Two days is not enough to fully tour and appreciate a large cruise ship like Britannia. However, it does answer many questions about what to expect on a longer voyage with P&O Cruises.
Getting to Southampton is easy by road or rail. A smooth check-in process helped make the start to the holiday better. I would have preferred an earlier check-in time than 2 pm to enjoy more time on the ship.
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My balcony cabin was comfortable and well-equipped, particularly on the toiletries front. If I were booking a budget mini-cruise, I would opt for an inside cabin as there was not enough time to appreciate the private outdoor space. For a birthday or anniversary celebration, or to travel in maximum comfort, I would opt for a suite.
Food experiences are at the core of Britannia. While I was disappointed with the service and food served in the main dining room, the experience at The Epicurean restaurant made up for that. On my next P&O mini cruise, I would look to book into The Epicurean again as well as Atul Kochhar’s Sindhu restaurant, avoiding the main dining room altogether for dinner.
Entertainment is varied and tailored to the British market. The evening performance in the Theatre attracted a large audience and was a good musical show.
The kids club is fantastic, with caring staff who do everything they can to put you at ease. Better still, they accept children aged as young as two rather than the industry norm of three years. If you want to try a cruise and have a toddler in tow, P&O Cruises is a great choice.
Thanks to the proximity of the Channel Islands, the journey to Guernsey was incredibly smooth and at times it was hard to notice any movement whatsoever.
As the ship is too large to dock in port, small tender boats are required. I got my timings wrong and was faced with an hour wait to disembark, and a 30-minute wait for the return boat.
Disappointingly, much of the harbour front at St Peter Port in Guernsey closes on a Sunday. Small boutiques I would have liked to visit were closed, despite changes in the law to allow Sunday trading. Large chains had opened their doors to cruise passengers. It is just a shame that small artisan retailers had not followed suit.
A market had sprung up on the waterfront too, and this was very popular with passengers.
I decided to walk along the largely closed high street and then go in search of photo opportunities of the ship. The best spot I found was on the pier adjacent to Castle Cornet.
In two nights it would be impossible to cram in everything Britannia has to offer. I popped my head into the Cookery Club and met lead chef Rob Cottam, but I would have liked to participate in a class. I would have liked to work my way through more of the premium restaurants. I would have also liked to enjoy a dinner show at The Limelight Club and a treatment or two at the spa.
But even though I still have plenty to work through next time I ticked a lot of my to-do list on this trip. I had a busy couple of days as I chose to use the experience as an opportunity to see as much as I could. Others used it as two nights of relaxation away from daily life. A small number of stag and hen parties used it to celebrate freedom, although these groups were largely unseen. Some used it as an attempt to top up the tan under the warm sunshine found in Guernsey. Others embarked on shore excursions to explore more of the Channel Islands.
A mini cruise sailing is so versatile. Britannia truly offers something for everybody. I would be very happy heading on another cruise on her, although perhaps not Guernsey on a Sunday!
P&O Cruises run a large number of mini cruises. These slot in between longer sailings which mean they do not follow a certain pattern like ferry sailings. Destinations vary, but most of their mini cruises head to Amsterdam, Guernsey, Bruges (Zeebrugge), Cherbourg, or Paris (Le Havre). For a full list of upcoming P&O mini cruises, click here.
Two nights on a mini cruise with a port of call included means it is impossible to experience everything. But as a taste of what a cruise ship holiday is like, this is perfect. You can do as much or as little as you like, and you can experience the world of cruising without committing to a week or two at sea. Guernsey is a lovely destination but on Sunday it is a little underwhelming and the demand for tender boats led to queues in excess of an hour. An organised shore excursion would have perhaps been a better option to see more of the island.
Read more in this series
- Getting to Southampton Port
- P&O Cruises Britannia Review
- P&O Cruises Britannia Cabins
- Food & Drink on P&O Cruises Britannia
- Entertainment on P&O Cruises Britannia
- Visiting Guernsey on a Sunday
- Guernsey Mini Cruise Review on P&O Cruises’ Britannia (you are here)