If you’re going to be in Southampton, England next Tuesday (July 3rd), bring your camera. Heck, if you’re scheduled to be anywhere within easy driving or flying distance of the famous English port city by the River Test, head on over because P&O Cruises is putting on an event you won’t want to miss!

P&O’s Ventura sails from Southampton, England on May 19, 2012. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

To celebrate the line’s 175th anniversary, all seven ships in the P&O fleet will be berthed in Southampton at once – a momentous occasion in its own right. But for roughly 15,000 embarking guests, and countless spectators ashore, next Tuesday promises to be one for the books, with daytime pyrotechnic displays and a modern, eco-friendly version of the confetti-style sendoff traditionally afforded to departing ships.

At 5:50pm local time, the ships will start to make their out to sea, with accompanying pyrotechnics every ten minutes until all seven ships have left their berths. Around 7:20pm, as the ships are nearing Calshot, the Red Arrows will begin a spectacular flyover that is scheduled to last approximately 25 minutes. Ships will pass near the Isle of Wight and the mainland, with final sightings from Ryde and Stokes Bay around 8:05pm.

Traditional P&O colors on Ventura’s funnel. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

If you are headed down, keep in mind: it’s going to be busy! P&O Cruises also notes that from Mayflower Park, located right at the water’s edge, you will only be able to see four of the seven ships berthed – but they have a handy map in PDF format of locations from which to catch a glimpse of the entire fleet in a single day.

So what ships make up the P&O fleet? Here’s what you can see next Tuesday:

Oriana (1995, 853 feet long)

P&O’s attractive Oriana at sea. Photo courtesy of P&O Cruises.

Aurora (2000, 885 feet long)

P&O’s Aurora sails out of Southampton, England on the evening of May 19, 2012. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

Oceana (2000, 857 feet long; ex “Ocean Princess”)

P&O’s Oceana, formerly Princess Cruises’ Ocean Princess, in the Caribbean. Photo courtesy of P&O Cruises.

Adonia (2001, 592 feet long; ex “R-Class”)

P&O’s Adonia joined the fleet in 2011 after a career as Renaissance’s R Eight and Princess Cruises’ Royal Princess. Photo courtesy of P&O Cruises.

Arcadia (2005, 951 feet long; Vista-class derivative)

P&O’s adults-only Arcadia calls on Vancouver for the first time May 23, 2011. Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

Ventura (2008, 951 feet long; Grand-class derivative)

Sailing Away: Ventura departs Las Palmas, Canary Islands. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

Azura (2010, 951 feet long; Grand-class derivative)

P&O’s Azura docked in Bridgetown, Barbados in December, 2010. Photo © Aaron Saunders

With the entire fleet of a single cruise line set to depart one port on a very special day, it’s enough to make the most die-hard shipspotters count their frequent-flier points!

Full details on commemorative events for P&O’s 175th anniversary can be found on their special micro-site.


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