From April to October 2010, Azura will be based in Southampton. After a maiden 16-night Mediterranean voyage on 12 April 2010, the ship will offer 2- to 16-night cruises to the Mediterranean, Baltic and Canary Isles. From October 2010 to April 2011, Azura will winter in the Caribbean, offering 15-night fly-cruises out of Barbados.
Bookings for Azura's inaugural season will open on 30 March 2009. Early-bird pricing is available through 18 April and onboard credit/free parking offers are available through 30 June.
At this point, P&O's new ship, under construction at Fincantieri's shipyard at Monfalcone, Italy, is 50 percent complete. Its float out is scheduled for June 2009. Although the ship will offer new features for the line -- including an outdoor cinema, single cabins and an adults-only sun deck sanctuary -- Philip Price, P&O's head of brand marketing tells us "it will really appeal to people who love what we do -- our past passengers." He said he expects the ship to attract 55 percent past passengers and 45 percent new cruisers -- the reverse of the line's last new-build, Ventura.
As reported earlier, other highlights of Azura will be an Indian restaurant, a wine bar-cum-restaurant designed by TV wine expert Olly Smith, a room dedicated to Wii video game play and spa cabins.
--by Erica Silverstein, Senior Editor, with reporting by Kelly Ranson, U.K. Editor
Image of Ventura, Azura's sister ship, appears courtesy of P&O Cruises.