Fincantieri has started to cut steel for the newest ship for P&O Cruises at its Monfalcone shipyard. The largest ship ever built for the British cruise market, the 141,000 ton ship will be launched in spring 2015.

P&O Cruises Managing Director Carol Marlow commented: "The cutting of the steel marks the moment the ship goes into production so for us it is a very exciting time as we go from the drawing board to reality.”

The 3,611 passenger ship, described by P&O as a “modern classic” will offer a stylish and innovative new design and an "unprecedented number of passenger facilities," along with many of the brand’s classic and iconic features. Specifications and new product innovations will be announced at a later date.

For the first time a British design company, Richmond, is overseeing the whole ship’s interiors to incorporate the classic and iconic history of P&O Cruises with modern design and features to appeal to both existing and a new generation of passengers.

Richmond, designers in the hospitality industry, has an international portfolio of prominent hotel and resort properties.

Marlow continued: “Richmond’s design will make a stunning statement across the entire ship’s interiors. Through their ideas they will imbue the ship with a cohesive personality which works across all the public areas including the cabins, cafes, bars, restaurants and lounges. Richmond’s designs will add an elegant and timeless Britishness to appeal to everyone who steps on board and will facilitat an excellent evolution of the P&Oness our passengers know and love.

The keel-laying will take place in May 2013.

The ship, yet to be named, will float out in summer 2014, before her delivery to P&O Cruises in spring 2015.