After a great night sleep in a huge room with my partner Paul at the Hilton; overlooking the Ageas Bowl in Southampton we boarded the Britannia early afternoon on Saturday 20th August.The boarding process was efficient and speedy, and the luggage was taken straight up to our cabin after stepping out of the taxi at the City Cruise Terminal in Southampton. Our cabin on F Deck was immaculately clean, with nothing to much trouble for our Steward; Histon. The balcony on all outside cabins is a great touch on this beautifully decorated ship, with well designed three deck atrium with the ‘starburst’ coming down from the ceiling:We enjoyed a glass of wine as we left Southampton, heading into the Solent; then the English Channel from the private balcony, then took a walk around the ship.
The views from parts of the ships are amazing, and every part has been well designed with timeless features, and I could mention so much. The ship has various restaurants, and bars serving a variety of food with the main restaurants (Meridian, Penninsular and Oriental) all serving 3 course dinners to the Horizon buffet on Deck 16 being open into the early hours if still after a snack or cup of tea. There are also specialist restaurants with a cover charge, which sounded amazing but we didn’t get around to; Sindhu for Indian style food, the Epicurean for luxury, the Beach House, and the Glass House wine bar. There is also the Riviera Bar and Lido Grill by the pool, and Java (coffee shop serving Costa) by the atrium, along with a few other places to get a snack. There is so much choice, I can’t imagine anyone leaving the ship hungry.
We were on Freedom dining in the Meridian Restaurant for our evening meals where can eat anytime between 6 and 9:30, and never really waited for a table, and shared with different people each night, and i enjoyed the socialising. On one of the smart dressing night (Thursday) the Chef’s parade through each restaurant so we can all applaud their hard work, along with that of the waiting staff. I feel this appreciation is a lovely touch, to what must be a long shift and so many meals to prepare and serve to over 3,600 passengers. There was also a chance to hear the Captain give a short speech and a photo opportunity on Sunday evening, which with Thursday were our days at sea.
I could write so many positives about the entertainment on board with shows put on the entertainment team in the 900 seat Headliners Theatre and acts brought in to perform. We were lucky to see Cheryl Baker (Bucks Fizz, and Record Breakers) do an intimate show in the Limelight Club which included a 3 course meal. I also enjoyed Jayne Middleton as a tribute to Annie Lennox in the Headliners Theatre and the Cuban conjuring comedian; Manuel Martinez performing his ‘adult’ show in the Live Lounge. The Crow’s Nest bar on Deck 16 is also beautifully decorated with long glass windows at the front of the ship, and on some nights was a pianist performing. There is also a pub on board; Brodies which offers a range of ales from across the UK, along with fun quizzes. We were lucky enough to win a bottle of red wine in a syndicate quiz in the Marlowe Suite next to the Crow’s Nest, with the final question being “What is a group of Kangaroos”?
I can hardly fault anything on board, with the food service being outstanding, so much entertainment on offer, and lovely bars and spots on the ship to relax. There was also a couple of talks about the destinations and the future of the Internet, and Spanish lessons among other activities, so even on the sea days you can always find something. I thoroughly enjoyed my amazing week on the Britannia, and will write on my next blog about the 4 destination ports we visited. I have even booked my next cruise, a short break to Bruges and Amsterdam on the Arcadia in November 2017.