Page last updated at 18:05 GMT, Sunday, 19 July 2009 19:05 UK

Cruise ship berths in Southampton


The ship's first cruise is to Norway

A £700m cruise ship with a real lawn larger than eight tennis courts has arrived in Southampton port ahead of its naming ceremony.

The new 122,000-tonne Celebrity Equinox, owned by Royal Caribbean, will spend the next two weeks berthed at the port for her inaugural celebrations.

Equinox's sister ship Celebrity Eclipse, now under construction, will be based in Southampton next summer.

The vessel, which can house 2,850 passengers, will be named on 29 July.

Royal Caribbean spokesman Robin Shaw said: "For the UK to be hosting the inaugural celebrations of Celebrity Equinox demonstrates the importance of the British and Irish markets."

The lawn can be used for boules, bocca, putting and outdoor concerts, the company said.

The German-built vessel also has a casino, 10 restaurants and swimming pools.

Its first trip with paying guests on board departs from Southampton on 31 July for an eight-night Norwegian fjords cruise.

The liner will be officially named by the founder of the breast cancer charity Walk the Walk, Nina Barough CBE.

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