(5:30 a.m. EDT) -- Azura has arrived! Cruise fans watched from a series of vantage points early this morning to view P&O Cruises' 116,000-ton, 3,080-passenger new-build sailing into Southampton.
The ship will be docked at the port's Ocean Terminal until it departs on its maiden voyage on Monday, April 12. And Cruise Critic will be onboard all weekend to bring you a first look at the completed ship and coverage of the glamorous naming ceremony on Saturday.
Join us on a live streaming video tour of Azura, which at this point, is planned for Saturday, April 10 at 2 p.m. BST. We're planning to take you on a whistlestop tour of the ship's signature areas -- the Sindhu Restaurant, the adults-only deck space, The Retreat, Olly Smith's Glasshouse wine bar and those long-awaited single cabins. Got any questions about the ship? Then post them here and we'll try to answer them live as we explore the new ship.
There will be further coverage from the Cruise Critic team during the evening via Twitter, Facebook and on www.cruisecritic.co.uk during the build-up to the big event, the naming, at 8 p.m., when Azura's godmother, ballet star Darcey Bussell, will smash a bottle of champagne against the ship's hull in the time-honoured fashion.
Southampton city council is also laying on a massive, free party in Mayflower Park, called Voyage Into The Blue. Be there from 5 p.m. for live coverage of the events onboard, a funfair, live music and dance performances. At 6:30 p.m., there's a dazzling theatrical performance, Journey to the Edge of the World, featuring fast-paced acrobatics, humour, singing and, we're promised, ‘human catapults and bouncing stilts'.
The naming of Azura will be shown on giant screens in the park, after which those onboard and ashore will be able to admire the dazzling fireworks display that will light the night sky at 8:20 p.m. as the naming ceremony concludes.
Stay tuned for more details of the video tour -- and send us your questions about Azura now!
Check out member photos of Azura's arrival in Southampton.
--by Sue Bryant, Cruise Critic Contributing Editor
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P&O's Azura Arrives in Southampton for Dazzling Naming Ceremony
April 7, 2010