Saturday, 16th July 2011 will be an exceptionally busy day for Southampton, when six cruise ships will be berthed at various locations in ABP Southampton’s docks, accommodating over 65,000 crew and passengers getting off and onboard the cruise ships.
CruiseSouthampton.com, the authoritative information website for cruise passengers and crew travelling from Southampton, will be handing out their free Map & Guide as well as helping passengers find their way to shops, museums, restaurants and essential services such as currency exchange.
From 3.30am onwards, Crown Princess, Grand Princess, P&O Cruises Ventura, Fred. Olsen’s Balmoral, Celebrity Eclipse and Phoenix Reisen’s Artania, will begin their journey into the Solent at 15-minute intervals.
Embarking just east of the Isle of Wight, each cruise ship will be piloted by a highly experienced ABP Pilot through the Eastern Solent and Southampton Water to the ‘designated berth’.
The Southampton VTS team (based in an air traffic control like structure looking over Southampton Waters), will advise each of the six ABP pilots when to head off from the pilot station in Gosport, on one of the two brightly coloured orange launches crewed by a Marine Officer and a Coxswain, and wait within the ‘Nab Tower boarding areas’.
The pilots will embark on each of the cruise ships and join the ship’s Master to steer the cruise ship to its berth, which will take around 2.5 hours.
Tugs will also be available if required based on weather conditions etc on the day.
And for cruise passengers making their way to the city centre, the train station or Southampton’s Airport, a range of transport arrangements have been put in place by the cruise ships, taxi companies and ABP to ensure that passengers are not waiting for long periods of time to depart from the port.
Southampton’s Princess Coaches will be on standby at the Eastern and Western end of the docks just in case there is a shortfall of taxis available due to demand.
Says Doug Morrison, ABP
“With such a large volume of people travelling to and from the port on the 16th July, passenger travel from the docks is as imperative to us as berthing a cruise ship.
ABP’s teams have been working in unison to ensure that we are well prepared to have all six cruise ships in Southampton Port by 6.30am, all ready for disembarkation by the respective cruise ships.”
The public can track the location of each cruise ship via the ABP Southampton website on http://www.southamptonvts.co.uk/shipping_movments.asp