Tag Archives: Britannia

Britannia Christmas Cruise – Final Thoughts

Britannia Tortola

I’m now back at work frantically saving up for the next one but felt it would be useful to end with some final thoughts on Britannia and our first ever Christmas cruise.


Britannia is all about understated elegance with the look and feel of a chic, boutique hotel. Some we spoke to felt it wasn’t to their taste or lacked some wow but we loved the neutral colours and subtle detail and feel it’s an astute move as P&O seek to attract a new generation of cruisers.

Passengers were primarily British and of the 3600 onboard around 600 were children as you’d expect at Christmas. Everyone we met was so friendly which contributed to a lovely atmosphere on board and P&O did an amazing job of bringing just the right amount of festive traditions to a setting at sea. We certainly didn’t miss the damp, cold hills back home and it was very easy to adjust to celebrating the time of year in blazing sunshine!

Staff everywhere without exception were professional and worked extra hard to make everything smooth and effortless so a big thanks to the Captain and his entire team.

Grand Cayman


Having cruised the Caribbean and visited many of the islands previously we’d ideally tweak a couple of the destinations  but otherwise it was a great flavour of the region. Temperatures were consistently in the high eighties and the weather, despite the odd tropical downpour, was fabulous.

P&O’s organised trips are considerably better value for money than their competitors and a simple way to see the sights if you’re unsure of exploring by yourself. Go to the excursions desk or one of their presentations if you want to find out what’s on offer but be mindful that some trips sell out fast.

Cookery Club


We’re as guilty as many others of comparing the pros and cons of various cruise lines but it’d be safe to say that the general dining lacked the finesse of MSC or the quality of RCI or NCL. That said, food was hot and plentiful and supplemented by a range of paid for options, none of which felt overpriced for what was on offer. The Glass House trio of tapas at £5.75 is a must try and goes especially well with a flight of three well chosen glasses of wine at less than a tenner.

Drinks everywhere are comparable in price to UK bars or restaurants and refreshingly affordable compared to the other cruise lines we’ve tried. Additionally, P&O allow passengers to bring their own alcohol on board for consumption in their rooms which is unheard of with their rivals.

A particular food highlight was James Martin’s Cookery Club, a master chef style demonstration kitchen where passengers have the opportunity to create and taste their own culinary masterpieces guided by an onboard team of chefs. We attended the family class and created homemade pasta and lemon drizzle cakes which was a lot of fun and good value at £45 for grown ups with up to two kids per adult going free.

Britannia Great British Sailaway


There were a few definite favourites amongst the shows we saw including Gravity and the Xmas only Jingle Bells Rock but there was an over reliance on tribute acts which perhaps needs to be addressed in the future. We know that certain sailings feature the stars of Strictly but surely it can’t be too hard to attract a bit more A list talent to such a groundbreaking ship, particularly as the demographics of those choosing to cruise gets younger.

The entertainment team were exceptional, particularly with all the xmas & new year things they put on but the best for me was their Great British Sailaway which took us right back to Ocean Village!

Great British Sailaway


We had a fantastic time on Britannia and would highly recommend a cruise as a Christmas option if you have kids. P&O have created a very British vibe and the ship itself is possibly the most beautiful at sea. Put her on your wish list!

If you’d like to read the full blog of our cruise, here’s the links –

1 First Impressions
2 Aruba
3 Grand Cayman & Ochos Rios
4 Xmas At Sea
5 Tortola & St Maarten
6 Antigua, Dominica & Grenada

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 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!