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Details are beginning to emerge of the cruise lines’ schedules as regards cruises from Southampton; or at least, which ships will be cruising from the south coast port.

  • P&O will operate seven of their ships out of the port – the existing fleet except possibly Oceana (it’s rumoured she’ll be doing the Mediterranean fly-cruises that year), plus Britannia which will be new to the fleet that year;
  • Princess have just announced that they will home-port Royal Princess at Southampton for the 2015 cruising season;
  • There’s no specific information from Cunard yet, but I assume that they will have at least two of their ships based in Southampton for most of the summer. In the last couple of years they’ve based one ship in the Mediterranean in the late summer and autumn for a short season of fly-cruises and I’m assuming that they will do the same in 2015. The ship they’ll use for that will be either Queen Victoria or Queen Elizabeth  (both of these will still be able to get into Venice that year), which means that the other one of those plus Queen Mary 2 will be based at Southampton;
  • Celebrity will have a Solstice-class ship cruising out of Southampton;
  • Finally, Royal Caribbean have just announced that Anthem of the Seas, their second Quantum-class ship, will be based in Southampton for 2015, her first year of service. She’ll replace Independence of the Seas. At 167,000 tons she’ll be the biggest ship regularly using the port – possibly the biggest passenger ship to ever do so.

So there won’t be any *more* ships, but the ships using the port will be bigger. Both Britannia and Royal Princess are significantly bigger than the Grand class ships and have a capacity of 3,600 passengers normal load, or over 4,380 full load. Anthem of the Seas is even bigger – 4,000 passengers normal load, and almost 5,000 passengers full load. I think this is going to put some pressure on facilities at the port – are the other terminals up to handling this capacity? And what about car-parking, etc? For a long time we’ve thought that Southampton had the capacity to provide good services to the lines and their passengers, but these increases will test this assumption. I have found a story about the development of a fifth cruise terminal but that dates from 2010, and a further story saying it was ‘on hold’ from 2011, but nothing since. I’ll see if I can find out if this project is live or not.

3 Responses to “2015 schedules – it'll be busy in Southampton”

  1. Malcolm Oliver says:

    Hi Tom, I hate to be a pessimist buy I can sense some Southampton ‘Gridlock’.

    It’s OK building more terminal or even expanding terminals, by Southampton’s roads do not get any bigger.

    I wonder what the max passengers in one day will be at Southampton, Spring/Summer 2015?

    • Tom says:

      I agree, Malcolm – all you would need would be a busy day in the port coinciding with a sale at Ikea or something like that, and things could get very sticky. I wonder, in fact, if there is any consultation between the major retailers in West Quay and the cruise lines?

      Another thing that would be interesting would be to find out how the number of passengers going through the port has increased. I’ve seen some old figures that suggested an increase in passengers at Southampton from 500,000 in 2005 to 1.4m-1.5m in 2011. That was three years ago so numbers may well have increased yet more, and are likely to continue to increase. Do you know any more recent figures?

      • Malcolm Oliver says:

        Hi Tom, some years back when the QM2 was a new ship, I was booked on her for a mini-cruise. I was staying at the De Vere grand which is probably just a mile (or two?) from the QM2 terminal. The QM2 arrived at Southampton maybe four hours late because of engine problems.

        The people disembarking and leaving the car parks clashed with the people arriving by car, to embark.

        My drive from the De Vere to the QE2 terminal normally takes 5-10 minutes. On that day it took over an hour – TOTAL GRIDLOCK! The cruise terminal had people everywhere.

        My friend had a 2.00pm boarding time and got on-board at 7.00pm! The departure was of course put back.

        (Sorry no figures).

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