A SOUTHAMPTON cruise firm is selling its Oceana ship after taking to the seas for 18 years.

P&O Cruises has confirmed that the cruise ship will leave the fleet from July this year "for future growth".

And now customers who were booked onto Oceana will face cancellations.

Built in Italy, Oceana started with the company in 2002 and was named by the Princess Royal in 2003.

P&O Cruises president Paul Ludlow said: “Whilst we and many of our guests will miss Oceana, her departure will allow us to focus on our remaining ships in the fleet, as capacity expands with the delivery of Iona later this year followed by her sister ship, scheduled for 2022.

“During this pause in our operations we need to fit the fleet for the future and ensure we have the right mix of ships once we resume sailing.

“I am so sorry to disappoint those guests who were booked on Oceana but I hope they will be able to find a similar alternative holiday, whether that is ex UK from Southampton or a fly/cruise itinerary.”

All guests who have booked a holiday on Oceana will be offered a 125 per cent Future Cruise Credit or refund.