Southampton is to build a new “next-generation” cruise terminal ready for the 2021 season.
The port’s fifth terminal has been greenlit through partnerships with MSC Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings.
The expansion represents an investment of more than £55 million and features roof-mounted solar power and shore power connectivity capabilities enabling ships to “plug in” while they are docked.
Associated British Ports Southampton director Alastair Welch said the terminal heralded a “major advance in our cruise infrastructure” in the city.
“This investment is a huge vote of confidence in the future of cruise in Southampton and we’re excited to be at the forefront of a growing industry.”
Maritime minister Robert Courts added: “As we continue to support the cruise sector in its restart and recovery, it’s great to see government funding being used to help deliver better services for passengers.
“This next-generation facility also showcases to ports around the world how we’re pioneering the use of green technology right here in the UK."
MSC Cruises chief executive Gianni Onorato said the line was “proud” to be “further supporting the UK cruise industry at this incredibly important time for both the industry and the UK economy”.
“At MSC Cruises we really believe in the potential of the UK cruise market and making this long-term commitment is evidence of that,” he said.
“Over the past five years MSC Cruises has increased our presence in the UK and Irish markets and following a positive response from travel agents and our guests we feel now is the right time to make a more substantial commitment.
“We are in a unique position that not only will we be committing to having an MSC Cruises’ ship homeport from Southampton every year, but several of our ships will be visiting Southampton as a destination as part of our wider cruise programme.”
NCLH’s senior vice-president of commercial development Steve Moeller added: “This agreement marks the continuation of the strong partnership between Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and the Port of Southampton and demonstrates our commitment to the region.
“Consistent with our commitment to driving a positive impact on society and the environment, we are pleased to further promote environmental conservancy by partnering with Associated British Ports for the new terminal that will feature shore power and roof-mounted solar power.”