P&O Cruises New Ship

P&O Cruises revealed further details of the biggest ship ever to be built specifically for the U.K. market -- including a clear sky dome, a pool with a retractable stage and a half-mile promenade deck complete with restaurants and bars.

The 5,200-passenger, 180,000-ton ship, which is due to launch in summer 2020, will "bring the outside, inside, and connect guests with the sea," according to Carnival U.K.'s CEO, David Noyes.

The as-yet-unnamed ship will also feature 17 eateries including seven speciality restaurants -- current flagship Britannia has just three -- 12 bars, 13 entertainment venues, four swimming pools and 16 whirlpools.

Speaking at an event at London's SkyGarden last night, Noyes added: "We've listened to our guests and we look through every piece of feedback we get and the overriding message was -- we want to be connected with the sea."

Noyes added that this would happen via a Lanai deck -- defined as a covered promenade deck.

"We are bringing the outside, inside with a half-a-mile "Lanai" deck, which is a new version of the traditional promenade deck. It will have al fresco dining and intimate hideaways," he said.

Noyes added that the name of the ship will be decided by passengers over the coming years.

P&O Cruises is the latest line to "bring the outside in" -- Norwegian Cruise Line pioneered it on its Breakaway class of ships, and MSC Cruises' Seaside class of ship will also be outside facing.

The focal point of the ship will be the Atrium, as it is on Britannia, except the Atrium on the new ships will feature triple-deck glass panels, flooding the space with natural light. There will also be a grand staircase, a gallery and overhead walkways.

There will also be a giant dome on top of the ship, which will be one of four entertainment spaces on the ship, which will feature aerial performances, projections onto the roof and immersive shows.

P&O Cruises has recruited a number of architects and designers to draw up the initial designs, which includes the designers behind British Airways' flat beds and Air France's first class. The line has also re-recruited Richmond International, who designed the whole of Britannia.

The ship will use Liquefied Natural Gas and will be the most environmentally friendly in the fleet.

There were a number of other reveals on the night, which was compered by popular ITV comedian Stephen Mulhane. These included:

  • A new show by TV and theatre star Jonathan Wilkes which will debut on Azura today, called Evolution;
  • Broadway star Ruthie Henshall has also put together a new show, called Money Makes the World Go Round, which will launch on Arcadia;
  • Marco Pierre White has created a series of new gala dinner menus featuring local and speciality ingredients, which will launch across the fleet on black tie evenings;
  • Olympian Mark Foster will be hosting swimming and fitness classes on Britannia on selected sailings in 2017.

--By Adam Coulter, U.K. Editor