The Mr Men and Little Misses are to join Noddy as the latest British icons to be brought to life on P&O Cruises’ ships.

The cruiseline signed the contract to introduce the children’s characters this week, hoping the deal will entice more families to consider a cruise this summer.

Noddy is to be a permanent guest on board the cruiseline’s newest ship Ventura and will be introduced on sister ships Oceana, Aurora and Oriana.

Complete Cruise Solution head of sales Mark Pilkington said: “Part of our strategy is to to get British icons. In terms of promotions there are lots of things we can do with the Mr Men. The reception we’ve had for Noddy has been superb.”

The children’s characters have the added attraction of appealing across generations, said Pilkington.

Already more than 6,000 children have been booked on Ventura’s 2008 cruises. The cruiseline is also introducing cultural sightseeing tours for children this year after feedback that parents do not just want fun water park trips.

They include Pompeii, from Naples, and Pisa, from Livorno.