(10:45 a.m. BST) -- Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines' Boudicca departed Dover on June 2 on a commemorative journey to mark 75 years since the Normandy Landings -- with the ship's bow decorated with The Royal British Legion's iconic poppy insignia.
Suffolk-based Arena Travel has charted Boudicca on behalf of The Royal British Legion to host the seven-night "D-Day 75 Voyage of Remembrance" sailing, taking up to 300 D-Day veterans (and their carers and companions) to Normandy in France.
A series of commemorative events are being held in the UK and France -- with calls in Dunkirk, Poole, Portsmouth and Le Havre -- to mark the landings that took place on June 6, 1944.
Bob Gamble, The Royal British Legion’s assistant director for commemorative events, said: "Seventy five years ago, the largest seaborne invasion force in history set sail for France on a mission to liberate Europe. Alongside their American cousins, nearly 160,000 men from Britain and the Commonwealth landed on the beaches of Normandy.
"Today, we stand in awe of their achievement and salute their bravery and sacrifice, on our journey back to Normandy."
In Poole, the Ministry of Defence is hosting military-themed events; while in Portsmouth, veterans will attend the Royal Commemorative Ceremonies at Southsea Common, also organised by the Ministry of Defence. The ship will be escorted by a Royal Navy frigate into the Solent, as it sails to France.
The sailing has been offered free of charge to the D-Day veterans and their companions, funded by the Government's LIBOR grant, in conjunction with the Ministry of Defence.