THIS is the moment one of the world's most hotly anticipated cruise ships left Southampton after making its debut UK appearance.

The Celebrity Edge was accompanied by water cannons as it left Southampton docks on its inaugural sailing from the city.

The ship will now sail out to the English Channel on a two-day venture, with 2,000 VIPs onboard.

READ: Celebrity Edge to make first UK appearance in Southampton >>> 

It will return to Southampton on Wednesday, before it departs on 15 May for a 10 night Iberian Peninsula cruise.

The Edge is one of the most talked about new cruise ships in the world, with 1,500 suites designed by renowned British interior designer Kelly Hoppen MBE.

Ms Hoppen, who previously starred on BBC’s Dragons' Den, also fitted out the world’s first cantilevered deck that can move up and down the ship’s exterior.

On its VIP trip, specially invited guests will get to try the ship’s open-air plunge pools and 270-degree views, an outdoor Rooftop Garden, and the stunning three-deck dining and entertaining space Eden.

The taster sailing is part of a concerted campaign by Celebrity Cruises aimed at demonstrating the reimagined guest experience that Celebrity Edge delivers, which will be rolled out across the entire fleet over the next four years.

Jo Rzymowska, Vice President and Managing Director of Celebrity Cruises, UK and Asia said: “The launch of Celebrity Edge marks the ship’s first summer season in Europe and shows how Celebrity Cruises is raising the bar of luxury cruising.

"The next ship in this class, Celebrity Apex, will also be based out of Southampton when she joins the fleet in April next year.”