Hamburg. Portland Port, on the South Coast of England, has become the first English port to join forces with the Atlantic Alliance.

The Atlantic Alliance is a consortium of Europe’s prime cruise destinations now spanning 16 ports ranging from Hamburg in the North to Lisbon in the South.

The Alliance has set out to market the region it represents as a cruise destination in its own right. The Baltic and Mediterranean regions traditionally enjoy destination status with the ports between the two regarded as transit calls for ships re-positioning. The Atlantic Alliance has made it its mission to show the Cruise Industry exactly what it is missing with this way of thinking. Top European cities including London, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, Madrid and Lisbon are all easily accessible from the Alliance’s member Ports and all offer cruise passengers a myriad of possible activities from shopping at the traditional Christmas markets, through historic sites, galleries and museums to world famous shows or even the chance to learn to Flamenco. The possibilities are limitless.

The Atlantic Alliance has welcomed Portland Port, recognising the potential of the Port as well as its perfect location on the South Coast as a gateway to England. The Port has recently submitted plans for a Harbour Revision Order, the first stage of which it is hoped will begin later this year. It will see the development of up to 700m of additional berth space. Already able to accommodate vessels up to 250m LOA the new berths will mean Portland can offer services to some of the largest cruise ships in the world. Portland currently handles around half a dozen cruise calls each year, and  thanks to its proximity to such sites as Stonehenge, Bath and the World Heritage Jurassic Coast, is looking to greatly expand on this number. It also serves as an entryway to a plethora of historic castles, stately homes and gardens.

Commercial Manager for Portland Port, Ian McQuade said, “We are very excited to become the Alliance’s UK representative and we believe we have much to offer. Portland is a relatively new commercial port and as such is growing rapidly and undergoing dynamic expansion giving us greater scope to accommodate a wider range of cruise ships both for turnaround calls and for excursion calls.”

The Atlantic Alliance ports are Hamburg and Bremerhaven (Germany); IJmuiden, Amsterdam and Rotterdam (The Netherlands); Antwerp (Belgium); Portland (England); Cherbourg, St. Malo, Brest, Nantes, La Rochelle and Bordeaux (France); Santander and Vigo (Spain); Lisbon (Portugal).