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Southampton official UK home of Royal Caribbean International in seven-year, £5.5m deal

L-R Alastair Welch, (ABP Southampton, director) Mike Jones (RCL, strategic operations officer) James Cooper (ABP, CEO) Gus Andersson (Captain, Harmony of the Seas) at the plaques and keys ceremony
Royal Caribbean and the port of Southampton has struck a £5.5m deal which secures the port's City Cruise Terminal as the official UK home of Royal Caribbean International for the next seven years.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd's strategic operations officer, Mike Jones and managing director of UK and Ireland RCI, Stuart Leven, made the announcement on-board Harmony of the Seas during the official plaques and keys ceremony.

The deal is worth £200 million to the local economy, said the line.
The £5.5m investment has so far enabled Associated British Ports (ABP), owner and operator of Southampton port, to prepare the terminal for a new generation of ships heralded by the arrival of the latest addition to Royal Caribbean’s 25-strong fleet.
The improvements made to the terminal have been designed to enhance the embarkation experiences for both passenger and crew including new paperless check-in for passengers and a kerb-to-gangway processing of 10 minutes.
Other upgrades include improvement to layout and security screening areas, free Wi-Fi throughout the terminal, step-free-access to ships up to Royal Caribbean’s Quantum class, as well as the addition of digital signage and ‘wow walls’ to build excitement as guests check-in. New air-conditioning has been installed throughout the terminal and port staff will welcome improved logistics enabling the handling of up to 500 tonnes of stores.
Leven commented, 'Each year, more than 1.5m holidaymakers either start or end their cruise holidays in Southampton, making the port Europe’s largest cruise ship hub. Such a busy passenger hub deserves best-in-class facilities and at Royal Caribbean we are constantly looking for ways to improve the passenger experience. I want our passengers’ extraordinary adventure to begin the moment they arrive at the Port, before they even step onboard the ship.'
ABP Southampton director, Alastair Welch, said: 'We are delighted to confirm that the port of Southampton will be the official UK home of Royal Caribbean until 2023. This deal will secure the port’s reputation as the UK’s number one and leading European turnaround port long into the future. Equally, it is great news for the UK economy, and the landmark deal can only increase the significant contribution cruise makes to the 15,000 jobs and £1bn economic contribution of the port.'