Cruise firm says new tunnel is yet more good news

CRUSING The Fred Olsen vessel Boudicca
CRUSING The Fred Olsen vessel Boudicca

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A CRUISE company which will be using Portsmouth International Port as its home says next week’s opening of the Hindhead tunnel will be good news for the firm.

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines’ ship Boudicca will start her second season of cruises from Portsmouth on November 1.

The firm is telling its customers that not only will they benefit from the port’s new terminal building, which opened to passengers in April, but the new tunnel will make getting to Portsmouth even easier for cruise passengers.

Matt Grimes, director for planning, port and logistics for Fred Olsen Cruise Lines said: ‘We are very pleased to be offering another season of cruises from Portsmouth aboard Boudicca, following a successful initial season in 2009.

‘The new Hindhead Tunnel is excellent news for our guests, as the completion of this ambitious engineering project will ease congestion and reduce travel time on the A3 to Portsmouth.’

He added: ‘By the time we start our cruise season in November this year, travel to and from the port, as well as the whole embarkation experience, will be greatly improved.’

Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock, who is also the cabinet member for planning, regeneration and economic development for Portsmouth City Council, said: ‘I have long campaigned for a tunnel at Hindhead, as it has been a major bottleneck on the road to the south coast for too long. People and goods will now be able to get more quickly to and from Portsmouth; a major boost to our businesses, economy and tourism.’

The new tunnel will be open southbound from next Wednesday, and the honour of opening the £371m roadway will fall on Secretary of State for Transport Philip Hammond.

It is estimated that the northbound carriageway will be open on Friday, in time for the evening rush-hour, following further roadworks.