Dragon watches over cruise fleet

CRUISING Azura, in the foreground, with HMS Dragon
CRUISING Azura, in the foreground, with HMS Dragon
Picture: Malcolm Wells

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DWARFED by seven P&O cruise liners, HMS Dragon kept a watchful eye on the enormous ships as they took part in a unique fleet review in The Solent.

The new £1bn Type 45 destroyer’s 190 sailors stood in ceremonial uniform as the full P&O cruise fleet marked the company’s 175th anniversary.

The Portsmouth-based ship was briefly lost in the grey gloom on Tuesday night as the luxury vessels left celebrations in Southampton Water, as reported yesterday.

The Red Arrows display had been cancelled, but the weather cleared up just in time to give passengers aboard the illuminated ships a good view of one of the Royal Navy’s most potent warships.

Dragon’s commanding officer, Commander Darren Houston, said: ‘It was a great privilege to be up close to these vast liners for their historic sail past.

‘The weather may not have been perfect but it was a fascinating spectacle.’

Between them the seven liners displace 569,871 tonnes.

The fleet could be seen from Hill Head, Lee-on-the-Solent and Stokes Bay as it sailed out of Southampton Water.