Blue skies, crowds and water spouts welcome Britannia to her Southampton home

The weather could hardly have been kinder as Britannia arrived in her home port of Southampton for the first time today. Well, it could have been a bit warmer, but the sun shone from a clear blue sky and the wind dropped just enough to allow The Tigers parachute display team from the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment to jump from a plane, trailing a giant Union Flag.

Even that was a lot smaller than the flag emblazoned across the bow of P&O Cruises’ new flagship, the largest cruise ship built for the UK market.

A flotilla of small boats gathered at Calshot Spit and accompanied Britannia as she sailed into Southampton Water from about midday. Crowds gathered at Southampton’s Town Quay and Mayflower Park as the ship arrived with its horn blaring and a group of officers gathered on the bow.

A week of lavish inaugural events lies ahead, with The Queen officially naming Britannia on Tuesday morning, before the maiden voyage departs next Saturday.

Britannia sailing towards Southampton
Britannia sailing towards Southampton
Britannia's stern
Britannia’s stern
Britannia's bow
Britannia’s bow
Britannia's hull artwork
Britannia’s hull artwork
The two blue funnels on Britannia
The two blue funnels on Britannia
Tug boats escorted Britannia
Tug boats escorted Britannia
Red Ensign welcome to Southampton for Britain's newest cruise ship
Red Ensign welcome to Southampton for Britain’s newest cruise ship
Water cannons greet Britannia
Water cannons greet Britannia
Britannia basking in the sun
Britannia basking in the March sunshine
Britannia photobombing my selfie
Britannia photobombing my selfie
Key figures in front of Britannia
From left: David Dingle, chairman of Carnival UK, Captain David Pembridge, launch Captain Paul Brown, David Noyes, CEO, Carnival UK

(Photo credits to John Honeywell)