SOUTHAMPTON is truly the cruise capital of the UK according to a new report which shows it had 85 per cent of the embarkations in 2017

A report conducted by the Business Research & Economic Advisors (BREA) on behalf of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) found that out of 1,094,000 cruise passengers who embarked on a cruise from UK ports in 2017, more than 875,000 left from Southampton.

The report, which looked at tourism and employment figures during 2017, also found that the embarking passengers spent approximately £160 per person in Southampton before their cruise – a total expenditure of £137 million.

Travellers were paying for transport fares, food and beverage, and accommodation.

The report concluded that the cruise industry generated £9.1 billion to the UK economy in 2017 in direct and indirect expenditures, representing around 22 per cent of the cruise industry’s ‘total output’ across Europe.

Alastair Welch, ABP Southampton director, said: “We are proud to be Northern Europe's leading cruise port.

"Cruise is a strong and growing industry and the ships that call in Southampton continue to grow in size. We are investing significantly in the port to accommodate future demand to ensure that we adapt and develop to meet our customers' growing needs."

Andy Harmer, CLIA UK & Ireland director, said: “The figures from this study bear testament to the cruise industry continuing to make significant contributions to the UK’s economy and shows the positive impact the industry has for businesses in Southampton.

“As the number of Brits choosing to go on a cruise holiday increases, so does the number of ships built for the UK market, with many of these ships set to be launched in Southampton.

“MSC Cruises recently announced that the naming ceremony for its new ship MSC Bellissima will take place in Southampton next March and the following year is set to be a fantastic year for cruise ship christenings in the city. "

In 2020, Southampton’s ports will host the launches of P&O Cruises’ Iona – the largest ever cruise ship built for the British market with capacity of over 5,200 passengers – Celebrity Cruises’ second Edge-class ship, Celebrity Apex, and Princess Cruises’ fourth Royal-class ship, Enchanted Princess.

Cunard has also recently revealed that it is building what will be the largest cruise ship in its history, with the 3,000-passenger ship joining the fleet in 2022, also to be christened in Southampton.

Estimates suggest every visit to the port generates about £2 million.

More than 500 ship called at Southampton during 2017.