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James Martin and Eric Lanlard board P&O's Britannia

britannia-mainFood and drink was at the heart of the launch last night for P&0 Cruises newest ship Britannia with a team of five key Food Heroes assembled for the media.

The event was held at H Forman & Son's smoked salmon headquarters - aptly situated on Fish Island in East London - where the heroes were revealed as Benares chef Atul Kochhar, TV wine guru Olly Smith, Saturday Kitchen's James Martin, award-winning master patissier ‘Cake Boy’ Eric Lanlard and chef Marco Pierre White.

Britannia at a whopping 141,000 tons and carrying 3,647 people will be the biggest cruise ship ever built for the British market. Turns out there is going to be a lot of impressive features if you're a foodie.

The Cookery Club has been developed by James Martin and will be the first cookery school on board a British cruise ship. It'll feature 12 cooking stations, equipped with hobs and prep space. "I plan to travel on Britannia as often as I can," says James who'll be on selected cruises during the maiden season to deliver the classes in person. "I’m also talking to a few of my friends in the culinary world about coming on board to deliver classes, so watch this space.”

Other features will include:

  • A patisserie range by Eric Lanlard in the Market Café situated in the ship's atrium (together with a gelataria and charcuterie). Lanlard will also be behind a champagne afternoon tea in one of the restaurants
  • Sindhu from Atul Kochhar restaurant
  • Olly Smith’s The Glass House
  • And a fine dining restaurant - whose name and concept is still to be announced

Britannia's maiden cruise will be in March 2015 from Southampton. For more info www.pocruises.co.uk