The festivities began on Monday evening with a star-filled gala evening on-board Britannia. VIP guests included Britannia’s Food Heroes – James Martian, Marco Pierre White, Eric Landlard, Atul Kochhar and Olly Smith, the Strictly Come Dancing stars and former prima ballerina and Stricly judge, Darcy Bussell along with other esteemed guests.
The evening started with a Cocktail Reception Party in Britannia’s magnificent three-tier atrium – boasting the stunning Starburst chandelier. This was followed by a sumptuous gala dinner featuring a menu designed by Marco Pierre White – Does New England Split Lobster in Mornay Sauce, served on a pillow of truffle creamed potatoes and parmesan pangrattato, with tender stem broccoli and green beans, take your fancy? All topped off by a spectacular fireworks display with the best view from the top deck.
The main event took place on Tuesday with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II as the guest of honour, as she became Godmother to the flagship in P&Os fleet. Britannia naming ceremony was held at Ocean Terminal Southampton, The Queen accompanied by The Duke of Edinburgh, travelled via helicopter and arrived in the grand Rolls Royce state car. (We were lucky enough to see the Queen arrive).
It was a regal pairing as the new Britannia succeeds the Royal yacht which first held the name, and was christened by the Queen way back in 1953 in the year of Her Majesty’s Coronation. A specially constructed stage on Southampton dock adjacent to the union flag on the livery of the ship, held over 1,500 esteemed guests made up of dignitaries, politicians, travel industry executives, business leaders, Britannia’s Food Heroes, British celebrities and Olympians. The naming ceremony was also streamed live around the world to a global audience.
The ceremony was produced by UNDER THE RADAR, a Chicago-based global marketing events company, combining British flare with P&O’s rich maritime heritage.
The naming celebration was hosted by brand ambassador for P&O, Rob Brydon. The accompanying entertainment included The Red Hot Chili Pipers, The Band of Her Majesty’s Royal marines, The Pipers of the 1st Battalion Irish Guards provided the soundtrack and the Strictly Come Dancing stars, who will have residency on-board, showed off their moves.
The naming ceremony climaxed with Her Majesty breaking a Nebuchadnezzar of British sparkling wine, specially selected from the Wiston Estate Winery in West Sussex. After officially naming Britannia The Queen & Duke of Edinburgh briefly went on-board to meet the crew and view the Starburst atrium.
If you missed any of the action you can re-live the celebrations here –
Feeling inspired? P&O Cruises are currently offering free upgrades and free bubbly on Select Price bookings made during March. But it’s not just on Britannia – free cabin upgrades are available across all 8 ships on over 100 cruises, so see what takes your liking.
Check out all the photographs from the event here:
Images & media courtesy of P&O Cruises.
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