Employees of the UK’s Portland Port and workers from the businesses that operate at the port enjoyed a special treat when they were invited onboard Princess Cruises’ Regal Princess during the ship’s port call on August 13, 2023.
The ship hosted the group for lunch and provided a tour of the 141,000-gross ton ship.
Princess Cruises’ Regal Princess called at Portland Port, on England’s southern coast, during her 12-day British Isles cruise roundtrip from Southampton and reached out to the facility’s local employees with a special invitation — a ship tour and luncheon onboard the Royal-class vessel.
Located along Dorset’s Jurassic Coast, Portland Port is an up-and-coming cruise destination that expects to see a 23% increase in cruise arrivals in 2023 versus 2022. The port is known for its proximity to the popular beach town of Weymouth, and as the gateway to England’s famed and historic Jurassic Coast.
Nearly 60 cruise ships are scheduled to call this year at the port, bringing a total of 130,000 passengers to the region. Estimates put cruise-related revenues at about $12 million for the local economy. The port employs 53 staff, with an additional 220 people employed by various commercial port businesses.
“Businesses at the port have seen our cruise activity grow and develop over recent years. This was a lovely opportunity to provide our customers with a tour of the Regal Princess, with lunch onboard,” said Ian McQuade, Portland Port Commercial General Manager, and Chair of Cruise Britain.
McQuade added that port call bookings from cruise lines planning future itineraries are already being scheduled for 2025 and 2026.
The port earlier this year opened a new deepwater berth that enables the destination to accommodate ships up to 1,148 in length, such as Royal Caribbean International’s Quantum-class vessels, and Carnival Cruise Line’s Excel-class ships, among others.
The berth project is part of a $33 million development that will eventually enable the port to have two large vessels docked at the same time. The new berth opened on April 28, 2023, with a visit from the 5,000-guest MSC Virtuosa, and the official opening ceremony was held in June.
“In the last eight years the port has invested more than $50 million in developing infrastructure and more than $5 million in repairs and maintenance; it is this investment that has enabled the port’s continued growth and development, not least in the growth of the cruise business,” explained McQuade.
The port, in fact, enjoyed a cruise ship bonus visit recently, when Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Dawn arrived a day ahead of her scheduled port call in July. Poor weather conditions prompted the itinerary change, and Portland Port was the beneficiary.
The 2,340-guest Norwegian Dawn brought extra business to the local economy, as guests took advantage of their time in the destination by visiting area shops, restaurants, and other businesses.
Regal Princess called at Portland Port as part of her British Isles cruise that also visited Falmouth, in Cornwall, England; Cork and Dublin, Ireland; Belfast, Northern Ireland; Glasgow, Kirkwall, Invergordon, and Edinburgh, Scotland; and Normandy (Le Havre), France.
The ship in October will reposition from Southampton to Fort Lauderdale before continuing on to Galveston, Texas, where she will operate a series of Caribbean cruises in winter 2023-24.
The 15-night transatlantic sailing departs Southampton on October 9, 2023, and calls at Le Havre, France; Bilbao and La Coruna, Spain; Lisbon, Portugal, and the Azores before reaching Fort Lauderdale.
Cruises from Galveston, of varying nights, will call at destinations including Montego Bay, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Roatan, Honduras, and Belize City, Belize.
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