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  1. No problem at all re the food. As emam rightly says, you are not allowed to fill water bottles or drinks containers from any dispensers on the ship. This is for hygiene and infection control reasons, to help minimise the spread of norovirus. Staff will rightly stop people from doing this if they spot it.
  2. We have done freedom dining twice on Britannia and had no issues whatsoever. If you want a table for 2 at peak times then be prepared to take a pager, but if you are happy to share you will usually be seated immediately (same as the other ships). Service can sometimes be less personal than in club dining (not always though, it's usually very good) but is no less efficient. As for food temperature, we have never had an issue with that. There would be no difference to club in that regard - it all comes from the same place! Having done both types of dining multiple times, we will always stick with freedom now. The flexibility to dine whenever you want (which will vary dependent upon port departure times, your mood, entertainment etc) and with whomever you want (sharing or on your own) far outweighs the fact that you don't get to always sit down immediately. If you are using speciality restaurants as well then even more reason to stick with freedom.
  3. Although we love Aurora, I would agree with Andy that sound insulation between cabins is poor. We have only had balcony cabins on her (no connecting doors) but can often hear our neighbours. Whenever we are in our cabin (or any hotel room anywhere, for that matter) we tend to talk quietly, but if you get neighbours who talk at full volume then it’s quite possible to hear their conversations. We did laugh one time when we heard the lady in the next cabin call her husband a “selfish pig”. We have had a few cruises on her where a neighbour has had prolonged sneezing fits as soon as they wake up (often very early) and it has woken us up. We were also woken at 6am every morning on one cruise with a neighbour turning their TV on, given that the ‘default volume’ is ludicrously loud and by the time they turned it down we had already been woken with a start. Hoping that they’ve sorted that with the new TV’s. Conversely, if you have considerate neighbours (as we try to be) you don’t hear a peep from them (other than the noisy drawers opening and closing). On our last cruise we heard constant talking one side and not a sound from the other, yet both cabins were occupied.
  4. I know that you’re not kidding because I think we’ve had Vera Lynn songs on every one of our 17 cruises with P&O. It certainly feels that way! They do have the odd foray into the late 20th Century (note - we are now almost 20 years into the 21st Century) but the 1950’s holiday camp style still predominates P&O’s idea of what constitutes ‘entertainment’ (“Are you all having a good time?”). Thought we might be able to escape it on Britannia, especially when paying extra to attend Claire Sweeney in the Limelight Club. However, I hadn’t appreciated that she started her career as a cruise ship singer and I almost walked out when she started singing “We’ll meet again.....” encouraging arm waving!
  5. I agree. Given the well publicised clamp down on novelty clothing, I was very surprised on a 12 night cruise on Aurora last month to see a large group of ladies all wearing pink hen night branded t-shirts. I didn’t notice them again, so guess that somebody pointed it out to them.
  6. You wont have a soot issue there, but be aware that the main smoking area is outside the door leading out from the front of the Live Lounge on the Port side. In addition to smoke, you can get groups congregating there late at night causing noise. Starboard side would be better in that area, should these things bother you.
  7. Worth keeping in mind that, Black Tie nights aside, the proportion of customers that tend to ‘buy in’ to other themed nights is very low indeed. It amuses us how many people even struggle with the concept of black & white night, given the numbers of brightly coloured outfits you tend to see!
  8. Just noticed that they now exclude ‘repeat booker offers’ which P&O has used during the last few launches (5%), which does somewhat negate the benefit. Select prices only wouldn’t bother us, as that’s all we book, but might others. That being said, we tend to use our Boost vouchers for other things nowadays, such as free car Ferry tickets to the Isle of Wight!
  9. Blimey. My memory is better than I thought. It is £810. Here are the T’s and C’s from the Tesco Boost website; Cruise must be for a minimum of 6-night duration. You must book with the tour operator at least 90 days before you travel. Tokens are redeemable against all special offers and promotional prices on the 'Select' fares with the exception of any repeat booker offers. Tokens cannot be used on Early Saver or Saver Fares. A maximum value of £810 in token codes can be used per booking. You cannot add more token codes at a later date.
  10. It used to be the case (quite a few years ago now) that Clubcard Bookings could not have other offers applied to them, but there was no limit on the amount you could redeem. We once had a virtually free cruise on them, but the offer wasn’t worth using if you didn’t have a lot of them. In recent years the scheme has changed completely. The bad news is that you can’t use that many (£810 from memory, but that’s a guess, and there are some restrictions) but the good news is that ALL other offers can be applied, so there is no disadvantage to using them anymore.
  11. I have changed my ‘free’ parking (with CPS) to additional OBC on a number of future cruises, since I discovered that I preferred Parking4Cruises (who can also be a lot cheaper, so it’s a win win). I book direct with P&O and my contact there made the changes for me in minutes. No cost and very straightforward. In all cases I had actually booked the parking with CPS, so all I did was email them to cancel those bookings. Again, no problem. Don't be mislead about cancellation fees with CPS. This only applies if you have paid for the booking with them yourself. If you have booked ‘free’ parking with CPS (as provided by inputting your P&O booking ref) then there are NO cancellation fees whatsoever.
  12. As I stated in my original post, it very much depends on atmospherics. The problem has not been solved with the scrubbers. On warm dry days, the soot tends not to settle until we’ll beyond the ship. It might be perfectly possible for someone to go a whole cruise without experiencing a problem (e.g. Caribbean), but this does not mean that the problem has been solved. We were on F Deck aft, so very low down. The night we left Southampton there was heavy rain. We woke in the morning to a balcony that was absolutely covered in black soot spots. However hard the steward tried (and he tried very hard) a lot of those spots survived the entire 14 night cruise. During the time we were in the Med, on one day we had new soot deposits our steward told us that the opposite side of the ship had none (due to wind direction). Another day, the reverse was the case. The aft facing section of the ship is quite raked, so the balconies are exposed and soot can fall on all levels. The aft side balconies may be more protected, but I have no experience of them. We also love Britannia, but would advise anyone against an aft balcony to eliminate the risk. It’s not just the soot, we had vibration problems causing rattles as well, that you don’t get elsewhere on the ship. As I’ve said, others not having had a problem is no guarantee that you won’t, so why take the risk when 80% of the balcony cabins on Britannia are free of these issues?
  13. EDIT - Apologies, I now realise that you were referring to communication around the ship, so my answer still applies when in port but not at sea. I have seen one or two people with walkie talkie systems over the years and a cheap one of those might provide reassurance. Just a thought.
  14. Don’t really understand the original post as using ship based phone and/or internet is unnecessary these days, unless you are at sea. I have a £7.50 a month plan with GiffGaff and when in Europe all my texts and data usage is free. I think even my calls are included within my call plan minutes, though I tend not to make phone calls when away unless really necessary. Even in the USA and Canada I was amazed how cheap it was. Other than sea days (when family members would contact us if there was an emergency) we remain fully in contact with family, emails and the web whilst on cruises and it costs us nothing. It’s also significantly faster and more reliable that the setup that some passengers pay P&O a small fortune for!
  15. Understand and I might have felt differently had it been say £500 or more, but given the overheads of businesses (plus creative accounting) it would be very easy for them to claim that it costs them a decent sum to administer one cancellation and then process a 2nd replacement booking - even if it doesn’t. Case in point is the 5p charge for carrier bags. Retailers are meant to donate the revenue, less costs, to charities. They can retain money not just for the cost of the bags, but also for admin, staff training, till programming costs etc etc. The amount retained in just one year for these ‘costs’? £4.5m (source BBC).
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