Portsmouth port expansion set to see up to 150,000 cruise passengers a year

A cruise liner visiting Portsmouth.A cruise liner visiting Portsmouth.
A cruise liner visiting Portsmouth.
THOUSANDS more cruise passengers could set sail from the city when an £18.7m project pumps new life into the port in a bid to woo major operators.

Around 50,000 cruise ship passengers on 50 vessels are expected this year at Portsmouth International Port - but that could triple up to 150,000 in three years with an expansion.

Increased revenue from the expansion at the city council-owned port could ‘help support critical council services and the most vulnerable’, according to Portsmouth council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson.

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Ian Diaper, head of operations, said: ‘Being in a position where we can accommodate the size of ships major lines have in their fleet, means we're in a great place to attract over 100 calls in the small, mid-size luxury and expedition cruise sector.

MV Aurora, a cruise ship of the P&O Cruises fleetMV Aurora, a cruise ship of the P&O Cruises fleet
MV Aurora, a cruise ship of the P&O Cruises fleet

‘The cruise market is rapidly growing, with lines looking to diversify and attract a broader share of potential customers. Many cruise lines are also increasing their fleet with new vessels on order, so we have a real opportunity to accommodate demand.

‘Once the cruise berth extension is complete we'll then turn our attention to transforming the current terminal building in anticipation for an upsurge in passengers. We'll be looking to accommodate up to 2,000 cruise guests, which will mean additional check-in desks, security and lounge facilities, plus a baggage hall able to handle the passenger volumes expected.’

The 30-year old passenger access boarding tower will be replaced and additional mooring points will be built, allowing for two liners to be accommodated at once.

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Cruise ships as long as 255m from lines such as Crystal, Silverseas, Fred Olsen, Saga, and CMV could become a more regular sight thanks to project. Construction firm Knights Brown

Portsmouth City Council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson said: ‘More passengers will also drive demand for additional hotels, an increased spend in shops and restaurants, not to mention putting Portsmouth on the international map.

‘A successful cruise and ferry port provides a wide benefit to the city including a significant contribution to the council’s budget, employment, increased sales for tourist attractions, not to mention an opportunity for residents to experience convenient travel abroad.’

Current cruises leave the city to South Africa, Mediterranean, Norwegian Fjords and Iceland.