Aberdeen ramps up its cruise offering. Expansion project is now fully operational

Aberdeen ramps up its cruise offering. Expansion project is now fully operational (Image at LateCruiseNews.com - September 2023)With Balmoral Quay up and running at Aberdeen’s transformational South Harbour development, the city is now welcoming larger cruiseships, and this achievement will be celebrated at the official opening which will take place on September 22 with Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal in attendance.

“The introduction of South Harbour has resulted in a significant increase in calls this year. We have already accommodated ships up to 220m in length this season and this will increase next year so it’s hugely exciting for us as a port and for the wider destination,” says Marlene Mitchell, commercial manager Port of Aberdeen.

South Harbour consists of four quays: Balmoral, Castlegate, Dunnottar and Crathes giving 1.5km of quayside. This year, three of the four have accommodated cruise calls, accounting for over 40% of the total calls this season.

“We have had some very good feedback from masters about the new set up at South Harbour. The quaysides are clear so it is easy to get set up to manage cruise guests safely and efficiently. They find harbour access and egress straightforward as it is a short channel access and no restrictions so they can be in and out in a very short time from the pilot buoy,” explains Mitchell.

The port aims to be net zero by 2040 across all three scopes and is assessing onshore power requirements in South Harbour, whilst beginning work on it in North Harbour. On the back of the opening success, the port is planning ahead and is considering future quayside facility requirements. “We support transit calls now in South Harbour. We are working to understand if cruiselines will use Aberdeen as an embarkation port,” explains Mitchell.

Passengers have also benefitted from the Visit Aberdeenshire Welcome Volunteer scheme, whereby passengers are met on the quayside with maps and local information to aid those visiting independently. From Royal Deeside and Balmoral Castle to distilleries, the free NuArt street art walking tour and magnificent history to dolphins and seals, there is much on offer.

“It has been a hugely exciting season. We are the gateway to the city and shire and provide a true growth opportunity for the area. People return after visiting on a cruise. We have had amazing feedback from local businesses who are seeing footfall increase on cruise days and they are buying into the concept of being prepared, having extra staff on cruise days, being ready to do whisky tastings etc,” says Mitchell.

The success is due to the hard work of the Cruise Aberdeenshire team, a collaboration between Visit Aberdeenshire, Visit Scotland, Aberdeenshire Council, Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeen Inspired and Port of Aberdeen.

(Aberdeen ramps up its cruise offering. Expansion project is now fully operational – Cruise Europe, Cruise Scotland, Cruise Britain)