A kaleidoscope of epic Balearic adventures ahoy with P&O Cruises

Flagship Britannia begins her new exciting island itineraries in 2023

Picture perfect: the magic of Es Vedrà by sunset
Picture perfect: the magic of Es Vedrà by sunset

Cocktail in hand, warm breeze toying with my hair as our catamaran skips gentle waves, I’m enamoured by endless ocean and a blue sky scorched with the oranges and reds of impending sunset. We’re headed for Ibiza’s Es Vedrà, a mystical limestone Island just off Cala d’Hort on the south coast, the third most magnetic point in the world and rumoured source of Ibiza’s pulsating, positive energy.

Staying at the luxurious 7pines Resort nestled in a fragrant clifftop pine grove in the west, I’m part of a small group here to sample the exciting new shore excursions guests can enjoy when P&O Cruises’ flagship Britannia begins her Balearic island itineraries next year. Tonight’s is a must; sailboat adventure showcasing Es Vedrà’s magical sunset, the talk of the island and the glittering phenomenon behind Ibiza’s boomerang effect.

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As the horizon takes on an exquisite gold, pink and purple haze, I half believe the old wives’ tales that this ancient formation is the mythical gateway to the Lost City of Atlantis, with spiritual healing powers and sirens singing from its shores. Es Vedrà’s name means freedom, I’ve never felt so free. Watching the sun slip like a burning penny into sea, readying the sky for a blanket of stars, I’m completely magnetised, thrilled that - like me - Britannia’s cruisers have a kaleidoscope of epic adventures ahoy.

P&O Cruises' Britannia in all her glory
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Green, serene and not all about the party scene, iconic Ibiza is an ingenious pick for eclectic excursions, from fine dining, chic beach clubs and icing sugar sands, to hippy markets, serenity spas and glitzy Vegas-style shows. Offering a mix of island and mainland stops, Britannia’s new itineraries see her dock until 2am near thriving Ibiza Town, leaving oceans of time to explore the beautiful White Isle from dawn ‘til long past dusk.

Our journey began with the immersive fine dining experience of Es Tragón, a tranquil country villa oasis overlooking the sea, and Ibiza’s only Michelin starred restaurant. Phenomenal for fish lovers, drinks on the floral terrace proceeded a gastronomic extravaganza spanning 14 divine courses of theatre, exemplary service and impeccable presentation, paired with the cellar’s finest wines.

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Next morning, it was off to the renowned hippy market at Santa Eulalia, an open-air Aladdin’s cave of quirky gifts, crafts, jewellery and colourful clothing from over 500 artisans and vendors. Oozing feel-good vibes and laid-back cultural charm, we spent several hours perusing, bartering and buying before the chic contrast of Cotton Beach Club, San Jose, for a luxurious a la carte lunch with a breath-taking ocean backdrop. Sea-fresh sushi, lobster risotto and monk fish later, we swapped wow factor and lush white furnishings for sunbathing, snorkelling and the golden sands of the beach below, the epitome of relaxation ahead of an evening of pure vivacious energy.

Welcome to Club Lio, the hottest seat on the island, where tickets are like gold dust and every night is a roof-raising party. Slick, sparkly and ingeniously interactive, this world-famous Vegas-meets-Cirque-du-Soleil-style cabaret – with mouth-watering Mediterranean cuisine – was one of the most amazing nights of my life. Unforgettably the talk of the trip, when the superb show ended, the venue morphed into an effervescent nightclub perfect for cruisers wanting to dance the night away before returning to the six-star splendour of Britannia, docked right outside on the marina. Waking euphoric, a few zen-inducing hours in the sanctuary of Atzaro Spa, Santa Eulalia, restored equilibrium with yoga, a blissful swim in the outdoor pool and lunch in the botanical restaurant, surrounded by rosemary bushes, orange groves and fresh country air.

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Idyllic by day, breathtaking by night, the sun sets on beautiful Ibiza

With 26 bars and restaurants, four swimming pools, Jacuzzis, spa, ballroom, ocean-view gym, casino, cinema and shops – not to mention Headliners Theatre and the Cookery Club for Food Hero masterclasses with celebrity chefs - elegant Britannia spoils for choice with dazzling entertainment, fabulous food and family friendly fun.As for my whistle-stop taster tour of Ibiza, I’ve seen it, done it, bought the pretty beach dress at the hippy market … and fallen starry-eyed under the island’s spell. Let the cruising commence!

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Bookable 365 days in advance of your cruise, with prices from £15 to around £200, excursions range from simple shore transfers, guided tours and beach days to jet skis, helicopter rides and unique once in a lifetime experiences. Example cruises:

A 14 night cruise on Britannia (B319) from £1,399 per person. Departing July 21, 2023 the price includes kids’ clubs, full board meals and entertainment on board.Departing from and returning to Southampton ports of call are Gibraltar, Ibiza, Mallorca, Cagliari, Malaga and Cadiz.www.pocruises.com/find-a-cruise/B319/B319

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A 14 night cruise on Britannia (B321) from £1,249 per person. Departing August 18, 2023 the price includes kids’ clubs, full board meals and entertainment on board.Departing from and returning to Southampton ports of call are Cadiz, Ibiza, Mallorca (overnight in port), Cartagena and Gibraltar.www.pocruises.com/find-a-cruise/B321/B321

Sunshine and spa, the perfect combination for ultimate relaxation
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To book, visit www.pocruises.com, call direct on 03453 555 111 or see your local travel agent.

Sandy toes and snorkelling fun at picturesque Cala Tarida beach
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Pick up a bargain at the hippy market at Santa Eulalia