Monday, July 6, 2009

P&O New Ship Azura is Floated Out.

June 26, 2009 - The newest superliner for P&O Cruises, Azura, touched water for the first
time today in the traditional “floating out” ceremony, prior to her launch
next April.

The 115,000-ton ship is taking shape at Fincantieri Monfalcone shipyard
near Trieste and today saw the float out of Azura in a special two part

Amanda Dowds, wife of Azura’s Captain, Keith Dowds acted as “madrina” or
“godmother” for a symbolic ceremony in which a newly-minted two pound coin
and a new euro are welded at the foot of the ship’s mast for good luck.

Azura was blessed by a priest as a bottle of Italian Prosecco smashed
against the hull. The valves of the giant dry dock at the Monfalcone
shipyard then opened allowing the ship to meet the water for the first

P&O Cruises, managing director, Nigel Esdale, said: “The float out ceremony
is a significant event in the build of a new ship. Azura is designed with
traditional cruise values of service and quality combined with the
flexibility and choice that today’s contemporary customer expects and the
high level of early bookings proves this demand.

“For Azura we’ve gone ‘back to the future’. We’re looking at how
travelling at sea really should be; sophisticated, relaxing, indulgent and
exciting, whilst we are also looking forward at the same time. Firsts for
P&O Cruises will include an open-air cinema-at-sea, an open air spa terrace
and single staterooms.”

Azura will feature an Indian fine dining restaurant, Sindhu, the creation
of celebrated Michelin starred Chef Atul Kochhar who attended today’s
ceremony. Sindhu means meeting point, amalgamation or fusion, and the menu
will offer a fusion of fine British and Indian cuisine with dishes such as
pan-fried lobster tail in coconut milk and tamarind sauce.

TV wine expert Olly Smith has also been enlisted to help create a new wine
bar and restaurant concept – The Glass House. A must for wine lovers, The
Glass House menu will feature different wines recommended with each course,
all served by the glass and expertly matched by Olly, who was also present
in Italy.

The Saturday Kitchen star will act as consultant in the creation of the
drinks menus for Azura’s other bars and restaurants and will travel
regularly throughout the year to host light hearted tasting sessions in his
own irreverent style.

Azura will be named in Southampton in April 2010 and depart on her maiden
voyage on 12 April 2010. A 16-night Mediterranean holiday departing 5
September 2010, calling in Malaga, Katakolon, Corfu, Dubrovnik, Venice,
Korcula and Gibraltar starts from £1,685* per person.

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