Belfast Opens New Cruise Terminal
Belfast Harbour, the maritime hub in Northern Ireland, said that it has opened the first dedicated cruise terminal on the island of Ireland to cater for Belfast’s growing popularity as a cruise destination.
Christened as Cruise Belfast, it is a partnership between Belfast Harbour and Visit Belfast.
Belfast Harbour has invested more than GBP500,000 on upgrading the quayside facility which now includes a Visitor Information Centre, part funded by Tourism NI and managed by Visit Belfast. This investment represents an important step in the development of the city’s cruise tourism infrastructure.
The new terminal is staffed by Visit Belfast’s travel advisors and utilises the latest digital and audio-visual technology to showcase Belfast and Northern Ireland’s visitor attractions.
The newly developed site includes the space required to service the shore side activities associated with cruise tourism for coaches, shuttle buses and taxis, and a berth which has been dredged to accommodate newer and larger cruise ships.
Joe O’Neill, Belfast Harbour’s CEO said: “Cruise calls to Belfast are now up to 148 calls in 2019, an increase of 31% on last year and this investment in a terminal facility will enable us to offer the anticipated 285,000 cruise visitors a positive welcome and first impression of the region."
He added: "The new terminal will provide the first dedicated facilities for cruise ships on the island, allowing visitors to quickly connect to Belfast city centre or join one of the many organised excursions tours to a wide range of visitor attractions including the Giant’s Causeway, Hillsborough Castle, Mount Stewart and Titanic Belfast."
Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor John Finucane, said: “Cruise tourism has been one of the city’s success stories of the last decade and has become an important part of our tourism mix, contributing significantly to the local economy through attractions, transport providers and retail. I welcome the investment made by Belfast Harbour and Tourism Northern Ireland in Belfast’s new cruise terminal and look forward to welcoming increasing numbers of cruise visitors to Belfast and beyond."
Northern Ireland’s cruise sector has continued to grow and this year Belfast Harbour is scheduled to welcome a record 148 calls from 35 different cruise lines. July will be the busiest month with 32 calls including SAGA’s first ever new build vessel, the ‘Spirit of Discovery’. ‘Disney Magic’ will also visit in September, bringing the globally recognised brand to Belfast for the first time.