Maritime & Marine

Published: January 15, 2020 | Updated: January 15, 2020

Portland Port on for another record breaker as 46 cruise ships and 80,000 people set to arrive

Saga Spirit of Discovery and Disney Magic pictured at Portland Port last July.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

Portland Port’s 2020 cruise season is going to be another record breaker with the greatest number of cruise calls and passengers to date.

A total of 46 cruise ships are due to bring more than 80,000 passengers and crew into Dorset and the surrounding area.

That compares to just three ships in 2000.

The port’s cruise season is longer this year with the first ship arriving on March 9 and the last on November 25.

Of the 46 ships expected, ten are inaugural calls.

Each will receive a hand carved Portland stone plaque to commemorate their first visit to Portland Port.

The first ship to arrive on March 9 is a new ship and cruise line for Portland; Hurtigruten’s vessel, MS Fridtjof Nansen.

Hurtigruten offer expedition cruises where passengers can experience unique nature-based tours in remote areas of the world.

The MS Fridtjof Nansen is the latest addition to its fleet and has a variety of custom-built expedition equipment on board, such as kayaks and underwater drones.

She has a relatively small passenger capacity of 530, which is on a more intimate scale compared to the Norwegian Escape which will visit the port for the first time shortly after.

She will become the heaviest vessel, and have the most passengers on board, of any ship to ever visit Portland Port.

Norwegian Escape has a passenger capacity of 4,266 and a gross tonnage of 165,157.

The vessel also has a distinctive hull design with a huge sailfish as the figurehead art, with lots of other fish species and sea creatures as well.

Silversea Cruises is sending one of its vessels to Portland Port for the first time this year, with the Silver Whisper due to visit on July 16.

The luxury cruise line was created to offer more space for fewer guests, with the highest level of personalised service.

Celebrity Cruises is also visiting Portland for the first time, with Celebrity Reflection visiting on May 14.

Other first-time vessels for the year include the Regal Princess, Pullmantur’s Monarch, Phoenix Reisen’s Amera, the Seven Seas Splendor, the Island Princess and CMV’s Columbus.

Ian McQuade, General Manager – Commercial, pictured left, said: “2020 is going to be a fantastic year for cruise ships at Portland Port and we look forward to giving every ship a warm welcome to Dorset, as well as a departure to remember with the help of local entertainment groups.”

As well as the first-time ships, the port is welcoming back vessels from Phoenix Reisen, AIDA, Regent Seven Seas, Saga, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Seabourn and the family favourite, Disney Magic.

The full 2020 schedule can be viewed on the Portland Port website at