Launched in 2015, MV Britannia cruise ship is the largest vessel in the P&O UK’s fleet. From this Royal-class are also the Princess Cruises liners Royal Princess (2013), Regal Princess (2014), Majestic Princess (2017), Sky Princess (2019), Enchanted Princess (2020) and Discovery Princess (2021). These are the ever biggest cruise vessels constructed by Fincantieri (Italy).
History – construction and ownership
P&O Cruises is a subsidiary company and two brands owned by Carnival Corporation – P&O UK and P&O Australia. In 2000, P&O Cruises became subsidiary of P&O Princess Cruises, which merged with Carnival Corporation in 2003. P&O is the world’s oldest cruise company, starting passenger shipping operations in 1822 on the routes connecting England with Iberia.
The 141,000-ton, 3,647-passenger cruise ship Britannia is the biggest ever cruise ship built especially for the British market. The £500 million new-build is a result of four years of planning. P&O Britannia is 25,000 tons heavier than Azura and Ventura sister ships (previously the largest vessels in the P&O fleet). The Britannia ship alone boosts the capacity of the P and O line by almost a quarter – 24%. Britannia impresses with her Union Jack livery and offers British-style cruising with modern look and feel. Her homeport is Southampton.
Britannia has the most popular features of the P&O fleet, such as The Crow’s Nest Bar, Atul Kochar’s Sindhu restaurant, Olly Smith’s The Glass House, as well as brand new amenities. P&O says that Britannia cruise ship engine power output (MAN diesel engines) is equivalent to 70 Challenger tanks’ power or 86 supercars Bugatti Veyron. Britannia cruise ship is also the greenest yet and designed to deliver greater levels of environmental and operational efficiency. The new form of the hull is expected to reduce fuel consumption by approx 20%. Along with the hull design, P and O changed the hull art as well – with the Union Jack flag 94 m / 308 ft long.
The Britannia ship is the eighth vessel to join P&O Cruises fleet and named, as chief executive David Dingle said, to resonate with the forward-looking mood in Britain. Britannia is considered to be the most fitting name because of its famous long heritage, so suitable for the newest P&O addition – the favourite cruise line of Britain. When asked if he had to get Queen’s permission to use the name, Mr Dingle only said he came to understand it was fine that they were using it.
Two ships connected to the company have been previously named Britannia. The first of them entered service for General Steam Navigation Company in 1835, and the second one, together with three other vessels, was ordered to mark the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria and P&O, entering service in 1887. This Golden Jubilee ship carried 160 second-class passengers and 250 first-class passengers, with cargo capacity 4000 tons. In 1888 on this Britannia sailed to Bombay young Winston Churchill, with his hussar regiment, and then fought on the Northwest Frontier.
Royal Yacht Britannia was the vessel decommissioned in 1997 by John Major government, but the name has been associated with P&O for a long time. In June 2013 a management shake-up at Carnival UK operations later saw the exit of Carol Marlow- the former managing director, and Peter Shanks – ex-boss of Cunard brand. Britannia is the first vessel for P&O Cruises since then. These departures were linked to boosting younger cruisers’ proportion at the UK arm of Carnival Cruises. Everyone who believes in the growth of the cruise industry now expects the new P and O cruise ship Britannia to mark a new era of success.
Her Majesty The Queen is the vessel’s royal godmother. She named the new ship on March 10th, 2015, in Southampton. The ship was docked at the at Ocean Terminal. HM, The Queen was accompanied by Prince Philip and The Duke of Edinburgh. After the royal words “May God bless her and all who sail in her”, The Queen pressed the button that released a Nebuchadnezzar wine (a giant bottle of sparkling wine, an equivalent of 20 regular bottles) to be smashed against the hull. This most special event was also marked by live band music performances – Her Majesty’s Royal Marines band, and the Irish Guards’ Regimental Band. Also present at the naming ceremony were the Carnival Corporation’s front men Micky Arison (chairman) and Arnold Donald (CEO), and also David Dingle (chairman of Carnival UK).
Cruise itinerary program
Britannia itinerary program is based on cruises from Southampton and Bridgetown Barbados, including Caribbean Islands voyages from Barbados; roundtrip sailings from Southampton to the Atlantic Coast, Baltic, Mediterranean and Canary Islands; “mini-cruises” to Guernsey (Channel Islands) and Transatlantic repositioning crossings.
The liner Britannia returned to Southampton on March 25, 2016 – over a year after the naming ceremony led by HM The Queen. The ship was homeported in Barbados throughout winter 2015-2016. From the UK, it operated short-breaks to Northern Europe and longer cruises to the Mediterranean during summer. For Caribbean winter season 2016-2017, the ship was homeported in Saint Lucia (Castries).
MS Britannia staterooms (a total of 1837) include 64 Suites, 1313 Balcony and 460 Inside (no oceanview staterooms), 27 with single occupancy rates) in 35 grades. Most Britannia staterooms are 175-290-sq. foot Balcony rooms. The largest aboard Britannia is the Owner’s Suite (470 ft2).
Shipboard dining options – Food and Drinks
The rise on the world stage of British cooking is reflected in Britannia’s dining options. The Epicurean Restaurant specializes in fine dining and molecular gastronomy. It features both contemporary and traditional dishes. The Glass House is home to nearly 40 different wines from all around the world, including labels from Greece, Croatia, and Japan. Wine expert Olly Smith pairs wine with food from the menu, featuring dishes like a Wagyu burger, sea bass ceviche with lime, lobster buns, Morecombe Bay and Devon crab sliders. The first British ship to offer cooking lessons at sea, The Cookery Club provides guests an opportunity to hone their cooking techniques under the watchful eye of food experts and chefs. Aboard the Britannia, passengers can cook alongside baking queen Mary Berry and TV chef James Martin. Michelin-starred chef Atul Kochhar teaches guests how to make dishes from Sindhu – his signature restaurant. Celebrity chef Marco Pierre White also runs a class, demonstrating his famous dishes whilst passengers cook alongside him.
While P and O Cruises has already linked up with celebrity chefs for Cookery Club school, Britannia will also act as a backdrop to the first at sea celebrity-led TV cooking contest, Battlechefs, from April 4. On April 2, 2016, the ship will be the setting for another first as she will host live Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway from the top deck.
Follows the complete list of Britannia restaurants and food bars.
- The Limelight Club (supper club for specialty dining; offers live performances and the 3-course dinner menu)
- Meridian Restaurant (aft Dining Room; for Breakfast 7:30-9:00 a.m., and Lunch 12:15-1:45 p.m./3-course menu; Afternoon Tea 4:00 – 4:45 p.m.; club dinner dining at 6:30 or 9.30 p.m.)
- The Oriental Restaurant (aft MDR, with fixed seating dining at 6:30 and 8:30 p.m.)
- The Peninsular Restaurant (forward MDR, with fixed seating dining at 6:30 and 8:30 p.m., open-seating breakfast and lunch; also serving Afternoon Tea 4:00 – 4:45 p.m.)
- Sindhu (Indian specialty restaurant, by A. Kochhar)
- Ocean Grill (specialty, by M. Pierre White)
- The Glass House (steakhouse/seafood specialty restaurant and wine bar, by Olly Smith)
- Java Cafe (buffet-style restaurant)
- The Cookery Club (specialty restaurant and cooking club by James Martin)
- Fine Dining Restaurant (Epicurean Restaurant – specialty, dinner-only, by the Michelin star Marco Pierre White)
- Horizon Restaurant (Lido buffet; complimentary, self-service; with several food stations and floor-ceiling windows)
- Beach House (casual dining venue, dinner-only)
- Poolside drinks and fast-food bars – The Pizzeria, Lido Bar, Lido Grill, Riviera Bar, “Grab and Go”.
Shipboard entertainment options – Fun and Sport
MV Britannia ship design is a masterpiece created by Richmond International – London-based architects, who anticipate today’s Britain tastes. They are well known for creating “flowing” coherent interiors but with each area having an individual identity. While Britannia cruise ship may be a large vessel, every inch of the interior was carefully considered as to become breathtaking and striking. MV Britannia was designed to make guests feel special, and all of her was planned with flair and imagination. The Britannia ship offers the very best of Britain’s contemporary design and an unprecedented number of facilities for passengers.
The vessel provides the best classic features of Aurora and Oriana, and a wide choice of the contemporary variety of Azura and Ventura. 13 cafes and restaurants, 13 bars, 15 passenger decks, 4 swimming pools, 9 jacuzzis – what more of all these could a traveler wish for? Another good decision on a practical level is the greater number of single cabins – more than on any other ship. Additional amenities include Complimentary 24-hour Room-Service, Internet/WiFi access, supervised kids program, laundry/self-serve laundromats, nursery.
Follows the complete list of Britannia lounges, clubs and other entertainment venues for kids, teens, and adults.
- Britannia Atrium (3-decks central open floor area and social hub); Atrium Shops (Regalia – clothes, souvenirs, gifts; The Wardrobe – brand fashion, watches, bags, hats); Chic – fashion boutique; Emporium – candy shop; Eternity – jewelry, Essence – perfumes)
- Market Cafe (Atrium patisserie by Eric Lanlard), Blue Bar (Atrium piano bar), Sunset Bar
- Brodie’s Pub; The Studio (multi-purpose lounge); Marlow Suite (multifunction room, doubles as Card Room)
- Headliners Theatre (836-seat, 2-decks, featuring grand scale productions, live performances, game shows)
- The Crystal Room (Lounge and Bar; daily dance classes, grand evening balls)
- The Live Lounge (music-dedicated venue; disco at night)
- The Crow’s Nest Lounge (dance floor, a stage for live music; with floor-ceiling windows for panoramic views; hosts art classes, quiz games, cooking demos during the day)
- Casino; Ivory Suite (vow renewal and wedding services)
- Photo Gallery and Shop; Art Gallery; The Library (with Internet computers)
- Terrace Pool (adults only area, served by Terrace Bar); Riviera Pool area; Aqua Pool and Bar; Coral Pool and Bar
- adults-only relaxation areas (“Retreat” /VIP Spa terrace with private cabanas, and “Serenity”)
- Oasis Spa complex (Treatment Rooms, Steam Rooms, Thermal Suite, Thalassotherapy pool, Beauty Salon)
- Gymnasium (complimentary equipment, Fitness classes; Yoga and Pilates at surcharge)
- Children’s Facilities (Kids Play Area, The Reef Kids Programming Rooms, Nursery)
- Promenade (Walking Lane and Jogging Track); Sports Court (basketball, volleyball, football, cricket, tennis); Table Tennis; four Golf Net cages.