A £12 million project to upgrade Ocean Cruise Terminal at the Port of Southampton has begun.

Construction work will take just over a year to complete and includes a raft of improvements to the terminal ahead of welcoming the next generation of P&O Cruises ships.

The line’s 5,200-capacity Iona vessel will homeport in Southampton following its launch in May 2020.

The Port of Southampton welcomes more than two million passengers each year.

ABP Southampton Director, Alastair Welch, said: “Cruise is a strong and growing industry.

“The ships that call in Southampton are increasing in size and we are investing significantly to accommodate future growth in the industry and to maintain our position as Northern Europe’s leading cruise port.

“We are pleased to be breaking-ground on this important project with P&O Cruises.”

Carnival UK president Josh Weinstein said: “Today was an important step in preparing the Ocean Terminal for significant upgrades which will give our guests across all our brands as well as the smoothest, most efficient embarkation experience and the very best start to their holiday.”