P&O has 4 cruise ships in Southampton this weekend (21/22nd Oct 16) including the biggest in its fleet, Britannia, which will be departing transatlantic for the Caribbean where it will spend our winter months.
10 quick facts about P&O
- P&O is based in Southampton and is a British / American company.
- They started life in 1822 as the Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company (not an overly catchy brand name!), and thus can claim to be the oldest cruise company.
- The company won a contract to deliver mail in 1837, but its ship RMS Don Juan collided with rocks after leaving Falmouth on its homeward journey. The reputation of the company was saved though, because all the mail was rescued.
- The first passenger services were introduced in 1844, with Mediterranean destinations including Athens, Malta and Gibraltar.
- The first ever ship to be built totally with a steel superstructure was P&Os SS Ravenna built in 1880.
- P&Os SS Valetta built in 1889, was the first ship to have electric lights on board.
- The first P&O advertisement for a cruise was in 1904, when they fitted out Vectis to carry 150 passengers. Currently the biggest ship in the P&O fleet carries 4,100 passengers.
- The fastest cruise ship in the P&O fleet is the MV Oriana, which holds the company Golden Cockerel Trophy. This was passed over to the Oriana when the legendary SS Canberra retired.
- The P&O Ocean going fleet currently comprises of: Oriana, Aurora, Oceana, Arcadia, Ventura, Azura and Britannia, with a new ship under construction and due for launch 2020. The 183,200GT, 337m ship is as yet unnamed and will be the biggest in the P&O fleet.
- In 2012, the Arcadia, Adonia and the Oriana became adult-only ships.