Revealed: A P&O Cruises Christmas

As Head Chef of Azura, Nevil Heredia has to prepare over 4200 Christmas dinners. Despite this, he still looks forward to the festive period. 'I get very excited around Christmas. On board, it's really fun: we devise different menus, the ship is decorated beautifully and the mood is buoyant,' he says.

While Christmas day itself is particularly hectic, there are perks. 'After the passengers' lunch has been served, all the crew sit down together for a festive lunch of their own served by the officers,' says Nevil.

Thankfully, it's one of the many joys of yuletide cruising that passengers don't have to worry about basting a turkey or scrubbing a roasting tin come Christmas day. With the ship's crew to hand, they can focus on spending the festive season exactly how they want without having to sacrifice the Christmas traditions they do enjoy. 

A Christmas countdown to remember

P&O Cruises know how to set a festive scene, so every ship undergoes a thorough makeover of pine-scented garlands, glittering wreaths and a showstopping feature Christmas tree in the atrium. It's the perfect backdrop for a host of festive events that will keep every member of the family entertained, including carol concerts, nativity plays, military-style bands and festive-themed cabaret and theatre shows.

Capturing the imagination 

Nobody finds Christmas as magical as children, which is why every ship is transformed into a winter wonderland worthy of their imaginations. With regular Christmas-themed arts and crafts sessions, kids can create their own cards, stockings and gingerbread decorations while parents nip off to do some much-needed Christmas shopping. At the end of the day, families can snuggle up in their cabins or at one of the onboard cinema screens to watch a classic Christmas film.

When it comes to the important matter of presents, children can rest assured that their lists will make it to Father Christmas on time by posting them in his dedicated post box before meeting the big man in person at his onboard grotto. Parents can even arrange to have a personalised letter delivered directly to their cabin from Father Christmas.

Christmas day at sea

From sipping mulled wine by starlight to listening to the Captain read an excerpt from 'The Night Before Christmas', there are a number of ways to spend those final exciting hours of Christmas Eve. Children will particularly love Father Christmas's annual visit to the ship where he scales the funnels on top deck. Of course, passengers are welcome to attend a traditional Midnight Mass ceremony along with a host of other key religious services. 

The next daythe ship really springs to life as everyone throngs to the main dining hall for a traditional Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, including table decorations, crackers and festive menu covers. In the afternoon, join the ship's carolers in the main atrium or take in a festive show at the theatre. The day is yours to spend as you wish, and at the end each guest will receive a personalised gift from the captain as well as a Christmas-themed chocolate on their pillow.  

Celebrating the New Year

The festivities don't end there. Rising to the occasion is what P&O Cruises does best, so there's no better place to see in the New Year than aboard one of our ships. Passengers craft their own evening, whether that means indulging in an excellent dinner at a speciality restaurant or raising a Champagne toast to the New Year on the top deck. Wherever you are in the world, the comfort of your cabin is just a short journey away.




November, 2014

Artist takes to the high seas

Weybridge artist Claire Burke has been commissioned to contribute to Britannia's exclusive on board art collection.

The Cornwall-born artist will provide seven gold-coloured reliefs to be installed in wine expert Olly Smith's The Glass House, which will serve an exclusive list of tipples specially selected by the sommelier himself. 

Having studied at Central St. Martins, Claire's abstract art has featured alongside the likes of Damien Hirst, Sam Taylor Wood and Banksy. Using overlapping silver and gold leaf, Burke hopes to contribute to the laidback and luxurious feel of the ship by drawing on themes of horizon and landscape.

'I hope to achieve a subtle, discreet sense of presence that creates a calm, meditative relationship with the audience,' says Burke. 

With all seven pieces to be supplied by March 2015, it's her biggest commission to date. Nevertheless, Burke is looking forward to reaching even more people through her art. 'This is a big commitment, but it is almost like working towards a solo exhibition, where a number of works need to be made at once,' she said. 

Burke's pieces will contribute to an 8000-strong collection, making it the most valuable moveable art exhibition in the industry.  

October, 2014

Britannia revs to life

Construction on P&O Cruises newest ship Britannia took an exciting leap forward this September as the BBC's Formula One host, Suzi Perry, revved her engines to life at a grand unveiling in Italy. 

It's the first time all four engines have been started on the water at Fincantieri Shipyard in Monfalcone, where the team have been working tirelessly to get Britannia ready for her debut cruise around the Iberian coast in March 2015. 

Perry had been hosting the Italian leg of the Grand Prix when she jetted over to the shipyard near Trieste on 8 September to hit the ignition. Britannia's four super engines create an incredible 62,400 kilowatts of power, which is equivalent to 84 Bugatti Veyrons. Travelling at a speed of 22 knots, P&O Cruises biggest ship will cover between 24 and 27 miles per hour.

After the grand event, Perry was taken on an exclusive tour of the ship's two engine rooms with Captain Paul Brown. Just two days previously, Carnival Corp & PLC chairman Micky Arison and Carnival UK CEO David Dingle toured the ship and admired the groundbreaking 94m Union Jack flag painted on its hull. 

Speaking in February 2014, Dingle commented that Britannia was committed to forging a modern standard for cruising, one that celebrated the things that make Britain great now rather than the nostalgic cruising traditions of the past. 

Britannia will set sail for Southampton in February 2015 just weeks before the first guests embark. 

Britannia Tour

Photo Credit: James Morgan

October, 2014

Discover the new-look Our World magazine

The latest issue of Our World magazine has undergone a revamp. A new season calls for a new outlook, and that's something we've aimed to do with over 60 pages of refreshed features, news and interviews to give you some inspiration and expert insight into the itineraries and destinations available this autumn and beyond.  

From the exhilarating natural beauty of the Norwegian Fjords to once-in-a-lifetime adventures around the world, we're still covering the most sought-after P&O Cruises destinations. Plus, our brand new Take Me There pages put you on the inside track, courtesy of the passengers who've already been there.

Elsewhere, we take a look behind the scenes of the P&O Cruises fleet, shining a spotlight on the people who strive to make your holiday an unforgettable experience. This issue we meet Kunal Ghai, the mixologist shaking things behind the bar on Aurora. 

The result, we hope, is an eye-catching magazine that inspires readers with unique ideas and essential travel tips.

What do you make of the latest changes to Our World? We want to hear your opinions on the latest issue, so please do take a few moments to fill in our questionnaire here

To say thank you, we're offering the chance to win a Kobo Mini eReader. This super light weight device is a cruise essential that can store all your favourite books and slip easily into your pocket or handbag.

So for your chance to win, read Our World and let us know what you think. 

Happy reading!

October, 2014

See the 2015 total solar eclipse on Oriana

Following a large number of customer enquiries, P&O Cruises has adjusted Oriana’s schedule to allow her to be present in Torshavn on 20 March 2015 when the Faroe Islands will become one of the world’s best locations from which to witness the sun’s total blackout, which will last for two minutes and 22 seconds. The Faroe Islands eclipse will be the last total solar eclipse to be visible in Europe until 12 August 2026.

A total solar eclipse happens when the moon blocks out the sun completely, forming a shadow on the earth. For this to occur the sun, moon and the earth must form a straight line in their orbits.

In a total solar eclipse you will be able to see one of nature’s most amazing sights, Baily’s Beads, a phenomenon that occurs when the moon appears to graze the sun and flares of light shines through in some places and not others. When one ‘bead’ is left, a diamond ring shape is created. When the shadow of the moon totally covers the sun, this is known as totality and the sun’s atmosphere can be seen as a faint halo. Once the moon moves away from the sun again, onlookers will be able to see Baily’s Beads once more before the sun resurfaces.

Following the morning’s eclipse, the Faroe Islands are preparing an island-wide celebration of local culture, food and drink.

Passengers on board Oriana might just be lucky enough to see the elusive, magical (and highly sought-after) Aurora Borealis with a stop in Alta a few days later. Home to the world’s first Northern Lights observatory, the Norwegian town offers a fantastic insight into this incredible phenomena. 

Visit the Faroe Islands and view the total solar eclipse on board Oriana on a 14-night cruise departing 17 March 2015 

August, 2014