The first visiting cruise ship of spring is on the horizon, heralding the start of the season at Portsmouth International Port. The classic cruise ship Azores arrives today, bringing 550 visitors to Portsmouth.
Tourist call visits are an important part of the business at the Port, and this year it will see a 20% rise in cruise ship calls, with 17 visiting liners compared to 14 in 2013.
This growth comes as the waterfront city establishes itself as a major UK tourist destination. The recently-opened Mary Rose Museum is a popular choice with passengers, as are HMS Victory, Nelson’s flagship and HMS Warrior in the Historic Dockyard. Seventy years ago the docks were the focus of preparations for the D-Day landings, and this year many cruise ships are visiting with this particular anniversary in mind.
During the first week of June there will be eight cruise ships coming and going from Portsmouth, the majority making the crossing to Normandy, in commemoration of the Normandy Landings.
Captain Rupert Taylor, Portsmouth International Port harbour master, said: ”Just three years ago we had six tourist calls, now we have 17. This increase in the number of visiting cruise ships is great news for Portsmouth. Each liner with her tourists means a boost for the local economy, starting with jobs at the Port. As passengers make their way through our award-winning terminal others feel the benefit too. Taxi and transport companies, tourist attractions, restaurants and shops can all take advantage of this increase in visitor numbers.”