Guests will be able to step from their cruise ship on to a boat service that will sail directly to Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth’s waterside shopping district.
All tourists calling in 2018 will benefit from the boat trip, which it is hoped will make a stop at Portsmouth even more attractive to cruise ship operators planning their 2019 schedules.
Mike Sellers, port director at Portsmouth International Port, told TTG: “To be able to provide a river bus shuttle service is a unique selling point and will help us to take advantage of the core tourist market.
“As the new port director here I am keen to take advantage of the Ministry of Defence’s work to deepen and widen the channel so that we can increase the sizes of cruise ships that we can get into Portsmouth Port and my aim is for the amount of cruise calls at the port to double.”
The boat ride – a joint project between Portsmouth International Port and Gunwharf Quays – will also give passengers the opportunity to see the sights of the maritime city as they sail through the Royal Navy Dockyard past famous historic ships to the Emirates Spinnaker Tower.
Sellers added: “Our historic maritime city makes for a fantastic port of call visit, with incredible attractions and easy access for cruise ships from the English Channel. We want our guests to experience our world-famous landmarks and sights as soon as they arrive.”
The service will be operated by Blue Funnel and passengers will travel in purpose-built boats suitable for any weather.
The first passengers to experience the new service will arrive in the city onboard Viking Star on September 29 – the first time a Viking cruise will have visited Portsmouth International Port.