16 May 2018
|Sunday 13 May, Britannia Cruise Day 1
Being in a suite on the P & O Britannia we were provided with priority boarding at around 11.30. On boarding we were greeted with champers and a meal while our suite was readied. However, about 12.30, before the other passengers boarded, a fire on board meant we had to move to a muster point and wait (we couldn’t even take our champers with us). The fire was in the ship’s incinerator and after it was extinguished and the all clear was given we then went back to fresh champers. We’re not sure what the issue was with a fire in an incinerator as we thought that’s what incinerators were for. Anyway, it delayed the boarding of the remainder of the passengers and pushed our eventual departure back by about an hour.
The ship is completely different from any others we’ve been on, it looks more like a 5 star hotel than a ship. None of the usual wood and nautical themes but more glass, steel, tiles and muted tones. We love the look but we hear a number of the long time P & O passengers don’t like the new direction P & O is heading. The ship has a more formal dress requirement than we prefer, where their idea of casual is that it is acceptable for men to forgo the need for a tie. However, that hasn’t stopped us.
Monday 14 May, Britannia Cruise Day 2
Our first “at sea” day and a relaxed start to the day. After leaving Southampton we sailed up the English Channel heading towards Norway. The weather was fine but it was foggy and cold with the max temp around 10 - 11 degrees. With the cold weather it meant very few people were outdoors and so all the lounges and bars were busy during the day. Mind you, we did see a few people in the pool.
Our first full day on board was all about exploring the ship and sussing out what was on offer. One bar does beer flights (5 different beers to sample) and another does the same with wine while a third does it with different gins. They have 23 different gins in that bar alone! Of course, being an “at sea” day it meant it was a formal night where black tie and dinner suits for men was compulsory in the restaurants. Never mind, there are enough other options and we still succeeded in enjoying a great dinner.
Tuesday 15 May, Britannia Cruise Day 3
We arrived in our first Norwegian port around 8 am and we were greeted with a cloud free sky and a forecast temperature of 24 degrees. After a leisurely breakfast we went ashore to explore Stavanger. Originally Stavanger was a fishing village but now is the main base for the North Sea Gas fields, nevertheless it still holds it original charm with timber houses and a very clean and relaxed environment.
Wednesday 16 May, Britannia Cruise Day 4
This morning we sailed in to Alesund around 9 am with beautiful snow capped hills all around us. Unlike our day before in Stavanger, the weather in Alesund was much more as we had expected of Norway, overcast skies and a forecast max of 10. We went on a tour of the town and visited a museum displaying Norwegian homes from the past with earth covered roofs with grass growing. We thought it must have been for insulation but apparently it was to keep the rain out. After that we went to a lookout above the town for some stunning (but cold) views. Later today we’re planning on exploring the town.