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Date: 14/06/2011

Dame Shirley sparkles in front of cruise crowds

A new cruise liner has been launched by Welsh superstar Dame Shirley Bassey in the port of Southampton, before it sets off on its maiden journey with its passengers sailing on their cruise travel insurance into the tranquil waters of the Mediterranean.

In a glitzy opening ceremony, Dame Shirley wowed the crowds who were also treated to a firework and music extravaganza, as she pushed the diamond shaped button to send the requisite bottle of sparkling wine hurtling down the zip-wire and smashing against the side of the Adonia.

The ship is the latest member of the P&O family and will take those sailing on their over 65 travel insurance to the Med on its first commercial venture out to sea. Dame Shirley, who has a sea front property in Monte Carlo, said she will be waiting to see the ship arrive and will personally go down to the dock to welcome the ship and the passengers on their cruise travel insurance.

As the person who launched the ship, Dame Shirley will now be known as Adonia's godmother, an honour the Welsh singer told the BBC was 'very special and very personal.'

Those travelling on their over 65 travel insurance may be more familiar with seeing royalty launch ships, something Dame Shirley agrees with. Describing the invitation to become Adonia's godmother, she said "The excitement is fantastic and it's an honour because I have only seen the Queen and the Queen Mother christen a ship."

The Adonia is a specialist cruise chip, offering adults only cruises and one of the smaller liners with room for just 710 passengers. Its size means more ports are accessible to the liner, providing cruises that are not available on the bigger ships, as well as offering a more 'intimate ambience and experience,' according to P&O managing director, Carol Marlow.