The Ocean Cruise Terminal

Berths 46 / 47, Southampton Eastern Docks

Officially opened in 2009


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Since 1892, Southampton Docks have been owned by the railways. The docks were first owned by the London & South Western Railway (LSWR) from 1892 until the grouping in 1923. During this period the Eastern Docks (Old Docks) were created in 1911. After the grouping in 1923 the docks came under the ownership of the Southern Railway until nationalisation in 1948. During this period from 1927 to 1934 the Western Docks (New Docks) were completed. In 1933 the huge King George V dry dock was built to cater for the new giant Cunarders – Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth. Since 1948 the docks have been owned by the British Transport Commission.

Finally in 1983 when the ancillary services of the railways were privatised the docks then passed to their current owner, Associated British Ports (ABP). These mighty docks have always been constantly developing and improving to keep pace with technology and changing trends so that they can keep ahead of the game. During the heyday of the ocean liner Southampton was from the 1930s onwards proclaimed as “The Gateway to the World” and soon became Britain’s premier ocean passenger port. Since the decline of the ocean liner in the 1960s the port diversified and found a new role as a premier container shipping port.  It seemed that passenger terminals would be a thing of the past, but this was not to be true and passenger liners were to revive as cruise ships.

By the early 21st century Southampton had become Britain's premier cruise port and now hosts major cruise companies such as Carnival Corporation & PLC, Royal Caribbean International and MSC Cruises. But Southampton had this time had only two cruise terminals: the Mayflower Cruise Terminal (Berth 105 / 106) and the QEII Cruise Terminal (Berth 38 / 39). However these were unable to cope with the rapid increase in demand. As a result in 2006 Associated British Ports decided to build a third cruise terminal at Berth 101 in Western Docks. It was decided to name this new cruise terminal as the City Cruise Terminal.

In December 2007, ABP announced plans for a fourth cruise terminal. After signing a major 20-year contract with Carnival Corporation & PLC, ABP announced that it would invest £19m in the new terminal, which is due to be operational by April 2009. It was decided to build the new cruise terminal in Ocean Dock on the opposite side to where the old Ocean Terminal used to stand. As Ocean Terminal was once home to many of the great transatlantic liners of the last century, when the port was first known as the ‘Gateway to the World,’ the new terminal stands both as testimony to Southampton’s ocean-liner history and as a symbol of the modern cruising age.

The agreement will also give Carnival UK – the world’s leading cruise company, whose cruise brands include Cunard, Ocean Village, P&O Cruises and Princess Cruises – priority use of the port’s Queen Elizabeth II and Mayflower Terminals, further strengthening the group’s relationship with the port.

The Ocean Cruise Terminal - the latest addition to the Port of Southampton’s cruise facilities - was officially opened on the 29th May 2009. A panel to commemorate the occasion was unveiled by David Dingle, Chief Executive of Carnival UK. 120 members of the public were in attendance, as winners of a competition organised by the Southern Daily Echo. The lucky winners were also given an exclusive “behind-the-scenes” tour of the new terminal, having waved off P&O Cruises superliner Ventura. Development of the £19m terminal by Associated British Ports (ABP) comes on the back of a 20-year contract with Carnival UK, owner of some of the world’s most famous cruise lines, including Cunard and P&O Cruises. The terminal is the first purpose-built cruise facility to be built at the port in over 40 years. Since its opening it has been used regularly by Carnival Corporation & PLC cruise companies. Indeed the Queen Mary 2 now often sails from the terminal on her transatlantic crossings.

With the opening of the Ocean Cruise Terminal, for the first time Southampton can now offer four cruise terminals to its customers, at a time when it is seeing more passengers travelling through the port than at any time in its recent history. As the cruise capital of Northern Europe, Southampton continues to go from strength to strength, generating over £300m a year for the local economy.

Main Cruise Lines using the Ocean Cruise Terminal include:

Cunard Line
P&O Cruises
Princess Cruises

(Carnival Corporation & PLC cruise brands have priority access)


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