Five members of staff from Holiday Lounge have just returned from a training session and ship visit on P & O Britannia, here is a report from Georgia Benedict – Team Birstall.

I have just got back from my P & O ship visit on Britannia, I was away in Southampton for 2 days. P & O have 7 ships in their fleet – Britannia, Ventura, Iona, Arcadia, Azura, Arvia and Aurora. They deal with GBP which is a huge selling point. Arvia and Iona are the XL Class Ships and are family friendly, each ship has their own unique differences, Arvia has a retractable Sky Dome – Iona doesn’t, both of these cruises are Freedom Dining only, meaning you can eat at whatever time between 18:00 and 21:30. Ventura, Britannia and Azura are the ‘Medium’ Sized Ships and are also family friendly cruises. Freedom and Club Dining are available, Club Dining gives you the choice of first sitting (18:30) or second sitting (20:30) meaning you have set times each evening for dinner with a set table number. Then there is Arcadia and Aurora which are Exclusively Adult Only Ships which specialises in unique voyages and exotic fly cruises, Arcadia is more mid-sized whereas Aurora is P & O’s smallest ship both ships offer Freedom or Club Dining.

Day 1 –

I did training in the Carnival House which I learnt polar online in a lot more detail which has furthered my confidence to booking cruise holidays for my customers, they then went over P & O’s product and all the services offered onboard. Our training was mainly focused on Britannia due to visiting that ship the next day, it has just had a multi-million pound revamp. Britannia offers Inside, Balcony and Suite cabins only, it is a medium sized ship and family friendly with a kids club called ‘The Reef’ which is run for four age-specific groups, ‘Splashers’ for ages two – four, ‘Surfers’ for ages five – eight, ‘Scubas’ for nine – 12 year olds and ‘H20’ for ages 13 – 17. Throughout your holiday, children will have access to an array of activities and games on offer. There is also a ‘Night Nursery’ open from 18:00 – 02:00 nightly for children aged between six months and four years old.

Day 2 –

We arrived at Southampton dock and began our check in which was just like being at airport yet a more relaxed atmosphere with plenty staff around who were more than happy to help. We began our tour in the Oasis Spa and Salon which is at an additional charge, there is skilled therapists and plenty facilities such as a hydrotherapy pool, thermal suites and heated lounges. In the salon there is stylists, aestheticians and makeup specialists there is also the barber shop for men offering a stylish grooming club.

There is 5 Restaurants all included in the fare, Meridian, Oriental and Peninsular which are the main dining areas with menus devised by Marco Pierre White. The Horizon restaurant is the buffet area with a variety of food to suit every appetite and dietary need, and finally there is the Poolside Pizzeria and Grill. We had our lunch in the Meridian Restaurant and the food was incredible, the staff where attentive and the presentation of the food was superb.

There is also options to dine for a little extra at the 7 Specialty Restaurants onboard. The Epicurean which has a grand style and British ingredients, Sindhu which has contemporary Indian dishes and Asian fusion – mains from £8. The Glass House with a menu of small plates and tapas by Jose Pizarro and wines chosen by Olly Smith, The Market Café a luxurious haven in the heart of Britannia’s atrium offers something sweet for every palate. The Beach House is inspired by South American, Caribbean and Stateside cuisines, The Beach House menu offers hearty dishes and comfort-food favourites, The Cookery Club which is only on Britannia offers masterclasses as well as chef’s table experiences and finally The Limelight Club, it has intimate low lighting and a show-stopper evening event (tickets from £25 per person) it is exclusively for adults. The entertainment is provided by some of Britain’s best-loved performers and relish in a three-course culinary experience.

There is plenty of bars to choose from onboard which is pay as you go, unless you decide to add on a drinks package. On our visit we went into The Crows Nest, The Crystal Room, The Live Lounge, Brodie’s and The Sunset Bar. Each bar has a different atmosphere, whether you want pre-dinner cocktails, premium drinks whilst you watch a live band or a cold glass of coca cola watching the evenings sunset.

Britannia has 4 pools onboard with 2 being on Deck 16 – Lido Deck, Lido Pool and Riviera Pool  and another 2 on Deck 17 – Sun Deck, Serenity Pool and Terrace Pool. As well as this, they also have 4 whirlpool spas all located on Deck 17.

The Theatre on Britannia offers plenty of different shows to suit everyone. On The Horizon, brings your cruise programme to life with a mix of song and dance. There is Wave Length which is a new interactive gameshow created exclusively for P & O Cruises and Astonishing which will amaze you with spectacular magic and illusion. CenterStage is a strong contemporary line up of musicals including 9 to 5, Tina, Matilda, Moulin Rouge and Frozen. There is also Mr Tickerton’s Clockwork Circus and you are guaranteed a fantastic night of entertainment.