This highly anticipated return follows major preparation plans to keep up to date with new health protocols and logistical challenges, ensuring that the port is ready to welcome passengers back safely. The completion of the cruise berth extension has resulted in investments from major lines, with bookings from Viking Cruises, Virgin Voyages and Noble Caledonia contributing to a busy summer of scenic UK sailings.
Travelling by sea is considered one of the safest ways to get abroad this year, with open spaces and fresh sea air aplenty on Brittany Ferries’ routes to France and Spain, and Condor Ferries to the Channel Islands. Holidays begin from the moment you step aboard, but the journey begins at the port, and we want to make sure this starts on the right foot.
Andrew Williamson, Portsmouth International Port’s passenger operations manager, has overseen the changes made to the journey. He said:
“We can’t wait to welcome passengers back to Portsmouth, and want to reassure our customers of the new measures we have put in place to keep everybody safe. The safety of our passengers and staff remains a priority and we want journeys through our port to be as comfortable and easy as possible.”
Passengers travelling through Portsmouth can expect the latest technology including a non-intrusive temperature scanner, contactless touch points and frequent sanitation using the most effective cleaning equipment.
The new protocols have all been outlined in the port’s new passenger journey video, created to reassure passengers ahead of their embarkation.
Andrew says: “While the way people travel may have changed, our main focus is still ensuring that passengers have the best start to their journey from Portsmouth. Holidays are now more anticipated than ever, and we want customers to feel that excitement and reassurance from the moment they arrive at the port.
“The layout of our terminal has been changed to allow customers to travel with ease, and teams from security to bus drivers are working hard to keep everybody safe.”
Portsmouth was also the first port in the UK to be independently verified by independent assessors DNV, who graded the new covid protocols against hospital grade standards. This ‘Covid readiness’ certificate is another step the port has taken in giving passengers the best possible start to their journeys, and reinforce the belief that travelling by sea is the safest and most comfortable.
Viking Venus, the latest addition to the Viking Cruises luxury fleet, will set sail from Portsmouth today (17 May) for her maiden voyage and naming ceremony, hosting journalist and broadcaster Anne Diamond as the ship’s ceremonial godmother.
The first passenger sailings will commence on the 22 May, as Portsmouth becomes the homeport for Viking Venus’ initial five voyages, as part of Viking’s 'England’s Scenic Shores' itinerary.
Brittany Ferries is ready look after passengers, once the UK’s traffic light system changes regarding travelling to France and Spain. Ferry travel means that passengers arriving by car can remain in their bubble, driving straight onto the ship, avoiding queuing indoors experienced by airline travel. Once aboard there is plenty of room and outside space, providing social distancing opportunities.