With the huge impact that the COVID pandemic has had on the global cruise industry, the UK’s Portland Port said that it joined cruise lines, other ports, businesses and industries in welcoming the news that UK domestic cruising could resume next month.
Ian McQuade, Portland Port’s General Manager – Commercial, said, “The port has been able to support numerous cruise lines throughout the pandemic and has witnessed first-hand how all sectors of the maritime industry have pulled together to help each other and collaborate. It is exciting to now see some light at the end of the tunnel and the prospect of passenger cruises re-starting.”
The port said that what has become evident from the webinars and virtual meetings it has attended over the last few months, is that cruise lines have spared no expense, using the latest technology and teams of experts, in transforming their vessels and procedures to produce the safest and best experience possible.
Portland Port has been reviewing its own policies and procedures to comply with UK Government guidelines and to provide a safe environment for cruise ships to bring their passengers.
This year was scheduled to be another record-breaking cruise season for the area but the first half of its programme was cancelled. However, many scheduled calls have been now replaced with domestic cruise calls.
For example, Portland has been included in the inaugural season of MSC’s newest flagship, ‘MSC Virtuosa’, Viking’s latest ship, ‘Viking Venus’ and Celebrity’s ‘Celebrity Silhouette’. Each vessel will be making her first visit to Portland.
Discussions are continuing with a number of other cruise lines and it is expected that more re-start cruises will be added to the programme in the near future, the port said.
McQuade concluded, “Portland Port has maintained an excellent relationship with our local Port Health Authority throughout the pandemic and it is clear that cruise lines have developed a thorough set of protocols to ensure the safe restart of operations.”