Page last updated at 19:48 GMT, Friday, 18 April 2008 20:48 UK

Ventura leaves on maiden voyage

Ventura naming ceremony fireworks
More than 1,500 guests attended the naming ceremony on Wednesday night

A 300m cruise ship has left a Hampshire port on its maiden voyage.

Oscar-winning actress Dame Helen Mirren officially named Ventura on Wednesday with the help of two Royal Marines who made sure the traditional bottle broke.

The ship left Southampton on its trip to the Mediterranean at 2015 BST - two hours late due to bad weather.

Ventura, which can carry up to 3,600 passengers, will reach its first port of call Barcelona on Tuesday, on its two-week cruise.

It will then travel to Villefranche, Florence, Pisa, Santa Margherita, Rome, Alicante and Gibraltar before returning to the Hampshire port on 2 May.

The 115,000-tonne ship, which was built at an Italian shipyard, is equipped with five swimming pools, a 3D cinema, a Marco Pierre-White restaurant, rock-climbing facilities and a theatre.

It has 12 bars and lounges, five shops, a library, casino and will be staffed by 1,200 crew.

P&O has joined with Tate Modern to bring about 7,000 pieces of modern art onboard.

At 290m (317yds) in length, the ship is longer than Tower Bridge and has 15 passenger decks.

Ventura's first season will be spent in the Mediterranean, the Atlantic and the Baltic before the ship sails for the Caribbean in October for its winter season.


SEE ALSO
Marines help Dame Helen name ship
16 Apr 08 |  Hampshire
How to break a bottle on a ship
16 Apr 08 |  Magazine
Cruise ship arrives in home port
07 Apr 08 |  Hampshire
Cruise ship begins journey home
31 Mar 08 |  Hampshire
Superliner displays artist's work
29 Mar 08 |  Oxfordshire
Commandos engaged for ship naming
04 Feb 08 |  Somerset

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