More than 7,250 passengers were on the cruise ships that berthed last Saturday, with many disembarking on day tours to tourism attractions on the Jurassic Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Over 4,000 passengers took advantage of the port’s complimentary shuttle bus to Portland Castle and on into Weymouth.
New port infrastructure
The ships, with a respective 141,000gt and 145,655gt, were moored alongside the newly redeveloped £26m deep-water berth and extended outer coaling pier.
Ian McQuade, Portland Port’s commercial general manager and chair of Cruise Britain, said: ‘The double-call broke a port record; the newly developed deep-water berth is testament to the unwavering belief port management had that the facility would attract international passenger ships of up to 350mtr in length.
‘The redevelopment project provided 16,000 sq mtr of additional quayside space, with 11.7mtr of water depth, 380,000 tonnes of locally sourced infill material and 4,800 tonnes of steel.’
It became operational when MSC Virtuosa visited in April.
McQuade added: ‘Various records have been set this year with the cruise calls at Portland, including the annual number of passengers at 130,000.
‘There was another new record when 18 cruise calls arrived between the tail end of August and the end of September, with an estimated £3.6m generated in the local economy.’
The port, operated and privately owned by the Portland Port Group, will welcome 57 cruise calls this year scheduled for 10 out of 12 calendar months.
Only January and March are currently free of cruise calls in 2024.