(1:50 p.m. GMT) — P&O Cruises’ flagship Britannia will return to Southampton this Friday (March 25th) — just over a year after the ship was named at the UK port by HM The Queen.
Launched on March 10, 2015, the ship was named by Queen Elizabeth II before departing on its maiden voyage on March 14 following a week of inaugural celebrations.
Britannia has been based in Barbados offering Caribbean itineraries throughout winter 2015/16. Following its return to the UK, the ship will be offering a series of short-break itineraries to Northern Europe, adding longer voyages to the Mediterranean throughout the summer. A return to the Caribbean is then planned when St Lucia becomes the vessel’s homeport for its 2016/17 winter deployment.
While P&O Cruises has already linked up with celeb-chefs for their Cookery Club school, the ship will also act as the backdrop to the first celebrity-led TV cooking contest at sea, Battlechefs, from April 4. Furthermore, on April 2 Britannia will be the setting for another first when it hosts Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway live from the top deck.
Christopher Edgington, P&O Cruises Vice President of Marketing, commented: “Britannia is a ship for the nation, is the embodiment of contemporary design and is a ship of milestones including the Cookery Club, Star Burst sculpture, Battlechefs, Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway live show and much more! I’m excited to see what her next year of service will bring.”
The largest ship in the P&O fleet — and the biggest built for the UK market — Britannia carries 3,647 passengers and weighs in at 141,000 tons. Sailing over 90,000 nautical miles during 43 cruises, the ship has visited 31 countries, 61 different ports and hosted more than 116,900 passengers. During its first 12 months it has hosted 110 black tie nights, 730 theatre performances and served 94,457 meals across three of its fine dining establishments. Just over 1.3 million chocolates have been left on pillows at turndown, and guests have consumed 292,000 scones, 375,000 gin and tonics and 2.8 million cups of tea — in perfect keeping with the ship’s British heritage.
Battlechefs will be broadcast every weekday at 7 p.m. (GMT) from Monday April 4, 2016 on UKTV’s W for 10 weeks; Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway goes out live at 8:30 p.m. (GMT) on April 2.