Large cruise ships could become a familiar sight on the Thames under plans for a new passenger terminal in Greenwich.
It would be the first in London for more than 35 years, since the closure of the Royal Docks in 1981, and could allow ships of more than 650 feet (200m) in length to obstruct views of riverside attractions such as the Cutty Sark and the Old Royal Naval College.
The Times reports that detailed plans for the terminal will be submitted “within weeks”, allowing it to open “within two years”.
Kate O’Hara, the chief executive of the new London City Cruise Port, told the newspaper that there was “tremendous excitement and interest” from the passenger shipping industry in using the new facility.
Currently, there are two moorings for small cruise ships: a small floating pontoon in Greenwich (Greenwich Ship Tier) – which requires passengers to board or disembark via a launch – and another at Tower Bridge (Tower Bridge Upper).
Silversea's Silver Cloud and Windstar Cruises' newest ship Star Legend are among those mooring at Tower Bridge this summer, while Greenwich will accommodate MS Europa, Hebridean Princess and Viking Ocean Cruises' first ship, Viking Star.
A third option, used by Cruise & Maritime Voyages and Fred Olsen Cruise Lines is Tilbury Docks in Essex, around 20 miles down river.
The new terminal in Greenwich would accommodate vessels in excess of 200 metres in length.
Planning permission for the terminal was first approved in 2012. It would have been used solely as a stopping point for cruise ships, but the latest plans suggest it could be used as a “turnaround” destination, where voyages start and finish.
The new proposals, submitted by the development firm Westcourt Real Estate, would see the terminal open in 2017, with construction work beginning this year. While the world’s largest cruise ships will not be able to use the facility – Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas is 1,187 feet and Cunard’s Queen Mary is 1,132 feet, for example – several major lines would be able to. They include the likes of Silversea – whose five vessels are all a shade under 200 metres.
“The previous design did not meet the requirements,” Jonathan Manser, the lead architect on the project, told The Times.
“In particular we have increased the size of the terminal building to accommodate baggage handling for passengers embarking and disembarking, and to improve the overall experience within the terminal. We have altered the access for vessel servicing, as longer stays mean that the cruise ships will need to load and unload stores and provisions.”
Source : telegraph.co.uk