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Last Updated: Monday, 10 December 2007, 18:43 GMT
Camilla names new Cunard 'queen'
Queen Victoria arriving in Southampton
The Queen Victoria was named by the Duchess of Cornwall
The Duchess of Cornwall has named Cunard's new 300m luxury liner, the Queen Victoria, in a ceremony in the vessel's new home port of Southampton.

But the champagne bottle used in such naming ceremonies failed to break against the 90,000-tonne ship, regarded in maritime circles as bad luck.

The duchess, accompanied by the Prince of Wales, said: "May God bless her and all who sail in her."

Earlier she sounded two of the liner's whistles during a tour of the vessel.

The pair were escorted around the ship by Cunard's president, Carol Marlow.

The tour included a visit to an 830-seat theatre with West End-style theatre boxes, where they met Welsh opera singer Katherine Jenkins and Sir Derek Jacobi.

The duchess unveiled a plaque to officially open the Royal Box.

Firework display

Tenors Alfie Boe, Jon Christos and Gardar Thor Cortes sang Nessum Dorma and I Saw Three Ships.

Ms Marlow said: "The naming of Queen Victoria is made even more special by the presence of their Royal Highnesses and we are delighted that both our invited guests and the people of Southampton will be able to witness this exciting event."

Cunard said that although Queen Victoria was smaller than the 150,000-tonne Queen Mary 2, it was the company's most luxurious liner yet.

Queen Victoria interior

Among the new vessel's amenities are seven restaurants, three swimming pools, a 6,000-book library and a casino.

There is also a Queen's Room, where the life of Queen Victoria is reflected through a collection of works including photographs of Victoria, Prince Albert and their children and grandchildren.

A firework display will mark the departure of the vessel on her 10-day maiden voyage around northern Europe on Tuesday.

Built at Italy's Fincantieri shipyard, the 90,000-tonne Queen Victoria arrived in Southampton, Hampshire, last week and was opened for daily tours.

The previous three Cunard "queens" were named or launched by reigning queens.

Queen Victoria will eventually replace the 40-year-old QE2, which is being decommissioned and turned into a floating hotel in Dubai from 2009.



SEE ALSO
New liner arrives in Southampton
07 Dec 07 |  Hampshire
Luxury cruiser takes to the water
15 Jan 07 |  Hampshire
Work begins on 'new QE2' vessel
19 May 06 |  Hampshire
300m liner's luxuries announced
16 Feb 06 |  Hampshire

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