Princess Cruise Ship off the coast of Barbados

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Princess Cruise Ship off the coast of Barbados

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A Princess Cruise Ship off the coast of Barbados in the Caribbean Ocean
The birth of leisure cruising began with the formation of the Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company in 1822. The company started out as a shipping line with routes between England and the Iberian Peninsula, adopting the name Peninsular Steam Navigation Company.[5] It won its first contract to deliver mail in 1837. In 1840, it began mail delivery to Alexandria, Egypt, via Gibraltar and Malta.[5] The company was incorporated by Royal Charter the same year, becoming the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company.


RMS Strathaird, a P&O cruise ship of the early 20th century. The company began offering luxury cruise services in 1844.
P&O first introduced passenger cruising services in 1844, advertising sea tours to destinations such as Gibraltar, Malta and Athens, sailing from Southampton. The forerunner of modern cruise holidays, these voyages were the first of their kind, and P&O Cruises has been recognised as the world's oldest cruise line.[6] The company later introduced round trips to destinations such as Alexandria and Constantinople. It underwent a period of rapid expansion in the latter half of the 19th century, commissioning larger and more luxurious ships to serve the steadily expanding market. Notable ships of the era include the SS Ravenna built in 1880, which became the first ship to be built with a total steel superstructure, and the SS Valetta built in 1889, which was the first ship to use electric lights.
A Princess Cruise Ship off the coast of Barbados in the Caribbean Ocean
The birth of leisure cruising began with the formation of the Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company in 1822. The company started out as a shipping line with routes between England and the Iberian Peninsula, adopting the name Peninsular Steam Navigation Company.[5] It won its first contract to deliver mail in 1837. In 1840, it began mail delivery to Alexandria, Egypt, via Gibraltar and Malta.[5] The company was incorporated by Royal Charter the same year, becoming the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company.


RMS Strathaird, a P&O cruise ship of the early 20th century. The company began offering luxury cruise services in 1844.
P&O first introduced passenger cruising services in 1844, advertising sea tours to destinations such as Gibraltar, Malta and Athens, sailing from Southampton. The forerunner of modern cruise holidays, these voyages were the first of their kind, and P&O Cruises has been recognised as the world's oldest cruise line.[6] The company later introduced round trips to destinations such as Alexandria and Constantinople. It underwent a period of rapid expansion in the latter half of the 19th century, commissioning larger and more luxurious ships to serve the steadily expanding market. Notable ships of the era include the SS Ravenna built in 1880, which became the first ship to be built with a total steel superstructure, and the SS Valetta built in 1889, which was the first ship to use electric lights.

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