Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)
Not Yet Rated
Ship: NYR out of 500
Accommodation: NYR out of 200
Food: NYR out of 400
Service: NYR out of 400
Entertainment: NYR out of 100
Cruise: NYR out of 400
Overall Score: NYR out of 2000
Size: Large Resort Ship
Cruise Line: P&O Cruises
Former Names: None
IMO Number: 9614036
Builder: Fincantieri (Italy)
Original Cost: €775 million
Entered Service: Mar 2015
Length (ft/m): 1,082.6/330.0
Beam (ft/m): 125.9/38.4
Draft (ft/m): 27.2/8.3
Propulsion/Propellers: diesel-electric (62,400kW/2
Passenger Decks: 14
Total Crew: 1,400
Passengers (lower beds): 3,647
Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 38.6
Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 2.6
Cabins (total): 1,837
Size Range (sq ft/m): n/a
Cabins (for one person): 27
Cabins (with private balcony): 1,313
Cabins (wheelchair accessible): n/a
Wheelchair accessibility: Best
Cabin Current: 220 volts
Casino (gaming tables): Yes
Slot Machines: Yes
Swimming Pools: 3
Hot Tubs (on deck): 9
Self-Service Launderette: Yes
Dedicated Cinema/Seats: Yes/243
Onboard currency: UK£
This floating ‘little britain’ has all the right family-friendly trimmings
Overview. Britannia features the rising sun as its logo on its two funnels (it’s the only P&O Cruises ship with two funnels), while along the side of the hull there’s no mistaking the Union Jack - at 94m (308.3ft) long it represents the very British-ness of being at sea, with a hint of bling.
The Ship. Modeled loosely on the Royal Princess platform, Britannia is a thoroughly British ship, and incorporates the classic features of ships like Aurora and Oriana into a design that is contemporary but not brash. The stern of the ship is nicely tiered, and slightly reminiscent of the back of an American Airstream trailer (caravan).
On the open (family-friendly) deck are two main swimming pools (Lido and Riviera) and several hot tubs (close by is a Pizzeria, Lido Grill, and Grab & Go ice cream bar). Some nights will feature sound and (laser) light shows performed by the ship’s resident dance and vocal troupe. If you want to escape the general noise and hubbub of the family-friendly pools and water splash features, it will be worth paying extra to use the adults-only Retreat (just forward of the mast), which has its own serenity pool and hot tubs.
The ship’s interior focal point - and its real social hub - is a spacious and charming three-deck-high atrium lobby, which has curved staircases, and a fascinating starburst mirrored central lighting chandelier. Most of the interior decor is nicely restrained, with a color palette of chocolate, brown, beige, and gray (rather like Europa 2), together with occasional bursts of blue and purple. As this is intended to be a ship for all types of people, specific areas have been designed to attract different age groups and lifestyles.
On the lower level of the atrium (Deck 5) is Market Café, which features some delightful (extra-cost) patisserie items by Eric Lanlard as well as coffees, cakes, and pastries, a gelateria, and Blue Bar. Also close by is The Limelight Club (a specialty dining venue that is like a supper club). On the other levels you’ll find a range of shops and the comfortable (extra-cost) Java Café.
On the middle level (Deck 6) you’ll find Brodies (a rather comfortable place for lounging and drinking - named after Brodie Wilcox, co-founder of the Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company), a small-ish casino (with gaming tables and slot machines, and several shops. On the upper level (Deck 7) is the comfortable Java Café, for (extra-cost) coffees, and The Glass House extra-cost restaurant.
In all, there are 13 restaurants and eateries, and 13 bars to choose from (one of the favorites will probably be the Blue Bar in the atrium lobby). Atop the ship is the Crow’s Nest Bar - always a popular feature aboard P&O ships. Like a large London club, with panoramic views, this is always a good meeting place for pre-dinner cocktails and after-dinner lounging. Adjacent are two meeting rooms, the Marlow Suite (named after a former recent P&O Cruises managing director), and the Ivory Suite; both are on the port side, while the Library is located on the starboard side.
Families. The ship has age-specific clubs and play areas called The Reef (the various rooms are named Surfers, Splashers, Scubas, and H20) for the under-18s, a night nursery for toddlers aged 2-5, and a pool and sun deck just for teenagers (a first on any P&O Cruises ship). At peak holiday times (summer, Christmas, Easter) there could be 400 or more children on board, but this ship will absorb them well, and there’s plenty to keep them occupied and active.
Accommodation. This comes designated in five categories: suites; deluxe balcony cabins; outside and balcony cabins; inside cabins; single inside cabins; wheelchair-accessible cabins. All of the outside suites and cabins have a private balcony. The decor is delightfully contemporary but restrained - somewhat akin to the latest boutique designer hotels, featuring colors like chocolate, beige, and cream. All shower enclosures are glazed (no more shower curtains, thank goodness).
All accommodation grades feature a large flat-screen TV for films on demand, as well as ‘pamper’ packs from The White Company, and tea/coffee-making facilities with specialty teas (long-life milk is provided, so if you want fresh milk, ask your room steward).
Dining. The three principal dining rooms are Meridian (with classic gray and brown decor), Oriental (with plum, gray and beige colors), and the Peninsular. Most of the chairs don’t have armrests (probably so you won’t linger over a meal). While Oriental features fixed dining times for dinner, Meridian and Peninsular are for ‘Freedom Dining’ - so you choose the seating time to suit (early one evening, late the next, for example). Well-known celebrity chef Marco Pierre White has created special dishes to be featured in the main dining rooms on Gala evenings.
Extra-cost dining options:
The Glass House, for trendy, contemporary cuisine, including wine and food pairings by the well-known Olly Smith.
Sindhu, a restaurant featuring Indian cuisine, with menus designed by Michelin-starred Atul Kochhar (who also has restaurants aboard Azura and Ventura).
The Limelight Club is a supper club, so it’s all about dinner with a show.
Horizon Restaurant is the main self-serve buffet-style eatery (open 24/7), with several ‘active’ stations (pancakes, omelettes, noodles are examples), as well as ‘grab and go’ sandwiches, filled rolls, and deli food. There’s also a grill for those fast-food items like hamburgers, hot dogs etc, and a pizzeria.
Just in case you want to hone your culinary skills, a 24-station culinary kitchen - part of the James Martin Cookery Club - can be found aft on Deck 17. Various celebrity chefs (including James Martin, Marco Pierre White, Adam Kochhar) and other invited chefs take part and host master classes throughout the year.
Entertainment. The 936-seat Headline’s Theatre is the principal venue for colorful large-scale productions and top cabaret entertainment. The room has gently tiered seating, and an LED stage backdrop provides great sets and lighting effects.
Live Lounge. This room hosts live music, cabaret acts, and comedy, but late at night morphs into a disco/late-night spot.
The Crystal Room. This room features a large traditional wooden dance floor, grand piano, and dance hosts to help you dance better or teach you something new.
The Studio. This is a multi-function venue for talks, films, cooking and other demonstrations, recitals, game shows, and conferences.
Spa/Fitness. Larger than anything on any previous P&O ship, the Oasis Spa is designed to help you relax, be pampered, and achieve serenity and wellbeing. The facility is located forward on the lowest deck (Deck 5).
Sports facilities include a ‘short’ tennis court, and an Arena Sports area that includes a combined football/basketball/cricket court, and other deck games.