A new look for the P&O Cruises souvenir collection


Commemorate your holiday with something special from our charming new souvenir collection, designed by British illustrator Julia Gash. Read on for a Q&A with Julia and find out what inspires her playful designs

Souvenirs are a wonderful way to commemorate a holiday; a visual reminder that can stir happy memories for years to come.

We’ve recently launched a new range of souvenirs featuring a brand-new design that represents the best of what a holiday with P&O Cruises can offer. The charming illustration adorns everything from notebooks and pens to tote bags and pouches and was designed by British artist Julia Gash, whose whimsical, hand-drawn cityscapes have made her one of the country’s most in-demand illustrators. Julia’s brand is manufactured and distributed internationally by Judge Sampson, a souvenir manufacturer based in Hastings.

British illustrator Julia Gash

To find out more about Julia’s work and inspiration, read on…

Can you tell us about your background and how you’ve got to where you are now?

I was born and bred in Nottingham, the daughter of a signwriter and printer. I’ve always loved art and was always drawing places we visited on holiday as a child. I went to art college in Brighton and London and started a fashion brand in the 1990s. I ran several businesses and my illustration work evolved out of an eco-bag print factory that I established in Sheffield and ran for 10 years. I started creating designs for canvas tote bags as a means of bringing in business, and this spanned into my own design range of sustainable souvenirs celebrating places from around the world.

Three years ago, I moved from Sheffield – where I lived for 27 years – to the warmer climes of Devon. I live in Exmouth and absolutely love it. I am never far from the sea and am happiest when I am in it.

How did the collaboration with P&O Cruises come about?

I met one of the Harding Retail buying team members at a trade show in New York. I was so excited to hear they were interested in collaborating with me on a range for their shops on board Azura, Britannia and Oceana. P&O Cruises is my perfect partner – they bring the pleasure of discovery through travel to millions of people, which is what I try to do through my artwork.

Can you tell us about the inspiration behind the new range you’ve designed for P&O Cruises?

The designs are inspired by the destinations and routes taken by P&O Cruises lines. Through my artwork we celebrate iconic landmarks on the routes as well the beautiful, natural landscape and endearing marine life. I draw in a child-like way and in doing so I try to capture the sense of wonder and awe of discovery, as if through the eyes of a small child seeing something for the first time.

How was this collection different to others you’ve worked on?

I’ve never drawn so much sea! I love the sea and drawing marine life, and the P&O Cruises collaboration is all about the oceans as landscapes and as a home to some of the world’s most beautiful and mysterious creatures.

You’re renowned for your map and city prints. Why did you take this direction and why do you think people are so drawn to these designs?

My favourite subjects at school were art and geography and I’m proud to say that I got an A at A Level for both subjects. Family holidays were spent travelling through Europe with our trailer tent, which was very unusual in the 1960s and 70s. My dad made us sketch pads and each evening my sisters and I drew what we had seen that day – castles, boats, pâtisseries, gondolas. I was discovering and drawing the world around me from the age of seven and I believe I’m simply carrying on from where I left off as a child. We live in a complicated and conflicted world and I think people like my artwork because it offers an honest and playful vision of that world.

What city or destination is the most inspiring for you and why?

The last one I drew. I’m constantly excited by discovering the cultural heritage, iconic landmarks and wildlife of a location that I didn’t know much about. It often becomes the starting point of a holiday for me, which is how I ended up in Oregon in December last year.

Where is your dream destination for total rest and relaxation?

My dream destination would include the sea and miles of golden sandy beach for long walks with a wonderful and ancient city nearby to explore. Wait a minute… That’s where I live!


The new P&O Cruises souvenir collection is now available in shops on board Azura, Britannia and Oceana, and will be available on Iona when the ship launches in May 2020. 

Find inspiration for your next cruise

See more of Julia's work