Testing the Waters: a first-hand post-COVID cruise experience
Hello everybody! My name is Stella, and I am member of the audience engagement team for Cruise Ship Hospitality Expo. Recently, I was given the opportunity to board P&O Britannia for a Test Cruise. The content team here at CSH have kindly allowed me to now report back on the exciting experience for you all. The Test Cruise was a vital part of the ships return to service plan, giving the crew the opportunity to test the new processes and protocols – I was an enthusiastic participant.
I experienced my very first drive-through Covid test before boarding the ship. This was a streamlined process: the brilliant staff took every care when first taking my details and then my lateral flow test. After completing my health declaration, and receiving my Covid negative status via text, I boarded. The Covid protocols did not stop there. There was a one-way walking system in place. Guests were also required to wear masks in public areas.
After checking into my room, my cabin steward promptly came to ensure that I had everything I needed and clarified whether I had any questions about my stay on board. I knew that with only one night on Britannia I had to make as much of the amenities as possible, and so I headed straight for the open-air Lido on Deck 16. I took the time to enjoy the ambience with an afternoon snack. The modern Lido-side buffet offered freshly cooked burgers, hotdogs, salad or my choice of stone baked pizza.
It was time for a quick outfit change, ready for our 10:30 PM booking for The Greatest Show in The Headliners Theatre. I enjoyed a lovely pre-dinner aperitif in The Live Lounge accompanied by a live band that were clearly just as excited to get back to performing live music as I was to enjoy it. While I sipped my aperitif I queued for my dinner in The Meridian Restaurant using the convenient My Holiday app. The app offers key information on each restaurant, such as the type of dining experience and how many other guests are in the queue to be seated.
Upon being notified that my table was ready I was sat by very attentive hosts for my fine dining experience. I noticed the way in which the staff had folded the napkins in a diagonal pocket fold, which discretely protected the cutlery whilst also keeping to the elegant style of the restaurant. Small touches such as this are among the many instances of exemplary service on board. Suffice to say, no detail had been missed.
The standard of service I received aboard Britannia was personal, consistent and courteous throughout. Every element of my stay had been considered. Safety was of the utmost of importance and any information I required was just one friendly crew member away.
What does the future of cruising look like? The best place to find out is at Cruise Ship Hospitality Expo, 28 – 29 October, Miami Beach Convention Center. Register to attend today!