P&O Cruises unveils its new ‘Britannia’ cruise ship

P&O Cruises has unveiled the UK’s biggest-ever cruise ship, named Britannia in honour of the brand’s strong British heritage, according to reports in the Telegraph and Independent.

The eighth ship in the P&O fleet, the £500 million-build vessel will begin sailing in March 2015, with Paul Brown as the ship’s captain.

According to the cruise line, Britannia will ‘capture both the contemporary spirit of P&O Cruises and the spirit of Britain today.’

David Dingle, the chief executive officer for P&O Cruises and Carnival UK, said: ‘Britannia is a most fitting name for the newest addition to P&O Cruises, which, with its long and famous heritage, remains Britain’s favourite cruise line. Today’s Britain is a place of increasing style and sophistication, optimism and excitement. Britannia will reflect that feeling and will mark a new era of growth and success for the cruise industry.’

The new ship will feature 13 Bars, 13 restaurants and cafes, 15 passenger decks and four swimming pools. Britannia will also feature a newly designed hull that is expected to reduce fuel consumption by up to 20 percent.

‘The ship will be our greenest yet and will be designed to deliver much greater levels of operational and environmental efficiency,’ said Dingle, adding: ‘The ship will incorporate the ‘best of the best’ from previous builds including the popular front-facing Crow’s Nest bar and more outlets echoing the popular Glass House concept [on board the luxury liner Azura].’

The 1,082ft long ship, weighing 141,000 tonnes, will sail in and out of Southampton and cruise the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, occasionally cross the Atlantic and visit the Caribbean in winter. The full itinerary is yet to be decided.

The 3,600-passenger ship will increase the cruise line’s capacity by 24 percent, representing a further expansion to the P&O Cruises portfolio. ‘In the grand scheme of things cruise is still a fledgling sector and accounts for a very small portion of the global holiday market,’ Dingle said, adding: ‘I am confident we will fill all eight ships.’