A major flotilla is set to welcome Cunard’s latest cruise liner to Southampton for the first-time next month, it can be revealed.

Thousands of spectators are expected to descend around the port for the arrival of Queen Anne, the 249th ship to sail under the Cunard flag, as she navigates the Southampton Water into her home port in Southampton.

The flotilla is due to meet at 9.30am on Saturday, April 27.

The luxury cruise line hopes that she will be accompanied by crafts from local yacht clubs, whilst ceremonial tugboats will spraying water cannons to herald the 113,000-ton, 3,000-guest Queen Anne's arrival.

She will berth at the City Terminal at 10.30am.

Upon arrival in Southampton, Queen Anne will receive an official blessing and plaque exchange ceremony – which will take place whilst the ship is alongside at Mayflower Terminal on Monday, April 29.

Isle of Wight County Press:

READ MORE: Cunard reveals Queen Anne activities ahead of Southampton sailings

Katie McAlister, President of Cunard, said: “The arrival of Queen Anne marks the dawning of a new era of luxury ocean travel.

Isle of Wight County Press:

“As our first ship in 14 years, she is the next in a fine line, and we’re excited at the prospect of so many crafts, and spectators, gathering to welcome Queen Anne into her home port.

“This is a truly momentous occasion that will go down in maritime history.”

Isle of Wight County Press:

Throughout her maiden season, Queen Anne will sail on itineraries to the Mediterranean, Scandinavia, the Canary Islands, and the Norwegian Fjords, visiting over 60 destinations in 16 countries – taking in several of Europe’s most enchanting ancient cities.

Ahead of Queen Anne’s homecoming, leader of Southampton City Council, Lorna Fielker, said: “I am thrilled that Southampton will welcome the magnificent Queen Anne on its maiden call to its new home port.

“This spectacular vessel will be arriving on a wave of excitement and celebration, building on the proud maritime tradition of our city, which has welcomed many Cunard ships over the years.”

She added: “We look forward to hosting the Queen Anne and her passengers and showcasing all that our vibrant city has to offer, now and into a long and prosperous future together.”

Isle of Wight County Press:

The 14-deck ship will set sail from Southampton on Friday, May 3, 2024, for her seven-night maiden voyage to La Coruna and Lisbon.

Commenting on the ship’s impending arrival, Southampton Itchen MP, Royston Smith, told the County Press' sister paper the Echo: “The cruise industry is going from strength to strength after recovering from the awful time it went through during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Carnival (that owns Cunard) is leading the way in the UK and the addition of the Queen Anne to their fleet demonstrates the confidence they have in the future.

“Southampton not only benefits from over £2m into the local economy every time a cruise ship visits, but more importantly thousands of direct and indirect local jobs are dependent on a successful cruise industry.”

He added: “Carnival in Southampton and the cruise industry across the country are one of the UK’s major success stories.”