Peninsular and Oriental
Steam Navigation Co.

1837 - 2012

175th Anniversary Parade

Southampton Water

3rd July 2012


Although the Company started out as The Peninsular Steamship Company in 1835 when it was granted the Mail Contract to Spain and Portugal, on 22nd August 1837, the name was changed to the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company, almost immediately abbreviated to P and O. This date is also regarded as the actual date of the founding of the Company. The paddle steamer William Fawcett, built in 1928 was used, initially, on charter and although she was not used on the new mail run, she has been accepted as the first vessel to operate under the new company. Also at this time the new company were granted the right to use the Royal colours of Spain and Portugal for its houseflag. The result is the famous flag that we now all know, and which is used by P and O Cruises under licence.

On 3rd July 2012, under grey skies and almost continual rain, the now, non-British owned P and O Cruises celebrated the anniversary by parading their entire fleet in Southampton, the first time ever. In the afternoon all the vessels sailed in line astern from the New Docks area down Southampton Water to a holding area in the Solent where HRH The Princess Anne would review the fleet prior to each vessel departing on its own individual cruise. This page chronicles that day which though everyone watching, and certainly from those of us at our vantage point adjacent to Hythe Pier, got absolutely soaked to the skin, though the weather did improve somewhat in the mid-afternoon, it was a memorable and very enjoyable day, especially people like myself - ex "old" P and O shipping company staff.

William Fawcett Steamer
P and O SS Medina
Canberra in Port Philip Bay
P and O Cruises Azura

A cavalcade of P and O Company vessels: Paddle Steamer William Fawcwett, 1837; Medina as the Royal Yacht, 1911; Canberra in Port Philip Bay, 1961; Azura in Southampton Water, 2012.These photographs are from my collection, the first two are from glass negatives in my possession the remaining two were photographed by me - Canberra arriving on her Maiden Voyage to Australia on 27th June 1961 prior to my boarding her from the Customs Launch with Crew and Passengers mail. All other photographs were taken by me, either via my digital SLR or HD Handycam.

Southampton Water
Western Docks from Hythe
Western and Eastern Docks from Hythe
Adonia and Azura
Azura, Adonia and Oceana from Hythe
P and O Cruise Ship Panorama
Cruise Ship Panorama from Hythe Pier
Four Cruise Ships Western Docks
Eastern Docks view
Oceana in Titanic's old Berth

Azura bow view
Azura at the Eastern Docks
Azure Port Bow Quarter
Azura Port Quarter view
Adonia with Azura
Adonia with Azura from Hythe
Adonia Bunkering
Adonia bunkering

Adonia leads the ParadeAdonia leads the Parade

Adonia passing  Oceana
Adonia passing Oceana
Ventura following Adonia
Ventura follows Adonia
Arcadia following Ventura
Arcadia passes Oceana follows Ventura
Arcadia close up
Arcadia on her way
Adonia, Ventura and Adonia pass Hythe Pier
Adonia, Ventura and Arcadia pass Hythe
Aurora on her way
Azura passing Oceana
Azura passes Oceana
Azura with Firework salute
Azura with Firework salute
Oriana follows on
Oceana with attendant Fireboats
Oceana with attendant Fireboats
Line Astern
P and O Fleet in Line Astern

As at this day the P and O Cruises fleet consisted of (in alphabetical order) : Adonia, Arcadia, Aurora, Azura, Oceana, Oriana and Ventura.


Return to P and O Line

HMS Dragon
HMS Dragon, Royal Naval Parade Escort