The 'keel-laying' marks the beginning of the actual ship build for the as-yet unnamed 141,000 ton P&O colossus. Described as a 'modern classic', the ship will be completely unique to the UK cruise market.
Once she's in service, the ship will be able to hold 3611 passengers in 1812 cabins, served by a crew of 1350. Costing a whopping £489 million, the new addition to P&O's Southampton-based ships will boast 17 public decks and be fitted with the latest green technology.
P&O Cruises managing director, Carol Marlow said: "The cutting of the steel marks the moment the ship goes into production so for us it is a very exciting time as we go from the drawing board to reality."
Excitement isn't limited to the team behind the build as cruise aficionados have started to guess what kind of attractions the enormous vessel will hold and what kind of new product innovations will be available.
Iconic design inside and out
For the first time, P&O Cruises has drafted in a British company to oversee the whole of the ship's interior design. Richmond has committed to marry P&O's rich cruise traditions with modern design and amenities to offer an unrivalled experience that will appeal to both existing passengers and a new generation of holidaymakers.
Richmond - a market-leading name for design in hospitality - has a very impressive list of clients including some of the world's top hotels. Cruise Thomas Cook passengers can expect to see the same quality that's on show at The Langham London, Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, Four Seasons Hampshire Hotel and Spa, Boca Beach Club and Waldorf Trianon Palace Hotel and Spa, Versailles.
Marlow continued, "We're working hard on the interior and exterior design of the ship. We're surrounded by material samples and carpet samples - all sorts of exciting things! There are signature P&O concepts on this ship, along with brand new ideas and places for people to go. May saw the keel laying for the ship which means she's started to become a reality!"
By Thomas Cook Press Office
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