(Wednesday 10th June) Euro MP Anne McIntosh made a return visit to Harwich International Port this week to officially open the port’s newly extended and refurbished cruise terminal.
Miss McIntosh was at Harwich in 1996 to open the original purpose-built cruise terminal, which only two years later has been extended by 50%.
Improved facilities include a new separate reception area incorporating catering outlets, bureau de change and information offices, relocated check-in desks to cater for up to 20 check-in points, an enlarged baggage hall and upgraded gangway system.
A total of £1.5M has been spent on cruise facilities at Harwich International Port.
“This latest development reflects the confidence of the ever increasing numbers of cruise liners putting in at Harwich and also demonstrates the port’s commitment to provide the best value for money cruise facilities in the U.K.” said Port Manager Michael Connellan.
Miss McIntosh congratulated the port on an “excellent investment”.
Harwich made the decision to enter the cruise sector only five years ago, putting the emphasis on acting as a turnaround port.
Thirty-one cruise vessel calls are booked for this season, compared to twenty-three last year.
Next year promises to be the port’s most successful cruise season yet, with forty bookings already confirmed. These include new customer Holland America Line with its Rotterdam VI and Maasdam making nine calls between them.
During the 1997 season Harwich welcomed Royal Caribbean Cruises’ Enchantment of the Seas, at 280 metres the longest vessel ever to call at the port.
This year the record will be broken again; the Enchantment’s new, slightly longer, sistership Vision of the Seas is booked to call in September.
Page & Moy will be the port’s most frequent cruise caller in 1998, with the chartered Ocean Majesty due to call 13 times. Ocean Majesty was alongside on the day of the opening ceremony.
Harwich is the most northerly of the major cruise ports on the east coast of the U.K. and thus particularly well suited to the North Cape/Baltic cruise market, although recent years have seen fast growth throughout the cruise sector.
Within an easy distance of London’s four airports – Stansted is just 50 miles away – Harwich has excellent road links via the A12 to London and the A14 to the Midlands. There is parking close to the cruise terminal for 400 cars and 60 coaches.
Harwich International Port offers an extremely flexible package of services to cruise lines, which have only to deal with one source for all their requirements, from baggage handling and stores loading to booking bands to see the ship away.
The cruise terminal was designed and built after extensive consultation with operators, and as a result provides rapid transit combined with comfort and convenience, and discreet but effective security systems.(ends)