P&O Cruises has announced the publication of a special book commissioned to celebrate 175 years of maritime heritage. P&O Cruises: celebrating 175 years of heritage, tells the official story of one of Britain’s oldest, yet even today best-loved brands. The cruise line’s ships have seen service in two world wars and the Falklands war, and, in peace time, have inspired loyalty and great affection in their passengers.
Looking forward, P&O Cruises has a bright future with yet another new ship on the horizon and this new book celebrates the remarkable history and future of the line, combining British innovation with glamour and service excellence.
The book, by Sharon Poole and Andrew Sassoli-Walker, covers the history of the company since 1837, when the Peninsular Steam Navigation Company won a lucrative mail contract to the Iberian Peninsula. Not long afterwards the concept of cruising was born and since then has evolved into a mainstream holiday choice.
The authors, keen maritime historians, who have previously published the definitive history of P&O Cruises’ Artemis, give a compelling account of the company’s varied and impressive history, highlighting key milestones in the history of P&O Cruises and intriguing personal stories and anecdotes from the early days of first-class cruises in the nineteenth century to Canberra’s crucial role in the 1982 Falklands war, to the current day logistics and running of a major cruise line, and then on to the future with a new ship planned for 2015.
P&O Cruises managing director, Carol Marlow, said: "We are delighted that this fascinating book will be part of our anniversary celebrations in 2012.
We can trace our roots back 175 years and during that time our ships and crews have been at the cutting edge of maritime and cruising innovation, served with distinction in several conflicts, and, most importantly, offered our customers a cruising experience that they have loved, year in and year out. We have seen countless weddings, honeymoons and proposals on board, along with all manner of other remarkable events. It’s excellent to have a book which sheds some light on some of these personal stories, as well as the current day operation of our brand and our ships."
"The anniversary will be celebrated on 3 July 2012, when for the first time in the company’s history, our entire fleet of seven ships will be docked together for our ‘Grand Event’ in Southampton. After a spectacular send-off, the ships will form a procession in the Solent as they depart for seven special anniversary cruises."
Further pivotal moments covered in the book are:
- In 1844, P&O ships were offering tourists passages to Gibraltar, Malta, Athens, Constantinople and Egypt, establishing P&O as one ofthe world’s first cruise companies. In that year, the author William Thackeray was also offered a free voyage – the first ‘press trip’ – if he would write about his experience for the company, bringingwelcome publicity to P&O.
- In 1904, P&O introduced Vectis as its first full-time cruise ship andin the same year offered its first cruise holiday programme – a first class only cruise with shore excursions arranged by Thomas Cook.
- By the 1920s, cruising had become a huge part of the company’s business and, post-war, the company grew this business on the back of its lucrative ‘Ten-Pound Pom’ contracts with the Australian government.
- In 1929 – P&O launched Viceroy of India, its first turbo electric-powered ship and the first to have an indoor swimming pool.
- By 1981, P&O Cruises Canberra was carrying almost half of all cruise passengers from the UK, and in 1982, Canberra – along with Cunard’s QE2 and the Uganda from P&O Cruises educational cruise brand British India – was requisitioned by the British Government for the Falklands War.
- Post-Falklands, P&O Cruises began to expand with new vessels. Today, the company has seven cruise ships – Adonia, Arcadia, Aurora, Azura, Oceana, Oriana and Ventura. The ships’ celebrity godmothers include HM The Queen, HRH The Princess Royal, Dame Kelly Holmes, Dame Helen Mirren, Darcey Bussell CBE and Dame Shirley Bassey.
- A further new addition to the fleet is being planned and will be launched in 2015, to cater for the future needs of P&O Cruises passengers.