POINTE BLANCHE–On Monday morning Britannia, the largest ship built for the British cruise market, was welcomed to St. Maarten for the first time. A Government delegation led by Tourism Minister Ernest Sams and Port St. Maarten officials led by Government Liaison Hector Peters exchanged plaques with Britannia Captain David Pembridge after officially welcoming him, his crew and passengers to the destination.
Captain Pembridge has visited St. Maarten several times before the existing cruise piers were built. During welcome pleasantries on-board, Pembridge said that St. Maarten was a lovely place to visit and was considered a second home for the Britannia after Barbados where the vessel is home-porting for the winter season.
During the official plaque exchange ceremony, Minister Sams welcomed Captain Pembridge, his crew and passengers to the “Friendly Island,” and added that he continued to look forward to seeing the Britannia docking at Port St. Maarten for many more years.
Peters thanked Captain Pembridge and wished him and his passengers a most enjoyable stay on the island.
Captain Pembridge made reference to Port St. Maarten’s logistics where it concerns the options that cruise passengers have to get to Philipsburg for shopping, restaurants and water sport activities, pointing out the options available: taxi, water taxi or walking.
Britannia’s itinerary includes many other Caribbean islands, but St. Maarten will be the second most visited, as the destination is on every itinerary between now and the end of March 2016. The 14-night cruises include destinations such as Barbados, Grenada, Margarita Island, Curaçao, Aruba, Tortola, St. Maarten, Antigua, St. Kitts and Barbados.
During the summer season, Britannia will sail to the Mediterranean, Norwegian fjords, the Baltic Sea, Canary Islands and Atlantic Islands.
Britannia was added to the P&O Cruises fleet of seven ships in March, after being christened by Queen Elizabeth II.
The 141,000 ton vessel was ordered in 2011 for £473 million and was designed exclusively for British market. Britannia has been described as “the latest modern classic, heralding a new era of holiday choice.” It offers “a sophisticated, contemporary holiday experience across health and beauty, shopping and entertainment, with a strong focus on dining, aiming to ensure “passengers have the holiday of a lifetime, every time.”
Britannia was built by Fincantieri at its shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy; the vessel is 1,083 feet long; its beam 144 feet; 232 feet tall; has 15 passenger decks; carries 4,324 passengers and 1,398 officers and crew.
Source: The Daily Herald Flagship cruise Britannia welcomed to destination