The first guests in 15 months were welcomed by P&O Cruises on Sunday, 27 June 2021, as Britannia departed Southampton for a four-night summer sailing around the UK coast to where the sun shines brightest.
P&O Cruises ships anchored locally, Ventura, Arcadia and Aurora, and those of sister brand Cunard, Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria, celebrated the occasion with a horn sounding departure salute as Britannia left the Port of Southampton at 6pm and sailed down the Solent.
Britannia will sail a series of three, four and seven night UK coastal cruises until 25 September 2021 when western Mediterranean itineraries will commence prior to her winter Caribbean season.
Iona’s maiden voyage will be on 7 August 2021 and she will then sail weekly seven-night, scenic coastal cruises, before beginning Atlantic coast holidays.
P&O Cruises president Paul Ludlow said: "We’ve been on countdown to this moment and are elated to be welcoming guests back on board. A huge thank you to our guests for their patience as we fully recognise that it’s been a period filled with anticipation and thwarted plans. We’ve spent this time working hard refining and enhancing our holidays so time on board can be enjoyed to its very fullest. Our restart is a celebration for crew, guests, our staff, Southampton and also the industry as we return to playing our key role supporting the array of local growers, suppliers, hotels, B&Bs, restaurants and taxis drivers for whom the cruise industry is so vital."