These are some of the first, exclusive photographs of how Southampton’s next super-ship will look when she enters service next year.
At present P&O Cruises’ new vessel for the 21st century soars high over the shipyard in Italy where Britannia is now under construction.
Resplendent with two blue funnels and an enormous Union Jack livery, Britannia will make a dramatic sight when she sails into Southampton in spring of 2015.
At present marooned in a vast construction dry dock, the 141,000 ton, Britannia is due to be “floated out” and moved to a nearby fitting out berth next week.
In a traditional Italian ceremony a local priest will lead a short religious service before huge valves are opened and, for the first time, water will flood into the dry dock to surround the ship’s hull.
Unlike the rest of the company’s Southampton-based ships, Britannia will have two striking blue funnels, each featuring the P&O Cruises’ “rising sun” logo while the Union Jack, will be emblazoned along its hull.
The biggest vessel ever built specifically for the rapidly expanding British cruise industry, Britannia will embrace a bold new 94-metre Union Flag on her bow displaying the longest version of the flag anywhere in the world.
“The new style represents a contemporary approach to cruising which looks to the future, whilst celebrating the past,” said a company spokesman in Southampton.
“The new imagery on the bow will be sympathetic to Britannia’s sweeping lines and enhance her presence across the world in port and at sea.”
With her striking decor and breathtaking interiors Britannia will certainly have the “wow” factor with bold features which are being planned with imagination and flair.
The company spokesman said: “What better title for the latest incarnation of P&O Cruises, a great British brand, than Britannia? “Embodying the optimism of today’s Britain whilst acknowledging P&O Cruises long British heritage, the name is perfect for our new modern classic.”
Britannia has a historical resonance for P&O Cruises, as two previous ships connected to the company have held this prestigious name.
The first entered service in 1835 for the General Steam Navigation Company, which later became the Peninsular Steam Navigation Company, while the second entered service in 1887 to mark the Golden Jubilee of both Queen Victoria and P&O itself.