making the effort late into the evenings. When I read on the P&O website that formal evenings make the ship atmosphere special I thought it was poppycock but in fact it does. I'm glad we made the effort and will certainly do so again.

Cleanliness ...... The crew get up at the crack of dawn to clean etc and by 8am it's spotless again. I did notice that a balcony cabin at the back of the ship had a 'wet varnish' sign on the handrail for a couple of days but I guess regular maintenance has to be done as there's so little time in port for those jobs. One problem was soot on the aft decks first thing in the mornings but again after 8am it's all gone.

Security...... Very impressed with security when boarding at ports after being ashore. P&O don't pay lip service to security they actually carry it out properly. What it's like when loading supplies I obviously don't know.

Ports...... Bergen a lovely place and make sure you venture up the alleyways between the shops on the waterfront. Plenty of free wi-fi in cafes etc

Alesund...not as pretty as Bergen but easily accessible on foot and with a very pleasant snowy backdrop of the mountains.

Flam... The village of Flam is about a mile inland from the port area which is delightful but we never saw much as we headed for the Norway in a nutshell train.

Stavangar... was one port I wasn't that much interested in as it just looked like a dull destination after Bergen, Alesund and Flam but I was so wrong. It's a lovely place and old town is a must see with a walk around the harbour to finish it off.

Big Disappointment..... Norway in a nutshell excursion from Flam. I had been looking forward to this excursion and felt let down badly considering the cost. And I wasn't the only one to comment........ The train was packed like sardines, it was also late but had good reason, yes the views were spectacular but getting to see them was difficult even though we were on the right of the train. I saw most of the views on the screen of the iPad of the lady sitting next to me as she took photos! The second train was even more packed if that was possible but the lunchtime hotel was very nice and a good meal far better than I was expecting. The saving grace was the two hour coach trip through the mountains which was one of the best coach trips I have ever done and I've been through both Switzerland and Austria on holiday. The young lady who did a running commentary certainly knew her subject and was a credit to her obviously loved country.

Weather...... No guarantees on other cruises but we had rain on the Friday morning on our way to the hotel from Lincolnshire and that was it until after we were home on the Saturday. Bergen....blue skies......Alesund.....blue skies, Flam....blue skies and for good measure Stavanger...blue skies although it clouded over late in the afternoon.

So in closing...... Britannia is a fine ship with lots to do if you can keep up the pace. Before I went I said to myself if I can score the holiday 8/10 which was a big ask then it would be worth it. In the end I think the ports deserved 9/10, the Headliners entertainments team 10/10, the Limelight Club 7/10, cleanliness and upkeep of the ship 10/10 and finally the holiday as a package would rate 10/10 and worth every penny in my book.

As I said this is a purely my views on my holiday. It's the way I see it as a first time cruiser and as such I may be naive on a few things but it's an honest appraisal which is all I can do. I hope I haven't offended anyone with my comments on the lifts or hogging the front facing windows in the Crows Nest while sleeping. My intentions are to make it easier for first timers like myself to make a fair judgement for themselves on a similar cruise they may be thinking of booking.

I expect I have forgotten something and if I have please ask especially anyone who has read negative reports on Britannia of which there are many on the net. If you are thinking about booking Britannia but slightly put off don't be....... just book it and enjoy.
Downbythedocks
Lieutenant
Lieutenant
 
Posts: 83
Joined: 09 Nov 2015 15:22
Location: Hampshire
National Flag:
England

Britannia April 23rd 2016 Norwegian Fjords review

Postby adogap » 09 May 2016 06:52

Thank you for great review. I have not sailed with P&O but it is a very popular line with many here on the forum and it must have been marvellous to travel on such a new and modern ship. We are off to the Norwegian Fjords for the first time in July so was very interested to read your comments on ports. Bergen is our first call and the only place we have not booked a tour. Judging from your experience I think we will spend the day exploring ourselves.
I get the impression it won't be too long before your next venture. You are fortunate to be so close to the cruise terminals :mrgreen:

Chris
Baltic Cities, Balmoral, June 2018
Canada, Queen Mary 2, September 2018
User avatar
adogap
Commodore
Commodore
 
Posts: 1326
Joined: 25 Oct 2012 15:09
Location: Bangor Co. Down
National Flag:
United Kingdom

Britannia April 23rd 2016 Norwegian Fjords review

Postby Dave » 09 May 2016 06:56

Many thanks for the review DBTD (if I may call you that!) - I found it an enjoyable and interesting read. :thumbup:

You didn't offend me with your thoughts about lifts, but I see things very differently. We rarely use lifts, preferring to take the stairs - perhaps we'll take one up to our cabin after an exhausting day ashore or if we're carrying coffees, but that's about it. And I'm not a patient person; a two minute wait sounds like an age to me!
Dave
Image
Booked cruise: Marella Explorer - Caribbean, Christmas 2018
Booked walking holidays: Easter: Cotswolds; Summer: Kintyre & Islay
User avatar
Dave
Mutineer
Mutineer
 
Posts: 12509
Joined: 24 Feb 2011 15:25
Location: Whitstable
National Flag:
United Kingdom

Britannia April 23rd 2016 Norwegian Fjords review

Postby Downbythedocks » 09 May 2016 07:22

adogap wrote:Thank you for great review. I have not sailed with P&O but it is a very popular line with many here on the forum and it must have been marvellous to travel on such a new and modern ship. We are off to the Norwegian Fjords for the first time in July so was very interested to read your comments on ports. Bergen is our first call and the only place we have not booked a tour. Judging from your experience I think we will spend the day exploring ourselves.
I get the impression it won't be too long before your next venture. You are fortunate to be so close to the cruise terminals :mrgreen:

Chris


I did respond with a longer post but it vanished. You will love Bergen but make sure you don't miss the alleyways behind the shops on the waterfront. We took about four hours to wander around before the thought of a nice comfy chair and food lured us back onboard. I hope you are lucky with the weather as we were.

Yes coming from Southampton it's easy and cheaper to just turn up at the docks on the day but the traffic on cruise days can be horrendous which is why we used the hotel the night before and not home. It once took three hours to travel a mile to get into the docks. That was when there were five ships in and the Saints playing at home.
Downbythedocks
Lieutenant
Lieutenant
 
Posts: 83
Joined: 09 Nov 2015 15:22
Location: Hampshire
National Flag:
England

Britannia April 23rd 2016 Norwegian Fjords review

Postby Downbythedocks » 09 May 2016 07:33

Dave wrote:Many thanks for the review DBTD (if I may call you that!) - I found it an enjoyable and interesting read. :thumbup:

You didn't offend me with your thoughts about lifts, but I see things very differently. We rarely use lifts, preferring to take the stairs - perhaps we'll take one up to our cabin after an exhausting day ashore or if we're carrying coffees, but that's about it. And I'm not a patient person; a two minute wait sounds like an age to me!



I have been called worse than DBTD :D

We too took the lift if we were only going a couple of decks but generally we would be on decks 5-7 and the cabin was on 14 so it was the lifts for us. A two minute wait is an age for you? In that case don't go to a shoe shop with my wife :lol:
Downbythedocks
Lieutenant
Lieutenant
 
Posts: 83
Joined: 09 Nov 2015 15:22
Location: Hampshire
National Flag:
England

Re: Britannia April 23rd 2016 Norwegian Fjords review

Postby tomvet » 09 May 2016 07:51

Enjoyed your review DBTD.

While you apparently were basking in sunshine in Norway I was being rained on in the Adriatic :shock: :shock: :shock:

I have less patience than most but I also think a 2 min wait for a lift to be an eternity also!
Image
April 18 - Phoenix Reisen M/S Asara - Cologne - Amsterdam - Ijsselmeer - Hoorn - Rotterdam - Gorinchem - Arnheim - Cologne
October 18 - MSC Opera - Marseille - Mahon - Cagliari - Valetta - Messina - Naples - Genoa
December 18 - A-ROSA Aqua - Cologne - Mannheim - Kehl (Strasbourg) - Mainz - Cologne
tomvet
Admiral
Admiral
 
Posts: 13596
Joined: 01 May 2011 13:15
National Flag:
Ireland

Britannia April 23rd 2016 Norwegian Fjords review

Postby judgegeoff » 09 May 2016 08:18

Many thanks for telling us about your first cruise Downbythedocks, it is very interesting to get the impressions of a first time cruiser. :clap: :clap: :clap:

I am so glad that you found the overall experience so good, but nothing is 100% perfect in this world. It was good that your weather was so kind, it does make a big difference to a holiday, especially one in Scandinavia perhaps.

I share your complaint about people sleeping in positions that deprive other (awake) passengers enjoying the facilities. This happens in observation lounges, coffee bars and libraries mostly. Why don't they retire to the comfortable day beds in their cabins? What makes them so tired? It beats me! I suggest Staff should go round with a cattle prod! :lol: :lol: :lol:
Geoff

Cruises Booked

"Quantum of the Seas" - China & Japan - Autumn 2018
User avatar
judgegeoff
Powder Monkey
Powder Monkey
 
Posts: 3714
Joined: 23 Mar 2013 12:58
Location: New Romney. Kent
National Flag:
United Kingdom

Britannia April 23rd 2016 Norwegian Fjords review

Postby JollyJill » 09 May 2016 08:22

Thank you for your review DBTD. :thumbup:

Big ships are not for us but I always enjoy reading reviews on them. It was good of you to take the time to share your experiences with us all.

I agree about the back streets in Bergen and like you, we were lucky with the weather. I have heard so many people say how it always seems to rain in Bergen- not so for us.
Image

36 cruises on 26 ships.







Image
User avatar
JollyJill
Deck Hand
Deck Hand
 
Posts: 17488
Joined: 26 Feb 2011 13:26
Location: Hampshire
National Flag:
United Kingdom

Re: Britannia April 23rd 2016 Norwegian Fjords review

Postby Downbythedocks » 09 May 2016 08:23

tomvet wrote:Enjoyed your review DBTD.

While you apparently were basking in sunshine in Norway I was being rained on in the Adriatic :shock: :shock: :shock:

I have less patience than most but I also think a 2 min wait for a lift to be an eternity also!


Funny isn't it when people have such different views over two minutes but I guess we are all different. Two minutes wait for a lift to me is nothing out of my day :)

We were being kept informed of the weather down that way by the entertainments manager and everyone had a little smile to themselves but there was no cheering honestly.........well perhaps a little at Sailaway :?
Downbythedocks
Lieutenant
Lieutenant
 
Posts: 83
Joined: 09 Nov 2015 15:22
Location: Hampshire
National Flag:
England

Britannia April 23rd 2016 Norwegian Fjords review

Postby Downbythedocks » 09 May 2016 08:27

JollyJill wrote:Thank you for your review DBTD. :thumbup:

Big ships are not for us but I always enjoy reading reviews on them. It was good of you to take the time to share your experiences with us all.

I agree about the back streets in Bergen and like you, we were lucky with the weather. I have heard so many people say how it always seems to rain in Bergen- not so for us.


Before we left I read that Bergen has 300 days of rain a year on average so I took wet weather gear and a woolly hat :o
Downbythedocks
Lieutenant
Lieutenant
 
Posts: 83
Joined: 09 Nov 2015 15:22
Location: Hampshire
National Flag:
England

Next

  • Similar Topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Return to P&O



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests