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