P&O’s Britannia

 

Lunched by and named by the Queen in March 2015. The Britannia is the newest and the largest ship in P&O’s fleet.

The addition of Britannia to the fleet has brought cake kingpin Eric Lanlard and cheese expert Charlie Turnbull into the fold. With James Martin will head up The Cookery Club, where guest chefs will include Mary Berry and Pierre Koffmann.

Every tasteful inch of Britannia’s interiors is thanks to a design company that has also put its name to the Langham in London and the Four Seasons Gresham Palace in Budapest. But before painting its big “built-for-Britain” canvas, P&O asked 20,000 cruise passengers what they wanted from a new ship. Single cabins with balconies, more dining venues and more varied entertainments, came the response. Better shopping and a bigger spa.

All were listened to on this £473 million ship. Single cabins (27 in total), some with balconies, are located by the Deck 16 library off a wide, almost club-like corridor. It’s a good ship for versatile entertainments – recitals, films, theatre, comedy, classical concerts and ballroom dancing (including Strictly Come Dancing cruises) and the ship’s nooks, crannies and multiple venues absorb passengers well.

As well as an impressive spa and hydrotherapy suite there’s a private deck area where, for £25 a day you can can loll in The Retreat, a chic adults-only pool and pampering area. The teenagers-only sun deck with hot tub and a late-night disco area in the Arena Sports Court is a great place for the youngsters to chill out to. If you want,  pile on the calories at the buffet, or try the Market Café or an early-evening tapas-style plate washed down with a glass of chilled white wine or even an ice cuvée, or really push the boat out in the fabulous Epicurean restaurant.

Discounting Wi-Fi, prices are good across the board. The boutiques offer a price-match guarantee (if you find it cheaper ashore) and feature new lines Beaverbrooks, Desigual and Crew. In the bars, prices for premium wines and spirits match those ashore. In Brodie’s pub a pint of draught Boddingtons costs £3.75, a glass of wine £3.95.

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