Our first cruise on Britannia in 2021 was supposed to be a one off for our Golden Wedding.
Cruises are like a box of chocolates, one is never enough. Arvia is our third, whether we can afford another is up for debate.
Arvia is big, I mean BIG. She is a stunning and magnificent sight, while she is fashionable sized, she keeps the classic lines of her predecessors. The cabins are roomy with a good balcony and a REAL shower cubicle, not a curtain. A day of touring the ship helps with navigation but there are touch panels every where so you can’t get lost. It can still be a trek if your cabin is forward and you are eating aft but there is no hurry on a cruise is there?
The food, as usual, is excellent. You could happily eat well and with variety in the main dining rooms, the only difference between the two of is one has table clothes. You could also eat at the buffet. The speciality restaurants were a joy. Epicurean, Sindhu and the Glass House are all, as usual, exceptional, the Glass House is also the best place on the ship to sit, drink great wine and people watch. The Keel and Cow, a “gastro” pub, is so much better than the title suggests. The food is familiar, wholesome and delicious. The portions are huge. Don’t be in a rush, all their food is cooked to order so it is not fast food. The Quays provides fast food versions of Fish and Chips, Asian fusion and Yorkshire pudding dinners. For fans of American diners, Sixth Street will certainly delight you. I cannot comment on Green and Blacks (plant based and Sushi) or The Mediterannean, we never found time to go there. The Gelateria (get behind me Satan) is just too tempting.
Also tempting is the wine list, from the very reasonable to the extravagant. There are some stunning English wines. Circulating servers with i-pads transmit your order to the bar and it is delivered to your table. If I can get it to work, I will load pictures of two of the servers in The Glass House who made our cruise exceptional, their almost instant serving us and suggestions based on what we drank where a joy.
The Casino was like a mini Vegas and Brodies was a large pub familier to all.
The “shortage” of sun beds is a myth, there are thousands. What cannot be practically promised is an instant sun bed for all the family exactly where and when wanted. To listen to some complainers, what they require is something like an aircraft carrier, with sun beds around the periphery and a pool taking all the rest of the space; they must, of course be able to change positions as the sun moved. We preferred the Sunset bar aft. Their are comfortable chairs with cushions, the choice of shade if you want it and a very close bar with fast service. The wonderful sound of the prop-wash did tend to make you nod off.
The excursions deserve reviews of their own.
Our only disappointment was only 2 formal nights instead of 4. Seeing and talking to the vast number of formal dressers rather than the vocal minority online, perhaps P&O should rethink it. Or maybe it’s the future.
One last shout-out. The Gary Barlow produced shows in the 710 were fantastic! They persuaded us two old f@£$s to go to the three late night shows.
So, in summary, We loved Arvia and would go again in an instant. There is enough variety in all aspects to find something to suit nearly everybody. “Aye, there’s the rub”; everyone is different and wants different things.