Prepare for the biggest party afloat

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All seven of P&O’s cruise ships will be gathered together in Southampton next year to mark the 175th anniversary of the company’s creation.
Quite how the UK’s busiest cruise port will be able to cope with so many ships and passengers on one day is not clear – January this year saw the first time in decades that six liners were turned round in one day.
It will be a bonanza for Southampton’s hotels, shops and taxi drivers. There will be something like 14,500 passengers leaving the ships in the morning and a further 14,500 boarding in the afternoon. There’s every chance of gridlock in the city.
The Grand Event on July 3, 2012 will commemorate the effective founding of the company in 1837 when the Peninsular Steam Navigation Company was awarded an Admiralty contract to carry mail to the Iberian Peninsula.
Managing director Carol Marlow, said: “We are very excited to announce this special day. It will be a great celebration for P&O Cruises, our passengers and for the whole maritime world.”
The seven ships will each set out on a Grand Event cruise, with events themed to P&O’s heritage. A prize draw will be held on each ship for a passenger and guest to win a world cruise in 2013.
After their day in port, the ships will line up in open water to salute each other with a grand fanfare of horns, hooters and whistles, before going their own ways.
Azura departs for an 11-night cruise to the Canaries, and Ventura will be off on a 17-night voyage to the Mediterranean; Oceana sails for a seven-night cruise to the Norwegian fjords and Arcadia is off to Norway and Iceland for 14 nights. Aurora will be heading to the Baltic for 17 nights, and Oriana sets out for a four night short break, and Adonia leaves for a 21-night voyage to the Med.
At least they won’t all be arriving back in Southampton on the same day.
The city will have to brace itself for another major cruise event on June 5 next year, when all three Cunard ships will be gathered together to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
The only previous occasion Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth have been together was in January this year when they sailed out of New York harbour under a spectacular firework display.
Cunard president and managing director Peter Shanks said: “It’s no surprise that we will be celebrating Her Majesty’s Jubilee in fine style and we intend to make it an occasion Southampton and our passengers won’t forget”

By | 2011-03-08T15:41:38+00:00 8 March 2011|Cruise Destinations, Cruise News, Cruise Ships|1 Comment

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

One Comment

  1. All Saints 10 March 2011 at 10:05 pm - Reply

    The Grand Event? Is that the best they could come up with for the name of this celebration. Has no-one at P&O got any creative imagination. I think I’ll get out of town for the week. The traffic will be a nightmare

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