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Cruise industry boost for city as more ships set to call
Thousands of overseas tourists will flood into the port during the coming months as foreign based vessels set a course for Southampton as a port-of-call on northern European itineraries.
Southampton is already the UK’s premier centre for “turn-around” calls at the beginning and end of voyages but now the city is increasingly being seen as the perfect gateway for overseas tourists wanting to visit popular and historic destinations in and around the area.
Southampton is ideally placed as the stepping off point for visitors to the cathedral cities of Winchester, Salisbury, and Chichester, local National Trust properties, the New Forest and Beaulieu, Stonehenge, as well as day trips to London.
Among the visiting cruise lines will be the major German operator, AIDA Cruises, which is due to bring two of its ships, AIDAsol and AIDAstella, to Southampton for a total of 12 calls, while another German vessel, Mein Schiff, is expected to be alongside five times, and Oceania Cruises’ ships, Nautica and Marina, will each call three times.
The AIDA Cruises’ ships will be unmistakable sights on Southampton Water with their highly distinctive livery including a huge pair of red lips and blue eyes.
Port director, Doug Morrison, said: “Southampton goes from strength to strength. We are already known as a major turn-around port and now we are seeing an increasing demand for day visits.
“This is great news for the economy as well as the city and for all the other attractions Hampshire and the Isle of Wight has to offer.”
This year will see about 430 separate cruise ship calls to Southampton with the port handling more than 700,000 passengers.
With latest figures showing an 11 per cent rise in 2012, Great Britain is rapidly gaining in popularity with foreign cruise ship passengers.
The nation’s island geography makes “Round Britain” cruises an unusual and unique itinerary option and allows visitors to explore coasts, castles, cities and countryside in one easy visit.
Plus, Britain’s geographical proximity to complementary countries offers additional choice for a wide range of lines and ships.