Britannia: Fascinating Facts About P&O's Behemoth

Posted September 23rd, 2015

Britannia, P&O's largest cruise ship, is also the cruise line's flagship. Having officially taken to the seas in March this year, the glamorous lady already garnered international fame after being christened by the Queen. We've found our way on board to see what all the fuss is about.

Here's a glimpse of what this incredible vessel has to offer.

Vital Statistics

It's not every female that reveals her measurements so eagerly but here goes ... Britannia is 330 metres long – equivalent to four-and-a-half nose-to-tail Airbus A380s and longer than both The Shard and the Eiffel Tower. She weighs 141,000 tons and her decks and cabins number 15 and 1,837 respectively.

She can carry 5,000 people (including 3,647 paying passengers) – a quarter of the number it takes it takes to fill London's O2 stadium.

8,000 ... Pieces Of Art

Britannia's £1 million ($A2.2 million) floating art collection was curated by Tom Tempest-Radford. Painters, sculptors, ceramicists, textile artists, jewellers, goldsmiths and silversmiths – most of them British – have all contributed.

The majority of artists are female and works include a series of 18 dyed and hand-woven textile artworks called Beyond the Sea – A Homage to Blue by Ptolemy Mann (pictured). Her works will grace the wall of one of three communicating stairwells.

“Women are better at surfaces and textures and Britannia has a huge variety of really crafted materials that create an incredible depth of flavour,” Radford said.

Also on board are Dr Who, The Queen, Marry Berry, Noel Gallagher, Monty Panesar, James Dyson and Bradley Wiggins as part of two unique pieces of art reflecting the Spirit of Modern Britain, produced by artist Johnny Bull.

3 ... Previous Passenger Ships Called Britannia

(If you discount the Royal Yacht.) The first cruise ship to be called Britannia belonged to Cunard – then White Star Line. This year marked the 175th anniversary of the line's first ship setting sail in July 1840.

The first of the two other Britannia ships (both connected with P&O Cruises) entered service in 1835 for the General Steam Navigation Company. The second, which entered service in 1887, was one of four ships ordered by the company to mark the Golden Jubilee of both Queen Victoria and P&O.

This Golden Jubilee class ship carried 250 first-class passengers and 160 second-class passengers. The young Winston Churchill sailed on this Britannia with his hussar regiment to Bombay in 1888 and then went on to fight on the North West frontier.

20 ... Artisan Gins

Mother's ruin looks set to run amok on board Britannia. We cannot wait to sample a few from the 20-strong menu. Brands include Botanist Islay Dry Gin (Argyll), Tarquin’s Dry Gin (Cornwall) and Darnley’s View (Edinburgh) to Silent Pool Gin (Surrey), and Ely Dark Chocolate Gin (Cambridgeshire).

The Great British Beer Menu, meanwhile, offers 70 bottled beers, ales and ciders from 56 UK counties, making it the largest range of British beer available at sea.

280 ... Acrylic Shards

Acrylic shards in various hues of pink, silver and gold will drip down the three-tier atrium. Part chandelier; part sculpture, the eight-metre-long Star Burst installation draws inspiration from the night-time stars – the traditional navigation method used by sailors. It sits within a framed ceiling 'sky' of midnight blue.


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308 ... Feet

This is the length (94 metres) of the Union Flag displayed on her bow – the longest version of the flag anywhere in the world. Four hundred and twenty litres of paint was used for her exterior.

26 ... Places To Eat & Drink

Among the 13 places in which to chow down are Sindhu (think modern Indian with a British twist) by Atul Kochhar and Olly Smith’s The Glass House for food and wine pairing. Gala menus will be created by Marco Pierre White.

The ship also has a cookery school, the first on a British ship, developed with and fronted by Saturday Kitchen chef James Martin, an Eric Lanlard patisserie, a charcuterie and a gelateria.

 5 ... Food Heroes

Saturday Kitchen's James Martin and popular patissier Eric Landlard and Charlie Turnbull recently joined a culinary line-up that boasts Atul Kochhar, wine expert Olly Smith and Marco Pierre White (pictured).

Martin is the face of the Cookery Club, where you can become 'expert' at crafting dim sum or Spanish tapas. Along with other chefs, including Mary Berry, the 'food heroes' will take turns at running the 24-person cookery school, being launched by Martin.

61,600 ... Gallons Of Water

An astounding amount of water (233,000 litres) is needed to fill the four on-board pools. The Lido Pool, the Serenity Pool, the Terrace Pool or the Riviera Pool? Choices, choices.

Teenagers can get up to no good on their own pool deck and a fifth, indoor pool can be found in the Oasis Spa's Hydrotherapy Suite.

A VIP day pass for the spa costs £25 ($A54) a person. Daily production of water on board (using waste heat from the ship’s diesel generators) amounts to 1.8 million one-litre bottles. That's 1,500 tonnes of drinkable water generated from sea water.


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This article was from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

The Daily Telegraph

The Daily Telegraph is a daily morning UK English language broadsheet newspaper, published in London by Telegraph Media Group and distributed throughout the United Kingdom and internationally.

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