Updated July 2019

There is nothing that excites us more than a new ship, and when P&O Cruises brought their incredible ship, Britannia, to the game, we couldn't wait to discover everything she'd be offering onboard. Combining classic P&O features along with a host of innovative concepts, this stunning vessel was always going to rock the boat when it comes to cruising choices!

At the time she was the biggest ship ever built for Britain, giving a sense of patriotic flare and love for the country which absolutely shone at the Britannia launch evening night.

 

 

Not only did she have our iconic flag spread proudly across her hull, every inch raised the bar in British cruising. Designed with the future in mind, while celebrating P&O Cruises' much loved past, she is sure to wow every single person that sails on her.

We all knew Britannia was launching in Spring 2015, but that was all we knew. Design, itineraries and other information remained tightly guarded. With P&O Cruises' lip’s firmly sealed for some time, the night of the launch finally saw them open with all the details we had all been waiting for.

The press release event was held by P&O Cruises at London’s prestigious Forman’s Fish Island. Advised to be an 'interactive event' we were slightly unsure of what to expect - but none the less could not wait. With so much hype and anticipation around this ship, expectations were high.

 

 

A British Welcome

Arriving in East London, we were greeted by two handsome Captains (well, dressed up Captains!) who proudly held the door open and greeted us with a typical P&O 'Welcome Aboard'.

If the 90 mile per hour gusts of wind were not sweeping us inside it would have felt like we were boarding a ship, although you could say the unsatisfying weather added to the quintessentially 'British' evening we were about to experience. Behind these doors P&O Cruises had created a mini version of feature venues to star on the new ship - a perfect sample of things to come.

Welcome to The Limelight Club

After a warm welcome from P&O officials and a glass of Champagne, we were guided to a restaurant. With a bold 'The Limelight Club' sign positioned at the entrance, it felt like walking into a restaurant on a ship. We were given a signature cocktail on the way to our table, which was refreshing and delicious.

Still in awe of everything around us, we did not even check the menu before a waitress presented plates of food that looked too good to eat. A duck pate to start, followed by Braised Daube of Beef with truffle mash and a truly divine raspberry chocolate basket to finish. This amazing meal certainly whet all the taste buds in the room for other dishes that will be served in this remarkable restaurant. Onboard Britannia, The Limelight Club offers a traditional supper club experience for adults-only, with spectacular food matched by smooth entertainment.

 

 

Show Time

In true cruise style, after our meal we hoped to see a show and that's just what we got. Ushered to our seats we were treated to a performance from the extremely talented P&O Cruises singers and dancers along with stars from the BBC show Strictly Come Dancing.

The ten minute performance gave us a taste of how much effort and planning has gone into the Britannia entertainment programme. Featuring love-him or hate-him judge Craig Revel Horward, the show was a huge hit with everyone present.

After Show Wine

In high spirits from the show, we strolled into The Glasshouse for some wine and tapas. On a quaint table in the corner we sat examining the wine menu, accompanied perfectly by the intimate atmosphere. Just as we were choosing a wine to order, we looked up to see Saturday Kitchen wine specialist Olly Smith asking if we needed any assistance in choosing! Was this really happening? Not only did we feel like we were on a cruise ship, but this famous sommelier has casually strolled over and joined us. He explained the wines and tapas that were on offer and engaged with us in a very down to earth manner. What a perfect way to enjoy an evening 'onboard'.

 

 

The Cookery Club

One of the major announcements made about Britannia was about the P&O 'Food Heroes'. Britannia is set to have three famous faces working alongside each other to create the very best dining experiences on the ship. With food being a significant focus on cruises, P&O Cruises wish Britannia to represent the varied, cultural and unique food that our country loves.

The celebrity chef 'Food Heroes' are well-loved chef Marco Pierre White, wine expert Olly Smith, and skilled patissier Eric Lanlard.

In keeping with this attention to food, The Cookery Club is the first of its kind on a British ship. The spacious open kitchen will be home to a range of different cookery lessons from the renowned chefs, giving passengers the opportunity to cook alongside their heros and learn the secrets behind their signature creations.

 

 

No one expected these personalities to be at this event, but as we were sat down in a mock-up cookery school, out strolled Marco Pierre White in his typical noble manor. It felt like sitting in a live TV cookery show audience as he demonstrated how to make salted sea bass. What an experience to be able to cook alongside a famous chef onboard a cruise ship.

Anyone for a cake?

Just when we thought we had seen it all, we were drawn to the tempting scent of The Market Café. A foodie’s heaven, this café is home to just about every cake you can think of.

Made by famous patisserie Eric Lanlard, each cake has been thoroughly prepared to bring the most heavenly selection of treats at sea.

One a few of us sampled was the Gluten-free orange and almond cake with white chocolate. To say it was delicious would be an understatement!

 

 

Eric happily took us through each creation with the knowledge and enthusiasm of a true master. In fact, we spoke to all three of the food heros, and were pleased with how sociable and happy they were to answer any questions we had. They appeared just as excited as being part of Britannia as we are.

You’re saying we are not a ship?

Sitting laughing with friends, enjoying a drink and talking about our evening was pure enjoyment, and it was not until a colleague mentioned that our car was here that reality hit and we remembered where we really were. The way P&O Cruises had set up the event gave a true feeling of being onboard. Strolling from one venue to another, choosing to do what you want, having a constant flow of food and drink and genuinely enjoying your time with friends. It was a truly unique event, and one that gave a real insight into how life onboard the ship will be.

After receiving a Britannia goody bag (which included some glittery macaroons by Eric Lanyard, delicious!) we began our journey south. With big smiles on our faces and an excited buzz in the air, it was like we had just had a mini-break on the real Britannia.

The Real Thing

Our Head of Global Supply, Simone, was lucky enough to fly to Venice for the Britannia float-out ceremony when it occured, and was honoured to be part of the celebration that enabled her to get a first glimpse of the ship.

 

 

Take a look at P&O's very special ship yourself, on a fabulous Britannia cruise.