A ceremony marking the steel-cutting for the newest ship for P&O Cruises has been held at the Monfalcone shipyard of Fincantieri near Trieste, Italy.
The largest ship ever built for P&O Cruises and for the British cruise market, the new 141,000 ton ship will be launched in spring 2015.
P&O Cruises managing director, Carol Marlow said: “The cutting of the steel marks the moment the ship goes into production so for us it is a very exciting time as we go from the drawing board to reality.”
The 3,611 passenger ship will offer a stylish and innovative new design and an unprecedented number of passenger facilities, along with many of the brand’s classic and iconic features.
Specifications and new product innovations will be announced at a later date.
For the first time a British design company, Richmond, is overseeing the whole ship’s interiors to incorporate the classic and iconic history of P&O Cruises with modern design and features to appeal to both existing and a new generation of passengers.
Richmond, leading designers in the hospitality industry, have a remarkable portfolio of iconic British hotels, notably The Langham London (flagship of the Hong Kong based Langham Hotels); Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park; and the Intercontinental London.
Marlow continued, “Richmond’s design will make a stunning statement across the entire ship’s interiors.
“Through their ideas they will imbue the ship with a cohesive personality which works across all the public areas including the cabins, cafes, bars, restaurants and lounges.
“Richmond’s designs will add an elegant and timeless Britishness to appeal to everyone who steps on board and will facilitate an excellent evolution of the P&Oness our passengers know and love.”
The keel-laying, which involves the placement in the dry dock of one large section of the ship’s hull and the beginning of the actual ship build, will take place in May 2013.
The ship, yet to be named, will take to the water for the first time at her float out in summer 2014, before her delivery to P&O Cruises in spring 2015.