First Timers

Southampton has seen many new ships or just maiden calls during the past couple of years and 2010 is no exception. MSC Magnifica, Azura, Celebrity Eclipse, Silver Spirit, Norwegian Epic, Mein Schiff, Saga Pearl II (previous called as Astoria) and Le Boréal. Plus we’ve had some returnees after several years in the shape of The World, Silver Whisper and Regatta. September is around the corner and we’re not done yet! MSC Poesia’s maiden call on the 7th, the arrival of Cunard’s latest uninspired Vista, Queen Elizabeth in October and a call by Thomson Dream in December. Also this year, while Eclipse repos to the Caribbean until April, Independence of the Seas remains for winter cruising. Exciting times in Northern Europes number 1 cruise port. Now if only ABP would build CRUISE TERMINALS on Dibden Bay and stop obsessing about pointless container ones when we’ll never compete with Felixstowe and others, then we can get more and more!  Cruising is a major growth industry and if we can’t handle more than 4 at a time, they cruise lines will go elsewhere.  Already at the moment we have 2 days during 2011 when there are 6 but I won’t be surprised if it ended up being 5 or 4 due to lack of foresight by port bosses.

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2 Responses to First Timers

  1. Faith J says:

    Hi Patsy, Southampton is a commercial port not purely a cruise port so they have to concentrate on all types of shipping not just one particular type. It isn’t Ft Lauderdale, so they have to try and accommodate everyone. What about in the winter when cruise calls are few and far between (‘Indie’ notwithstanding)? Without other commercial shipping, the port would lose a lot of money. Southampton is famous as a passenger port, but has always had a variety of shipping, from the old fashioned break bulk cargo sort to container ships and car carriers in addition to liners and cruise ships.
    However, I do think that they have not made the most of the space they have, such as all that wasted space which is Ocean Village, for a start. They could have rebuilt that area and made more commercial berths, rather than spaces for WAFIs and gin palaces. Southampton could compete, if not with Felixstowe then certainly with Thamesport, if they got their fingers out and sorted out the port. Boot out the WAFIs, fill in the Ocean Village Marina and make more berths from that, move the cruise ships down there and make the upper part of the Western Docks into container terminals. Ships getting ever bigger don’t help the situation.

    As regards Dibden Bay, I would rather it was left as it is (untouched), but if they do build new docks there, why not put the container ships there as planned and keep the cruise ships over at Southampton itself, where there is easier access to the city and other transport links? Makes far more sense to me.
    Aren’t Southampton building a fifth cruise terminal, by the way?

    Blog looks good, maybe you could put all the stalking on here and use the main site as a photo album?
    By the way, I’m moving my Solent Ships website to WordPress to join my astronomy site. It’ll eventually be at solentships.wordpress.com

  2. linerlovers says:

    Faith, I agree about the building and would prefer it left alone. We have enough crap as ships sail down the water as it is. However, ABP are obsessed with something which will be akin to Liverpool’s overhyped landing stage – an expensive white elephant standing idle most of the year and losing money. Cruise ships aside, there are more car carriers than container ships and they end up using cruise terminals due to lack of space. Can never say that with container ships because even now it’s either empty or one berth in use. The larger the ships, the less there are needed to carry the boxes. A few years ago three cruise ships was the norm, now it’s four. Container ships haven’t had the same growth.

    Barcelona is also a commercial port but they didn’t become number 1 in Europe by obsessing about something which is stagnant and other ports cater for better. They have a very narrow waterway as you pass the container ships to get to the cruise berths. They have one area to turn, which itself is dock space. But unlike our lot, they have catered to the growth cruise industry and made the space available, even putting smaller ships in the ferry part.

    By building three or four cruise terminals at Dibden Bay it frees up space in Western Docks they could convert to container berths. Makes more sense since it’s up that end anyway. It also eases infrastucture on that side for the thousands going on a cruise and gives this side a much needed road revamp. It would bring more money to the economy (and their profit margins), won’t ruin the view and will be quiet at night instead of automated clanging so the nimbys at the marina wouldn’t object.

    I also think they should use 48 for small ships, sharing Ocean Terminal as they do with Mayflower when they have ships in 105 and 106. They simply MUST compete with so many other ports now taking business. Instead they’re complacent while the likes of Dover, Portsmouth and even Dartmouth are seeing vessels which at one time would call here. How long until Fred Olsen move completely to Portsmouth because ABP cannot cope? Saga already use them for Spirit of Adventure. They could go too. ABP need to get a grip and look at what’s needed, which isn’t a container terminal.

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