and the opportunity to win a world cruise
Today P&O Cruises operate a fleet of seven impressive ships and sails all around the globe to myriad destinations. But where did it all start? As the company prepares to celebrate 175 years of heritage, we peel back the years to the very beginning; to the passage of a simple wooden steam paddler and a man with a vision...
It all began in 1837 when life on the ocean waves was quite different from the experience we enjoy today. It was in this year that the first official birthday of the Peninsular Steam Navigation Company was documented, when the company's founding fathers, Arthur Anderson and Brodie McGhie Willcox were awarded the British Government contract for a weekly mail service to the Iberian Peninsula.
At this point in history ships were designed for cargo passage rather than carrying passengers, yet it was through the events of this period that cruising as we know it was born. On 4th September the company's wooden paddle steamer, the Don Juan, set sail to Vigo, Oporto, Lisbon, Cadiz and Gibraltar.
Three years later, in 1840, a second mail contract extended the company's services to the East and, as a result, 'Oriental' was added to the name - creating P&O.
Anderson and Willcox recognised the importance of good customer relations, doing their utmost to make sea travel as safe and comfortable as possible, with hearty meals and decent accommodation a priority. Sunday services were offered and benches were placed out on deck. On board entertainment even existed in some form and whilst it was a far cry from the open air cinemas, theatre productions and comedy shows found on board today, it was forward thinking for its day. It was this attention to detail and recognition of travellers' needs that set the standard others imitated.
In celebration of this exciting milestone, all seven ships of the P&O Cruises fleet will be together in their home port of Southampton on the same day, 3rd July 2012. This will be a first in the history of the company and it promises to be a grand event. The ships with their gleaming white hulls and signature "buff" funnels will be alongside at seven different points in the port of Southampton. Leaving their berths on this historic day, the ship's passengers and crew will enjoy a champagne deck party as the flutterfetti flies; the marching band plays and the ships sail past in a procession from Southampton Water out into the Solent. It is here, out in the open water that the ships will meet again, saluting one another before they sail onwards to their various exciting destinations.
To help celebrate, every passenger (over the age of 18) sailing on one of the Grand Event cruises will be eligible to win a P&O Cruises 2013 or 2014 World Cruise for two people worth up to "30,000. One winner will be drawn on each of the Grand Event cruises.Click here for full details and terms & conditions
Seven ships leaving on the same day promises to be a spectacular affair and you can be a part of it by joining us to celebrate on one of seven Grand Event cruises. These itineraries, all departing on the evening of 3rd July 2012 are broad ranging, from a 4 night party cruise to a 21 night Central Mediterranean holiday but each will share a very special sense of occasion.
Southampton - La Coruna - Dubrovnik - Zadar - Venice - Koper - Durres Full Day & Evening - Corfu - Tunis (from La Goulette) - Malaga - Huelva Southampton
Southampton - Dublin - Reykjavik - Isafjordur - Akureyri - Alesund - Geiranger - Bergen - Stavanger Southampton
Southampton - Gothenburg - Copenhagen TWO FULL DAYS - Stockholm - Helsinki - St Petersburg TWO FULL DAYS - Tallinn - Riga - Oslo - Hamburg EVENING & FULL DAY - Southampton
Southampton - La Coruna - Madeira - La Palma - Tenerife - Lisbon - Oporto - Southampton
Southampton - Bergen - Olden - Geiranger - Stavanger - Southampton
Southampton - Amsterdam AFTERNOON & FULL DAY Bruges (from Zeebrugge) - Southampton
Southampton - Malaga - Corfu - Dubrovnik - Venice Split - Palma - Lisbon - Vigo - Southampton