Britannia Iberia Cruise
My husband and I went on an Iberian cruise on the Britannia at the beginning of May. We booked very last minute about a week before we went, but even so everything was sorted out for us and our P&O Cruise Personaliser (P&O’s online cruise booking system, to print tickets, book excursions and make restaurant reservations) was up and running the next morning so we could book anything we wanted before we got on board. We have been on a few cruises before and not all with P&O. We are both in our early 30’s and even though it can be seen as they type of holiday that older people tend to go on, we love it and it’s one of our favourite ways to holiday.
We boarded the ship in Southampton which was easy and efficient as always. When we got to the arrival hall, we were given a fast track card as we had turned up at our allotted time. This meant we could go straight through to the next available check-in desk. It took about 20 minutes for us to get our cruise cards (card used on board to pay for everything), go through security and board the ship.
The ship itself was beautiful, modern, stylish and very well designed. I was slightly worried that it would seem huge, as having only travelled on midsize ships before, but the way the ship has been designed and laid out made it feel spacious without seeming too big.
The ship never seemed crowded and the lifts and the stairs weren’t busy. The fact that there are no stairs in the centre of the ship wasn’t an issue for us at all.
We had an inside cabin towards the back of the ship on deck 10. It was lovely; very quiet, close to the lifts and seemed rather spacious. Lots of storage space and plenty of room to take as much as you want especially if you aren’t flying and so don’t have to worry about the baggage allowance.
We booked the saver price so we found out about our dining arrangements once we got to our cabin. We were given the second seating in the Oriental restaurant and a table for 2. This is normally what we would request if we had booked the select price so we more than happy with it. The service in the restaurant was brilliant as always and just what I would expect. The menu was the standard P&O food. There was a special Gala menu on the first formal night. The food was lovely, good quality and presented in a modern contemporary way.
I would always advise anyone try the curries when they are on the menu. We went for lunch one day in the main restaurant and my husband ordered the Vegetable Goan Curry, he liked it so much he ordered seconds!
One of the highlights for us was the Market Kitchen located on the bottom level of the atrium. This is Eric Lanlard’s restaurant on the Britannia. They serve gelato, pastries, crepes and savoury boards. We tried a few different things all for a small cost, but they were all really worth it. Especially the pastries.
The second highlight for us was the Sindhu Lunch time menu. This wasn’t very well publicised and was only available on a sea day, but it really was worth going. We had Indian Tapas for £4.95 each, and it was amazing. We loved it and were disappointed that we had only discovered it towards the end of the week so didn’t get a chance to go again. But it’s really worth thinking about if you want to try the speciality restaurants but you don’t want to ‘pay too much, they often have a cheaper option at lunch time.
As I said we chose to take an Iberian cruise. This was more because of the dates fitting in with work commitments rather than the choice of destination but still, we really enjoyed all the ports. We didn’t book any trips, we rarely do, we prefer to get off the ship and explore on our own. The complimentary shuttles on this cruise were brilliant and some of the best I’ve seen on offer. With journeys, up to 45 minutes to some of the city’s all for free. Our favourite was the last stop which was Guernsey. There was a tender to the dock from the ship. We had to go to the theatre, get a ticket and then wait to be called to the tender to go ashore. We waited for about 10 minutes at the most and it was all really easy and very well organised. As I said we loved Guernsey. The weekend we went was just before they celebrated Liberation day, so everywhere was decorated in bunting and it looked beautiful.
I was quite impressed with the entertainment. We definitely aren’t the type of people that go the theatre every night when we go on a cruise but we went a couple of time and I did think that the Headliners put on quite a good show. I think that as the ship is very new and so the technology in the theatre is very up to date this really improved the performance compared to shows that I have seen on other slightly older ships.
One of our favourite places to go and have a drink in the evening was the Crystal Room. This is where everyone went dancing. I loved watching the ballroom dancing and the Dance Instructors Ian and Penny were brilliant. Going to watch them when they did their show dances was one of my favourite evenings.
In short, we are probably young in comparison to people that normally go on cruises, but we love it! It suits us perfectly and the way we like to holiday and we love P&O.
Young people shouldn’t be put off thinking that they will be the odd ones out because in my experience it has always been a really nice mixture of ages and people. I would say, though if you are younger to try and go for a newer ship like the Britannia. It offers more than the older ships in terms of facilities and restaurants and in a much more modern environment.
I defy anyone to go on a cruise and not love it!
Click here to see the P&O cruises on offer.
Read more about my first cruise with P&O on the Aurora here.
Have you sailed on the Britannia? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below.