UK-based cruise line P&O Cruises has started construction of what is claimed to be the UK’s largest cruise ship, which is expected to launch in summer 2014.
Work related to the steel-cutting process has commenced for the 141,000-tonne new ship at the Monfalcone shipyard of Fincantieri near Trieste, Italy, marking the beginning of the project.
P&O Cruises managing director Carol Marlow said: "The cutting of the steel marks the moment the ship goes into production so for us it is a very exciting time as we go from the drawing board to reality."
Although the company plans to announce the detailed specifications and innovations of the ship at a later date, it said the vessel will be able to carry 3,611 passengers.
In a move to build a ship that will appeal to both present and new passengers, P&O Cruises has hired British design company Richmond to design the vessel’s interiors with a blend of classic and modern features.
Marlow said Richmond’s designs would cover the entire ship’s interiors, including cabins, cafes, bars, restaurants and lounges.
"Richmond’s designs will add an elegant and timeless Britishness to appeal to everyone who steps on board and will facilitate an excellent evolution of the P&Oness our passengers know and love," Marlow added.
The ship build process, including various other works such as keel-laying, is scheduled to be completed in May 2013 and delivered to P&O Cruises in spring 2015.
The new ship, which the company describes as a "modern classic", is yet to be named.