Cruise ship surge brings a wave of good fortune to Portsmouth

Saga Pearl II
Saga Pearl II
Picture: Malcolm Wells

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CRUISE trade in Portsmouth is set to surge by more than 50 per cent, with thousands more holidaymakers due to visit the city this year.

Travel firms are flocking to sail to and from the city’s historic harbour, with 41 cruises already confirmed for 2018, up 52 per cent from 2017’s figure of 27.

But officials at Portsmouth City Council, which owns the International Port, from where the ships depart, claim this figure could increase.

The rise is expected to bring a fresh wave of prosperity as thousands of holidaymakers stop in Portsmouth to visit the city’s attractions and destinations.

Mike Sellers, port director, said: ‘Portsmouth’s reputation as a cruise port is gathering momentum and we’re delighted to welcome so many established companies to the city.

‘We have ambitions to grow our cruise offer and make significant improvements for our customers.’

Business leader Stef Nienaltowski, who runs Shaping Portsmouth, claimed 44 vessels were due to dock in the city this year.

Of this, he said 27 were turn-around calls, with the city being the start and end destination. He claimed encouraging passengers on these cruises to spend in the city was ‘hard’.

But he added there were 17 stop-overs, bringing in about 12,700 passengers, with 4,200 spending in the city – giving the city a £270,000 cash boost.

Portsmouth City Council boss Councillor Donna Jones said she was ‘blown away’ by feedback visitors give about their trips to Portsmouth.

She added: ‘That’s why developing the cruise market and the lucrative business it brings is key.’

Last year All Leisure Holiday went bust, pulling the plug on 19 cruises from Portsmouth.

This year cruise operator Saga has 14 trips from the city. Its first left on Sunday.