A Breathtaking Itinerary
Just over a year ago, I was asked to travel in P & O Britannia on her maiden voyage, which was an amazing experience; so when I was invited back on this beautiful ship, with an offer to travel on a two-week Gastronomic Mediterranean Cruise with P & O Britannia again, I was over the moon! This time I was joining Britannia at Southampton for the full two-week cruise experience, with a friend……and the itinerary I was sent prior to me embarking was breathtaking, with stops at Cadiz, Barcelona, Monte Carlo, Civitavecchia near Rome, Naples, Cartagena and Vigo, the cruise was the perfect way to explore the Mediterranean with ease and in comfort.
There are too many wonderful meals and activities to share with you today in one post, so this is a preliminary “overview” post to tell you what my itinerary comprised, as well as share some photos with you and highlight future posts for you to bookmark. Along with Amanda, my lucky “plus one” guest and Binny from Binny’s Kitchen and her husband, we all enjoyed the best of food, wine, entertainment, special shore excursions and hospitality whilst on-board Britannia. Britannia is P & O Cruises flagship, and she is sleek and elegant with refined decor and over twenty bars and restaurants in which to wine and dine.
Winner of the Best New Ocean Ship in the 2015 Cruise International Awards, it’s not hard to see why Britannia stole the show in that particular award; her sleek and contemporary design also harks back to an earlier more elegant period when ocean liners ruled the seas, and there’s definitely an air of the “Art Deco” and “Art Nouveau” about the ship, with some stunning art installations and fabulous sculptures. The three decked “Atrium” with its spectacular starburst chandelier is the central focal point of the ship, and it’s here you will find a selection of bars, coffee shops, small bistro-style restaurants, shops and a comfortable seating area.
As well as the Atrium with its bars, cafes and shops, Britannia boasts three large “Club” and “Freedom” dining areas – The Peninsular, The Oriental and The Meridian, as well the Lido Bar & Grill, the Horizon Self-Service restaurant and SIX fabulous “Select” dining areas ( The Epicurean, Sindhu, The Glass House, The Limelight Club, Market Café, The Beach House) where a small to medium surcharge is added. For me, one of the best aspects about sailing in the Britannia, as well as its obvious luxury and port calls, is the chance to dine at the highest level and to choose what type of meals suit you best.
As well as the dining, there is also another HUGE selling point if you travel in Britannia – the unique and innovative Cookery Club, an on-board cookery school no less, where as well as learning how to tart up your tapas, bake brilliant bread and host a spectacular dinner party, you can also enjoy hosted dinners with Britannia’s celebrity chefs; the Cookery Club is the brainchild of the charismatic Yorkshire-born chef and TV presenter James Martin. And, as well as James Martin, Eric Lanlard, Atul Kotchhar, Marco Pierre White and Olly Smith are also often on-board for demonstrations and private hosted dinner opportunities.
I had the pleasure of James Martin cooking dinner for me this time, at a private hosted dinner in The Cookery Club, which is the second time I have dined with a celeb chef, as last year on Britannia’s maiden voyage I dined with (and next to!) the fabulously talented pâtisserie chef Eric Lanlard; you can read all about my dinner with Eric, as well as the wonderful cookery class I took with him here: A Master Class with Eric Lanlard: Art, Cooking and Dining on the High Seas. I’ll be telling you all about my James Martin hosted dinner, as well as a cookery class I took in a later post, so do keep popping back!
But a cruise is not just about food, well not always anyway! And on this two-week cruise in Britannia, as well as some relaxing and chilled-out “sea days”, we also stopped at some interesting ports, where there was an opportunity to explore the local cities, as well as take advantage of some fabulous excursions. My itinerary of the cruise is shared below, with my choice of shore excursions, so you can also bookmark this for future reading, as I will be covering all the ports and excursions below in a later post. The shore excursions are created by a team of destination experts who work closely with carefully selected, reliable local operators and are designed to suit all ages, interests and abilities, and there’s lots to choose from.
Sat 3 September: Southampton – Embark
Sun 4 September: Sea day
Mon 5 September: Sea day
Tue 6 September: Cadiz – Sherry Tasting and The Royal Spanish Horse Show
Wed 7 September: Sea day
Thu 8 September: Barcelona – Gaudi Park and Tour of Barcelona
Fri 9 September: Monte Carlo – Trip to the Artist’s Village of Saint Paul de Vence
Sat 10 September: Rome – Taste of Tuscania and Lunch at an “Agriturismo” farmhouse
Sun 11 September: Naples – Naples Pizza Festival Experience
Mon 12 September: Sea day
Tue 13 September: Cartagena – The Tapas Trail
Wed 14 September: Sea day
Thu 15 September: Vigo – Trip to Santiago de Compostele
Fri 16 September: Sea day
Sat 17 September: Southampton – Disembark
I also enjoyed a wine tasting class, an evening’s entertainment with dinner in The Limelight Club, a pamper session in the Oasis Spa, as well as several meals in the select dining restaurants. Please sit back now, and enjoy my gallery of images below, and please do keep calling back to see my next couple of posts, which will cover the destinations and shore excursions, the hosted dinner with James Martin, on-board activities and all my dining experiences on-board too. I hope you’ve enjoyed this introductory post about sailing in the Britannia, Karen
Disclaimer: I was the guest of P and O Cruises who paid for me and my guest for a two-week cruise, several hosted and select dining dinners, accommodation and all my food whilst on board Britannia; all views are my own and are not representative of P and O Cruises, any of their employees or third-party agents. Karen S Burns-Booth
For more information about Britannia and other P & O Cruises, please visit their website here:
Inside cabins: start from £1,149
Outside cabins: start from £1,249
Balcony cabins: start from £1,549