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It’s now just over a week since we got back from our cruise on Azura. In that time I’ve been taking a rest from the blog, apart from doing my usual ‘summary + review‘ page. On that page I made some comments about the meals and service in the MDR that various people have responded to. I also made some comments about Britannia (balcony size and lack of promenade) that got picked up on Cruise Critic, and again there have been responses. Many of these responses have expressed views different from the ones I expressed. The comments seem to be from sensible people, so I’ve been having a little re-think of what I expressed.

First, of course, is my wife Val, who is my most important critic. She has asked me to say that while she agrees that a number of the meat dishes weren’t very exciting, she is much more positive about all the fish dishes she had in the MDR than perhaps I had indicated. They weren’t just ‘less objectionable alternatives’, they were genuinely good meals, and she was perfectly happy with them. She’s also asked me to say that the best meal she had in the MDR was a chicken biryani which was offered as a ‘regional speciality’; that was tasty and well cooked, and being plated meant that she wasn’t offered unsuitable vegetables to go with it.

Other people have also responded to the effect that they are perfectly happy with the plated service, and that has made me stop and wonder why I was less happy. I had better be truthful and say that perhaps a significant factor was that it took a number of days before we really got to know our table companions. We booked a table for eight as we do enjoy the conversation offered by a large group. On this occasion there were at most six of us, made up of ourselves, a family of two parents and a child, and an older single gentleman. Not only were we a very disparate group, but on a number of nights there were just four of us, as the child sometimes went to the children’s club and the single gentleman used room service. It’s also only fair to say that we were absent on four nights as well – three nights in speciality restaurants and one night due to exhaustion – so we weren’t regular attenders either. So what with one thing and another the conversation didn’t really flow until nearly the end of the cruise. In that situation, perhaps I was being over-observant of the niceties. Thinking back, I can remember some cruises when the conversation was so good that I hardly noticed my food arriving at all, let alone the manner in which it did so. So perhaps I was missing that convivial experience.

Turning to Britannia, a number of people have commented in the relevant Cruise Critic thread that Britannia looks to be a great ship, and having any balcony at all will satisfy their requirements. Maybe we have been spoiled by our repeated C-deck balconies on Ventura and Azura – it is nice to be able to stretch out on the balcony. But perhaps the other commentators are right: what’s important is to have a balcony at all, and it can be enjoyable to sit out on no matter the size.

5 Responses to “Perhaps a little rethink?”

  1. pkennett says:

    Stick to your guns ..your original blog of thoughts was spot on ..the food is poor ……balconies on Brittania are small..fact…you can’t please everyone ..we were very disappointed with the food on Azura..she is a lovely ship ,but the food plays a big part in our holidays..we are off on a Queen Victoria on Sunday ..I do hope standards haven’t dropped..

  2. David Archer says:

    I have been reading your blogs for a while as I find them both interesting and informative but most of all read them because of your honest and unbiased accounts of all things cruise related.

    The fact that you have been prepared to ‘rethink’ this review based on feedback you have received only goes to reinforce this view.

    Keep cruising and keep blogging

  3. Tom says:

    Thanks for your comments ‘pkennet’ and David. Interesting that this this ‘Rethink’ itself has got rather varied comments.

  4. Gary says:

    We too enjoy the C deck balconies of Ventura & Azura and we have a large rear balcony booked on Arcadia shortly, the decision of which was partly based on your blogs 🙂 Though in truth these large balconies are a bit indulgent and I’d be happy with a smaller one.
    Saying that we are booked on Britannia next year with my son who is a wheelchair user and although the adapted cabins are wider (on the deck plans) if the balconies are only deep enough to have the chairs sideways on then I doubt he’ll be able to get on it. This would be bad, P&O would definitely get to know about it and we wouldn’t take him on it again, what would be the point. I have yet to hear anything about the adapted cabins on the Royal Princess and Britannia’s design does differ so here’s hoping it’s going to be all OK, if not…

  5. Malcolm Oliver says:

    Tom you can only blog about what you feel at the time. There are countless factors that can affect ones opinion (inc. tablemates, mood, etc.) – but that opinion is none the less valid.

    I think the more one cruises, the more critical one can become, BECAUSE you have experience other ships/lines that may have done some things better. This does not change that validity of your opinion.

    As for balconies – they do seem to generally be shrinking on new builds (Princess, NCL). Smaller does NOT equal progress!

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