P&O Cruises has announced details of “The Grand Event” on July 3, 2012, when the entire fleet of seven ships will be docked together in its home port of Southampton for the first time in the company’s history.
This is part of a year of celebrations in 2012, marking the 175th anniversary of the Peninsular Steam Navigation Company being awarded the lucrative Admiralty contract to carry mail to the Iberian Peninsula and beyond. Not long afterwards the concept of cruising was born and since then has evolved into a popular holiday choice and now P&O Cruises carries more British cruisers than any other line.
P&O Cruises 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.
“As cruising has become the fastest growing sector of the UK holiday market, so the P&O Cruises fleet has grown to seven ships dedicated to the British market. Whereas the very first P&O ships plied their trades to the Iberian Peninsular and the Orient, P&O Cruises ships sail throughout Europe, the Caribbean, South America, Scandinavia, Mediterranean, Atlantic islands and, of course, on round the world cruises. What was once a national necessity is now a national pastime and is worthy of a grand celebration.”
Each ship in The Grand Event will then depart on its own Grand Event cruise, with a spectacular send off with champagne deck party, flutterfetti and marching bands. The ships will then form a procession as they leave Southampton for the English Channel and beyond.
Once in the open water, the ships will meet again, saluting one another before they sail onwards to their various destinations.
Departing on July 3, 2012, all seven cruises will be heritage themed with special on board entertainment including a 175th Anniversary Gala dinner, heritage art display, guest speakers and more.
“We are also inviting passengers to help us celebrate by offering a full World Cruise prize draw on each cruise and a total of seven passengers plus their guest will be travelling around the world as our guests in 2013.”