Cruise Spotlight: Onboard the New Britannia
This week (10 March 2015), P&O Cruises' newest ship, Britannia, was officially named by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth, in a ceremony that marked the 5th official naming of a cruise ship by Her Majesty. Britannia bears the same name as the Queen's former Royal Yacht Britannia, which was decommissioned in 1997 after more than 40 years of service.
But that is where the similarities end between the two vessels, so today we are putting a spotlight on the cruise ship Britannia, highlighting the onboard features you may find, her itineraries and much more!
P&O Cruises Britannia
This 3,600 passenger vessel is the largest cruise ship that has been designed for the British holiday market, and is the largest ship in the P&O fleet. She will home port in Southampton during the northern summer months and from the Caribbean in the winter. Britannia is due to make her maiden voyage to Spain, Italy and France on 14 March 2015.
In a style that is all about looking and feeling British, passengers will have 15 decks to explore, 13 places to eat and 13 bars to visit, four swimming pools to choose from and nine places to enjoy the onboard entertainment. For the first time, a British design company has overseen the whole design of the ship's interiors, rather than just parts of it. As a result, Britannia has the feel of the luxurious English boutique hotel, with beautiful wood textures, leather and glass accents and a lavish use of marble in public spaces.
Britannia is all about understated luxury, with the colour scheme throughout reflecting nautical blues and creams, soft greys and just touches of gold and silver. But there are a number of stand-out features that are worth a mention, including the stunning three-tier atrium, complete with a Star Burst sculpture made from shards of aluminium and bathed in coloured light. The Atrium has been designed as a place to see and be seen, as a destination within itself, and guests will find Eric Lanlard's Market Cafe and Olly Smith's the Glass House both centrally featured within the space.
The new fleet addition has taken the most popular features of the rest of the fleet onboard - such The Glass House, Atul Kochhar's Sindhu restaurant and the Crows Nest Bar. Plus, it adds on some brand new features such as the Cookery Club and a TV Studio.
Your Home Away from Home
Britannia will debut the cruise line's first purpose-built solo cruise cabins with balconies (15 of these, plus 12 inside solo cabins). All 1,313 oceanview cabins also have balconies, which is another first for the cruise line. There are also 460 inside cabins to choose from, and there are also plenty of cabins that cater to the needs of families cruising together. Many have additional beds that fold down from the ceiling or out from the wall. In some cabins, mini-suites and suites, the extra beds are sofa beds. Britannia's Suites offer the latest in luxury, including personal butler service and a separate living area.
All cabins have colour schemes of beige, cream and chocolate, and feature art that has been commissioned from British artists, specifically for the cabins. The balconies are roomy, and comfortably house two chairs, with plenty of space either side, and a small table. And the bathrooms all have glass shower screens, products courtesy of the White Company, and plenty of shelving space.
The main dining room offers a five-course menu (six-course on Gala Nights), served in a special ambience and social atmosphere. Both Freedom Dining (offering the flexibility to eat at any time) and Club Dining (traditional, fixed-seat dining) are offered on the ship to give guests more choice around their dining experience. The main buffet restaurant, Horizon, includes new features such as a live cooking station for pancakes, omelettes and noodles, a coffee bar and a dedicated salad counter.
New to the cruise line is "Grab & Go" - a free offering of pre-packed snacks, sandwiches and salads, located near the main pools.
There are also a number of speciality, for-fee, dining options on board, including Market Cafe - offering French-style patisserie, fine cheeses, antipasto, tapas and speciality breads; Sindhu - offering tapas-style Indian dishes known as Nashta; The Glass House - Olly Smith's temple to fine wines and tapas-sized dishes, featuring a Tasting Room, a Dining Room and a bar area. You will also find the Epicurean on board, Britannia's fine dining restaurant, offering classic dining elements with the best of modern British cuisine.
Britannia has been designed with a big emphasis on food, and the cruise line has enlisted the help of a number of big name celebrity chefs, including James Martin, to create the first cookery school onboard a British ship, the Cookery Club. Martin will be joined by P&O regulars Marco Pierre White, Atul Kochhar, wine guru Olly Smith, acclaimed patissiere Eric "Cake Boy" Lanlard and cheese expert Charlie Turnbull, which the line has dubbed "Food Heroes". You can cook with them during the day, and on select sailings, enjoy an intimate dinner with them in the evening.
Britannia brings with her a host of new entertainment options for guests to enjoy. The Studio is a multi-purpose TV studio that allows you to listen to guest speakers, talks, demonstrations, cinema screenings, radio plays or game shows, and watch cookery demonstrations and the latest films on the cinema screen during the day. In the evening radio plays or musical recitals are on offer.
In the evenings, The Limelight Club offers a combined entertainment and dining venue in the tradition of the supper club, hosting a variety of entertainers and guest performers, including live music. Once the entertainment finishes, the venue turns into a late-night club and dancing venue.
At Brodie's guests will find a variety of entertainment on offer, including quizzes, live music and karaoke, as well as poker and roulette tables in the adjoining casino. Brodie's also has The Great British Beer Menu, which features an astonishing 70 different bottled beers ales and ciders from 56 UK counties.
There will be plenty more on offer by the way of entertainment, but you may need to book a cruise and experience it all for yourself!
After her maiden voyage in March, Britannia will sail to the Mediterranean, Canary Islands, Norway and the Baltics, and in winter she will move to the Caribbean for the next cruise season. Britannia will offer a variety of cruise itineraries, destinations and lengths, so there is sure to be a cruise to suit what you are looking for!
Ready for a British cruise experience? Britannia is ready to have you onboard, and our Cruising Specialists are ready to answer any questions you may have, find you the perfect itinerary and get you the best deal for your cruise holiday with P&O Cruises. Just call your nearest store on 1300 954 661 today.