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Portland Port’s 2018 cruise season is going to be another record breaker with the greatest number of cruise calls and passengers to date. Overall the port is expecting to handle 32 cruise ships bringing nearly 39,000 passengers into Portland. Over the last 10 years the numbers have grown substantially from just 4 calls and 2,000 passengers in 2009 to the record breaking figures for 2018. This is a trend that Portland Port is keen to continue.

The Port’s cruise season starts on the 3rd April with the visit of German cruise line Phoenix Reisen’s Albatros. Phoenix Reisen is Portland’s most frequent visiting cruise line, with the 3rd April being their 21st call. Ian McQuade, General Manager – Commercial at Portland Port commented that “whilst it is always exciting to see new cruise lines and new ships calling at Portland the return of such important customers as Phoenix Reisen, Norwegian Cruise Line and TUI, is testament to the great experience their guests had when they previously called. This is essential for the long-term success of the business. Phoenix Reisen have been regular and frequent visitors to Portland and we are looking forward to seeing their vessels call a total of 4 times this year”.

The second cruise call of 2018 for Portland Port is on the 25th April and marks an exciting point in the development of the port’s cruise business; the inaugural visit of Norwegian Cruise Line’s, Norwegian Breakaway. The Breakaway will be the longest and heaviest vessel to ever dock at Portland Port and will bring with her the greatest number of passengers on one ship that the port has dealt with to date. The ship can accommodate in excess of 4,000 passengers on board and the port is looking to forward to welcoming them to Portland and the surrounding area. Ian McQuade, said “The inaugural call of the Norwegian Breakaway is very exciting for the port and would not have been possible without the berth extension that was opened in April last year. We hope that she will be the first of many similar sized cruise ships to visit Portland Port.”

Norwegian Cruise Line has a 50-year history in the cruise business and was responsible for introducing Freestyle Cruising that revolutionised the industry by giving guests the freedom and flexibility to design their ideal cruise holiday. They currently operate 16 purpose built Freestyle Cruising ships which includes some of the newest and most contemporary ships at sea.

The port has 7 inaugural cruise calls booked for 2018 which vary in size and include Regent Seven Seas ship’s, Seven Seas Explorer and Seven Seas Navigator, TUI’s Mein Schiff 3 and Seabourn’s newest vessel the Seabourn Ovation.

Portland Port has seen a significant increase in its cruise business over the last ten years and part of the success story can be attributed to being members of cruise destination marketing groups, such as Destination South West and Atlantic Alliance. These groups are dedicated to promoting their member ports as cruise destinations and showcasing what they can offer. Destination South West and Atlantic Alliance have both come to a natural end, so from 2018, Portland Port has become a member of Cruise Britain and Cruise Europe. Cruise Britain is a joint initiative between British cruise ports and service providers focussed on raising the profile of Britain as a world-class cruise destination. Cruise Europe has a very similar focus, covering the Northern and Atlantic Europe region.

With the increasing number of cruise ships, Portland Port is again looking to add to its pool of foreign language speaking volunteers to welcome passengers as they disembark from their cruise ship. There can be a variety of languages spoken on any cruise ship so all foreign language speakers are invited to contact the Port, however, the most frequently spoken amongst passengers visiting Portland Port are German, Spanish, Italian and French. Expenses are covered for those assisting during Portland Port’s exciting cruise seasons.

Picture: Seabourn Quest & Holland America’s Rotterdam docked at Portland Port on 26th April 2017