(11:20 a.m. EST) -- P&O Cruises has added nine new "Food Heroes" sailings to its 2016 programme, bringing the total number of culinary-themed cruises to 24.
The extra itineraries, announced today, will provide passengers with more opportunities to sail with Michelin-starred chef Atul Kochhar, wine expert Olly Smith, TV chef James Martin, master patissier Eric Lanlard and cheese specialist Charlie Turnbull. In particular, Britannia's Iberian coast cruise departing on September 17 will host all five on the one sailing.
Food Heroes cruises feature cookery demonstrations, masterclasses, hosted dinners, booking signings, Q&A sessions and food or wine related shore excursions in selected ports of call accompanied by the various experts.
In addition to the cruises, P&O has extended its onboard Food Heroes-related offerings. A spokesman said that following the success of Eric Lanlard's afternoon tea experience on Britannia, the line was introducing this across its two other large family ships, Ventura and Azura. Atul Kochhar's Sindhu restaurant, originally launched on Azura, is now featured Arcadia, Oriana, Britannia, Aurora and Ventura.
P&O Cruises' vice president of marketing, Christopher Edgington, said: "Our Food Heroes cruises are always popular with guests and are one of the reasons P&O cruises stand out from other holidays. Each Food Hero brings their own expertise into the mix and ensures we offer an exciting array of dishes for all tastes."
--By Jeannine Williamson, Cruise Critic contributor