Cunard’s new cruise ship Queen Victoria is to be named at a ceremony in Southampton today.

The £300m cruise ship, which is to eventually replace the QE2, will be officially named by the Duchess of Cornwall in a lavish ceremony. Accompanied by the Prince of Wales, Camilla will be the first non-monarch to name a Cunard “queen”.

The 16 deck, 90,000 tonne liner will depart from Southampton on a 10-night tour of Northern Europe on 11 December. The QE2 will leave service next year to become a floating hotel in Dubai from 2009.

Built in Venice’s Fincantieri shipyard, the Queen Victoria features an 830-seat theatre, museum and two-storey library.