The ship itself was huge although it never seemed crowded
There were four pools on board, this shows the Lido Deck Pool looking for'ard (to the front)....
.... and aft (to the back) of the ship. This was also where we had the New Years Eve party.
The Oriental Restaurant was where we had our evening meals...
Ably assisted by our two waiters
Breakfast, lunch, afternoon snacks and the occasional late night snack were taken at the Horizon Restaurant
... where we could overlook the current port while eating.
There was even a well stocked onboard library
The heart of the ship was the three storey Atrium ...
... which had two bars, a coffee shop and many high end shops to give some retail therapy for those in need on a sea day.
The Headliners Theatre was our favourite venue each evening. These was a varied selection of entertainment including acts such as 1960's star Jimmy James (without his Vagabonds) ....
... Richard and Adam Johnson, performing as Richard & Adam, who were Welsh classical singers, best known for finishing in third place on the seventh series of Britain's Got Talent and Sam Bailey an English singer and songwriter, known for winning the tenth series of The X Factor in 2013, plus many more.
The Live Lounge had more of an nightclub feel and hosted performers such as an Oliy Murs, Gary Barlow and UB40 tribute acts. Some of which looked and sounded almost as good as the real thing.
Barbados was the start and finish port for our cruise. We made our way through Bridgetown to Carlisle Bay a crescent shaped bay and natural harbour. As the main harbour adjoining the capital city Bridgetown, Carlisle Bay was once full of merchant vessels, particularly those of the British. Today you'll find catamarans and luxury yachts anchored here
Until its beaches were "discovered" in the late 1970s, Aruba, with its desertlike terrain and lunar like interior landscapes, was an almost-forgotten outpost of Holland, valued mostly for its oil refineries and salt factories. Today vacationers come for the dependable sunshine (it rains less here than anywhere else in the Caribbean), the spectacular beaches, and an almost total lack of racial tensions despite a culturally diverse population. The high-rise hotels of Aruba are within walking distance of each other along a strip of fabulous beach. In Aruba you don't stay in old, converted, family-run sugar mills and you don't go for the history.
Whilst on Aruba we witnessed and were caught out in a Tropical Storm. From glorious sunshine to flooded roads in thirty minutes. Fortunately we were able to take refuge in a beach bar and watch it pass before having to either take a taxi or swim back to the ship.
Probably the least developed with regards to tourism of all the islands we visited. Most of the residents seemed to have a small market stall selling mainly commodities to their neighbours rather than the usual tourist things. One thing we noticed was that both KFC and MacD's had a presence.
St Lucia was our first organised excursion. Setting off from Castries we had a scenic drive to the northern tip of the island.
Our journey began with a visit to Bagshaw's Art Studio, known for its exquisite tropical designs on hand silk-screened fabrics. We saw a demonstration of the local silk screen-printing process before having a few moments relaxing on the veranda with a lovely vista of the Caribbean Sea. From there we went to the popular resort of Rodney Bay and the Rodney Bay Marina.
Afterwards, our journey continued to the Pigeon Point National Landmark, where we had a photo stop. Here, we had views across the Atlantic and the mountainous interior, including the location of Eric Claptons mansion; local this area is known as the Beverley Hills of St Lucia.
For the best views of the town of Roseau we knew (from our previous Caribbean trip) that we had to visit Morne Bruce.
We did it the hard way by following the path known as "Jack's Walk" from the Botanical Gardens. It's was quite a climb (264 steps I understand from Dr Google) in the heat of the day but the reward was worth it. Sue observed that it was possible to take a taxi to the top but the view was all the better for having earned it. The were great views over the whole city with a photo / selfy opportunity to get pictures of the city with the cruise ship in the distance.
Antigua was the location of our second shore excursion. This trip was to the famous Nelsons Dockyard. Following a scenic drive through Antigua’s lush scenery we arrived at the English Harbour, located at the southern tip of the island. This natural harbour is home to Nelson’s Dockyard, made famous by the great Admiral Lord Nelson who was stationed here during the 18th century. The dockyard has now been refurbished as a colonial village, offering a mixture of period English and Caribbean style architecture. It is also the only remaining Georgian naval shipyard still in operation.
After getting a brief talk about the history of the dockyard we spent time visiting the museum and exploring the dockyard.
This was our final port so it was a beach day although again we got caught in tropical storms. These passed quite quickly though and dried up equally as quickly.
It was our first New Year away from home and we weren't disappointed. Britannia is a lovely ship, very elegant, modern but bright and spacious with it. It was busy but still didn't feel overcrowded. Our cabin (E737) was an perfect and even had the biggest shower we've had on a cruise, the balcony was more than adequate for Brian's morning and Sue's evening relaxation .
We were on first sitting in the Oriental Restaraunt which may have been a little early to eat some nights (i.e. following late lunches and then afternoon teas). The food was outstanding, the choices were varied and there was always something to enjoy... even the deserts.
The early sitting worked well for us as we could take in all the evening entertainment. This was varied and enjoyable, the NYE deck party was excellent and the resident band (Pulse) were really good and didn't fall into the usual party band rubbish songs category (much to Brian's disappointment). They generally played a host of current stuff, dance tracks although on one or two occasions they resorted to YMCA and ABBA tracks (both of us joining in!).
The best thing we found about the ship was the staff. Everyone was so polite, friendly, hard working and professional, always happy to help and talk. How they manage to stay so cheerful with the moaners about is beyond us. Some people seem to cruise so often that they just seem to spend their time nit picking! All in all we thought Britannia was a fabulous ship and wouldn't hesitate to cruise on her again.