Cruise terminal upgrade completes first phase at the Port of Southampton
The reopening of the port’s largest terminal marks the beginning of a busy cruise season as it welcomed P&O Cruises Azura.
Phase one has included infrastructure upgrades on the quayside with 18 new 150 tonne bollards replacing the old 50 tonne bollards. The inside of the terminal has also been significantly improved ready to accommodate an increase in passenger capacity.
This £12 million partnership project with P&O Cruises began in October last year in readiness for May 2020 when the cruise line’s newest flagship, Iona, will arrive in Southampton from Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg.
The project will complete in early 2020 with the installation of two new airbridges and a further 2,000 roof-mounted solar panels.
Iona, which will homeport in Southampton, is the first of two new ships of the XL class for P&O Cruises, with the next ship on order to be delivered in 2022. She is the first British cruise ship to be powered by LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas).
Alastair Welch, Director at the Port of Southampton, said: “Cruise is a growing industry and we continue to make these significant investments which are crucial to ensuring we are in a good position to welcome the larger ships and the increase in passenger numbers.”
P&O Cruises president Paul Ludlow said: “Azura is be the first ship to berth at the newly renovated Ocean Cruise Terminal, which, when all the work is complete, will give our guests a much smoother, faster and more efficient boarding experience and will also prepare us for the arrival of our two LNG-powered ships.”
The Port of Southampton is Europe’s leading cruise turnaround port and currently welcomes over 2 million passengers each year. Each ship visit to the port generates around £2 million for the local economy.