When the new 141,000gt Britannia was handed over by her builders, Fincantieri, to P&O Cruises in a ceremony in Trieste on 22 February, she became the largest P&O passenger ship ever, and the largest ship to be built for the British market.

Although her interiors may well be fashioned towards British passengers, the ship itself is just the next unit in the series begun by Royal Princess, delivered by the same shipyard to Princess Cruises just two years earlier. Britannia can carry 3,647 lower berth passengers, served by a crew of 1,350. The ship arrived in Southampton on 6 March and, following her naming by Her Majesty The Queen four days later, she sailed on her maiden voyage.

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