There’s nothing more frustrating at the start of a cruise than having to queue to check in and go through the necessary security procedures. Especially if you’ve had to queue even to get into the terminal before the process can begin.
Royal Caribbean International is promising to leave its competitors standing when it comes to UK cruise departures from Southampton and announced its seven-year-deal on board the biggest cruise ship in the world.
As part of a £5.5 million investment in City Cruise Terminal, RCI promises that passengers will be at the ships’ gangway within 10 minutes of stepping from the car, taxi or coach delivering them to the terminal.
During a ceremony to mark Harmony of the Seas’ maiden call to the city, RCI managing director Stuart Leven announced a package of improvements.
Paperless check-in – by which passengers complete most of the procedures online in advance – is just one of the advancements.
Other upgrades include improvement to layout and security screening areas, free wifi 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 building.
Leven said: “Each year, more than 1.5 million holidaymakers either start or end their cruise holidays in Southampton, making the port Europe’s largest cruise ship hub. [It] 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 on board the ship.
“The investment Royal Caribbean has made into the Port is good news for our passengers and good news for Southampton’s economy.”
Alastair Welch, Southampton director of Associated British Ports, added: “We are delighted to confirm that the port of Southampton will be the official UK home of Royal Caribbean until 2023. 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.”