Real Ale on a Cruise

As soon as I typed recently the suggestion that P&O Cruises were offering real ale on one of their ships, it was confirmed in the latest copy of Moments, the loyalty club magazine for their frequent customers.

Real ale undergoes a secondary fermentation in the vessel from which it is served and this results in a sludge of yeasty sediment falling to the bottom of the cask.  The best cellar practice keeps the absolutely cask still while the sediment settles and then during the 2-3 days that the beer is served fresh to prevent the beer becoming cloudy again – impossible on a cruise ship due to the movement of the seas meaning that it has been never been possible for cruise lines to offer real ale.  Until now !

In the drinks section of the magazine, Raising the Bar, it states “Using an innovative cask system, we’ve worked with British brewers Dark Star and Batemans to bring two different real ales to sea for guests on Oriana.”

Dig a bit deeper and you learn that this is not quite new news.  The original press release that gives more details was dated January 2017 and still sits on the P&O website here.

The press release offers my curiosity more questions than answers and I am now pretty keen to sail on Oriana again to test the waters.  I am sending spies in the coming weeks who will report back.  Watch this space.

Some questions :

Does it taste any good ?  The real question for any beer enthusiast whether lager, bitter, craft, keg, bottled, can or real.  (How does it taste 10 days after the cask is tapped – more to the point)

Is it consistently served at cellar temperature, 11-13 degrees, even in and around warmer climes ?

If Oriana is the second ship to have this technology installed what was the first and why are folk not shouting about its innovation ?

Finally, for some reason the “real ale” press release also states that the spa on Oriana has a new pedicure station following her latest re-fit.  That will be great news for some people as much as real ale on board is for me !

Moments magazine is mailed twice a year in Spring and Autumn to members of P&O Cruises Peninsular Club

2 thoughts on “Real Ale on a Cruise

  1. This is pretty exciting, would love to know more about the technology they are using to keep it settled and whether it tastes any good! I am a fellow cruiser and regularly cruise with Cunard line – was only just mentioning this year that I missed real ale when away from home on a trip. Cunard used to have just a couple of lagers on tap then London Pride and Doom Bar in bottles and I was gutted. But on a trip this September I discovered a new beer list which I was most impressed with – Jaipur and Jarl in the options, along with Side Pocket for a Toad (Tring), Solopian’s Lemon Dream, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Punk IPA, Hogs Back’s T.E.A.,Warwickshire Lady Godiva, Clearwater Real Smiler and loads more – even a Wild Beer Co option (Epic Saison!)… did a beer tasting on the last day and it was stunning. Glad the cruise lines are getting the message that beer variety is key! 🙂 There isn’t anything I like more than a sailaway and a few beers! 😀


    1. Thanks for reading and commenting. Looks like Cunard beer list is as good as or even better than P&O (both Carnival, of course). I’m certainly going to try to write as much about the beer on-board as I am about beer in the ports.


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