The UK’s Portland Port recently celebrated a record-breaking double-call day.
The berthing of the 330 m ‘Regal Princess’ and 326 m ’Norwegian Getaway’ on the same day amounted to the largest by vessel size that the port has accommodated in its 27-year history.
More than 7,250 guests were on the two cruise ships, with many disembarking to go on day tours to tourist attractions, such as the Jurassic Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The ships, with a respective gross tonnage of 141,000 and 145,655, were berthed alongside the newly redeveloped £26 mill deepwater berth and the extended outer coaling pier.
Ian McQuade, Portland Port’s Commercial General Manager and Cruise Britain Chair, said: “The double-call broke a port record; the newly developed deepwater berth is testament to the unwavering belief port management had that the facility would attract international passenger ships vessels of up to 350 m in length.
“The redevelopment project provided 16,000 sq m of additional quayside space, with 11.7 m of water depth, 380,000 tonnes of locally sourced infill material and 4,800 tonnes of steel,” he said.
It became operational when the ‘MSC Virtuosa’ berthed in April with a record 5,000 pax on board.
McQuade added: “Various records have been set this year with the cruise calls at Portland, including the annual number of passengers at 130,000.
“Saturday’s double calls also saw a record number of guests using the port’s complimentary shuttle bus to Portland Castle and on to Weymouth.
“Over 4,000 passengers took advantage of the service, no doubt delivering a welcome financial boost at the end of the summer season.
“There was another new record when 18 cruise calls arrived between the tail end of August and the end of September, with an estimated £3.6 mill generated in the local economy,” he said.
A total of 57 cruise calls were booked to call at Portland this year. McQuade confirmed that bookings were already being made as far ahead as 2026.
Also, for the first time, cruise calls are scheduled for 10 out of 12 calendar months, ending the so-called traditional ‘shoulder season’. Only January and March are currently free of cruise calls next year.
‘Regal Princess’ and ‘Norwegian Getaway’ were berthed at Portland during daylight on Saturday 30th September, as part of a 25-day voyage to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and 16-day voyage to northern Europe, respectively.