The 2022 cruise season at Portland Port (UK) is set to be another record-breaking year

Portland Port  (Courtesy Portland Harbour Authority, UK)With the dust finally starting to settle on the pandemic, the port is now firmly looking to the future and is taking big strides forward with a record breaking 62 ships expected to call at Portland this year.

The record breaking number of calls leads to a record breaking number of guests, with over 112,000 people expected to visit the local area from many different nationalities including German, Norwegian and American.

The cruise season was kick started on the 21st of April with the Hanseatic Inspiration making its maiden call to the Port, and is expected to run right through until the 14th of November with the AIDAvita bringing an end to the 2022 cruise season. The Port has seen continued growth year upon year with more ships and cruise lines taking a keen interest in making Portland Port a regular part of their UK itineraries.

Today the port has been delighted to welcome the return of Norwegian Getaway.

Out of the 62 ships coming to the island this season, 11 are inaugural visits and require the traditional exchange of the plaques between the ship’s Captain and the Port representative. For the most part these are usually wooden, however, Portland Port is unique in that its plaque is locally sourced and produced from the world-famous Portland stone. The ceremonial exchange of plaques is a time-honoured maritime tradition in which the ships senior officers invite Port representatives onboard to mark the ship’s first call to the port. They are then displayed onboard, either on the ships bridge or in the public areas.

The first four calls of the 2022 season have all been inaugural calls with the Emerald Princess, Enchanted Princess and Hurtigruten’s MS Maud following the Hanseatic Inspiration in visiting Portland for the first time.

The port is now eagerly anticipating further inaugural ship visits from Celebrity Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Princess Cruises and Holland America Lines amongst others.

General Manager Commercial, Ian McQuade commented “it is great to see the cruise industry bounce back so strongly following two years so severely disrupted by the pandemic. To have over 60 calls and 112,000 guests scheduled to visit Portland Port this season is a phenomenal result. It is particularly gratifying to welcome so many first time visitors”.

In addition to the inaugural calls 2022 will also see Portland Port welcome many old friends. One of the ports returning visitors will be the Disney Magic on the 12th of September. The Disney Magic is currently the oldest ship In the Disney Fleet and was launched back in 1997, she has 11 public decks and can accommodate up to 2,809 passengers. She first visited the port in May of 2017 and at the time she was the largest ship to ever visit Portland Port, she has since returned on 3 occasions.

A visit of Disney Magic never fails to draw the attention of the locals, with many keen to get a look at the ship. Ian McQuade said “whilst it is always exciting to welcome new lines and new ships it is the continued support from the likes of Disney, Norwegian, Regent Seven Seas, Aida, Phoenix Reisen, Holland America and many others that proves we must be doing something right. We have built up strong relationships with all our cruise line customers and look forward to working with them in the future to further grow the Port’s cruise business”.

With the return to more normal cruise operations, local businesses will once again be able to reap the economic reward that cruise passengers bring in, with the average spend per head for each visiting cruise passenger being around £80 in each port they visit.

Previously a naval dockyard for over 150 years, Portland Harbour is now a thriving and successful commercial facility. It still maintains a close relationship with the past through its ongoing contract to support the RFA, as well as being home to the activities of Global Marine and Portland Bunkers UK. It has almost 2,500 hectares of water at depths of up to 15m (C.D.); and provides vessel services from long term lay-ups to brief maintenance calls, luxury cruise liner docking facilities to industrial cargo shipments.

(Portland Harbour Authority)