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Queen launches royal yacht namesake Britannia

BrittaniaBritain’s Queen Elizabeth II officially launched P&O Cruises‘ new super-cruise liner at Southampton Docks on Tuesday. The monarch, accompanied by Prince Philip, used her gloved fingers to press the button that smashed a bottle of locally produced wine on the side of the Britannia at the naming ceremony.

The gargantuan passenger vessel weighs in at 141,000 tons and is 1,082 feet long. It has 15 decks and accommodation for 3,600 passengers. Amenities aboard the Britannia include four swimming pools, 13 bars and cafés, and a cinema with seating for over 900 people.

Even if its size was not enough for people to recognise the Britannia by, the Union Jack livery painted on its bows is another unique brand. This liner is the fifth cruise liner the monarch has officially launched during her more than 60-year reign.

The naming ceremony must have given the queen a feeling of nostalgia as Royal Britannia was the name of the royal family’s yacht. The yacht served the royals from 1954 until it was decommissioned in 1997.

The Britannia was built in an Italian shipyard and cost £470. The owners of P&O Cruises, Carnival Corp, say the vessel was built to cater to the burgeoning UK passenger cruise market and its home port during summer will be Southampton.

It takes a crew of 1,350 to man the Britannia and many of these were aboard today preparing the vessel to welcome passengers for the maiden voyage. The ship is due to set sail tomorrow on a voyage that will take in ports along the coasts of Spain, Italy and France en route.

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