P&O Cruises has announced that Dame Helen Mirren will name the cruise line’s latest superliner, Ventura in April.

The Oscar-winning  actress will attend the ship’s naming ceremony in Southampton on April 16  where she will become the godmother of Ventura prior to Ventura’s

maiden cruise to the Mediterranean.

In  a  break  with  tradition, instead of pressing a button  to smash a bottle of champagne against the ship, she will command a team of Royal Marine Commandos to assist her in naming Ventura.

Dame Helen Mirren said:  “It is the first time I have ever named a ship, let alone one of the size of P&O Cruises Ventura and am really looking forward to being Godmother.”

P&O  Cruises  managing  director  Nigel  Esdale  said:  “Dame Helen Mirren embodies  glamour, vitality and Britishness, which are all values that will be a  feature  of  Ventura.  We are honoured that she has agreed to become Godmother.  The  arrival  of  Ventura  is set to usher in a new era for the British  cruise  industry  and  will  accelerate the rate of progress of an already  fast  growing  market.  We  are delighted that Dame Helen is to be associated  with  her.  At  the  same  time,  we  are determined to get the bottle-smashing  right,  and  are  grateful  for  the  military coordinated assistance of the Royal Marines.”

Around 1500  guests  will  be  invited to Ventura’s naming ceremony including its consultant celebrity  chef,  Marco Pierre White, and children’s favourite, Noddy.