Portsmouth International Port in the south of England has been steadily growing in the cruise business, with a very important step on Friday, May 26, 2023, as the largest cruise ship ever to sail into the harbor arrived.
Mein Schiff 3 of TUI Cruises was welcomed with appropriate fanfare and excitement as the vessel demonstrates the port’s ability to host a wider, more varied range of ships.
Largest Cruise Ship to Ever Visit Portsmouth
Located just 19 miles (31 kilometers) from the more familiar Southampton, Portsmouth International Port has been better known as a large naval and military installation, but is gradually welcoming more cruise vessels.
On Friday, May 26, TUI Cruises’ Mein Schiff 3 became the largest ever passenger vessel to sail into the port. Weighing in at 99,536 gross tons and measuring 962 feet (293 meters) in length, the ship can welcome 2,500 passengers and is manned by approximately 1,000 international crew members.
“We’ve seen many major milestones in our ambitions to grow the reputation of Portsmouth International Port and this TUI call marks another,” said Mike Sellers, director of Portsmouth International Port. “The investment in extending our berth to accommodate larger vessels through to promoting the city’s reputation as a destination has seen cruise activity grow year on year.”
Mein Schiff 3 remained docked in port from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., providing guests ample time to explore the exciting maritime city and enjoy the naval history and unique perspectives it offers.
The visit to Portsmouth was part of a 12-night roundtrip sailing from Bremerhaven, Germany, calling on ports in Scotland, Ireland, and England. Portsmouth was the last port of call visit for the itinerary, and Mein Schiff 3 will return to Bremerhaven on Sunday, May 28.
Sustainable Port Development
In addition to working to attract cruise travelers, Portsmouth International Port is seeking to position itself as a leading destination for sustainable operations.
As cruise lines grow ever more conscientious about emissions, environmental preservation, and carbon neutral operation, sustainability can be a key factor in planning homeports and port of call stops.
“With the multi-million carbon neutral terminal extension due to open this summer means we’re offering bespoke facilities for our visitors to the port and the wider city,” said Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Portsmouth City Council’s cabinet member responsible for the port.
Vernon-Jackson estimates that each cruise ship visit can generate as much as £1.5m ($1.85 million USD) in the local economy. When cruise ships visit, port fees and taxes are a source of local revenue, as well as monies spent by travelers on tours, souvenirs, dining, and more, all of which helps to sustain local jobs.
“We’ve been working hard over the last few years listening to the industry and creating facilities that are required to become a leading cruise port, which meets our focus on the small to medium sized, boutique, luxury, expedition market,” said Andrew Williamson, Portsmouth International Port’s passenger operations manager.
“Portsmouth lends itself effortlessly to the cruise market, from world-class attractions, to a major sheltered harbour close to the main shipping channels, making the city an appealing option for lines.”
In addition to TUI Cruises, vessels from numerous other regional and international lines have visits scheduled to Portsmouth in the coming months, including Seabourn Cruises, Silversea Cruises, Viking Cruises, Oceania Cruises, AIDA Cruises, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, and others.
The cruise port is expecting a total of 75 cruise ship calls throughout 2023, with hopefully even more to come in 2024.