P&O Cruises: A Spa Break With A Difference
Simone Clark, our Senior VP Global Supply, enjoyed a mini break onboard P&O Cruises Britannia post- lockdown. Read on to find out more about her time onboard and how much you can fit in during your ‘spa weekend’.
After being in lock down for so long, I decided to treat my mum to a spa weekend away and opted for P&O Cruises Britannia, a ship that I haven’t previously sailed on but has the feel of an upmarket hotel. It offers better value for money than a spa hotel on land as so much is included and there is lots to do onboard.
We had a health questionnaire to do online prior to booking and when we arrived at the terminal in Southampton we had a PCR test, which was free of charge. We arrived by train so we were in the normal departure building, but there is a drive through service too for those in cars. This was quick and easy, and while we were waiting for the results we went to the terminal to go through the rest of the health questions. We had to show our vaccine status (via the NHS app), our insurance and also answer another health questionnaire. Then it was just a further 10 minute wait for our test results and we were onboard.
The ship wasn’t yet sailing at full capacity and social distancing measures were in place, everything was spotlessly clean and masks were worn indoors when walking around the ship. It just felt really safe.
On Board Activities
During your cruise, be sure to download the app on board where you can access your account and see the schedule of what’s on, as well as book into shows and restaurants. You can also do this by phone and use the paper copy if you don’t like technology!
From start to finish of our Britannia cruise, we were so busy! I booked some spa treatments - these can be booked prior to departure, or you can do this on board, but they do fill up quickly. I had a wonderful Elemis facial and a rather invigorating bamboo massage. I also used the gym and went to the morning yoga and spin classes.
As we’ve not been out much this year, we treated ourselves to the specialty restaurants each night, and they were absolutely delicious!
Olly Smith’s Glasshouse is superb for wine lovers, with an exceptional menu of wines to sample. I ordered a flight of wine for just £10 and some delicious nibbles/tapas for about £8. The atrium is buzzing all day. My top tip is to have a pre-dinner drink in Glasshouse and sit overlooking the Atrium so that you can enjoy the entertainment.
We love Indian food, and chose Sindhu for our second evening, the gourmet a la carte Indian restaurant, which blew us away with its innovative and truly delicious menu. Starters cost around £7 and mains around £10 which is a fraction of what you would pay if you were in a restaurant of this quality on land.
For the final night, we were up at the top of the ship enjoying the magnificent sea views and the gastronomic journey on offer at the fine dining Epicurean restaurant. Highlights included Miso glazed rack of lamb and a snow crab and langoustine cocktail.
If you don't want to splash out every evening, there is also the main dining room and the buffet restaurant, both of which are included in your cruise fare. Plus there's one Gala Night during your cruise, giving you the opportunity to dress up should you wish to.
The shows were on three times a night, so it was easy to fit around dinner, depending on whether you wanted to dine early or late. There was something different every evening, including a comedian and a West End-style musical. The highlight for me was the new original show which was a wonderfully surreal spectacle about a clockwork circus fused with elements of the Greatest Showman.
During the day, we enjoyed bingo and quizzes in the bars, dancing lessons, guest speakers and sampling patissier Eric Lanlard’s delicious cakes at the Market Cafe in the Atrium (we didn’t go for the afternoon tea option as we were saving ourselves for the evening!). There are also shops on board and cabaret lounges with bands, singers, pianists, karaoke and game shows. Thankfully we had great weather so spent time sunbathing on deck as the ship sailed along the Cornish coast, treating us to spectacular views.
All in all, a superb break, with so much more to do than a typical spa weekend!