Preparations for the arrival of P&O Cruises’ new flagship MV Iona have been ongoing for nearly two years.

Solent Stevedores, an award winning stevedore and terminal operator based at the Port of Southampton is well prepared for the logistical challenge of servicing a 5,200-passenger cruise vessel.

An average turnaround day for Iona will see around 18,000 items of luggage handled and in the region of 500 pallets of fresh produce, technical and hotel stores loaded on to the 180,000 ton cruise ship.

A highly skilled and choreographed workforce will work across multiple parts of the ship and cruise terminal simultaneously.

A considerable team effort between multiple stakeholders Carnival UK, port owners Associated British Ports and other terminal service providers such as security contractors, ground handlers and delivery companies all work together to provide the seamless embarkation experience that the port of Southampton is world-renowned for.

Solent Stevedores is a leading supplier of cruise stevedoring services to the industry, handling some 700 turn-around calls annually across two main operating bases – the Port of Southampton and Marina Bay Cruise Centre in Singapore.

In the Port of Southampton alone in 2020, Solent Stevedores will provide stevedoring services to 421 vessels.

That will involve handling nearly three million items of luggage at the port, assist more than 1.8 million cruise passengers, and load approximately 120,000 tonnes of cargo to cruise vessels calling at the port – cementing the company’s position as a world leading service provider to the cruise industry.