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Bussell the godmother of Azura ship celebrations

06 April 2010

Darcy Bussel Aboard P&O Azura

Darcey Bussell is to follow in the footsteps of famous names including Dame Helen Mirren when she attends a ceremony for a new P&O Cruises ship.

The Azura vessel is to enjoy its official naming ceremony with a dance-themed event on April 10th with the English ballerina and Strictly Come Dancing television judge announced as the "godmother".

She told the Daily Mail: "I'm thrilled to be godmother to the ship, I think it's amazing actually, I was really honoured to be asked. I was slightly taken aback.

"I didn't know what to say when I was first asked. Just the thought of being on one of the largest ships and cracking the bottle, I think is just very exciting. I hope there's plenty of footage of it so that I can keep watching it."

Comedian Johnny Vegas and television chef Atul Kochhar, who has a restaurant on board the 115,000 tonne cruise liner, are others among the 1,200 guests expected to attend the celebrations.

The 3,100-passenger ship, which is the sister vessel to the Ventura, is expected to arrive in Southampton on April 7th and remain there until April 12th, when it will embark on its maiden voyage around the Mediterranean.

It is then set to remain in the UK to set sail on cruises from Southampton until October, when it will be moved to the Caribbean for the winter season.

A number of eating and drinking options are available for cruise travellers on board, with Michelin Star winner Kochhar's Sindhu fine dining restaurant an option for Indian food fans.

Meanwhile, Saturday Kitchen's Olly Smith has masterminded the Glass House Wine Bar, while the poolside grille may prove a better option for those enjoying al fresco dining.

In terms of entertainment, cruisers may opt for the New York-inspired show lounge called Manhattan, while The Playhouse is an 800-seat theatre hosting activities from interactive games to flying acrobats.

Elsewhere, there is the chance to keep in shape at the fully loaded Technogym, while there is also a Thermal Suite Spa and the chance to play football, cricket and tennis on the deck of the Azura.

Bussell's big role on board is one that has been played in the past by Oscar-winning actress Mirren, on the Ventura ship.

Some 1,500 guests were invited to the show, with the Royal Marine Commandos abseiling down the vessel to complete the traditional champagne-smashing ritual.

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