Britannia Maiden Voyage Blog – Part 3

Where in the world is Britannia? Well, today we are at sea, heading back home towards Southampton. I am not quite ready to leave this rather large beauty yet, but we have another sea day to enjoy, so no tears are allowed, only smiles and of course, a catch up.

After leaving Barcelona we made our way towards Monte Carlo (one of my favourite ports) where I had an afternoon tour booked to the medieval town of Eze and the town of Menton. The tour was good, although we barely had any time in Eze, which was quite disappointing as it is a beautiful place with a lot to offer – including incredible views! After a quick 30-minute stop we boarded the coach and made our way towards Menton, here we had approx. one hour to enjoy the cafes and shops. It was a beautiful town, it really was, and I imagine during the summer months it would be alive with people enjoying the restaurants and cafes that lined the shore. Definitely a place I would like to go again!



Britannia was at anchor in Monte Carlo and by the time we arrived back to the ship the sea state had changed quite a bit. All I can say is that the tender operation was an experience and a half! Massive credit to the crew as the circumstances were incredibly challenging but they handled it perfectly! The crossing itself from shore to ship was relatively calm, but once alongside Britannia, it got a little hair raising. I enjoyed the experience, me being weird and all, but I know a few people felt quite unwell because of the bobbing and the crew really did take risks with their own safety to ensure every passenger got back onboard safely. We were due to leave Monaco at roughly 5:30pm, but the tender operation didn’t finish until almost 8pm!



Once the anchor was raised, it was back to business as usual and on to our next port, Civitavecchia in Italy – the gateway to Rome. I had no tours booked here, I had quite fancied doing the ‘Taste of Tuscania’ excursion, but sadly both the morning and afternoon tours were fully booked – one to add to my list for next time! I left Britannia early afternoon and took a walk into town, 95% of the shops and cafes were closed by this time but I didn’t mind, it was nice to just stretch ones legs and an obligatory stop was made at Mc Donalds! Rather than take the shuttle back to the ship I opted to walk as the shuttle drop-off point has changed. You are no longer dropped at the gates, instead you are taken quite a way out of the city centre – a good 10 to 15-minute walk away to be precise – and by the time I got to where the original drop off point was it seemed silly to then walk all the way back to the shuttle point to then come back on myself. If you are fit and able, then I would advise you just take the walk into the city.

We left Civitavecchia and sailed for Ajaccio in Corsica. I had another afternoon tour booked here, ‘Vizzavona Forest and the Corsican Countryside’, which didn’t quite go to plan thanks to Mother Nature. We made our way up into the mountains and by 800 feet you could barely see a hand in front of your face because of the cloud and fog – it almost felt solid in some places. We stopped at a mountain top Chateau where we spent 45-minutes eating pork and cheese. I wasn’t a huge fan, I’m not big on cured meats, so I ate my way through 3 slices of baguette instead. From here we were supposed to stop at a mountain village, which I was very much looking forward to, but sadly the itinerary was changed and instead we made our way back down the mountain and towards the port. Our guide took us on a 45-minute city tour to compensate, which was nice but not really what I had hoped for. Such is life, we can’t do anything about the weather and it was nice that they offered an alternative. I would definitely do the tour again, but maybe in the summer months. I imagine the views would be spectacular, but sadly we couldn’t see beyond a few feet. The below was the extent of my Corsica photography – you literally couldn’t see ANYTHING!


Our day in Ajaccio ended with warm sunshine and a lively sailaway party, I really did enjoy it and it was fantastic to finally see Britannia’s open decks jam packed with people simply having a good time and enjoying the break in the weather.

A stop in Cartagena swiftly followed, as did the rain. Again I had nothing planned for this port aside from a stroll into town. I do like Cartagena, but it is not quite the same in the pouring rain and I was soaked by the time I made it back to the ship. That evening I dined in Sindhu again, I really do like the food in there! To start I went with a dish called ‘Karara Kekda Aur Avocado’, which was crisp fried soft shell crab with avocado panna cotta and apple salad. It was so full of flavour, definitely the best starter I have tried in there by a long mile. For my main course I went with the ‘Murgh Kesari Korma’ – saffron infused chicken korma with raisin pilau rice. This was my second korma experience, so it’s fair to say I am a big fan of that too.


Our final port of call was Cadiz and Mother Nature blessed us with temperatures reaching a high of around 21 degrees Celsius in the city centre. Perfect sailaway weather and what a sailaway it was! One of the best I have experienced aboard a P&O Cruises ship. I think almost every passenger was out on deck waving their flags, singing along to the music and loving every single moment of it. It was a great sight.



We are at sea today and tomorrow, and will sadly have to say goodbye to Britannia on Saturday morning. I am going to miss this ship, I have definitely fallen for her charms, but I know I will be back one day. I actually feel like I have been on the ship for a lot longer than 2-weeks! Don’t you just love it when your holiday doesn’t fly!

I have so much more to share with you, so watch this space because although the cruise may almost be over – my Britannia blogging is not! ;)




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Britannia Maiden Voyage Blog Part 2


I ended part 1 with a mention of the Epicurian Restaurant, so let me pick up where I left off….

The food in the Epicurian was superb! I will share pictures soon, they are on my phone, not my camera, but to start I went for the Salt and Pepper Oyster and Jumbo Prawn Tempura – I substituted the oysters though for an extra prawn and it was delicious. My main course was a 28-day Dry Aged Beef Sirloin served with triple cooked chips, another tasty dish! In between courses there were some interesting little treats, one being a raspberry lipstick. Would I recommend the Epicurian? Most definitely!

The following day (Monday) was another sea day and a chance in the afternoon to sample Eric Lanlard Afternoon Tea in the Epicurian. It was jam packed! It seemed everyone wanted to sample some of Eric’s wonderful creations and I was certainly one of them. Below is the serving that each table received.


There were sandwiches, cakes and scones. Let me relay some of the menu for you:

Scottish Smoked Salmon and Dill in a Lemon and Cracked Black Pepper Macaroon

Roast Beef Brioche with Horseradish, Crème Fraiche and Watercress

Dark Chocolate Tear Drop with Italian Amarena Cherries

Summer Berries and Meringue, Raspberry Mouse, Lychees Pearls and Fruit Coulis

Traditional and Lemon Scented Scones with Clotted Cream

It was very nice indeed and at just £15 per person I would highly recommend it. Of course, you can have afternoon tea in the buffet or main dining room also and at no cost, but this was something a little extra special.

I spent the rest of the day relaxing and reading, before it was time to decide where to go for the evening meal. I settled on The Beach House, which is very much like the one you will find on some of the other ships – Ventura for example. There is a £5 per person cover charge but again, I would recommend it! I went with the Coconut Crumbed Prawns to start and the Prawn Sizzler for main. They also serve steak on a stone here which is an extra £2.95.

On Tuesday we arrived in Gibraltar, it was pretty wet and miserable, but I was booked on the ‘Rock Revealed’ excursion so off I went, braving Mother Nature. I have visited Gibraltar several times but this was the first time I would experience the rock and as it poured all day I was glad I had an excursion. It was good, the caves were fascinating and incredibly beautiful and all of the monkeys I came across were very friendly, although we were told that the odd one likes to bite – a female in particular – but thankfully we left bite free and with all of our possessions.



Wednesday was spent at sea and my dining choice for the evening, The Glass House. The food was just……just perfect, it really was! The three sample plates were beyond tasty and the steak was cooked to absolute perfection! I’d also like to say the triple cooked chips were by far the best I have ever eaten.


Thursday brought our arrival in Barcelona. I have visited Barcelona several times and it is not one of my favourite places, however, I was booked on the ‘Catalan Cuisine with James Martin’ tour and I was secretly looking forward to it. Our tour began with a stop at Sagrada la Familia before we re-boarded our coach for the short journey to La Boqueria, where James took us around and explained all about the different fish, fruits and gave advice on some of the best things to buy in the market. After some brief free time we made our way to a Torre d’Alta Mar, a Michelin recommended restaurant where we were served a scrumptious three course lunch. I enjoyed the tour and the views across Barcelona were absolutely stunning. We managed to arrive back to the ship almost 30-minutes late – whoops! ;)



I will end my blog today by telling you that I am still very much in love with Britannia, I can’t find anything about her that is a MAJOR issue – I have only come across one or two little things that are a bit different and will take some getting used to. As an example, there is no mid-ship stairwell above Deck 7.

Today we are in Monte Carlo. I will check in with you all again soon……………….

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Meet The Cream Of British Crime Characters (And Me) On Saga Sapphire


A trio of top British character actors will be on board Saga Sapphire’s crime-themed cruise to the Baltic this May – and I will be joining them!

Philip Davis, Neil Stuke and Stephen Tompkinson will share the stories of their acting careers and reveal behind-the-scenes secrets of life in popular TV crime and police series.

There will also be a murder mystery evening onboard and a crime-story writing competition during the 16-night cruise.

I am very much looking forward to this adventure – the Baltic has proven itself to be one of my favourite cruise destinations and I am excited to get back and explore familiar ports, and one or two new ones! I am also looking forward to exploring a new ship! I hear good things about Saga Sapphire, so hopefully she keeps me smiling for the entire 16-nights!

Philip Davis

Phil Davis 29.05.2014

For some, Philip Davis will always be Chalky, the mod in the 1979 cult film Quadrophenia, or Whitechapel’s hard-bitten DS Miles, the man with a low tolerance of timewasters.

Philip, who was named by Daniel Day-Lewis as one of his greatest inspirations, has been a well-known face on British TV for four decades.

Before the cruise, guests can watch out for Philip in the new series of Poldark, in which he plays Ross’s lazy manservant Jud.

Stephen Tompkinson


Perhaps best known as Alan Banks in the ITV crime drama DCI Banks, which drew seven million viewers, Stephen will be joining a Question and Answer session on board Saga Sapphire.

There will be a chance to see film clips from his career. One of Stephen’s highlights was working with Dame Helen Mirren in the last series of Prime Suspect. He has also enjoyed comedy roles including Damien Day, the ambitious and unethical reporter, in Drop the Dead Donkey.

Stephen, a cricket fan, said if he wasn’t an actor he “wouldn’t mind travelling the world as a cricket commentator, enjoying endless summers”.

Neil Stuke


The twice BAFTA-nominated actor, who plays hard-as-nails Billy Lamb in the legal drama Silk, will be talking about his role in the popular series. He said: “You never know what Billy he is thinking, which is what I enjoy.”

Neil has starred in numerous crime series from Miss Marple, Midsomer Murders, The Bill, Silent Witness and A Touch of Frost, to name just a few.

The versatile actor has also has recently appeared in the London premiere of Bull at The Young Vic, a razor-sharp play about the fine line between office politics and playground bullying.

The Cruise

Saga Sapphire will be sailing for 16 nights, departing on May 6, 2015 from Southampton with ports of call at Ronne, Denmark; Stockholm, Sweden; Helsinki, Finland; St Petersburg (includes an overnight stay in port), Tallinn and Saaremma, Estonia; Riga, Latvia; Warnermunde, Germany; Ijmuiden, Holland.

You can view the itinerary in full on the Saga website.

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Britannia Maiden Voyage Blog – Part 1

So, here I am, aboard P&O Cruises Britannia on her Maiden Voyage and all I have to say so far is WHAT A SHIP SHE IS!

Let me start at the beginning and bring you up to where I am right now……………..

I arrived at the Ocean Terminal at roughly 1pm, breezed through priority check-in (I am Caribbean tier), through security and was then onboard all within around 25 minutes – it truly felt like I had never left.

I spent most of yesterday exploring the ship and unpacking. Although I had been onboard on Monday evening it hadn’t quite allowed enough time to see everything and I am still yet to discover every nook and cranny, but I will get there!

First of all I found my cabin, a standard inside on B Deck – B211 to be exact – and it is incredibly spacious. The décor is superb, best in the fleet by a mile. The bathroom is tasteful and features GLASS shower doors, NOT a white shower curtain in sight! Join me as we say thank you P&O Cruises, we love the glass doors! The shower also features a proper shelving section, where you can put more than one bottle at a time – another design tick – and the TV is three times the size of the ones on the other P&O ships, well, the ones I have seen anyway. Overall by far the nicest inside cabin I have ever had the pleasure of staying in. The balcony cabins are very nice too as are the mini-suites.


I also went on a Spa tour and WOW, what a space! The Spa is not my regular haunt, in fact I rarely haunt any, but the Spa on Britannia is out of this world – I also learned that there is more than one type of Sauna, so it was an education too. If you enjoy a little bit of pampering and relaxation then trust me, you are in for a real treat! Get your appointments booked ladies, and gentleman, if this is your ideal way of spending the day! Every treatment under the sun is available for body, face and hair.



After our Muster Drill at 5pm – with the new-fangled life jackets – it was time to find a spot on deck and enjoy the festivities as Britannia let go her lines and finally set sail on this, her Maiden Voyage. There were hundreds of people shore-side waving us off and a few other water craft followed alongside as we made our way out the Solent to the sound of fireworks – it was quite the spectacle and even though it was bitterly cold I think every passenger onboard braved it in one way or another. The atmosphere was incredible and once the deck party got going it was truly a sight to see! It looks great in the pictures, but I have video too – I will upload once back on terra firma.



Drinks in The Glass House followed, along with a peek at what others had ordered to eat. The food looked very nice indeed, I spotted the Tempura Prawns right away. I am sure I will sample the taste-bud delights in there before the cruise is over.

After a quick drink and chit chat I decided to retire for the night, I had a long journey from Newcastle to the port and was feeling rather tired – I have racked up some miles this week, that’s for sure!

This morning brought The Cookery Club and although not usually something I would do, I am glad I did as I thoroughly enjoyed it – finger cut and all! Yes, I can say that I was the only one in attendance that required a magic blue plaster!


There were roughly 14 of us taking part in the class and 4 chefs were there to assist. We were given some information on what we would be doing along with some quick safety tips and then told how it would all actually work. I have to say it was very good and very well organised. The theme was Best of British and on the menu for us to make were Cornish steak pasties and Welsh rarebit muffins with apple chutney – we also got to sample miniature Scotch eggs that were made by the chefs. They were delicious and several of us went back for more! They were made with quail’s eggs, so they were smaller than the average Scotch egg.

All the prep is done in advance so that passengers can get straight down to the actual creating and then cooking of the food. For anyone with dietary requirements they will alter the ingredients to suit, you just have to inform them at the time of booking. The class lasted approx. two and a half hours and half way through we grabbed a drink and a seat whilst the chefs prepared our stations for round two of cooking. The end of the class brought the best bit. The tasting! Although, you could wrap your food and take it away with you if you’d prefer. I would definitely recommend it! Like I say, it’s not something that I would usually do, but it was new and I did enjoy it. My attempts were not too bad either – considering I have never made pastry before!



I have spent some of the afternoon exploring a little more, I found the Grab and Go station which is pretty impressive! A nice selection of sandwiches, salads and sweets are available – you simply decide what you would like, pick it up and off you go – hence ‘Grab and Go’. I also checked out the shops. Ladies, brace yourselves! Actually, maybe I should have direct that one to the gentlemen!


Tonight I will be dining in the Epicurian Restaurant, Britannia’s fine dining experience. I am told there are more courses than your average dinner so I have settled with a sandwich for lunch – best not fill up too much! I may go and investigate the menu in a few minutes and see what is on offer.

I will check back in with you all again very soon, but so far, SO VERY, VERY GOOD!!!

Author: Danielle

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Independence Of The Seas To Return To Southampton

Independence of the Seas Vigo

Royal Caribbean announced today the return of Independence of the Seas, the UK’s most popular ship, to Southampton. She will be doing a selection of sailings from Southampton to Europe and the Mediterranean. Itineraries include an exciting selection of three to 14 nights sailings – including  three and four night mini breaks to Paris and Bruges, seven night cruise itineraries to France and Spain, and a number of 14 night breaks from Southampton to the Mediterranean with its wonderful beaches, historic cities and idyllic coastal towns.

Industry-acclaimed Harmony of the Seas, will mark the start of the 2016 summer season in Europe with sailings from Barcelona and Rome. The company’s third Oasis Class ship will offer a unique selection of seven night sailings – visiting ports such as Palma in Mallorca, Provence in France, Florence/Pisa/Naples. 

Also returning to the UK is Navigator of the Seas, having recently been through a £50 million pound makeover as part of Royal Caribbean’s extensive fleet-wide enhancement programme. Navigator of the Seas will offer British holidaymakers  a wide range of new sailings from Southampton, including six- to 14-night Norwegian Fjords, Baltic, Mediterranean or Canary Island itineraries.

Holidaymakers will be able to book from March an unforgettable cruise aboard eight of the most innovative cruise ships, sailing from six convenient European and UK destinations.

Brilliance of the Seas also will alternate 12-night Italian Mediterranean and Greek & Italian Mediterranean cruises.

Serenade of the Seas will sail seven-night Norwegian Fjords and seven- to 13-night Scandinavia and Russia itineraries, round-trip from Copenhagen, Denmark, in early summer and August, and from Stockholm, Sweden, in June and July.

Jewel of the Seas will alternate 10-night Greece & Adriatic and 11-night Greece, Turkey & Croatia itineraries from Venice, while Vision of the Seas will alternate seven-night Greek Isles and Greek Isles & Turkey cruises.

Rhapsody of the Seas will homeport at Rome (Civitavecchia) and sail nine-night Greek Isles cruises in early summer and autumn months. From late June through August, the ship will alternate seven-night Greek Isles and Greek & Turkey cruises. 

Info courtesy of Royal Caribbean International

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The Queen Names P&O Cruises Britannia – A Ceremony In Pictures

Yesterday, March 10th 2015, Her Majesty the Queen named the newest addition to the P&O Cruises fleet, Britannia!

I was incredibly lucky to receive an invitation to the naming ceremony as well as the Gala Dinner, which was held onboard the evening before, and I have to tell you that it was most certainly the highlight of my career thus far within the world of cruise. I was honoured to be there and to be part of not only British history, but P&O Cruises history.

I wanted to share some of that day with you! I snapped a few pictures (and borrowed two from P&O Cruises) and managed to record a brief video of Her Majesty the Queen naming Britannia – I hope you enjoy the selection and let me tell you that Britannia really is the Queen of the high seas, she is absolutely STUNNING!

Britannia – A Ceremony in Pictures

BritanniaNamingThere were people working throughout the night to ensure that everything ran without a hitch – this was taken during a brief moment of emptiness.


The stage was set, it was time for guests to take their seats!


Britannia herself was ready and waiting – she was about to officially be given her name.


Both ship and bottle were about to be united.


There were Food Heroes present………


……..and one or two celebs! Rob Brydon was very funny!


After several musical and other delights, Her Majesty the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh arrived – it was almost time for the moment that everyone had been waiting for!


The Queen names this ship Britannia and blesses all who sail in her before the bottle is released.


The bottle hits Britannia’s hull……….


……….smashes on impact…………..

P&O Cruises Britannia.

…….and the rest, as they say, is history!

I am joining Britannia on Saturday for her 2-week Maiden Voyage – follow along! You can join me on the following social channels:

FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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Discover More Of The World With Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines In 2016/17

Balmoral at sea

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines has announced that, in 2016/17, its fleet of four ships – Balmoral, Braemar, Boudicca and Black Watch – will be visiting no fewer than 253 destinations in 84 countries around the globe – more than ever before!

Fred. Olsen will be sailing from a total of ten convenient, regional UK departure ports in 2016/17 – Southampton, Dover, Harwich, Tilbury, Falmouth – a new addition – Liverpool, Newcastle, Rosyth (for Edinburgh), Greenock (for Glasgow) and Belfast.

The new 2016/17 cruise programme will also include a record 23 maiden calls:

Arendal (Norway), Baltimore (Maryland, USA), Fort William (Scotland, UK), Tasiilaq (Greenland), Pyramiden (Svalbard), Holy Loch (Scotland, UK), Laguna San Rafael (Chile), Isla de San Andrés (Colombia), Gloucester (Massachusetts, USA), Klaksvik (Faroe Islands), Charlotte Amalie (St. Thomas, United States Virgin Islands), Falmouth (Jamaica), Banana Coast (Trujillo, Honduras), Tampa (Florida, US), Rosslare (Ireland), Aabenraa (Denmark), Rovinj (Croatia). In addition, there will be six ‘mystery’ maiden calls, which will only be revealed to those guests who book a place on Fred. Olsen’s first-ever ‘Maiden Call Mystery Cruise’.

The 2016/17 season will also see Fred. Olsen’s 1,350-guest flagship, Balmoral, sail from Newcastle for the first time ever, with a record 11 departures, representing a 45% increase in capacity from the port. Departures include: a five-night ‘Norwegian Festival & Fjords’ cruise, visiting Bergen during the ‘International Festival‘; a 10-night ‘UK Castles’ sailing, offering guests the chance to visit Balmoral and Braemar Castles, both of which lend their names to Fred. Olsen ships; and an 11-night ‘Spain, Portugal & Guernsey’ cruise.

Boudicca will also be cruising from the port of Falmouth for the first time in 2016/17 – offering guests in the South West of the UK a 12-night ‘Canaries & Portugal Spring Break’ (18+ only) and a ten-night ‘Land’s End to John O’Groats’ voyage.

The port of Liverpool will see a total of 15 cruise calls from Boudicca, including a 16-night ‘Rugged & Rural Canada’ journey and an 18-night ‘Canaries Christmas & Funchal Fireworks’ sailing.

Fred. Olsen will also offer a 50% increase in sailings from Tilbury on Black Watch, and six cruises on Black Watch from Rosyth (Edinburgh) in 2016/17, including a nine-night ‘A Taste of Iceland’ cruise and a 13-night ‘Scandinavian Capitals & St. Petersburg’ sailing.

Black Watch and Boudicca will be embarking on two epic ‘Grand Voyages’ in January 2017, visiting a total of 67 ports in 38 countries between them. Black Watch will be taking in the exotic destinations of Hanga Roa (Easter Island), Bora Bora, in French Polynesia, and three stops in New Zealand – Auckland, Tauranga and Wellington – on a 107-night ‘Around the World’ cruise. Boudicca will be offering a 77-night ‘South American Discovery’, which includes stops in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires, in Argentina, as well a cruise of the Chilean fjords and a maiden call at Laguna San Rafael.

In all, the 2016/17 season for Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines looks incredibly exciting – I have to admit, Balmoral being based in Newcastle is great news and I will look forward to paying her a visit when she is in Port of Tyne.

Info courtesy of Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines.

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Cruiseable: A Better Way To Discover Cruising!


For the past year I have been collaborating with a team of people on a new start-up called Cruiseable, it has been a lot of fun and now I can finally share it with all of you!

Co-founder/CEO J.D. Lasica is here to explain what it is all about.

A few days ago, after a year of development, we took the wrapping off of Cruiseable. –  a new service that helps you discover, plan and book a cruise vacation that’s perfect for you.

For too long, the cruise sector has been in a bit of a time warp. While airlines and hotels have kept pace with innovations in digital, social and mobile, there’s still not an easy, fun way to find and book great cruise vacations – or to figure out the best things to see and do when you arrive at your destinations.

Enter Cruiseable. We’re both a travel company and cruise travel publication that fills a big void in the cruise space by offering rich visuals, great travel journalism and authentic experiences from fellow travelers.


Here’s what CruiseMiss readers will find on Cruiseable:

Cruise discovery: Cruiseable lets you browse through thousands of beautiful images of ships and destinations — accompanied by trustworthy travel journalism instead of marketing hype. (Cunard, MSC Cruises, Costa Cruises, Hurtigruten and Tauck are among the European brands included.)

Technology: The website’s filters atop any page help you zero in on the cruise that fits your style and budget. Search for cruises that are best for a romantic escape, a cultural immersion or a fun outing with the family.

Photo sharing: Our team downloaded, organized and optimized more than 10,000 photos from the cruise lines and tourism organizations — and made them available to travelers to use or share through the Cruiseable Galleria. Any traveler can add his or her own images to the mix.

Travel guides: Our travel writers and editors have put together hundreds of travel guides, port guides, ship reviews and overviews. Check out all of our guides, including the CruiseMiss guide to the Canary Islands.

Visual Lists. Our innovative Visual Lists let people share their cruise and travel experiences through photos and text.


Readers of Cruise miss can use this discount code — XH784 — for a $50 per stateroom onboard credit (the equivalent of shipboard spending money) for any cruise or land vacation booked on Cruiseable between now and March 17.

Even if you’re not planning a cruise, we think you’ll love to browse and share the thousands of incredible images on Cruiseable with your family and on your social media networks.

Come and say hello! Follow Cruiseable on Facebook and Twitter

Author: J.D. Lasica CEO & co-founder of Cruiseable.

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Her Majesty The Queen To Name P&O Cruises Britannia


I think we all knew it was coming, but today P&O Cruises has finally announced that Her Majesty The Queen, accompanied by His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh, will name the new P&O Cruises vessel Britannia at Ocean Terminal, Southampton, SO14 3QN, on Tuesday March 10, 2015.

The naming will be a milestone in British maritime history and will be an event of great national interest.

The biggest ship designed exclusively for Britain, Britannia is P&O Cruises’ latest “modern classic”, heralding a new era of holiday choice. Chief amongst her features are her restaurants, bars and cafes, with menus and culinary experiences created by P&O Cruises’ ‘Food Heroes'; James Martin, Marco Pierre White, Atul Kochhar, Eric Lanlard, wine expert Olly Smith and cheese expert Charlie Turnbull. In the new Cookery Club, a 24 person state-of-the-art cookery school, these celebrity chefs and experts will demonstrate their culinary skills, and will be joined throughout this year by other famous chefs including Mary Berry CBE, Pierre Koffmann, Paul Rankin and Commendatore Antonio Carluccio OBE.

The new Epicurean restaurant is a multi-sensory cooking experience with touches of molecular gastronomy to complement the more traditional dishes, while the Limelight Club will combine a supper club with contemporary entertainment.  Britannia’s bar highlights include the Great British Gin Menu with 20 artisan gins in the Crow’s Nest cocktail lounge and the Great British Beer Menu with 70 UK bottled beers, ales and ciders in Brodie’s pub.

Britannia’s most outstanding design statement is reserved for her three-deck high atrium with illuminating Star Burst sculpture, and she also provides the largest British spa at sea, a state-of-the-art theatre with LED wall, four pools, gym, and a multi million pound art collection including a specially commissioned representation of the “Spirit of Modern Britain” from artist Johnny Bull.

P&O Cruises will also uphold its celebration of all things British by selecting sparkling wine from the Wiston Estate Winery in Sussex for the bottle smash moment at the naming ceremony. A nebuchadnezzar of the quintessentially British Brut NV will be used for the ceremony itself while thousands of bottles of Brut NV and Rosé Vintage 2011 will be enjoyed during the various inaugural events that are scheduled to take place around the launch.

Previous Royal Launches

  • HRH The Duchess of York (later HM Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother) launched Strathmore on April 4, 1935.
  • HRH Princess Alexandra launched the first Oriana on November 3, 1959.
  • HM The Queen named the second Oriana on April 6, 1995.
  • HRH The Princess Royal named Aurora on April 27, 2000.
  • HRH The Princess Royal and her daughter Miss Zara Phillips named Oceana and Adonia on May 21, 2003.


There have been two previous Britannias in P&O history. The first entered service in 1835 for P&O’s predecessor company, The General Steam Navigation Co. To celebrate the Golden Jubilee of both Queen Victoria and P&O itself, the company built the Jubilee Class of ships which consisted of the largest and grandest steamers (6,000 tons): Victoria, Britannia, Arcadia and Oceana. This second Britannia entered service in 1887 and was built in Greenock. The Jubilee class ships carried 250 first-class passengers and 160 second-class passengers and had a cargo capacity of approximately 4,000 tons. Winston Churchill sailed on Britannia in 1888 to Bombay with his hussar regiment before going on to fight on the North West Frontier.

There are just a few days until Britannia reaches the UK for the very first time – I am incredibly excited to be a part of this incredible event!

Info courtesy of P&O Cruises

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Posted in Cruise News, p&o cruises

Getting To Know P&O Cruises Britannia


As you are all probably aware by now, on February 22nd, P&O Cruises officially took ownership of Britannia. The traditional ceremony included the exchange of flags, in which the shipyard flag is taken down and the P&O Cruises flag is flown. Britannia’s Captain Paul Brown was also presented with the first water to touch the hull of Britannia during the official float out ceremony.

Guests at the handover ceremony included some of P&O Cruises Food Heroes; TV wine expert Olly Smith who is represented in The Glass House wine bar and restaurant as well as master patissier Eric Lanlard and cheese expert Charlie Turnbull who are represented in The Market Cafe and Epicurean fine dining restaurant.

I am told it was quite the event, but the REAL fun is yet to come. In just 17-days time, yes, SEVENTEEN, Britannia will let go her lines and sail from Southampton on what can only be described as one the most highly anticipated cruises of 2015 (and of my entire cruising history thus far!), and as there are less than 3-weeks to go until the big event, I thought now would be a good time for us all to get to know P&O Cruises Britannia a little more – prepare for stats and pictures Britannia lovers! :)


Britannia Statistics

141,000 tons
3,647 passengers (lower berths)
1,350 crew
15 passenger decks
13 bars
13 places to eat
Nine places to enjoy entertainment – including a 936-seat state of the art theatre
Four pools
Three-tier feature atrium
£1m+ art collection
Extensive children’s facilities, including four age group areas, a night nursery and outdoor splash area for teens
Sports arena
1,837 cabins – all outside cabins have a balcony
64 suites
1,313 balcony cabins – including 15 single balcony cabins
460 inside cabins – including 12 single inside cabins
Oasis Spa & The Retreat
Extensive gym
Extensive shops – the largest in the fleet at 660 sqm (17% bigger than Azura/Ventura


Blue Bar Room


Superior Deluxe Cabin


Britannia will leave Fincantieri shipyard at the end of this week and arrive in Southampton on Friday March 6. She will be officially named on Tuesday March 10 before her maiden voyage to the Mediterranean on Saturday March 14.

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Posted in Cruise News, P&O Cruises
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