P&O’s new 3,600 passenger ship, Britannia, has been unveiled at the handover ceremony in Trieste


At an impressive handover ceremony in Trieste on Sunday, P&O Cruises celebrated the biggest addition to its fleet – Britannia.

The official event saw P&O take delivery of its new 3,600 passenger ship from Italian builders Fincantieri, with those in attendance finally getting a look into the 520million euros vessel before it is officially christened in Southampton on 10 March 2015.

Three of the ship’s “food heroes” – royal patissier Eric Lanlard, wine expert Olly Smith and master cheese-maker Charlie Turnbull – got to explore the Cookery School room where they will teach classes and hold tastings on selected sailings, as will TV chef James Martin.

The final instalment of the £473m Britannia was actually 5pc cheaper than expected because of the strength of sterling against the euro. In order to make the new ship, the designers travelled on all of P&O’s fleet, talking to 20,000 people, including passengers, to find out exactly what their dream cruise ship would be.

The interior was designed by Richmond International, specialists in hotel interiors and features a large atrium in the middle of the ship with an intricate ‘Star Burst’ chandelier sculpture. The floors are made of marble in a palette of cream, coffee and chocolate brown and Art Deco motifs in wall panels and doors give the ship a classic but contemporary feel, echoed in its boutique-style staterooms, which are decorated in calming colours with bespoke British artwork as well as large flat-screen TVs.

“The reason we used a hotel interior designer was to get away from the usual cruise ship look,” said P&O Cruises CEO David Noyes.

The Retreat, Britannia‘s al fresco spa terrace, has cabanas for relaxing while the Live Lounge offers live bands, singers and tribute acts, all easily turned into a nightclub once the entertainment is over. And the much-anticipated Oasis Spa, featuring serene and plush dark wood decor, offers a menu including Elemis treatments.

Britannia‘s livery also features the largest Union Flag in the world painted on its bow and is likely to cause quite a stir when it descends upon Southampton in two weeks.

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