IT is set to be the most spectacular sight of the summer.
Southampton’s “magnificent seven” will make it a day the city will never forget as they proudly sail into port for the biggest party ever.
From first light the seven cruise ships, which form P&O Cruises’ entire fleet of vessels, will arrive at the Eastern and Western
The seven will be meeting together for the first time as thousands turn out to line the shores and catch a glimpse.
The historic arrival will be greeted by former ballerina Darcey Bussell, godmother of Azura, before Princess Anne takes the salute as she reviews the fleet as they sail out of Southampton in the
As the fleet prepares to leave the Solent in the evening, the RAF’s aerobatic team, the Red Arrows, will perform a daring display before a dramatic fireworks display lights up the sky.
Organisers are keen to stress that the air display will not be visible from Southampton’s Mayflower Park or Hythe
but the best locations will be at Calshot, Lepe and Hill Head.
Council and police chiefs are urging residents to plan their journeys well as heavy traffic and delays are expected in the city centre and surrounding areas throughout the day. They say
of about 29,000 people will disembark and embark the ships between 8am and 10.30pm.
Roads around the Ageas Bowl in West End are also expected to be congested as people are taken there when they disembark.
Southampton City Council said employers should factor in flexibility with starting and opening times to allow for delays. They are suggesting people wanting to watch the free event should use
public transport to minimise congestion.
City centre car parks South Quay, North Quay and The Marlands will be open but are expected to be busy.
Key times at a glance
First light: The “magnificent seven”
will arrive one by one and take up position on the Eastern and Western Docks for the day of celebrations.
Morning: Former world-famous ballerina Darcey Bussell will be on board Azura, the ship to which she is godmother.
11.45am: The Red Arrows will perform a flypast with smoke trails over the fleet
Afternoon: The Princess Royal will arrive and will board Oriana to meet seven captains and crew.
From 5.15pm: The fleet will prepare to depart in convoy
7.18pm to 7.45pm: Aerial display by the Red Arrows flying in sevenplane formation and fireworks.