The first guests in 15 months were welcomed by P&O Cruises earlier, as Britannia departed Southampton for a four-night summer sailing around the UK coast.

P&O Cruises ships anchored locally, Ventura, Arcadia and Aurora, and those of sister brand Cunard, Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria, celebrated the occasion with a horn-sounding departure salute as Britannia left the Port of Southampton.

Britannia will sail a series of three-, four- and seven-night UK coastal cruises until September 25th, when western Mediterranean itineraries will commence prior to her winter Caribbean season.

Iona’s maiden voyage will be on August 7th, and she will then sail weekly seven-night scenic coastal cruises, before beginning Atlantic coast holidays.

P&O Cruises follows Saga Cruises and MSC Cruises back into the market.

P&O Cruises president, Paul Ludlow, said: “We’ve been on countdown to this moment and are elated to be welcoming guests back on board. 

“A huge thank you to our guests for their patience as we fully recognise that it’s been a period filled with anticipation and thwarted plans.

“We’ve spent this time working hard refining and enhancing our holidays so time on board can be enjoyed to its very fullest.”

He added: “Our restart is a celebration for crew, guests, our staff, Southampton and also the industry as we return to playing our key role supporting the array of local growers, suppliers, hotels, B&Bs, restaurants and taxis drivers for whom the cruise industry is so vital.”

More Information

Take a look at a series of shots from the launch here.