P&O Cruises’ new vessel Britannia will be showcased to agents and potential passengers on a round‑Britain ‘interactive’ sailing.

The ship will launch in spring 2015 and the celebratory showcase sailing will be held in July.

Speaking at the ship’s float-out in Italy, marketing director Christopher Edgington said: “There will 
be events all the way around the UK with special guests such as James Martin and our other food heroes and their celebrity friends. We want to make it a round-Britain party.”

The cruise line announced Martin, Marco Pierre White, Atul Kochhar, Eric Lanlard and wine guru Olly Smith as its five food and wine ‘heroes’ last week.

Edgington added: “We hope to hold events on land and, as Britannia is best seen from the sea, on water so visitors can look up to the ship and get the sense of scale. There will also be opportunities for agents to run sales events so their clients can see the ship.”

The round-Britain cruise departs Southampton on July 6, 2015, and visits South Shields, Edinburgh, Invergordon, Kirkwall, Greenock, Liverpool, Dublin Bay, Cobh in Ireland, and St Peter Port, Guernsey.

It was one of the voyages in great demand when pre-registration opened to past passengers on February 13. It goes on sale on March 27.

P&O Cruises said it took more pre-registrations in one day last week for new ship Britannia than in a whole week for Azura before its launch in 2010.

The cruise line rebutted claims by several agents that it was actively targeting customers to book 
pre-registrations directly. Some agents claimed 
P&O was taking bookings and guaranteeing cabins.

However, Chris Truscott, sales and distribution director, said that wasn’t the case and that 50% of cabins were being kept aside for the trade.