The first cruise ship passengers to use Portsmouth International Port’s newly opened terminal will have travelled half way round the world to get there, when they arrived this Thursday. The “Athena”, operated by Classic International Cruises, left Freemantle in Australia on March 6th. It has visited some exotic locations including Singapore, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Mediterranean ports and Lisbon en-route to its final destination of Portsmouth International Port.
The new terminal opened its doors to passengers on the 1st April. Designed to accommodate both ferry and a growing number of cruise ship passengers, the stunning building is part of a £16.5 million investment in new facilities at Britain’s best-connected Port.
Martin Putman, Port Manager said “We are delighted to greet Athena and her passenger and are proud that at the end of a long voyage they will be welcomed to the UK through our spectacular new terminal. This is just the start of a busy season of cruise ship visits for us at Portsmouth International Port. The changes we’ve made are already attracting more business from cruise ship companies.”
Athena arrives in Portsmouth at 0800 on April 14th with 250 passengers on board, most of who are Australian. The ship is a living piece of maritime history. It started life in 1948 as an ocean liner and after a full refit and refurbishment in 2004 became a luxury cruise ship. Athena operates in Europe during our summer and from Australia during our winter.
Between now and the end of December there will be 34 cruise ship calls at Portsmouth. All Leisure Group Limited, owners of the Swan Hellenic brand Voyages of Discovery and Hebridean Island Cruises will base three ships at the Port for their summer season. Other notable visitors include the National Geographic Explorer, an expedition cruise ship and Fred Olsen’s Boudicca.