It is the line's first vessel to sail in 15 months.
‘We’ve been on countdown to this moment,’ explained Paul Ludlow, president, P&O Cruises, ‘we fully recognise that it’s been a period filled with anticipation and thwarted plans.’
He added, ‘We’ve spent this time working hard, refining and enhancing our holidays… 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.’
P&O Cruises’ vessels Ventura, Arcadia and Aurora, and sister brand Cunard’s Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria sounded their horn as Britannia left the port at 6pm marking the event.
UK coastal cruises through to late September
Britannia will sail a series of three-, four- and seven-night UK coastal cruises until September 25, when Western Mediterranean itineraries will then commence prior to the ship’s winter Caribbean season.
New vessel Iona will make its maiden voyage on August 7; it will sail weekly seven-night scenic coastal cruises, before beginning its Atlantic coast voyages.