The SS Canberra was built as an ocean liner, though later operated on cruises as part of the P&O fleet. It was in service from 1961 to 1997. The vessel was built at the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast - the last such liner to be built at the famous shipyard - at a cost of £17 million, and was launched on 16 March 1960. The ship was named on 17 March 1958, after the federal capital of Australia, Canberra, and entered service in May 1961. During the 1982 Falklands War, it served as a troop ship.