Portsmouth International Port
Virgin Voyages launched its first passenger sailing from Portsmouth on its new ship Scarlet Lady
Portsmouth International Port has had its most successful year for cruise operations, hosting a record number of day calls and maiden visits despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The port is expected to see over 130 days of ships alongside by the end of the year compared to a previous high of 65. It has also welcomed maiden calls from eight cruise ships, including Marella Cruises’ Marella and Marella Explorer 2, Tradewind Voyages’ Golden Horizon, Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ Seven Seas Splendor and Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ Borealis.
In addition, Virgin Voyages launched new ship Scarlet Lady’s first passenger sailing from the city. The 277-metre-long vessel is the largest ship ever managed by the port. Viking also launched its first UK-based turnarounds from Portsmouth, as well as the inaugural departure for new vessel Viking Venus.
The port also hosted its first naming ceremony with the christening of Saga’s Spirit of Adventure, while in August it managed three cruise ships at once across multiple berths for the first time.
“While this has been a difficult couple of years for the industry, what we have seen is real creativity from cruise lines in how they operate, which has included operating in different ways for the UK market,” said Mike Sellers, director of Portsmouth International Port. “The whole team has worked tirelessly to manage an incredibly busy period and the results speak for themselves. Our ambition has been to consistently grow within the small to medium-sized market and this strategy is proving to be successful.”
Portsmouth is extending its cruise terminal to accommodate an anticipated increase in cruise passengers, with the project due to be completed by spring 2023. An independent assessment from analysts Oxford Economics estimated that the new terminal will contribute an average of £43 million ($58.6 million) per year to the Portsmouth City Council area over a 40-year period. Meanwhile, cruise growth in the city will add £205 million ($279 million) to overall UK GDP per year.
“It is refreshing to say that this year has been hugely successful for the port and puts them in a great position to continue growing,” said Gerald Vernon Jackson, leader of Portsmouth City Council. “The figures we’ve seen from independent experts are huge and so are the benefits for the city. This is why the terminal extension project is crucial in being able to manage an increase in passengers. This report highlights we are heading in the right direction for our cruise ambitions and we are seeing the rewards already.”
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