B208 Northern Spain & France

Britannia cruises in 2022
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Jan Rosser
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B208 Northern Spain & France

Post by Jan Rosser »

Well at long last and 2 years and 8 months after my last cruise I’m off tomorrow to Southampton. I’ve reported a negative result to NHS and had confirmation email to show coach driver tomorrow. I’ve checked with the coach company the policy now if someone on the bus tests positive at the docks. Not allowing anyone off the coach to board no longer applies thank goodness!

I’ve finished packing - so one less thing to worry about. I know I won’t relax until I’m on board - it’s so stressful with the testing etc. It’s been great to read cruise reports from forum members and to know what to expect so thanks to them.

Can’t wait to meet up with the family and relax and have a drink or two 8-). I haven’t booked any trips - I’ve visited all the ports except a new place - Gijon in the Asturias region of Spain but all new ports to the family so they can do their own thing.

Right I’m going to get my Wordle fix now :lol:
Janis

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oldbluefox
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Re: B208 Northern Spain & France

Post by oldbluefox »

Hope you have a great cruise Jan. Safe travels :thumbup: :wave:
We're out! :clap:
Get over it!!

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barney
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Re: B208 Northern Spain & France

Post by barney »

Have a fantastic holiday Jan, and please let us know how it went when you get back 😁

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Stephen
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Re: B208 Northern Spain & France

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Have a lovely cruise Jan. :wave:

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towny44
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Re: B208 Northern Spain & France

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I hope everything runs smoothly for you and the family Jan, and you have a very enjoyable cruise.
John

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Manoverboard
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Re: B208 Northern Spain & France

Post by Manoverboard »

The Asturias region of Spain is yummy, maybe book a trip once on board ... oh, and, Bon Voyage :wave:
Keep smiling, it's good for your well being


Whynd1
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Re: B208 Northern Spain & France

Post by Whynd1 »

Have a lovely cruise Jan.

Will be thinking of you.

Hope you and the family have a great time.

Lindsey

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Jan Rosser
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Re: B208 Northern Spain & France

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Manoverboard wrote: 07 Apr 2022, 12:28 The Asturias region of Spain is yummy, maybe book a trip once on board ... oh, and, Bon Voyage :wave:
My daughter-in-law in Luxembourg’s mother is from Gijon and has an apartment there. My son and family stayed in Luanco just along the coast last summer for a month - they often holiday there. I’ll check the trips on board - I’d like to see the area.
Janis


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Re: B208 Northern Spain & France

Post by CaroleF »

I hope you have a wonderful time.

Carole


MaureenB
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Re: B208 Northern Spain & France

Post by MaureenB »

Have a wonderful time Jan. I would love to read any comments you have about Britannia as I am on her on B214. I can't wait. The last time I was on her was 2017 and I loved it. I'm on with two pals and we have booked the Retreat for the entire cruise, and as we are all seasoned cruisers we are looking forward so much to being at sea again.

Bon voyage

Maureen

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Mervyn and Trish
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Re: B208 Northern Spain & France

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Have a great time


cruisin_duo
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Re: B208 Northern Spain & France

Post by cruisin_duo »

Hope you have a great time.


Bensham33
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Re: B208 Northern Spain & France

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Have a wonderful cruise.

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Jan Rosser
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Re: B208 Northern Spain & France

Post by Jan Rosser »

Well I’m on board - lot of queueing and waiting but at least the test was negative. My son and family will be shattered - they left home at 7 am this morning and have only just gone through security!!! I’ve unpacked already :thumbup:

I could murder a drink :lolno:
Janis

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Happydays
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Re: B208 Northern Spain & France

Post by Happydays »

Have a good time and enjoy that drink 🍹 cheers

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Ray B
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Re: B208 Northern Spain & France

Post by Ray B »

Jan, should that be a drink or two. Have a great time.
Don't worry, be happy

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Jan Rosser
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Re: B208 Northern Spain & France

Post by Jan Rosser »

In Gijon today - warm and sunny - just watched the procession from a church for Palm Sunday - band playing and a float carrying figure of Jesus on a donkey following behind. Beautiful day - off to lunch now :wave:
Janis


Whynd1
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Re: B208 Northern Spain & France

Post by Whynd1 »

That sounds really lovely Jan.
You are not lucky with the weather it's very cold here in Swansea.

Take care
Lindsey

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Jan Rosser
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Re: B208 Northern Spain & France

Post by Jan Rosser »

I’ve been home for almost a month and have written a few notes on my week on Britannia - highs and lows - thought I’d post it now before we get a far more detailed one I’m sure from Smurfie !!!

I found it a chore packing although had made a list as usual - just out of practice I guess. Embarkation day was long and stressful from boarding the coach to finally after a negative lateral flow test being allowed on board the ship. Never ending queues for everything but thankfully things will have changed by the time I cruise again in August. No lifeboat drill - just told where your muster point is situated and told to watch a video in the cabin on what to do in case of an emergency. The family arrived a few hours later - they have further to travel and they had been held up by a problem with the air bridge to the ship.

Ship
Last time we were on Britannia was Christmas 2018 in the Caribbean - the atrium area has been refurbished but I can’t say I noticed any significant differences other than the addition of a Whitewall art gallery - I can’t remember what was in the area previously. I’m not sure how many passengers were on the ship but it certainly wasn’t full. The kids clubs ran a bubble system and each age group was allocated a time each day when they could use the club. My youngest granddaughter who is almost 15 made new friends but spent little time at the club - the system was a bit restrictive for her age group. We had amazing weather - much better than expected and we sat a few times by the pool but the music was so loud I preferred sitting on the balcony - far more relaxing.

Cabin
I had a balcony cabin on C deck which I shared with my eldest granddaughter - we get on very well although she told me I snored one night and I discovered she talked in her sleep - I tried to have a conversation with her one night before I realised she was just talking nonsense! The shower was as small as I remembered but adequate. There were two dispensers in the shower - shampoo and shower lotion but no other toiletries or shower cap. Didn’t really need them so didn’t ask steward if they were available. We were close to the mid deck lifts - rarely a problem getting in a lift probably because the ship wasn’t full. The steward serviced the cabin in the morning but not at night so no chocolate on the pillow! He had a huge number of cabins to look after and we often found him still working if we popped to the cabin after lunch. He always wore a mask and was very chatty and pleasant.

My Holiday app
The app is straightforward to use once you get your head around it - not without its problems but nothing that can’t be sorted. Those without a smartphone are I feel at a bit of a disadvantage but there is help available to get around this.

Restaurants
We block booked our table in the restaurant and dined at the same table every night - we liked being served by the same waiters and they were very pleasant and attentive. There was no wine waiter - we gave our order to the table waiters - an extra duty for them. I thought the wine was a lot more expensive - the alcoholic drinks too - however I’m on holiday and enjoy a cheeky glass or two so am willing to pay the price. We usually had breakfast in the dining room and unfortunately service was slow most days - it was obvious they were short staffed - the head waiters had to help out most mornings. The buffet, pizza and burger bar were always busy. I personally didn’t think there was as much variety in the food - some dishes available every night e.g. steak/salmon - not sure about vegetarian dishes. The waiters served most of the food in the buffet - I seem to remember them coming around with tea and coffee last time we were on board but this wasn’t done this time. We didn’t use any of the other restaurants or the Limelight Club so can’t comment on them.

Worth mentioning that all the crew wore masks although this was not compulsory for passengers except in the theatre and getting on and off the ship. We wore them while travelling on the coaches too. Otherwise it was advised but not compulsory to wear them walking around the ship - most of the places we visited insisted on a mask being worn in shops.

Shops
The shops were quite well stocked - some new ranges of clothes/bags/jewellery plus perfumes. Tanzanite still in short supply of course and a new gemstone had been found but I can’t remember the name of it. No “tat” stalls around the atrium - thank goodness!

Ports
We hadn’t booked any excursions - I’ve been to most of the ports before and most of the trips were too long - I really don’t want to spend hours sitting on a coach.

We visited a new port for us - Gijon in the Asturias region of northern Spain - the family home of my Luxembourg daughter-in-law’s Spanish family. My son and family often spend a month in the summer staying in the region - its very green and lush - they have lots of rain there although it was warm and sunny when we visited. It was Palm Sunday and it was lovely to see the procession from the church with a brass band playing as it followed the floats carried by the members of the church. The streets were busy - lovely promenade to walk along next to the beach.

La Coruna was next and another sunny day - we walked around the port area and into the town - spent ages in a shop selling beautiful glass lamps and ornaments - my daughter-in-law bought a lamp - luckily got it home in one piece.

Bilbao was a new port for the family - we took the shuttle into Bilbao which dropped off near the Guggenheim. After we walked around and they took lots of photos we stopped for coffee and ice cream and just people-watched - the weather was warm and sunny again.

Cherbourg was a very pleasant surprise - we had the choice of exploring the old part of the town where there was an outdoor market or a shopping mall - no brainer really - wandered around the market and the town. Amazing smells coming from the stalls selling sausages/burgers and pancakes - my granddaughters both had pancakes one with Nutella and the other lemon. There were stalls selling bread and jams/chutneys plus a variety of fruit and vegetables - everything looked so fresh and the punnet of strawberries we shared were really tasty.

Entertainment
We had to book our seats in the theatre - no social distancing but had to wear a mask throughout the show. The Headliners had to cancel a show due to illness - the two performances they gave we’d seen before but enjoyed. A trio of male singers took their place - we had seen them earlier in the cruise and weren’t impressed enough to watch them again, A Freddie Mercury tribute show was okay - seen better - however the guitarist from the orchestra backing him was amazing - very talented.

We ended up in the Crow’s Nest most nights - particularly busy on the two formal nights - they did refuse entry to those who weren’t appropriately dressed. I have to say the waiters were all very pleasant except for one in the Crow’s Nest who was really rude when I asked him to add another drink to our order!

We booked breakfast in the dining room on disembarkation day. We were in the theatre - our waiting area - just after 8 am where as usual there was confusion over where to sit and wait but luckily the coach passengers were first off and we boarded the coach around 8.30 am and then waited and waited for three missing passengers (there were only 12 on the coach) so eventually left after 9.30 am. I was home just after 1 pm but unfortunately for the family the journey back up the M5/6 to Knutsford services was a nightmare - accident closing part of M6 but the family got home by 4 pm. While waiting for the missing people loads of coaches drove up to the terminal with crew onboard so whether they were replacing crew on the ship or supplementing them I’m not sure but it did coincide with the cancellation of Arcadia’s cruises.

Overall an enjoyable cruise but marred slightly by the worry over testing and waiting for the results and a bit of reluctance to “mix” with people or get too close to them - I’m just being cautious - difficult to get out of the habit of the last two years. I’m happy to say having “survived” this one I’m looking forward to the August cruise now and thinking about a cruise in September/October. I’m pleased I took the plunge - we really need to get back to “normal” whatever that means. Lovely to spend time with my family too after the lockdowns prevented us getting together.
Janis

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Happydays
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Re: B208 Northern Spain & France

Post by Happydays »

Glad you enjoyed your cruise with the family. The first step to more cruises :)

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oldbluefox
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Re: B208 Northern Spain & France

Post by oldbluefox »

Thanks for your report Jan. It made for interesting reading post Covid and hopefully the beginning of many more cruises for you.
We're out! :clap:
Get over it!!

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barney
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Re: B208 Northern Spain & France

Post by barney »

Thanks Jan.
Lovely to read.😁


Whynd1
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Re: B208 Northern Spain & France

Post by Whynd1 »

Thanks for your report Jan, I enjoyed reading it.

I have postponed all my cruises till next year so am enjoying reading cruise reports from those who have taken the plunge.

Lindsey

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Manoverboard
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Re: B208 Northern Spain & France

Post by Manoverboard »

Thanks for the report Jan ... first steps 'n' all that :clap:

We'll be seeing our family too, quite soon including No2 son who's been in Cambodia since 2019 !
Keep smiling, it's good for your well being

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Mervyn and Trish
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Re: B208 Northern Spain & France

Post by Mervyn and Trish »

Glad you had a good time and survived. We've just paid the balance on our August Iona cruise so starting to get excited but some trepidation too.

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Stephen
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Re: B208 Northern Spain & France

Post by Stephen »

Mervyn and Trish wrote: 15 May 2022, 16:45 Glad you had a good time and survived. We've just paid the balance on our August Iona cruise so starting to get excited but some trepidation too.
I know what you mean Merv.

One of the biggest headaches at the moment is finding good travel insurance at a sensible price.


MaureenB
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Re: B208 Northern Spain & France

Post by MaureenB »

Stephen wrote: 15 May 2022, 16:53
Mervyn and Trish wrote: 15 May 2022, 16:45 Glad you had a good time and survived. We've just paid the balance on our August Iona cruise so starting to get excited but some trepidation too.
I know what you mean Merv.

One of the biggest headaches at the moment is finding good travel insurance at a sensible price.
Stephen,
I found LV competitive, and I have a couple of ailments that are not too serious but a cancer diagnosis within 5 years history. Fortunately all sorted at the time with no chemo etc.

Good luck

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