Nearly one million cruise passengers have visited Southampton this year so far.

The cruise industry continues to boom as a record number of ships have sailed into the city’s port.

In May alone, 26 different cruise ships with a grand total of 71 calls, both turnaround and transit, and more than 400,000 guests were welcomed.

Associated British Ports’ (ABP) Port of Southampton confirmed it is close to hitting the one million milestone.

Thea George, senior cruise manager, said: "We’ve had a great start to the year with January to April seeing an increase in cruise calls as the months progress and our summer season has started in earnest with a record 71 calls to the port in May.

“It is great to see so many passengers come to our city and travel out of the Port on some of the most luxurious cruise ships.

“We hope the people of Southampton feel as proud as we are of the key role the city plays within the global cruise sector.

“Our port and the city are intrinsically linked with so much maritime history; it is great to be part of making new history in the modern world of cruising."

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This year, ABP is seeing an increase in cruise ships utilising the shore power facility at the port compared to the previous year.

In May, 20 per cent of the cruise visits plugged into shore power, allowing them to switch off their engines and achieve zero emissions while in the port.

Last year, the city’s port welcomed 2.75 million passengers and the cruise sector generated over £1 billion for the local and regional economy.

ABP Southampton is also working in partnership with GO! Southampton by launching a new initiative called the Welcome Volunteer Programme.

This involves volunteers guiding passengers and helping them make the most of their visit to Southampton.

Stephen Manion, managing director at GO! Southampton said: “It is amazing to see so many cruise passengers arrive in the city and now we have a great initiative to make sure they are supported during their stay and can see the best of the city centre.”