P&O to mark 175th anniversary
12:06pm Wednesday 13th June 2012 in In Port
P&O Cruises will mark the company’s 175th anniversary in style next month when all seven ships in the fleet the Arcadia, Adonia, Oceana, Ventura, Azura, Oriana, and Aurora sail from Southampton on July 3.
This will be a first in the history of the company and it promises to be a grand event. The ships with their gleaming white hulls and signature “buff” funnels will be alongside at seven different points in the port.
It all began in 1837 when the first official birthday of the Peninsular Steam Navigation Company was documented. The company’s founding fathers, Arthur Anderson and Brodie McGhie Willcox were awarded the British government contract for a weekly mail service to the Iberian Peninsula.
A steam ship would sail from London every Friday and from Falmouth every Monday.
At this time ships were designed for cargo passage rather than carrying passengers, yet it was through the events of this period that cruising as we know it was born. On September 4 the company’s wooden paddle steamer, the Don Juan, set sail to Vigo, Oporto, Lisbon, Cadiz and Gibraltar.
Three years later, in 1840, a second mail contract extended the company’s services to the East and, as a result, Oriental was added to the name – creati