Invergordon’s Busy Season Began On April 12 With A Call From AIDAvita and welcomed over 6,600 cruise passengers the May 9th
Invergordon/The Port of Cromarty Firth marked the beginning of the 2017 cruise season as the first ship of the year, the AIDAvita, docked on April 12 to a traditional Highland welcome.
The AIDAvita, which was carrying about 1,400 passengers, was on a cruise around Norway and the UK. She departed from Hamburg on an itinerary with calls to Newcastle, Invergordon, Kirkwall, Lerwick, Trondheim, Aalesund, Bergen, Ulvik, Eidfjord and Stavanger. The ship is visiting the Port of Cromarty Firth six times this year on a variety of cruises, including cruises around Britain and Ireland.
An estimated 142,000 passengers will come into the Port in Invergordon in the next eight months on 91 calls, the highest number on record. This new cruise record represents a 45% increase in passenger numbers on 2016 and a 44% increase in the number of ships.
Captain Iain Dunderdale, cruise manager Port of Cromarty Firth, said: “2017 is shaping up to be the best year yet for cruising at the Port of Cromarty Firth. We’re looking forward to welcoming 45 percent more passengers than last year, which will mean the highest number on record and a value to the highland economy of around £14m [€16.1m]. The visit of AIDAvita was a fantastic start to this.”
On May 9, Caribbean Princess and MSC Preziosa called bringing 6,600 passengers to the port, the highest number ever in one day. This was 20% higher than the previous passenger footfall record set in April 2016 when three cruiseships visited in one day.
The cruise passengers spread out across the Highlands, visiting tourist attractions such as Cawdor Castle, Dunrobin Castle, Dornoch, Rogie Falls and Silverbridge, Glenmorangie Distillery and Inverness, as well as a cruise on the iconic Loch Ness. These passengers boosted the regional economy by around £660,000 (€761,112) in a single day and made up approximately 4.6% of the passengers visiting the Highlands this year through the Port.
Captain Dunderdale commented: “Over the years, there has been a steady increase in the number of passengers visiting Invergordon and this year we expect around 142,000. With its deep water, the Port of Cromarty Firth is one of only two ports in the Highlands and Islands able to accommodate the very biggest cruiseships.”
Bob Buskie, Chief Executive of the Port of Cromarty Firth, said: “The cruise sector has a crucial role to play in the Cromarty Firth area and across the Highlands, supporting jobs in a wide number of industries, including: tour guides, shipping agents, ground handling staff, transport providers and employees in local distilleries, golf clubs and the hospitality industry.
The trust port is focusing this year on ensuring that even more businesses and organisations in the Highlands benefit from the cruise industry. It has organised workshops and introduced businesses to the ground handlers that organise shore excursions for cruise passengers. As a direct result, new excursion itineraries have been added this year.”