Britannia rules: new P&O giant ship is Britain's biggest

The UK's P&O Cruises is hoping to lure holidaymakers on to Britannia, its newest ship, with a host of celebrity chefs and entertainment venues.

The biggest cruise ship ever built for Britain will woo potential cruisers with a raft of top chefs when it sets sail in on its maiden voyage in 2015.

The culmination of four years of planning, P&O Cruises' 3600-passenger ship Britannia will also draw on the company's 175-year heritage to bring a thoroughly modern look and feel to British-style cruising from Southampton.

Along with new-look blue funnels and statement Union Jack livery, there's a sock-it-to-you atrium featuring a part chandelier, part sculpture centrepiece (called "starburst"); a multi-purpose TV studio that doubles as a cinema and a venue for guest speakers, demonstrations, game shows and radio plays; dining and live entertainment venue, the Limelight Club; and a state-of-the-art cookery school.

Joining P&O's big-name culinary line-up, that includes Marco Pierre White, Atul Kochhar, master p√Ętissier Eric Lanlard and oenophile Olly Smith, is TV chef James Martin who is opening a sleeves-rolled-up Cookery Club on board.

Smith is recreating his popular Glass House grill and bar (already on Azura and Ventura) and Martin will feature on selected cruises during the ship's maiden season next year. "I plan to travel on Britannia as often as I can," he says. "But I'll have a talented team to run it [in my absence]. I'm also talking to friends in the culinary world about coming on board to deliver classes."

The Lanlard patisserie will be located in the ship's three-storey atrium, along with a charcuterie and gelateria.

The $900 million-build vessel will begin sailing in March 2015 from Southampton and cruise the Norwegian Fjords, Canary Islands and the Baltic Sea before transferring to the Caribbean for the winter.

Britannia by numbers

Total on board capacity

5000 people... a quarter of the number it takes it takes to fill London's O2 stadium

Gross tonnage

141,000... 84,000 less than the world's largest ship, Allure of the Seas which holds 5600 passengers

Length

330 metres ... equivalent to four-and-a-half nose-to-tail Airbus A380s and longer than both London's The Shard (the tallest building in the European Union) and Eiffel Tower

Art

There is a $1.8 million on-board art collection... compared with the $7.2 million price tag of one painting on board Nowegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Dawn.

Drinking and dining

13 bars, restaurants and cafes

Number of decks

15 passenger decks

Her engine generates

62,400kkW of power... equivalent to 84 Bugatti Veyrons

Gallons of water

61,600 gallons... the estimated total amount that the four pools will hold

- The Telegraph, London

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