Busy Six Months With 27,000 Passengers Through New Cruise Terminal

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Since it opened in August 2023, Portsmouth International Port’s state-of-the-art cruise terminal has been extremely successful. In its initial three months alone, the terminal has seen a remarkable 75,000 guests, embarking and disembarking from their voyages.

Portsmouth’s cruise terminal was built to bring cruise passengers back to the city, which has a longstanding maritime tradition. While nearby Southampton focuses firmly on large cruise ships, Portsmouth’s cruise facilities are more suited to boutique, expedition, and luxury cruise ships.

After opening on August 20, 2023, Portsmouth’s new cruise terminal has proven extremely successful and popular with guests and cruise lines. The £11.25 million investment, has led Portsmouth to be on track for its busiest year to date in terms of numbers of ships, number of passengers, and the total economic impact that the visitors have on the south-English town.

Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Portsmouth City Council Cabinet Member for the Port: “We are on track for our busiest year, with 88 calls, which helps to support the port’s overall growth and is essential for the city. It is estimated that each cruise call can generate £1.5m for the city’s economy through passenger and crew spending, combined with port charges.

“With the port contributing £8m profit to the council’s budget this year, we’re optimistic our popularity as a cruise port will continue as forecasts show future growth. Over the past six months, we have seen a record number of passengers use our new terminal extension.”

Since August 2023, more than 75,000 guests have embarked, disembarked, or visited Portsmouth as part of their cruise. While the passenger numbers that have passed through Portsmouth in the past six months do not come close to Southampton, just a few miles away, the port has a different focus than its bigger counterpart.

Portsmouth Cruise Terminal
Portsmouth Cruise Terminal

Portsmouth’s focus is more on small to mid-sized boutique, expedition, and luxury cruise ships; an approach that is proving to be successful.

Cruise ships scheduled to visit Portsmouth through the end of December 2024, include Spirit Of Adventure and Spirit Of Discovery from Saga Cruises; four cruise ships from Viking Cruises, including Viking Mars, Viking Star, Viking Sky, and Viking Venus; Norwegian Star from Norwegian Cruise Line; Seven Seas Navigator from Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Resilient Lady from Virgin Voyages, and Borealis from Fred Olsen Cruise Lines.

Bright Future for First Carbon-Positive Cruise Terminal

That Portsmouth’s cruise terminal is well-situated in the market comes down to both its accessibility and the fact that it is one of the most modern cruise terminals in the world. The project uses several state-of-the-art technologies that enables the cruise terminal to operate carbon-positive, ie. it removes more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than it emits

Mike Sellers, Portsmouth International Port’s director said: “Investment in the port has resulted in exponential growth in the cruise trade and the recent figures show that it has been money well spent.

“Our berth extension and new terminal facilities have secured commitments from well-known brands and meant Portsmouth is establishing itself as an important UK cruise port.

Portsmouth International Port
Photo Credit: Mystic Stock Photography / Shutterstock

The port will be looking at making more moves to make it possible for ships to achieve carbon-neutral operations while berthed, although it will need to find a way in which ships will use the facilities.

“We now turn to shore power as our current focus so we can be in a position next year to provide energy for multiple ships on multiple berths, which we believe will be UK first. We look forward to sharing our experience with the wider industry and demonstrate how ports are a leading sector in sustainability,” Sellers said.

By concentrating on smaller cruise ships in Portsmouth and larger vessels in nearby Southampton, the UK is significantly advancing its position in the European cruise market. This strategic division positions the UK to challenge the traditional dominance of Mediterranean ports, which have recently experienced a more negative perception of cruising.

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