A CRUISE ship has made her maiden call to Southampton.

Crew on Princess Cruises' Enchanted Princess arrived on Wednesday.

The Royal-class liner's Staff Captain Raffaele Di Martino was handed a plaque and key in a ceremony at the Port of Southampton to mark her inaugural visit.

The tradition dates back to medieval times when visiting ships on business were given keys to the city walls.

Speaking at the ceremony, Captain Di Martino said: “Thank you to ABP for welcoming Enchanted Princess to Southampton.

"It is an honour for us to call for the first time to this special port. "We were impressed by the welcome we had from the crew portside and we look forward to sailing from Southampton this summer for a season of Europe cruises on Enchanted Princess.”

READ MORE: New cruise ships to arrive in Southampton as industry returns

The liner offers 13 new voyages ranging from four to 14 nights.

There are longer and shorter itineraries available, with voyages to the Canary Islands, Mediterranean, Scandinavia, Norway and Iceland.

Alastair Welch, ABP Southampton Port Director, said: “It is a great pleasure to welcome Enchanted Princess to the Port of Southampton and meet Staff Captain Di Martino and the Princess team.

"It’s clear from taking a look around the ship today that a fantastic experience awaits passengers.

"We’re looking forward to welcome Enchanted Princess throughout the summer and we are really pleased to have four ships from the Princess fleet in the port this year.”

Enchanted Princess entered service in November last year.

She has 25 bars and restaurants and the largest balcony at sea, covering 1,000 sq ft.

As reported, the port is set to welcome seven new cruise ships and the better part of two million passengers this year in a “tremendous” boost for the economy.

Peter Taylor, president of Hampshire Chamber and chair of Southampton Chamber of Commerce’s leadership group, previously welcomed the news of seven new liners.

He added: "Many families and businesses in the city region depend for their livelihoods on the success of the cruise industry and the many visitors which it brings to Southampton and the wider region."

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