A sparkling firework display will light up the night sky over Southampton as six cruise ships leave the port heading for the far corners of the globe today.

Scheduled to begin at 6pm the fireworks will take place off the city's Eastern Docks as Cunard's Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria, expected to be joined by P&O Cruises' Arcadia, departure on a series of long distance voyages.

For the first time in more than 50 years, the port of Southampton is playing host to a total of six luxury cruise ships, which also include Fred Olsen Cruise Lines' Balmoral and Black Watch, and Saga Cruises' vessel, Saga Ruby.

Almost 20,000 people crossed Southampton's docksides during the day as they disembarked the ships, and then later in the another full capacity of passengers joined the vessels before they departed.