Tag Archives: The Great British Sailaway

Britannia Christmas Cruise – Antigua, Dominica, Grenada, The Great British Sailaway & New Years Eve

Britannia Antigua

All too soon we were approaching the end of our cruise and our final three ports of call, Antigua, Dominica and Grenada.

We were a bit beached out so declined the many offers of taxi trips and tours of Antigua and took a stroll around the port town of St John’s. There are lots of arts and craft shops in a mall adjacent to the port and we spent an hour or so exploring and watching steel bands and dancers entertaining the day trippers. It’s touristy but we found a first floor bar overlooking the ship and enjoyed a couple of reasonably priced glasses of chilled red taking photographs of Britannia’s Union Flag emblazoned bow and using the free wifi to FaceTime home. We then went into the town itself searching for a local supermarket to buy some supplies. St John’s felt very safe, the locals were friendly and helpful in Samo’s supermarket where we purchased the cheapest bottle of wine of the trip so far!

Dominica

Dominica was always going to be my least favourite destination of the cruise. We’d visited before and knew that the town itself has little to offer, the beaches are black sand and the excursions (mainly waterfalls and rain forests) didn’t really appeal with a small child. ¬†As we docked the heaven’s opened with a pretty ceaseless tropical storm. Finn took one look out of the window and declared it ‘a bonus sea day’ so we stayed onboard to enjoy Britannia instead.

We had breakfast from Grab and Go which is on the Lido deck and serves hot breakfast sandwiches from 8am until noon and then sandwiches, salads, snacks and desserts between midday and 4pm. It’s a great new dining option that P&O have introduced on Britannia and are planning to roll out across the fleet apparently. It’s a bit like having a free Pret a Manger on board! We lazed around the cabin watching those heading into town get wet then went for an al a carte lunch and a bottle of Rioja in the restaurant. After lunch Finn went to kids club and Andy and I went for a couples massage I’d booked us as a Christmas present. The Oasis Spa is huge with numerous treatment rooms and a thermal sauna / steam room area that you pay an additional fee to use. We both had an excellent massage side by side which lasted around 50 minutes with no hard sell on products when it was over.

Sailaway 2

We picked up Finn as it was time for the much anticipated Great British Sailaway. Thankfully the rain clouds had disappeared and the sun was setting as Neil Oliver, the Cruise Director and his team handed out hundreds of free Union flags for passengers to wave. They took us through a medley of party songs and patriotic hits including the obligatory Rule Britannia. The atmosphere was incredible with everyone singing along and the captain joined us for a dance routine with the entertainment team and announced ‘it’s going to be a good night tonight’ before the big Black Eyed Peas hit was played. It was a brilliant end to our ‘bonus sea day’ and I even managed a photo with the Captain!

Captain Paul Brown

Later that night the entertainment continued with Gravity, a rock musical delivered by the show cast in the Headliners theatre which had clearly taken some inspiration from a Take That tour with fabulous costumes, acrobatics and unicycling. I love the LED scenery in the theatre, the production kit is very impressive and it was probably my favourite show of the cruise.

Our final port of call was Grenada, a great choice to end the cruise and an idyllic way to sample the sunshine on New Years Eve. We had a quick walk around St Georges and then took an overcrowded water taxi that felt far from safe for a 5 minute ride to Great Anse, a gorgeous palm fringed beach with white sand and crystal clear waters. The beach is lined with bars and you can rent 2 sun beds and an umbrella for $20 however they’d run out of the latter so we paid $10 for two chairs and pulled them under some trees for shade. Bar staff roam the beach taking drinks orders so we enjoyed a few rum and cokes in the sunshine before heading back to the ship to pack our cases. As it was New Years Eve and Finn wanted to go to the Kids NYE party we decided to treat ourselves to a final dinner in the Glass House and swerve the formal night in the main dining room. Olly Smith’s combination of tapas, steaks and good wines overlooking the atrium is highly recommended and definitely our favourite place to eat.

Great Anse Beach Grenada

On Britannia they celebrate New Years Eve twice, once at UK midnight which is 8pm in the Caribbean and again at midnight local time which is great if you have kids or like us rarely make it past 10.30pm! We joined the Reef Rangers in the Live Lounge and partied away to holiday hits making full use of the inflatable instruments they kindly provided free to the kids. We had a live UK countdown from Sky news and a quick Auld Lang Syne on the dance floor which was enough to mark the moment especially as we were flying home the next day. It was followed by a great Soul covers group who were warming up the crowd for the main New Years Eve deck party up on top. We didn’t make the latter but it was a lovely way to end an incredible cruise.

I’ll be writing one more post with my final thoughts once we’re back in the UK and adding photos to the previous posts. I hope it’s been helpful and thanks for visiting!