Portland Port says its 2018 cruise season is going to be another record breaker, with the greatest number of cruise calls and passengers to date. Overall the U.K. port is expecting to handle 32 cruise ships bringing nearly 39,000 passengers into Portland.
Over the last 10 years the numbers have grown substantially from just four calls and 2,000 passengers in 2009 to the record breaking figures for 2018 – a trend that Portland Port says it is keen to continue.
The port’s cruise season starts on April 3 with the visit of German cruise line Phoenix Reisen’s Albatros. Phoenix Reisen is Portland’s most frequent visiting cruise line, with April 3 being its 21st call.
Ian McQuade, General Manager – Commercial at Portland Port, said, “Whilst it is always exciting to see new cruise lines and new ships calling at Portland the return of such important customers as Phoenix Reisen, Norwegian Cruise Line and TUI, is testament to the great experience their guests had when they previously called. This is essential for the long-term success of the business. Phoenix Reisen have been regular and frequent visitors to Portland and we are looking forward to seeing their vessels call a total of four times this year.”
The second cruise call of 2018 for Portland Port is on April 25 and marks an the inaugural visit of Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Breakaway. The Breakaway will be the longest and heaviest vessel to ever dock at Portland Port and will bring with her the greatest number of passengers on one ship that the port has dealt with to date. The ship can accommodate in excess of 4,000 passengers on board and the port is looking to forward to welcoming them to Portland and the surrounding area.
McQuade said, “The inaugural call of the Norwegian Breakaway is very exciting for the port and would not have been possible without the berth extension that was opened in April last year. We hope that she will be the first of many similar sized cruise ships to visit Portland Port.”
The port has seven inaugural cruise calls booked for 2018 which vary in size and include Regent Seven Seas ship’s, Seven Seas Explorer and Seven Seas Navigator, TUI’s Mein Schiff 3 and Seabourn’s newest vessel the Seabourn Ovation.
Portland Port says it has seen a significant increase in its cruise business over the last 10 years and part of the success story can be attributed to being members of cruise destination marketing groups, such as Destination South West and Atlantic Alliance. These groups are dedicated to promoting their member ports as cruise destinations and showcasing what they can offer. Destination South West and Atlantic Alliance have both come to a natural end, so from 2018, Portland Port has become a member of Cruise Britain and Cruise Europe. Cruise Britain is a joint initiative between British cruise ports and service providers focused on raising the profile of Britain as a world-class cruise destination. Cruise Europe has a similar focus, covering the Northern and Atlantic Europe region.
With the increasing number of cruise ships, Portland Port says it is again looking to add to its pool of foreign language speaking volunteers to welcome passengers as they disembark from their cruise ship.