Ibiza Mike Posner
P&O Cruises can trace its roots back to 1837 and this year is celebrating 175 years of heritage - so the company brought all seven of its ships to Southampton for the first time.
Thousands of lined the shore on Tuesday July the 3rd to see she ships which were carrying 15,000 passengers and 6,000 crew between them.
The seven ships, Adonia, Arcadia, Aurora, Azura, Oceana, Oriana and Ventura - sailed into Southampton early in the morning - the first time they have gathered together in their home port.
Princess Anne reviewed the fleet and on Azura, ballerina Darcey Bussell, who named the ship in 2010, was presented with seven captain's hats. Unfortunately a Red Arrows display at 7.20pm had to be cancelled because of the weather, and the flypast at 11.45am was called off as well.
In the evening, all the ships left in convoy.
Adonia left her berth at 5.15, and led the procession at 6.25.
She will be passing Calshot at 7.20, West Bramble at 7.35, and at Charlie Anchorage at 8.05. She'll pass the No Man's Land fort at 8.20, and the Nab Tower by 8.40. Bringing up the rear, Oceana should leave at 6.55 and will be passing Dock Head at 7.00. Then she'll be at Calshot at 7.50, West Bramble by 8.05, Charlie Anchorage 8.23, then she'il be passing Nab Tower at 9.10.
A map showing all the best vantage points and times to witness The Grand Event sailaway has been released. Starting with the sailaway from Southampton, the map charts the progress of the seven ships out into the Solent.
P&O Cruises managing director, Carol Marlow, said:
"This day is one of the most significant days in our history, as all our seven ships gather in their home port on the same day for the first time ever.
"As we look forward to exciting plans for our next new ship in 2015, it is fitting to be celebrating our past as it has helped us become known as Britain’s trusted cruise experts.”
The ships will form a procession as they leave Southampton and head down the Solent. Where the channel widens, the ships will move into a formation to be photographed from the air before they sail onwards to their various destinations.