Cruise Europe New Member: Bristol

Bristol opened its cruise terminal in Avonmouth in 2013, offering voyages from the British city for the first time in 20 years.

At the beginning of this year’s season and coinciding with the Queen’s birthday on April 21, the port chalked up its 25,000th passenger in three years. Bernadette Clark boarded Cruise & Maritime Voyages’ (CMV) Astoria and was one of many that day to benefit from bunting and special decorations to mark the Royal celebration.

This year the port is expecting 7,000 passengers on 12 turnaround calls and 516 on two transits calls (516) with an increase next year to 8,000 on 12 and 700 on two respectively. Newcomers this year are Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ Europa and, next year, Majestic International Cruise’s Ocean Majesty.

To cater to the growth in the cruise business tourist information at the terminal is being further developed and more training is being given to the volunteer World Hosts. In addition the port is working with Destination Bristol and Visit Bath on tourist attractions and talking to various hotels in the region on developing links. If there is enough demand, the plan is to put on a free shuttle bus service in the near future.

James Stangroom, business development manager Bristol Port, commented: “Everyone pulls together to ensure our passengers holiday gets off to the best possible start – from our hard working security and baggage handlers, to our World Host trained team of dedicated volunteers.”

The latter, also known as Guest Experience Crew, all hold internationally recognised World Host badges.

Eddie Strong from Bristol, who has been volunteering for two years, said: “Bristol Port are brilliant at thinking of ways to surprise the passengers a little bit. There is always an air of excitement in the terminal and it’s always wonderful to welcome many faces here”.

Mike Hall of CMV commented: “Avonmouth is now established as one of our most popular departure ports and we enjoy a very close working relationship with everyone there.”

The South West and Wales is growing as a source market with Bristol being a big contributor. Clark commented: “I love the convenience of the Bristol cruise terminal.”

Bristol Port Company celebrates 25 years this year having purchased the port from Bristol City Council. Since then more than £475m (E570m) has been invested to create a thriving business offering the full range of shipping, cruising distribution and logistics services. More events are planned to celebrate the 25th anniversary later in the year.

Turnarounds are usually handled at the dedicated cruise berth with terminal at S Berth in Avonmouth dock. The size of vessels that can be accommodated at the 295m-long berth, is, however, generally limited to 220m by 29m. This is due to the lock entrance being 266.7m by 30.5m. From the berth it is about one mile to the port exit and a further seven miles to the city centre.

Transit calls are accepted at the multi-purpose berths at Royal Portbury Dock. The lock limitations here are 367m by 42.7m with a draught of 14m. Hence cruiseships up to about 310m in length and with 40m beam can be handled.Booking of the berths is made on a first come first serve basis.

Shore excursions are many and varied. These include the ancient city of Bath, Bristol and SS Great Britain, a Segway experience, Cardiff Castle, Dewstow Gardens, Clifton Village and the Downs, Highclere Castle, north Somerset and an expert tour of Bath including lunch.

(Cruise Europe)