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Old 15 Sep 19, 06:23 PM  
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#71
SquishTheWhale
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Originally Posted by 16offtodisney! View Post
We are looking at the Iona for next july, fab prices, can i ask what sort of weather you had?
Thanks
It was a mixed bag really. The first sea day was decent and we might have been able to sit out if the deck wasn't closed for a helictoper evacuation all afternoon!

Lovely weather in Stavanger and Flam, mid teens and sunny on and off. Olden was grey rainy and cold. Bergen rainy and cold but brightened up later on. The last sea day was very cold wet and rough.

I wore layers from just a tshirt to a jumper, jacket coat and wooly hat! You really do need to pack for all weathers. Especially reccomend the hat if you like to be out on deck watching sail away as it could be very windy. I also bought some waterproof boot covers for my trainers which were great for stopping my feet getting wet and uncomfortable. Of course hiking boots would also do the job but we weren't planning on any hiking so only wanted to pack trainers.
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Old 16 Sep 19, 11:08 AM  
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Originally Posted by SquishTheWhale View Post
Just came back on Saturday from a 7 night cruise with P&O on Britannia to the Fjords. Hoping a little summary can help some people! This was out 6th cruise but 1st with P&O.

Ship
Britannia looked lovely and I'm surprised she's due a re fit next month. Very modern and clean. She's a bit small for our tastes, especially on a cold weather cruise as without the use of the outside space it becomes crowded inside. Last cruise we were on the Crown Princess and it didn't feel as crowded despite her being a little smaller as it was hot weather so people were out on deck. And the cold weather cruise we did on the NCL Epic was a larger ship so it felt like there was more to do inside. I think when Iona is built she will be a lot better for the Fjords with the inside pool etc.

We struggled with the layout even right up until the last day- normally on a ship when you come out of a stairwell/lift area you can turn left or right and go forward or aft. Not on Britannia, most times you can only go forward or aft at one side. We clearly never got our heads around this as it continued to confuse us!
The fact there was lifts but no stairs midship was also annoying as we are perfectly mobile and didn't need to use the lifts unless going many floors, but you had no choice if you were midship.

Cabin
We were in a standard inside on deck 12, my sister's family had a larger inside and my parents had a balcony on deck 15. All cabins were absolutely fine and our inside felt fairly spacious. Very clean and modern again with lots of storage. The bed was fine but not as comfy as the amazing beds on Princess. The shower was very large and had a glass screen instead of the dreaded clingy curtain, great water pressure too.
We really liked that the TV and movies were on demand rather than on a loop, as a couple of nights we fancied a movie in bed and didn't have to watch from half way through. It would be nice to have the facility to view your account from the TV like on most other ships we've been on.

Entertainment
We did not think much of the entertainment team- couldn't tell you the name of the cruise director and when I tried to watch some shows that he hosted I got bored as he wasn't charismatic or funny. Not up to the standard of the team on the American lines who are full of energy and seem to be everywhere on the ship at once.
We enjoyed the shows we saw in the theatre with the headliner performers. Our favourite show was Astonishing, however we cannot help but compare it negatively to Magic To Do on Princess which has a very similar format but a whole other level of production.
The other entertainment didn't float our boat and seemed aimed at the older generation when it came to quizzes and talks etc. They had a good band playing in the Live Lounge most nights but it was SO loud. Maybe everyone else on the cruise has already gone deaf but we'd prefer to leave with some of our ear drums in tact. We just couldn't sit in there and listen.
Sometimes we struggled for things to do on sea days which is really unlike us on a cruise.

Service
Some really lovely staff and mostly a great level of service. However sadly the same cannot be said for the MDR waiters which seemed to be where they send all the grumpy ones. I don't ask a lot, but a simple 'what would you like to order' rather than standing silently with a notepad glaring at us is a start. My sister asked some questions one meal about an ingredient she didn't recognise and the waiter really did not want to find out what it was. The main method of communication seemed to be grunting.

My mum took my little nephew to the kids club a couple of times and she said the staff in there were very good. We also found the front desk staff helpful and friendly.

Our cabin steward was great and we saw him every day without him being in the way. However my parents didn't see theirs once.

Food
A mixed bag. We really enjoyed the freshly made pizza on the pool deck and DH liked the grill with pizzas and burgers. The buffet didn't have as much variety compared to the likes of NCL where it seems endless, but what was there was generally very good. Some temperature issues but you get that with buffets. You'd occasionally come across something like a curry that was very very good. Breakfast was good and it's the little things like nice quality sausages that make a difference. The one thing I missed was peanut butter, on our last cruise I had a bagel and peanut butter nearly every morning! Will take my own jar if we ever go on her again lol.
Only water was available in the machines outside of breakfast time, it's nice on NCL that they also offer flavoured waters and still lemonade etc. However the drinks prices on P&O are reasonable so I guess it makes up for it.

I wasn't very impressed with the MDR food, it was fine but often it seemed like the buffet would have been a better option. Which is a shame as we enjoy the atmosphere of the MDR and normally eat there every night. I was hoping for the traditional lobster and baked Alaska in the MDR on formal night but nope In fact the 'gala' nights the menu was no more special than any other night. I'm not an old fashioned cruiser by any means but where's my baked Alaska, lol!

Overall the food was fine but nothing to write home about- unlike the chocolate journeys dessert on Princess or the Mexican buffet on NCL that DH still raves about. You certainly won't go hungry though.

Ports
Stavanger
Really enjoyed this port, it was raining in the morning so we went to the oil and gas museum which DH loved. Even I found it tolerable. In the afternoon we walked around the pretty streets and parks and saw the old town.

Flam
The highlight of the cruise for us, absolutely stunning scenery, the air is so clean and crisp and there's loads to do even though it's a tiny place. We took the shuttle bus to Viking Valley which we all loved and could have stayed longer at. The setting is just magical. We also did the little land train that takes you up into the hills so you can see the rest of flam, I could take or leave doing that again. My parents did the Fjords cruise and loved it. There's quite a lot in the port itself with shops, cafes, a little food truck area and walks around the bay. Of course there is the famous train you can do as well- don't book through the ship and pay over the odds!

Olden
Our least favourite port, nothing to do in port even though it's larger than Flam. Maybe we are biased because it was grey and raining but not as pretty as Flam either. We did the land train because my nephew wanted to but it was a bit meh. I think to get the most out of Olden you need to book one of the expensive excursions to the glacier or sky lift. We might have been tempted by the sky lift but it wasn't a clear day and its very expensive.

Bergen
A very interesting city to explore but sadly with a sail away time of 2.30pm you just don't have enough time. Should be swapped so you have a full day here and half day at Olden. We did the funicular, rushed to get there early in the morning as we'd read horror stories about queues but even when we came down there wasn't a queue. Loved the area at the top with the woods and the views. We also explored the Bryggen which was very interesting but with 4 ships in port totally over crowded.

For each port we made sandwiches the day before from the 10pm snacks buffet, we brought sandwich bags on board. This saved us a fortune over the Norwegian food prices. My parents also took off hot tea in chillys bottles to save them having to buy cuppas. I would highly recommend doing this as it really is expensive (we poked our head into a Mcdonalds out of curiosity and it was £12 for a meal!)

Other
We did a cooking class on Britannia at the cookery club and it was well run and great fun. We did the Macarons one where we made two different kinds of macaron and some madelines. Well worth the money.

Overall impressions
We had a good cruise and loved seeing Norway. The price was very reasonable. However we'd put P&O towards the bottom of our cruise line ranking, just because the entertainment and food didn't wow us. We won't be cruising for a few years as we have a little one on the way, but when we do our next one will definitely be with Royal Caribbean. We've come to understand the ship board experience is very important to us, it's not just a way to get between ports. However, if you're not that bothered about the ship then it's definitely a cost effective line to travel with.

Any questions about the ship or itinerary let me know!
I could of wrote this word for word on our trip to Norway on the Azura with P and O
We really loved Norway...stunning place...especially Flam.
But lots of other things about the cruise were lacking.
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Old 17 Sep 19, 10:33 PM  
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Allisonjane
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After talking to my family at the weekend, they all seemed far more excited about the Ncl Escape than the Iona, so I've booked it. It's a 9 night cruise with a free drinks package and my daughter sails free as well, so the cost is only a little bit more than the Iona. Hubby thinks it's a good deal so he's happy too. Just waiting for the easyjet or Ryanair to release flights to Copenhagen from our local airport.
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Old 19 Sep 19, 05:30 PM  
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Originally Posted by Bats View Post
We'll be on the Silhouette. It's the 19th October 2020 sailing from Southampton.
My sister booked it onboard for us last week - we got $500 OBC, an in category room upgrade, lower deposit (£118 total) and free classics drink package.

Joa
Hi Joa

Iíve been on Silhouette a few times and I think sheís my favourite. January last year we were in the Caribbean on her and last month, Ireland and Iceland. I tell you this because the cool weather cruise made such a difference to the numbers of people indoors rather than on deck and that impacted my Cafe al Bacio time - just about my favourite place on Celebrity ships and it was often difficult to get a seat; something Iím not used to. Both cruises were excellent though and itís my preferred line despite having 4 (enjoyable) Disney cruises under my belt!

IMO the only thing guaranteed to be better on DCL are the production shows, as you would expect. On any cruise line the guest entertainers can vary from week to week - in the last 3 years weíve sailed RCL x 2, P&O x 2, Princess x 2 in addition to Ďa fewí Celebrity, oh and Viking Oceans where you were as likely to have a concert pianist as a variety show! Disney really does entertainment best, but for us, not worth the amount they charge. I make no judgement on othersí preferences however .

Iíll be very interested to hear what you make of Celebrity when the time comes. Your itinerary appears to have some guaranteed warm weather sailing and really nice ports.
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Edited at 06:43 PM.
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Old 7 Oct 19, 02:56 PM  
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So glad to see this we have booked the Fjords for next June on the new Iona. I am so excited. Its a cruise I have wanted to do for a while now.

Glad you have a lovely time xx
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Old 7 Oct 19, 03:00 PM  
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Cafe al Bacio is my favourite place too! Fantastic coffees teas and errrrmmmm CAKES!

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Old 9 Oct 19, 10:11 AM  
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I went on a Fjords cruise with P&O (Azura) in June. I enjoyed it, but it was a cheapy, and I had to treat it as such.
I found the food in the MDR good, but I didn't necessarily love the speciality restaurants, I had a far better steak in the MDR than the Epicurean. My steak in the Epicurean was medium well done, I asked rare to medium rare, they offered to change it, but I was going to miss the show.
Sindhu was well worth £20, the Beach house had the most stunning setting, but service was terrible and food only average.
I am mid 30's, and I thought the entertainment was a bit weak, I like a quiz, and Astonishing was good, but on the whole it was a bit weak.
I too am a NCL fan. We go on our honeymoon soon on the Star, it's a port heavy week cruise, so whilst I'd prefer a larger ship, I'm sure it will be fine
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Old 9 Oct 19, 12:57 PM  
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SquishTheWhale
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Originally Posted by mitch84 View Post
I went on a Fjords cruise with P&O (Azura) in June. I enjoyed it, but it was a cheapy, and I had to treat it as such.
I found the food in the MDR good, but I didn't necessarily love the speciality restaurants, I had a far better steak in the MDR than the Epicurean. My steak in the Epicurean was medium well done, I asked rare to medium rare, they offered to change it, but I was going to miss the show.
Sindhu was well worth £20, the Beach house had the most stunning setting, but service was terrible and food only average.
I am mid 30's, and I thought the entertainment was a bit weak, I like a quiz, and Astonishing was good, but on the whole it was a bit weak.
I too am a NCL fan. We go on our honeymoon soon on the Star, it's a port heavy week cruise, so whilst I'd prefer a larger ship, I'm sure it will be fine
I definitely agree on the entertainment being weak, especially if you've sailed with a line like NCL.

I wish we'd tried Sindhu now but we didn't want to tie ourselves into a reservation!
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Old 9 Oct 19, 07:37 PM  
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Originally Posted by SquishTheWhale View Post
I definitely agree on the entertainment being weak, especially if you've sailed with a line like NCL.

I wish we'd tried Sindhu now but we didn't want to tie ourselves into a reservation!
Believe me I dont think you missed much in Sindhu.
The night we went the service was dreadful - not just us but the whole restaurant and it was only 1/2 full!

If you have a decent indian that you use then Sindu would disappoint!

Some of our food was raw!
We had over an hours wait for our mains and one table waited nearly 2!
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Old 10 Oct 19, 07:22 AM  
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Originally Posted by katiec68 View Post
Believe me I dont think you missed much in Sindhu.
The night we went the service was dreadful - not just us but the whole restaurant and it was only 1/2 full!

If you have a decent indian that you use then Sindu would disappoint!

Some of our food was raw!
We had over an hours wait for our mains and one table waited nearly 2!
The meal we had in Sindhu was delicious, the nicest meal of the cruise. It goes to show that a persons experience of the same thing can vary massively.
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