A great escape

As the UK operating company for P&O Cruises and Cunard, Southampton headquartered Carnival UK is part of the leading global cruise company, Carnival Corporation & plc and provides world-class cruise holidays. Passionate about delivering exceptional experiences to guests, Carnival UK’s two brands derive their differentiation from British heritage but each is distinctive in its own right, with P&O Cruises holding the crown as Britain’s cruise line of choice.

P&O Cruises provides a holiday experience in step with the Britain of today reflecting topical tastes in food, service and entertainment. It is more than just a holiday, offering guests the chance to experience ‘this is the life’ moments. Cunard, meanwhile, epitomises luxury on a grand scale with its legendary transatlantic heritage. It too offers a quintessentially British experience but it’s delivered with a worldly sophistication for its international audience and promotes a theme of elegance, style and tradition.

All the vessels operated under both brands deliver extremely high quality accommodations and facilities; one of the standout vessels in the fleet is Cunard’s globally renowned, 1968 passenger Queen Mary 2. Cunard’s flagship vessel is a magnificent ocean liner, offering a vast amount of space on board and state-of-the-art facilities such as a 3D cinema, planetarium and spa. This spring/summer, it is being remastered to deliver a new look and levels of luxury. This major refurbishment includes elegant suites and staterooms, new restaurants and a re-imagined Grills experience.

While the magnificence of the Queen Mary 2 cannot be underestimated, there is now a new vessel in the P&O Cruises fleet, which is bringing a new level of high quality dining and entertainment options to the brand. Ordered in 2011, Britannia was built by Fincantieri at its shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, and officially began operations in March 2015. At 143,000 tonnes, she is the biggest ship built exclusively for Britain and has just celebrated one year in the P&O Cruises’ fleet. During the maiden year, Britannia has played host to more than 116,900 guests, over 43 cruises and sailed 88,000 nautical miles, travelling to 31 countries and visiting 61 different ports. Featuring a 308 foot Union Jack flag on her bow, the largest of its kind in the world, Britannia’s name has a historical importance to P&O Cruises, which has had two previous ships with the same name connected to it. The first of which entered service in 1835 for the General Steam Navigation Company, while the second, which entered service in 1887, was one of four ships ordered by the company to mark the golden jubilee of both Queen Victoria and P&O Cruises.

Britannia offers guests the luxury of a five-star hotel, with the excitement of cruising to new and different destinations. The dining options are also of major appeal, with the cream of UK culinary talent having input onboard via the brand’s ‘Food Heroes’ – these include James Martin, Marco Pierre White, Atul Kochhar, Eric Lanlard, wine expert Olly Smith and cheese expert Charlie Turnbull. These celebrity chefs and experts are represented in the restaurants, menus, bars, the new Market Café and Cookery Club, a 24-person state-of-the-art cookery school. Furthermore, the Food Heroes will also be travelling on board cruises in 2016, thus giving P&O Cruises guests a real opportunity to get up close and personal to the stars.

Food Hero cruises offer cookery classes, hosted dinners, Q&A sessions and book signings. Additionally, celebrity chef Marco Pierre White will be overseeing celebrities as they battle it out this year with some good-hearted cooking rivalry on Britannia for TV cookery programme Battlechefs.

Other highlights of Britannia include an impressive atrium with illuminating star burst sculpture, a spa, a Great British Gin Menu with 20 artisan gins in the Crow’s Nest and Great British Beer Menu with 70 UK bottled beers, ales and ciders in Brodie’s Bar, as well as a state-of-the-art theatre with LED wall, four pools, gym and a multi-million-pound art collection. Viewed as a game changer, not just for P&O Cruises but for the cruise industry as a whole, Britannia is stylish, elegant and contemporary, as Christopher Edgington, vice president of marketing at P&O Cruises discussed with Shipping & Marine in June 2015: “She celebrates the very best of British talent – whether that is the design of the cabins or three-tier atrium, the art collection on board, the food and restaurant choices, the best British chefs or world-class entertainment, it’s all in the detail.”

Britannia is also the most fuel efficient ship in the P&O Cruises fleet, designed to deliver much greater levels of environmental efficiency. The ship can produce 1500 tonnes per day of drinkable water from seawater using waste heat from the ship’s diesel generators. Two of the ship’s four engines are each fitted with an exhaust gas cleaning system, to remove oxides of sulphur from the gas stream. The ship is fully compliant with requirements of the emission control areas (ECAs) in which controls on exhaust gas emissions are particularly stringent.

Following the major success of Britannia, Carnival made an announcement in March last year that it has ordered a total of nine cruise ships, five from Fincantieri and four from Meyer Werft. These new ships are anticipated to be delivered during the four-year period between 2019 and 2022, with Fincantieri building five of the vessels at its shipyards in Monfalcone and Marghera in Italy; Meyer Werft, meanwhile, will be constructing the remaining four ships at both its German yard in Papenberg as well as its new Finnish yard in Turku. In June 2015 it was announced that two of the vessels being built by Meyer Werft will be for AIDA Cruises, while the remaining two will be for Costa Cruises.

As new build vessels such as Britannia become increasingly bigger in capacity, P&O Cruises and Cunard both anticipate a 25 per cent increase in guest volume at ABP Southampton over the next two years. In line with this expected growth, the Queen Elizabeth II cruise terminal, which is often home to Cunard’s fleet, has been redeveloped and re-opened in February 2016. The more than £5 million worth of refurbishments at QEII included the installation of a state-of-the-art ship-to- shore walkway, which will ensure a broader range of cruise ships can now use the terminal, while also enhancing passenger flow and experience. This investment by ABP Southampton coincides with its goal of delivering multi-million pound refurbishments at all four of the port’s cruise terminals, which will enable it to cater for the world’s largest cruise vessels.

With congestion reduced and guest numbers certain to increase, P&O Cruises and Cunard will continue to cruise along nicely as they provide guests with luxury, adventure and culinary delights, all aboard its state-of- the-art vessels.

P&O Cruises/Cunard
Brands owned by Carnival UK, part of Carnival Corporation & plc

Offer formal and relaxed cruise options

Carnival Corporation & plc has ordered nine cruise ships to be delivered between 2019 and 2022