The port of Southampton is set to cement its title as the UK’s busiest cruise port with the opening of a fifth terminal next year. Due for completion in late spring the new terminal will help Southampton handle the 2million passengers, which already pass through the South Coast port each year.
The opening follows the announcement by the port owners Associated British ports (ABP) of a strategic partnership with two of the world largest cruise lines MSC Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings.
The terminal which is being constructed in the city’s Western Docks will be “next-generation-ready”, and able to accomodate world’s biggest ships, which currently carry 6,000 passengers or more.
Alastair Welch, director of ABP Southampton, said: “We’re very pleased to announce this major advance in our cruise infrastructure at the port, delivering further access to Southampton for the industry, whilst supporting our commitment to accelerate improvements in local air quality. This investment is a huge vote of confidence in the future of cruise in Southampton and we’re excited to be at the forefront of a growing industry.”
The new £55 million terminal will feature ultra-modern technology including roof-mounted solar power and ship to shore power connectivity. Also known as ‘cold ironing’, The technology allows for ships to shut down their own generators and obtain power by plugging into local shore based electricity grid.
It scheme has received support from the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) with an £8 million grant through the government’s Getting Building Fund.
Christopher Hammond, leader of Southampton City Council and Solent LEP director, said: “We are committed to ensuring we can emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic with the strongest foundations for future growth. I’m pleased that this investment joins a growing list of public and private commitments to making our city greener, fairer and healthier, whilst providing much needed jobs in our economic renewal.”
Gianni Onorato, MSC Cruises’ CEO, said: “We are in a unique position that not only will we be committing to having an MSC Cruises’ ship home port from Southampton every year, but several of our ships will be visiting Southampton as a destination as part of our wider cruise.
Antonio Paradiso, managing director of MSC Cruises UK & Ireland, said: “Whilst we’ve always had loyal passengers from the UK & Ireland, over the last five years we’ve been on a real journey in the UK market.
“We were delighted to see such strong organic growth which lead to our first ever full season sailing from the UK in 2018, followed by the naming ceremony of MSC Bellissima in the port of Southampton bringing guests from around the world to the city to celebrate the milestone event in 2019. We ended 2019 with the most successful year of sales ever in the UK & Ireland, something we are incredibly proud of.”
He added: “MSC Cruises is serious about the UK market and now more than ever we believe in the potential here and making this long-term commitment to bringing even more passengers to Southampton is evidence of that.
Steve Moeller, senior vice president of commercial development at Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd, added: “This agreement marks the continuation of the strong partnership between Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and the Port of Southampton and demonstrates our commitment to the region.”
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All images copyright Andrew McAlpine unless otherwise stated
Hurtigruten, world leader in expedition cruises, announces a year-round programme of unique voyages departing from Dover from mid March 2021.
The Norwegian operator, considered to be the world’s greenest cruise line, has launched 4 adventurous itineraries as expedition cruises from March 2021, which go on sale from 20th June.
The health and safety of guests and staff has always been the number one priority for Hurtigruten. Following guidelines recommended by the Norwegian Government, the company has built on existing protocols to introduce additional practices to ensure safe, sustainable and enjoyable expedition cruising.
MS Maud – a small, sustainable, expedition cruise ship
Taking less than 500 passengers, MS Maud will be freshly refurbished prior to her arrival in Dover. She goes into the refurb project as the currently in-service MS Midnatsol, already well-known to those who have sailed on Hurtigruten’s Coastal route in Norway.
As part of the multi-million-pound refurb project, MS Maud will proudly emerge with all new public areas. Natural Scandinavian materials will be used to seamlessly bring the great outdoors inside – Scandinavian wool, pine, birch, oak, and granite will unknowingly provide the perfect backdrop to your voyage from Dover.
More sustainable expeditions
As the first cruise line in the world, we are introducing biodiesel as fuel on a number of ships – including MS Maud. Biodiesel reduces (CO2) emissions with up to 80 %. Single use plastic is also banned.
Three new restaurants will be introduced – Aune, the main restaurant; Fredheim, for casual international dining; and Lindstrom, our exclusive fine dining restaurant. Each serving cuisine with character, locally sourced in line with our sustainability principles.
Departing directly from Dover
Eliminating a flight adds convenience and ease to your expedition cruise. You can begin your adventure from much closer to home and immediately you swiftly pass through the gorgeous cruise terminal, without suitcase restrictions or the need to pack and unpack multiple times. Dover is very well connected by road and rail, so joining is simple and quick, be it by private or public transport. Your fellow British passengers will be kindred spirits as you venture forth on your expedition.
At Hurtigruten, we actively shun the bright lights and the crowds of mass tourism; instead, we visit remote nature destinations; we engage in unassuming beach cleans; we showcase local wildlife; we take part in Citizen Science experiments; and we learn from each other and from the Expedition Team. You’ll certainly not get any stuffy formality, nor the needless luxury of boutique cruising, nor will you feel overwhelmed by the sheer scale of your ship, the number of guests or the razzmatazz of ‘big white ship’ cruising.
In the recent past, MS Midnatsol has been in service in Antarctica, where she was heralded as the blueprint for modern expedition cruising in both size and facilities – most significantly, the tender pits and purpose-built platforms used to launch her fleet of expedition boats for landings and local exploration. These will be in use regularly as we bring expedition cruising to Dover.
Leading the cruise industry in sustainability and environmental standards
The very latest fuel and environmental advances will be incorporated ‘below decks’ as part of MS Maud’s refurbishment. The ship will be powered on BIOFUEL, mixed in with regular diesel, to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides and sulphur oxides. Furthermore, the BIOFUEL used will be environmentally certified and made from waste produce from other industries including fishing, meaning no palm oil used in its production and no negative effects on rainforests. Once in port, where possible, MS Maud will be fitted with shore power connectivity eliminating emissions whilst alongside.
MS Midnatsol is a tried-and-tested thoroughbred and pioneer in expedition cruising, and through the refurb, MS Maud will emerge even stronger. A state-of-the-art Science Center is the ‘beating heart’ of all expedition cruises, and MS Maud’s will be complete with the very latest tech and experiment apparatus, touch screens and microscopes. Guests will not be disappointed, and the Science Center will become the hub to informally learn from the Expedition Team on topics ranging from geology to ornithology, from Northern Lights to the conservation and Citizen Science projects we support.
Crafted expedition cruise itineraries
Each of our 4 expedition itineraries visit hard-to-reach destinations, which test seamanship and resolve, and as a result, provide unique experiences to savour and share.
Norway’s winter fjords and the Northern Lights – 15-day voyages visiting Norway’s southern fjords and Arctic North. Highlights include Stavanger, Alesund, off-the-beaten-track Lofoten Islands, 2 days in Tromso, the North Cape and UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bergen. Hurtigruten’s unique Northern Lights Promise applies.
Departures from Dover in March 2021, and Oct 2021 – March 2022
Summertime in Norway’s fjords and her islands – 15-day voyages along the Norwegian coast, known to be one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world, with countless fjords, mountains and charming coastal villages. Norway has been Hurtigruten’s backyard for 127 years – explore the hidden gems, handpicked by your expedition cruise experts.
The British Isles – 13-day expedition cruise visiting remote islands off the British mainland – less-visited, mysterious and varied, where the elements, the coastline and the indigenous wildlife are to be both respected and revered. Highlights include Fishguard, Rathlin Island (excursion to Giants Causeway possible), Iona, Staffa (sail by scenic cruising of Fingal’s Cave), St Kilda, Stornoway, Islay, Isle of Man, Waterford, Isles of Scilly and Dartmouth.
Southern Scandinavia – 15-day voyage offers expedition, culture, wildlife and nature, combined with urban exploration. Across 4 countries we encounter wide, white sandy beaches in Germany and Denmark, peaceful archipelagos and charming marinas in Sweden and the beautiful fjords and islets of Norway. Highlights include the Kiel Canal, Skagen, Koster, the Weather Islands, Oslo, Hardanger and Lysefjord.
– We are thrilled to present expedition cruises from Dover year-round. It is a needed boost for the UK cruise industry at this time, and is especially important to showcase how expedition cruising differs from mainstream ‘big white ship’ cruising, says Anthony Daniels, General Manager, Hurtigruten UK & Ireland
– These sustainable new itineraries visit off-the-beaten-track waters, coastlines and islands; they are brim-full of unique experiences and destinations rarely visited, says Anthony Daniels, General Manager, Hurtigruten UK & Ireland
Hurtigruten is set to a full service of coastal voyages with MS Finnmarken sailing from Bergen from next Tuesday (16th June), and will be the first ocean cruise line to do so.
As always thank you for taking the time to read my latest post