The Scottish port of Aberdeen welcomed the first large cruise ship into its new £400 mill South Harbour expansion on 2nd May.
The 203 m long ‘AIDAaura’, with a capacity for more than 1,200 guests, is the longest vessel to visit Aberdeen to date. She arrived from Hamburg for a full day visit as part of a Scottish cruise.
She berthed at Castlegate Quay.
Together with the arrival of the polar expedition ship ‘National Geographic Resolution’ into Aberdeen’s North Harbour on her maiden call, the port’s cruise season has kicked off to a strong start, the port authority said.
Aberdeen will welcome 39 cruise calls between May and October this year, with up to 31,000 guests visiting the region which could boost the local economy by £4.2 mill.
The expansion of the port could lead to year-on-year growth in cruise tourism. More than 50 calls are already booked for 2024, including the ‘AIDAdiva’, which is over 250 m in length and accommodates more than 2,000 guests.
Bob Sanguinetti, Port of Aberdeen CEO, said: “It is fantastic to see the first cruise call arrive at South Harbour, which marks a new dawn for tourism in the North East of Scotland. While the tourism industry is still recovering from the impact of the pandemic, we’re very encouraged with the number of calls to the port secured for this year and next.
“Port of Aberdeen is a gateway to the amazing attractions of Northeast Scotland. We look forward to growing our work with the international cruise industry in the coming years, as tens of thousands guests experience the incredible scenery and culture that the region has to offer,” he said.
Alex McIntosh, Aberdeen’s Harbour Master, added: “The arrival of two very different ships into Port of Aberdeen on a single morning demonstrates how our expertise, capabilities, and infrastructure can support a wide range of cruise lines, from the smaller, boutique vessels to much larger ships operating across the globe.”
Chris Foy, CEO, VisitAberdeenshire, commented: “The arrival of the first cruise ship into the South Harbour marks a step change for tourism in the Northeast as we welcome larger vessels and more passengers than ever before.
“Disembarking guests – who will be met by our Welcome to Aberdeenshire volunteers – will have a wide range of experiences to enjoy during their time on our shores, planting the seed for future travel back to Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire for a longer stay,” he said.