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P&O’s 175th anniversary will see entire fleet in Southampton

For the first time ever, P&O’s fleet of seven cruise ships will come together for a grand event in Southampton harbour to celebrate the line’s 175th birthday.

Next year will mark the famous cruise line’s 175th anniversary, with celebrations throughout the year culminating in all seven liners arriving in the company’s home port of Southampton. The departure on the various Grand Event cruises will be spectacular, with the ships forming a procession as they exit the harbour. Each cruise on that date will feature special events and onboard entertainments including art displays, a gala dinner, guest speakers and much more.

The Peninsular Steam Navigation Company, to give the company’s original name, was formed to facilitate mail delivery contracts to Spain and Egypt, incorporated with a Royal Charter. The mail delivery business expanded worldwide over the next 100 years or so, taking on the passenger liner business in 1914 with the British India Steam Navigation Company and in !918 with a controlling interest in the Orient Line.

By the 1920’s the company owned over 500 ships, although a number were lost during WWII.. In the post-war years the Australia run became important and ferry services were incorporated. Nowadays, P&O is famous in the UK for its cruises aimed at the holiday market, from around the world trips to long weekend boat trips to Scandinavian cities.

According to its CEO Carol Marlowe, the 175th anniversary celebrations will be a great event for the line and its passengers as well as for the maritime world. Ms Marlowe noted cruising has become one of the most popular holiday choices and the fastest growing sector of the UK travel industry, adding the P&O fleet is dedicated to the UK market.

The seven Grand Event cruises will visit the central Mediterranean, the Norwegian fjords, the Atlantic islands, the Baltic and Iceland.

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