P&O Cruises has confirmed that The Queen will officially name the line’s new ship Britannia on Tuesday, March 10.
The announcement confirms speculation that the Queen would be performing the honours in Southampton. She will be accompanied at the naming by the Duke of Edinburgh.
Carnival UK chairman David Dingle said: “We are honoured and proud that Her Majesty will name Britannia almost 20 years after she named the P&O Cruises ship Oriana.
“Britannia, a ship for the nation, will be the embodiment of contemporary Britain, and with her Union Jack livery she will fly the flag for Britain across the Globe.”
The biggest ship designed exclusively for Britain, Britannia is P&O Cruises’ latest vessel.
The ship will include a focus on cuisine, with ‘Food Heroes’ James Martin, Marco Pierre White, Atul Kochhar, Eric Lanlard, wine expert Olly Smith and cheese expert Charlie Turnbull all contributing to restaurants onboard.
P&O Cruises new vessel Britannia is a “mega step change” for the company, according to chairman David Dingle.
Speaking as the ship was presented to the company by the Italian Fincantieri shipyard near Trieste, Dingle said the ship would propel the line forward to meet the needs of new and returning customers alike.
Before vowing that “Britannia will once again rule the waves”, Dingle said: “This not just a ship for Britain, it’s a ship for a new Britain. A more vibrant, more exciting Britain.”
Dingle congratulated Fincantieri for their hard work and said the partnership between the shipyard and Carnival had helped to shape the cruise industry.
“Cruising has become a vibrant expanding part of the mainstream holiday business and our two businesses, Fincanteiri and Carnival, as market leaders in our different industry sectors, have played a role in this.
“Taking delivery of a ship is just the beginning for now we must attract passengers to Britannia not only this year but for the next 30 years and we will, because we know it’s contemporary, groundbreaking ships which attract others into cruising.”
He said he believed the new ship would help push the number of UK cruisers to the two million mark, as well as showing that the “UK was an established part of Carnival’s continuing growth.”
Britannia is the fifth P&O Cruises ship to be built by Fincanteiri, and the largest ship built for the brand.
Cunard Line is continuing its fleet upgrade with a multi-million refurbishment scheduled for January 2015.
The Queen Victoria will have a dry-dock at the Blohm & Voss shipyard in Hamburg, Germany. The shipyard is also the same place where sister ship Queen Elizabeth recently had its upgrade.
Queen Victoria’s multi-million dollar refit will ensure this much-loved ship remains in tip-top condition for her World Cruise in 2015 and beyond, said David Dingle, CEO for Cunard Line.
The refurbishment will include 9 brand new single staterooms which will offer an even wider range for cruisers sailing single. More shade will be offered by new sun awnings near the ships open deck pool. Another large part of the refit will be new environmentally friendly filters for the ships propulsion systems.
When a cruise ship gets a major upgrade it usually includes all the hotel spaces which the Queen Victoria will receive. New carpets and flat TV’s will be installed to freshen up the vessel. Also hotel departments including the gift shops will get a new fine jewellery and watches sections along with a new layout.
Queen Victoria’s dry-dock was originally scheduled for December 2015 but due to a propulsion unit bearing problem the dry-dock has had to be brought forward to January 2015. The propulsion issue has caused Cunard to cancel two cruises in January, a 12-day cruise to the Canaries departing January 3rd and a five-day cruise to Amsterdam departing January 15th. Passengers booked on those cruises have been informed and the cruise line is offering a $175 onboard credit. Passengers can choose another cruise or get a full refund of their booking.
While we are sorry to be cancelling the two cruises, we are looking forward to welcoming all those affected back aboard a Cunard ship in the near future, perhaps on Queen Victoria or Queen Elizabeth, both of which will be sailing in 2015 fresh from their make overs, Dingle said.
The Queen Victoria will be all set for its world cruise starting on January 20th 2015. The ship will offer guests all the latest onboard features which will be added during the upcoming dry-dock in Hamburg.