Hospitality & Tourism

Port looks forward to “another superb year” after welcoming first cruise ship of 2024

Portland Port welcomed its first cruise ship of 2024 when the AIDAsol arrived with more than 2,000 passengers.

By Andrew Diprose [email protected]

Published: February 19, 2024 | Updated: 19th February 2024

Portland Port is predicting “another superb year” after welcoming its first cruise ship of 2024.

Portland Port Logo

AIDAsol arrived with more than 2,000 passengers yesterday, marking the start of an 11-month long season.

A total of 47 vessels and 110,000 passengers are due to arrive at the port between now and December.

Guests from AIDAsol, which is operated by AIDA Cruises for mostly German speaking tourists, travelled into Weymouth and the local area during the eight-hour stopover.

Cruise calls are estimated to contribute £10m to the local economy annually with most calls booked two years in advance.

Ian McQuade, Portland Port’s Commercial General Manager and Chair of Cruise Britain, said: “It was wonderful to see our first cruise ship of 2024 arrive.

“The cruise market continues to grow in the UK and globally.

“A great deal of hard work constantly goes into winning valuable cruise business for Portland in the face of tough competition across the UK and Europe.

“The vast majority of cruise calls this year were booked two years ago in 2022 and we are already well advanced in planning our itinerary for 2025 and 2026.

“As well as raising the profile of the area and contributing to the local economy, cruise ship visits extend the tourist season beyond the summer peak.

“We’re looking forward to another superb year sharing the delights of our area with tourists from all over the world whilst supporting the growth of the local economy.”

A total of 2,194 passengers plus more than 600 crew arrived on the AIDAsol when she pulled alongside the port’s new £26m deepwater berth.

She visited Portland as the penultimate stop of a 117-day world tour, which ends in Hamburg on February 21. It was her inaugural visit to Portland, the first of five calls at the port this year.

Other vessels due at Portland include the Disney Dream in September, the Caribbean Princess in May, TUI Cruises’ Mein Schiff 3 in June, Oceania Nautica in August and, Holland America’s Rotterdam in October before the final call of the season on December 10 by the AIDAmar.

Portland Port is also to welcome two first time French visitors, Ponant vessel Le Champlain and CFC’s Renaissance.

CFC is a new French cruise line that started operations last year and is planning to make three calls at Portland in 2024.

There are a total of nine inaugural calls this year.

As well as AIDAsol, Le Champlain and Renaissance, they are Princess Cruises’ Sun Princess and Caribbean Princess, Norwegian Cruises Lines’ Norwegian Pearl, Regent Seven Seas’ Seven Seas Mariner, Seabourn’s Seabourn Sojurn and Oceania Cruises’ Sirena.

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