44 cruise ships at Portland Port for 2019
From just four ships in 2008, numbers have risen to the 44 liners that are expected to bring more than 60,000 passengers to our coast this year. The passenger figures are almost double for that of last year.
Around 80 per cent of passengers stay in Dorset – many choose to visit Weymouth and Portland – and, according to the Cruise Lines International Association, spend an average of £71 per person, with crew members spending a further £31 each.
When combined this means that in 2018 Portland Port’s cruise business generated around £3 million.
Out of the 44 cruise ships expected to dock at Portland this year, a record-breaking number of 11 will be visiting the isle for the first time.
The first of these arrives on the first day of the port’s cruise season; the Costa Mediterranea arrives on April 9.
The Costa Mediterranea returns on April 23 and is followed by two more first time ships. April 29 will see Pullmantur’s Zenith visiting for the day, followed by Princess Cruises’ Crown Princess the next day.
The Zenith makes a return visit to the port on September 12.
This year, the port is excited to have not just one inaugural visit from a Princess ship, but three; the Crown Princess is followed by the Sea Princess on July 10 and Pacific Princess on September 11.
After welcoming the mammoth 4,000-passenger Norwegian Breakaway in 2018, the port is getting ready to welcome the second of Norwegian Cruise Lines Breakaway-class ships, the Norwegian Getaway this year.
The Getaway will be visiting the port on May 6 and October 25, the second visit being the last day of the port’s cruise season and a spectacular way to finish.
There is one visit this year which marks an extra special milestone for the port. On the July 20 Saga’s latest ship, the Spirit of Discovery, will be berthing at Portland Port and this will be the first time that the port has been included in the inaugural itinerary of a cruise ship.
As well as the first-time ships, the port is pleased to be welcoming back ships from Phoenix Reisen, AIDA, Regent Seven Seas, Seabourn, Holland America and the family favourite, Disney Magic.
Ian McQuade, General Manager (Commercial) of Portland Port, said: “2019 is going to be an exciting year all round for the port’s cruise business, and the visit by Spirit of Discovery on her inaugural cruise is the icing on the cake.”
Huge contribution to local economy
Richard Lamb, Chairman of Weymouth Business Improvement District (BID), said: “We know what a huge opportunity this is to get all these people to spend money in our town and we are trying to find better ways of signposting for these visitors so they can find their way into Weymouth when they get dropped off.
“We want to show these people around the many places to go for food and drink in Weymouth. The challenge we face as a town is to make sure we capitalise on this and get them to spend their money in our town instead of scooting off to other places.”
“If these tourists even spend £10 to £20 a head in the town it would be a huge contribution to the local economy on top of the usual holiday visitors.”
Craig Oakes, Vice President of Weymouth and Portland Chamber of Commerce, said: “The cruise ships bring an influx of people into the area and hopefully this affects Weymouth as well.
“The different side to it is that it’s about time a light was shone on the area and Portland Port.
“There’s not really the investment going into the infrastructure. It needs this investment into this corner of Dorset so that more can be done.
“If you look at the beach road that’s there, it’s already heaving.
“If there’s not investment then there’s the worry that this will not continue.
“This is great but we need to keep it going."So
Source - Dorset Evening Echo