Ocean Village TwoThe port of Southampton has celebrated the busiest ten days in its cruise passenger history.

On Tuesday April 24 Queen Mary 2 and P&O’s Oriana sailed into to Southampton and joined Liberty of the Seas, the world’s joint largest passenger ship and Ocean Village Two, which was named in a ceremony that morning (11am).

The gross tonnage of the ships in port was 445,863 tonnes – double that of 50 years ago, the so-called ‘golden age’ of passenger shipping but when the port only handled 240,000 gross tonnage at full capacity.

Liberty of the Seas sails into SouthamptonIn the ten days leading up to April 24 the port of Southampton had welcomed 23 ships and handled 46 ship movements – more than 40% of the passenger traffic it received in the whole of 1997.

Associated British Ports assistant port manager for Southampton Ray Facey said: “Every year the cruise industry in the UK increases in capacity and in popularity and these ten days are a testament to how far the cruise market has grown over the last 10 years.”

Ocean Village managing director Peter Shanks said: “We are thrilled to be part of this record breaking time in the port of Southampton.”

Ocean Village Two sails her maiden voyage from Southampton to Palma on April 25 (Wednesday).