IT WILL be a day Southampton will remember for years when seven of the world’s most famous cruise ships parade on the city’s waterfront.

Thousands of people are expected to flock to Southampton from all over the UK to witness the unique event.

P&O Cruises, which celebrates its 175th anniversary this year, is bringing the company’s fleet of ships to Southampton – an occasion unprecedented in the port’s history.

Azura, Ventura, Aurora, Oriana, Arcadia, Oceana, and Adonia will arrive early in the morning of July 3.

Throughout the day the vessels will make an impressive sight at their berths in the Western and Eastern Docks as more than 260,000 tons of shipping will be on display.

The ships, with a total of 6,000 crew, will embark more than 14,000 passengers before departing for a programme of anniversary voyages.

Excursions Already excursions around the docks to see the seven ships, operated by local pleasure boat operators and ferry companies, are booked while overnight accommodation before and after the date is becoming scarce.

Dubbed The Grand Event, P&O Cruises have issued a map showing the best vantage points and times to witness the spectacular celebration.

As each ship departs the vessels will form a procession as they leave Southampton and head down Southampton Water.

Where the channel widens, the ships will move into a formation to be photographed from the air before they sail to their various destinations.

P&O Cruises’ managing director Carol Marlow said: “This day is one of the most significant days in our history, as all our seven ships gather in their home port on the same day for the first time ever.”

The Grand Event is part of a year of celebrations in 2012, marking the 175th year of heritage for the shipping line.