SOUTHAMPTON’S £55million cruise terminal has today been officially opened – with the winner of the Echo’s naming competition unveiling a special plaque.

Despite having already welcomed more than 75,000 passengers through its doors, The Horizon Cruise Terminal, named by reader Anna Chojnacka Liberska, was declared open at an exclusive ceremony this afternoon.

Delegates included the maritime minister Robert Courts and Southampton City Council leader Dan Fitzhenry.

“I hope you can see for yourselves why we are proud of our new port,” said ABP Southampton’s director Alastair Welch, during the ceremony in front of the terminal.

“It has already welcomed 75,000 passengers, and we are ready to welcome many, many more. The restarting of cruises has brought the city and the region back together.”

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Cllr Fitzhenry added: “It is an excellent sight to behold.

“The port is significantly important to the city, both for jobs and for residents and visitors. It is the gateway to our city for many and this is a great way to showcase what we are about, especially with the City of Culture 2025 bid.”

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Fitted with more than 2,000 roof-mounted solar panels, ABP says the terminal will generate more power than it uses on a day-to-day basis.

It also boasts shore-to-ship power connectivity, allowing ships berthed alongside to switch their engines off and use electrical power supplied from the port.

It is the fifth cruise terminal to be built at the port of Southampton

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Speaking about why she chose the name, Ms Chojnacka Liberska said: “I chose the name as it is a metaphor: The horizon is where the known meets the unknown, much like this terminal, as your cruise will be taking you into the unknown.

“Looking at it now, it is such a beautiful building, and it matches the name very well. It was the best name I could think of for such a building.”

The translator from Chandler’s Ford, who won a seven-night cruise for winning the naming competition, added that she has yet to decide where she will be travelling to, but “can’t wait” for it next year.