BRITAIN'S biggest cruise ship met the Sea Cadets' new flagship for the first time in Southampton yesterday.

Britannia and TS Royalist came to close quarters just after 6pm as the ship moved off her berth at the top of Southampton water.

The two ships sailed in procession towards Calshot with TS Royalist sat on the starboard side of Britannia offering the waterside area the best vantage point.

Britannia is the biggest ship ever built for the British market. The world's largest, Harmony of the Seas, which passed through Southampton last month, has its permanent base in Barcelona.

Carnival Corporation, parent company of Southampton-based P&O Cruises, donated $500,000 towards the build of Royalist.

The vessel will take over 30,000 youngsters on sea voyages navigating British waters over the next 40 years.

P&O's senior vice president of sales and marketing, Paul Ludlow, said: “Sea Cadets provides a solid foundation for youngsters. It teaches them practical life skills which will stay with them throughout their journey into adulthood. These young people are our future and we should take every opportunity to invest in them and in their chance to learn and grow. I am delighted that we are able to play a part in this with our donation to their new flagship.”

Key stats: TS Royalist vs Britannia

Category TS Royalist Britannia Tonnage 121 tons 141,000 tons Overall length 32m 330m Beam 7.51m 306m Max draft 3.2m 8.5m Sail area 543sq m N/A Cadet trainees 24 6