Experience Britain’s first cookery school at sea

Bookings are now open for The Cookery Club on the new P&O Cruises ship Britannia. Run in consultation with top TV chef James Martin, the series of interactive classes is a unique opportunity to learn from one of the best in the business, with sessions inspired by James’s favourite dishes and by the various destinations on Britannia’s voyage. Classes start at £45 per person (up to £100 for a hosted dinner), and passengers with holiday bookings can reserve places around three months before their departure through the P&O Cruise Personaliser site.

James will be travelling on the following cruises:

Please note that bookings close three days prior to departure.

Afternoon tea time
Make time to indulge in master pâtissier Eric Lanlard’s signature afternoon tea. With such delicacies as edible Earl Grey perfumes, savoury gruyère cheese éclairs, rocket and red onion marmalade and exotic pop cones topped with orange blossom Persian candyfloss, Eric’s unique twist on this humble British tradition elevates it into something utterly decadent. Afternoon tea is served at 3.30pm and passengers can book a table for up to six people. The price is £15 per person.

Eric will be travelling on the following cruises:

Please note that bookings close three days prior to departure.

For the grownups
Reigniting the tradition of the supper club, The Limelight Club is an adults-only venue where passengers can enjoy a lively evening of great food and entertainment in the company of some exclusive performers. Dinner starts at £22 per person and passengers can book a table for up to six people.

January, 2015

Star lineup for Strictly Come Dancing Themed Cruises

The Strictly stars shimmying on board this year will include professional dancers Pasha Kovalev, Kevin Clifton, Karen Hauer and Kristina Rihanoff, as well as a Strictly judge and special celebrity guest. On each cruise, four Strictly dancers will wow passengers with official Strictly Come Dancing performances, produced by BBC Worldwide Ltd, as well as taking part in up close and personal interviews, photo opportunities and signing sessions. There will also be regular dance classes, where passengers can learn a move or two from the experts and even enter a dance competition, with the grand finale performances taking place in the main theatre, moderated by the Strictly judge and celebrity guest.

And for passengers with a soft spot for sequins, a stunning selection of costumes from the television show will be on display around the ship, with organised fashion events to showcase them at their very best. These items will even be available to buy – a must-have for anyone who feels their wardrobe lacks a little sparkle.

Click here to find out more.

Strictly Come Dancing Themed Cruises for 2015:
A 14-night cruise to Portugal, Gibraltar & Spain on Aurora departing 23 April 2015
Strictly stars: Janette Manrara and Aljaž Škorjanec, Ian Waite and Natalie Lowe
Judge: Craig Revel Horwood
Early Saver prices from £1,029 per person 

A 14-night cruise to Portugal, Monaco & Italy on Ventura departing 28 May 2015
Strictly stars: Iveta Lukošiūtė and Tristan MacManus, Kevin Clifton and Karen Hauer
Judge: Craig Revel Horwood
Early Saver prices from £1,129 per person

A 14-night cruise to Scandinavia, Russia & Estonia on Azura departing 20 June 2015
Strictly stars: Robin Windsor and Kristina Rihanoff, Pasha Kovalev and Anya Garnis
Judge: TBC
Early Saver prices from £1,229 per person 

A 14-night cruise to the Canary Islands & Iberia on Britannia departing 25 July 2015
Strictly stars: Janette Manrara and Aljaž Škorjanec, Kevin Clifton and Karen Hauer
Acting judge: Artem Chigvintsev
Select Prices from £1,799 per person

To book a Strictly Come Dancing Themed Cruises, contact P&O Cruises on 0843 374 0111, go to www.pocruises.com or visit your local travel agent.

January, 2015

A wine tasting exclusive for P&O Cruises passengers

Last month the top 150 members of our most esteemed tier – The Ligurian Tier – came from all over the UK to enjoy a pre-yuletide treat as they were invited to sample the wine set to launch Britannia during her inauguration ceremony. The event was hosted in the idyllic grounds of the Wiston Estate Winery in West Sussex, where its sparkling Brut NV is made. P&O Cruises food hero Olly Smith, who chose the estate to feature in the onboard wine list, joined the 150 invitees for the exclusive tasting. 

"It's one of my favourite examples of English sparkling wine," said Smith. "But also it shares common values with P&O Cruises. It's a very modern enterprise – the vines were only planted recently – but on an estate that has amazing heritage. So for me it was the perfect bedfellow."

In a refreshing break with tradition, P&O Cruises opted to use a homegrown label to name Britannia instead of the usual bottle of Champagne. "Britannia is the embodiment of all that's good about Great Britain, so it's fitting that she should be christened with an English sparkling wine," said Captain Paul Brown, who will be taking the helm of the ship next year.

The inaugural ceremony will take place in March 2015 where a Nebuchadnezzar – a bottle containing twenty normal 75 cl bottles of wine – will be smashed against Britannia's hull for good luck. It's a great honour for such a young label to be chosen for the time-honoured tradition. Despite having owned and managed the Wiston Estate since 1743, it wasn't until 2006 that the Goring family decided to transform their former turkey holding into a winery. Since then, the deliciously sparkling wine has proved to be a great success. The family joined guests at the event to celebrate their latest partnership with P&O Cruises.

Speaking about the day, one guest said: "What an excellently organised and most enjoyable event in a superb venue. We met so many old friends from our past 30 years of sailing with P&O Cruises. It was a truly memorable day."

For a full list of the wines available on board Britannia, see here

Watch a video of the event below


December, 2014

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