The first phase of a multi-million-pound upgrade to the Ocean Cruise Terminal at Southampton has now been completed.
The reopening of the port’s largest and newest cruise terminal marks the beginning of another busy cruise season as it welcomed P&O Cruises Azura.
Phase one of the upgrades included improving infrastructure on the quayside with 18 new 150 tonne bollards replacing the old 50 tonne bollards. The inside of Ocean Terminal has also been significantly improved ready to accommodate an increase in passenger capacity as larger ships visit in the future.
The newly refurbished cruise terminal features spacious new lobby area, new escalator and stairs to compensate for the increase passengers passing through the terminal. Additional seat has also been added to accommodate the increasing passenger capacity of larger ships.
This £12 million partnership upgrade project with P&O Cruises began in October 2018, in preparation for the cruise line’s new flagship, Iona, set to debut in May 2020.
The final phase of the project will be completed in early 2020 with the installation of two new airbridges and a further 2,000 roof-mounted solar panels atop the terminal building.
The 183,900 gross tonne Iona will accommodate 5,200 passenger and will homeport in Southampton. The vessel is the first of two new ships for P&O Cruises. The second is expected to be delivered in 2022. Iona will be the first British cruise ship to be powered by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).
Alastair Welch, Director, 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.”
Paul Ludlow, President, P&O Cruises, 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 welcomes over 2 million cruise passengers each year. It is estimated that each ship which visits generates around £2 million for the local economy.