TAKE That star Gary Barlow has officially been announced as the new brand ambassador of a Southampton-based cruise line.

P&O Cruises have taken on the 48-year-old musician as the musical director of The 710 Club onboard the cruise line's new LNG-powered ship Iona, which will be launched in May this year.

He will return to Southampton before sailing across seas to deliver music with "amazing" travel experiences for guests on board.

It will be his first time returning professionally to the city after showcasing his talent as lead singer in Take That's Greatest Hits tour last May, at St Mary's Stadium.

Gary will also perform at Iona’s naming celebration which kicks off IonaFest, the UK’s new floating festival which is a seven night cruise to the Norwegian Fjords from Southampton on July 4.

Those onboard could meet the former The X Factor judge if they are booked onto the cruise which visits the Norwegian Fjords, Spain, Portugal and the Canary Islands.

Gary said: “I want The 710 Club to be a celebration of great music and great talent.

"As its musical director, I want to give a unique experience for people who love music as much as I do.

“Music has been such a massive part of my life – and taken me on so many journeys and adventures. I’m hoping to pass this on to all the guests in my club.”

Daily Echo: Gary Barlow. Picture: PAGary Barlow. Picture: PA

P&O Cruises president, Paul Ludlow, said: “We are immensely proud to have someone of Gary’s stature and talent working with us as brand ambassador.

"Gary’s impressive career speaks for itself and he will bring his vision and personality to our new The 710 Club; from guiding the resident band, selecting future performers and playlists and even shaping the interiors and signature cocktails.

“We’re excited that our guests can be a part of it and they will have the opportunity to watch Gary light up Iona’s theatre for some extraordinary performances in dazzling surroundings."

With a 5,200-guest capacity, the Iona will be the largest ship built to serve the UK market.

Gary spent the 2019 Take That tour alongside bandmates Mark Owen and Howard Donald, has written 15 Number One singles, won six Ivor Novello Awards, eight BRIT awards, sold over 45 million records worldwide and over eight million concert tickets.