Harwich International Port today welcomed the first cruise call of what promises to be a busy 2012 season with the arrival of the MSC Lirica. Operated by MSC Cruises, the vessel arrived at Harwich on Friday 13th April 2012 on its first Northern European cruise of the year.
MSC Cruises are making a welcome return to the Essex port for 2012. It is the first call by MSC at Harwich since 2008 and the MSC Lirica will make both the first and last calls of the season, which this year comes to an end in October – the longest cruise season ever at Harwich International.
David Gledhill, Chief Executive Officer of Hutchison Ports (UK) Ltd which owns Harwich International Port, said:
“Harwich is one of the country’s key gateways for cruise and ferry tourism, with excellent transport links to Cambridge and London, as well as convenient access to Constable Country and historic Harwich. We are rightly proud of the facilities offered at Harwich International Port, and have made significant investment in recent years. Indeed, it is testimony to the excellent facilities and service that we have here in Harwich that major cruise operators choose to use us, and return to us, year after year.”
Carrying 2,500 passengers and crew, and with a gross tonnage of 59,058 tonnes, the MSC Lirica boasts 9 passenger decks, 4 restaurants, 2 pools, a state-of-the-art theatre, relaxation spa and mini golf course.
The Essex port is expecting 35 cruise calls in 2012, a 30% increase on 2011. It has superb parking facilities on the port for passengers arriving by car, a new charging point for electric cars and, almost uniquely, a mainline train station adjacent to the cruise terminal.
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Harwich International Port (HWH) is one of the UK’s leading multi-purpose freight and passenger ports with excellent road and rail links to the Midlands, London and the South East. It is ideally located for North Sea freight and passenger traffic to and from Scandinavia and the Benelux countries, offering first class ro-ro, ferry, container and bulk operations.
HWH is a member of the Hutchison Port Holdings (HPH) Group. HPH, a subsidiary of the multinational conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa Limited (HWL), is the world's leading port investor, developer and operator with interests in a total of 52 ports, spanning 26 countries throughout Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, the Americas and Australasia. HPH also owns a number of transportation-related service companies.