2019 February 20 12:48
In 2019, 11 cruise ships will make their maiden voyage to the Port of Southampton, which is up from eight in the previous year, ABP says in a press release.
The first cruise ship to make her maiden call at Southampton is the MSC Bellissima who will be welcomed to the port on Friday 1 March, with a plaque and key ceremony before her grand naming ceremony on Saturday 2 March.
The plaque and key ceremony is a tradition for all vessels on their maiden call to the port. It has its roots in the medieval history of Southampton, when visiting ships bringing business to the city were given the keys to the city walls.
In the spring, Southampton will welcome Celebrity Edge, Sun Princess, Norwegian Spirit and Marella Explorer.
Then throughout the summer months Saga’s Spirit of Discovery, Cruise & Maritime’s Vasco De Gama and NCL’s Riviera will all make their maiden voyages to Southampton.
Autumn will see the arrival of the World Explorer, Norwegian Encore and the last of the maiden calls in Southampton this year will be the MSC Grandiosa, the new ‘Meraviglia plus’ class ship, due for delivery in October.
Alastair Welch, Port Director at ABP Southampton said: “We are excited to welcome 11 cruise ships on their maiden voyages to the Port of Southampton this year. The number of cruise calls we receive at the port each year is testament to the exemplary level of customer service and the efficient turnarounds provided by the entire port community.
“Cruise is a strong and growing industry and we are investing significantly in expanding our cruise infrastructure at the port to continue to meet the needs of our customers, long into the future.”
Southampton typically welcomes around 2 million passengers each year. Each visit to the port generates around £2 million for the economy.