Extended cruise ship call boosts Portland, UK

2023-07-29T10:49:47+00:00 July 29th, 2023|Ports|

Cruise ships are sometimes affected by itinerary changes, due to various reasons, which has a negative effect on some ports but proves to be a bonus for others.


One cruise ship provided an economic boost to Portland, UK after calling for an extended stay, due to poor weather conditions elsewhere.


‘Norwegian Dawn’ arrived early with 2,360 guests on board when strong winds made her previously planned call untenable.


As a result, she moored at the port’s new £26 mill deepwater berth the evening before her scheduled day-long visit.


Many passengers ventured into the local area, especially Weymouth town centre, during the evening, which proved an unexpected boost for shops, restaurants and bars, before a planned day of excursions and trips.


Operated by Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), she is a regular visitor to the port.


Portland is expecting a record-breaking season, as cruise ships carrying more than 130,000 pax will visit – an increase of 23% on last year.


Bill Reeves, Portland Port CEO, said: “The ‘Norwegian Dawn’ is always a very welcome visitor to the port.


“One of the secrets of success in the growth of our cruise business is to be as accommodating and flexible, as we can be for our customers.


“Praise must go to our staff and suppliers for their quick response to make arrangement for the ‘Norwegian Dawn’s’ arrival and shuttle bus transport for its passengers.


“On the evening of her arrival about half of the ship’s passengers headed off to Weymouth to enjoy the pubs and restaurants or sample the local fish and chips, and their arrival would have provided an unexpected economic boost for many catering, hospitality and related businesses in the area,” he said.


Cruise calls at Portland are estimated to make a contribution of about £10 mill to the local economy, based on statistics from the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) trade body for spend per head of passenger.


This figure includes expenditure in shops, bars, cafes, along with transport and tours. Further expenditure comes from the crew that are given time off when in port along with revenues through port dues.


Typically, about 50% of visiting cruise guests go on organised excursions, the majority of which stay in Dorset. Most of the remaining passengers explore the local area using the port’s complimentary shuttle bus service, either choosing to stay on Portland or travel into nearby Weymouth.


In April, Portland Port welcomed ‘MSC Virtuosa’ with a record 5,000 pax, the largest number of guests on any single vessel visiting the port thus far. She was also the first cruise ship to call at the port’s newly developed deepwater berth.


Portland Port employs 53 people and has a number of tenants, including cargo businesses, which provide jobs for more than 250 persons.


The port has operated on a commercial basis since 1996 and has a number of commercial tenants, providing maritime and marine related services.