With more cruise holidays on offer every year, and with constantly changing ships and itineraries, travel agents have to stay ahead of the game in a competitive market.
That’s why a dozen holiday consultants, keen to expand their knowledge, will be at Portsmouth International Port this Monday. The group will be learning about the Port, looking at one of its biggest ever visitors, and discovering why the waterfront city makes a great destination for holidaymakers.
It’s sure to be a busy morning, with Thomson’s Celebration arriving for the first time in Portsmouth. Celebration will bring the biggest number of passengers to ever have disembarked from a single cruise ship at Portsmouth International Port. The visiting agents will be taken to the quayside to get a closer look at the luxury liner. They’ll also get to learn what makes the award winning terminal so special, before heading off to visit the new Mary Rose exhibition at the Historic Dockyard.
2013 has been a year to remember at Britain’s Best Connected cruise and ferry Port, with more cruise ships coming and going than at any other point in its history. But the team looking after visiting cruise ships won’t get a well earned rest until more than eleven hundred passengers, and in excess of two thousand bags, are brought through the dedicated cruise and ferry terminal on Monday.
The arrival of Thomson’s luxury liner is a fitting end to the year, and a demonstration of how investment in new ship and passenger facilities has boosted business at the Port. Thomson Celebration is 215 metres long and will use the recently extended Berth 2 to safely dock and disembark passengers. The enlarged turning circle, created at the entrance of the Port by moving the Royal Navy training ship HMS Bristol, will also make for an easy and efficient arrival and departure.
Thomson is a new customer at the Port, the well known travel company recognising how convenient Portsmouth is for its passengers. Situated on the UK motorway network and with good links to airports and rail transport too, arriving passengers can easily get home wherever they live in the country.
The much loved cruise ship will be almost full, bringing its happy passengers back to the UK after a Mediterranean holiday that started in Marmaris in Turkey at the end of October. Celebration is part of Thomson’s platinum range of cruise ships. Its focus on sophisticated dining and indulgent spa facilities make it a firm favourite with passengers. Before arriving in Portsmouth they will have enjoyed three days at sea enjoying the high quality food and facilities onboard, having left Lisbon in Portugal on November 8th.
Celebration is due to arrive early in the morning, with passengers due to get off between 0730 and 0930. Harbour Master Captain Rupert Taylor will be on hand to make sure all goes smoothly, and will present the Captain of Celebration with a commemorative plaque to mark the vessel’s first visit to Portsmouth International Port. The ship is then due to leave for Hamburg where it will undergo routine checks.
Despite the record number of passengers disembarking, Celebration isn’t quite the largest cruise ship to have visited Portsmouth International Port this year. That honour goes to the German liner Artania. Measuring 231 metres it is the longest commercial vessel to have ever docked at Portsmouth, and visited twice during 2013 bringing hundreds of passengers to visit the local area. Having enjoyed her experience in Portsmouth 2013, she has already booked another call in 2014.