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Britannia Review

5.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating
974 reviews
4 Awards
Britannia (Photo: P&O Cruises)
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Editor Rating
Adam Coulter
Cruise Critic UK Managing Editor

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


A real emphasis on quality food -- both eating and cooking it; as well as excellent nightlife.


For a ship this size, it lacks the adrenaline activities of U.S-equivalent size ships.

Bottom Line


Passengers : 3,647
Crew : 1,350
Passenger to Crew : 2.70:1
Launched : March 2015
Shore Excursions : 451

Fast forward 20 years and Britannia, arguably, does the same. The ship (at the time) was by far the biggest in 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. Britannia was also the biggest ship ever built specifically for the UK market, until sister Iona took that title in 2021.

Though ultimately owned by a U.S. 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. The ship has the feel of a luxurious boutique hotel, with expensive-looking textures of wood, leather and glass 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. Stand-out features include the stunning three-tier atrium complete with a star burst sculpture made from shards of aluminium and bathed in coloured light. The atrium is intended to be a destination -- rather than a place to pass through on your way somewhere else -- with Eric Lanlard's Market Cafe and Olly Smith's the Glass House both central features and the reception desk shifted to an adjacent corridor.

Britannia takes the most popular features of the rest of the fleet -- such as The Glass House, Sindhu restaurant and the Crow's Nest Bar -- and adds some brand new features such as the Cookery Club and a TV Studio. The aim is to incorporate P&O Cruises' 150-plus years of history, but use modern design touches and a non-traditional cruise ship look and feel to try and bring in new-to-cruise passengers. Celebrity chefs are an obvious draw, as are Britannia's Strictly Come Dancing link-up and intimate performances by stars in The Live Lounge. Families can take advantage of the biggest and best children's facilities of any P&O Cruises' ship.

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Another big emphasis is on the food. Marco Pierre White creates the Gala menu on board across the whole fleet and he also hosts intimate dinners and masterclasses in Britannia’s Cookery Club on selected sailings, as do acclaimed Patissier Eric Lanlard and wine guru Olly Smith -- although Olly’s take place in the Glass House. Eric “Cake Boy” Lanlard has also recently given Britannia's sweet treats a makeover, with new menus in the Market Cafe as well as his Afternoon Tea in the Epicurean. Britannia is also big on art, with a huge collection of more than 6,000 pieces. You can see these pieces everywhere -- in the cabins, the corridors and the restaurants -- and all are originals from British artists, commissioned by the line.

Overall, the ship is elegant and refined and perfectly captures the spirit of modern Britain.

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.

Find a Britannia Cruise

More about Britannia

Where does Britannia sail from?

Britannia departs from Barbados, Southampton, and Southampton

Where does Britannia sail to?

Britannia cruises to

How much does it cost to go on Britannia?

Cruises on Britannia start from null per person.

Is Britannia a good ship to cruise on?

Britannia won 4 awards over the years.
Britannia Cruiser Reviews

very relaxing week at sea

I would sail Britannia again and now eager to try Iona. My only concern is P&O have a bit of a dated mentality. Flag waving, pomp, singing Rule Britannia!, End of Pier comedy..Read More
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10+ Cruises

Age 40s

It met all my expectations

and explained my choices of GF food , All in All we had a excellent trip , For anyone who has Coeliac , there are Allot of excellent choices , So just go and have a fabulous time aboard the BritanniaRead More
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Joan 42

10+ Cruises

Age 70s

Back to sea at last.

All in all I really enjoyed my cruise although Britannia would not be my first choice of ship, I would sail on her again.Read More
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Lanky Lad

10+ Cruises

Age 50s


We had been on Britannia twice before and have to say it is now looking tired in places. No doubt money is tight in the P&O coffers at the moment but it does need sprucing up in several areas.Read More
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10+ Cruises

Age 70s

P&O Cruises Fleet
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