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Her Majesty the Queen to name P&O's Britannia

Britannia Bow Artwork 

Her Majesty the Queen will be accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh as she attends the naming ceremony of Britannia, the new super-liner from P&O Cruises, on Tuesday 10 March 2015. The ship arrived at Southampton’s Ocean Terminal on Friday and was greeted by crowds of cruise enthusiasts as she sailed into dock.

Although the ship was built at the Fincantieri shipyards in Italy, the naming ceremony will be a thoroughly British affair. The traditional champagne has been replaced by a British sparkling wine from the Wiston Estate Winery in Sussex, which will be smashed onto Britannia’s hull which bears world’s largest Union Flag.  

This will be the third  ship to bear the name Britannia in P&O's rich history with the first having been launched in 1835, followed in 1887 by a vessel launched to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee.   

The name has a strong royal connection as it was shared with Her Majesty’s Yacht Britannia which was retired in 1997 after more than 50 years of service to the Queen and members of her family.

This naming ceremony takes place almost 20 years after the Queen named P&O’s Oriana, which became the fleet’s flagship when launched in 1995. Now, it is longest serving ship of the line and passes the mantle of flagship onto Britannia.

The crew of the ship will be hard at work as they prepare a gala dinner for invited guests which will be followed by some spectacular fireworks tonight.

The naming ceremony will be attended by a number of notable figures including actress Fiona Fullerton, swimmer Mark Foster, television presenter Anneka Rice, and Strictly Come Dancing judge and ballet dancer Darcy Bussell. Following the main event, the Queen will be given a full tour of ship and will meet the staff and crew including chefs Marco Pierre White and James Martin.

Measuring 330 metres long, Britannia is the largest ship ever constructed for the UK market and will carry more than 3,500 passengers.  On board, guests will be thrilled by the entertainment venues including with multi-purpose space, The Studio; a luscious 936-seat theatre; and music venue, The Live Lounge.

There are also plenty of activity spaces such as The Cookery Club, which will host celebrity chefs such as Mary Berry and James Martin; spectacular sports facilities with courts, classes and fitness equipment; and opportunities to relax in the sumptuous spa.

Following the ceremony, Britannia will remain in Southampton until 14 March, after which it will embark on its maiden voyage - a 14 night cruise around the Western Mediterranean. 

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