Southampton welcomed a £25 million boost to its economy over the weekend as ten cruise ships arrived in the city's port. Some 55,000 passengers were embarked and disembarked, splashing their cash in the city's hotels, restaurants and bars. Each of the ships, was estimated to bring a £2.5million boost to the city's economy.
There was fears traffic in the southern part of the city would be severely affected as the ships' arrivals clashed with Saints' home tie against West Ham, however traffic appeared to flow smoothly.
On the first day Norwegian Jade, Queen Mary 2, Navigator of the Seas, Mein Shiff 1 and Azura all arrived and departed, with Queen Elizabeth, Arcadia, Independence of the Seas, Braemar and Aurora arriving on the following.
Chief executive of Go Southampton Business Improvement District (BID), John Walton called for people not to avoid visiting the city over the two-day span. He said: To have 10 cruise ships in one weekend is absolutely incredible for city.
It's fantastic for local business and it puts Southampton on the world stage. I don't think anyone should avoid the city, but instead take advice from the council and relevant highways authorities.”
Port bosses also expect the usual contingent of Ro-Ro vessels and container ships.
Associated British Ports (ABP) director, Alastair Welch, said: “This will be a busy period for the port. It really is a team effort that ensures the ships arrive and depart safely.
With the trend for cruise travel on an upward curve, we are likely to see more weekends like this in the port.
However, the council's portfolio holder for transport, Jacqui Rayment, has played down suggestions of looming traffic chaos. She said: As far as I'm aware it is business as usual”.