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Britannia Review

Britannia - Brodies Pub Britannia - The Cookery Club Britannia - Crows Nest Bar Britannia - The Crystal Room
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Britannia Overview

by Adam Coulter, UK Editor

Britannia was named by HM The Queen on March 10, 2015, in a glittering ceremony in Southampton. She last named a P&O Cruises' ship almost 20 years ago -- the 1,800-passenger Oriana -- then the largest ship in the fleet and ushering in a new era of modern UK cruising.

Fast forward 20 years and Britannia, arguably, does the same, The ship is by far the biggest in the P&O Cruises' fleet, carrying 3,647 passengers and weighing in at 141,000 tons -- 27,000 tons heavier and carrying 547 more passengers than the line's previous biggest ship, Azura, which launched five years ago. Britannia is also the biggest ship ever built specifically for the UK market.

Though ultimately owned by a US company (Carnival Corp.), and built in Italy, the ship is registered in Southampton (due to European tonnage tax laws), and has a very British feel to it. For the first time a British design company, Richmond International, has overseen the whole of the design of the ship's interiors rather than parts. Richmond International has worked on a number of great British hotels, including The Langham, Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, Intercontinental Hotel London, and Four Seasons Hampshire, and it shows in Britannia, which has the feel of a luxurious boutique hotel, with expensive-looking textures of wood, leather and glass and in every public space and lavish use of marble.

The ship is not showy (except perhaps in the Atrium), it's all about understated luxury. The overriding colour scheme throughout is nautical blues and creams, soft greys, and touches of gold and silver. However, there are some stand-out feature such as the stunning three-tier feature atrium complete with a Star Burst sculpture made from shards of aluminium and bathed in coloured light. The Atrium is set to be a destination -- a place to see and be seen -- with Eric Lanlard's Market Cafe and Olly Smith's the Glass House both central features and the Reception shifted to a corridor off it.

Britannia takes the most popular features of the rest of the fleet -- such as The Glass House, Atul Kochhar's Sindhu restaurant and the Crows Nest Bar -- and adds some brand new features such as the Cookery Club and a TV Studio. The aim is to incorporate P&O Cruise's 178 years of history, but use modern design touches to try and bring in new-to-cruise passengers and families.

The big emphasis is on food and the 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 selected sailings -- enjoy an intimate dinner with them in the evening.

The ship set sail on its maiden voyage -- a 14-night Mediterranean round-trip from Southampton -- on Saturday, March 14, 2015. The ship will homeport in Southampton, sailing to the Mediterranean, Canary Islands, Norway, the Baltic and spend winter in the Caribbean.

Britannia Fellow Passengers

In school holidays expect a large number of families with young children with the average age hovering around the early- to mid-40s. Outside of these times and on longer cruises, the average age rises to a more traditional P&O crowd: over-60s and no kids.

Britannia Dress Code

A typical two-week cruise will have four formal nights and the rest will be 'evening casual', which is defined as open necked shirt and 'tailored trousers' or smart jeans for men; dress or casual separates for women. Most passengers err on the side of smart.

Note that even though this ship is family friendly and has a more relaxed vibe -- formal still means full black tie in the public rooms. Britannia might break many of P&O Cruises' traditions, but dress code still rules -- and that also applies to older children.

Britannia Gratuity

A £3.95 GBP per person auto gratuity is added to your bill daily. Other tips are at your discretion.
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Britannia Member Reviews

Smooth embarkation procedure, luggage awaiting us on arrival at cabin, which was clean and spacious as befits a brand new ship. Pleasant cabin steward. Delayed departure and somewhat confusing boat drill, no roll call , could have easily avoided ... Read more
I had been preparing myself for my 2 night inaugural cruise aboard the P&O Britannia, excitement was upon me and I was counting down the days until I board P&O's biggest accomplishment - The Britannia. Nothing could quite prepare me ... Read more
WOW!! southamptonsingle
Britannia certainly lives up to her name......Big, Beautiful and British!! From the moment you step on board and are greeted with the huge 'Starburst' chandelier in reception you know you are about to be 'wowed' in all things British. The Atrium ... Read more
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Ship Stats
March 2015
CDC Score:
Not Yet Inspected


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