Scotland’s cruise industry is expecting more passengers in 2015 following the best year yet in 2014 for passengers and ships at ports around the country. Scotland’s cruise industry was worth more than £49 million last year when 457 vessels brought 401,325 passengers, with value and passengers reaching new highs and a number of ports breaking their own records. Passengers increased by nearly 16,700 on 2013.
While approximately the same number of ships is booked in 2015, the continuing trend to larger vessels is expected to see passengers up by over 8% to an estimated 434,530.
Victor Sandison, Chairman of Cruise Scotland, said: “The combination of the multitude of Scotland’s attractions and the quality of facilities and services, supported by our marketing efforts, are delivering results and making a major contribution to the Scottish economy, as last year’s records and this season’s positive outlook demonstrate.”
The growing appeal of Scotland as a destination means the season has extended and will run from early-March to mid-December, with the final call by Fred. Olsen Lines’ Black Watch at Greenock on 15 December to disembark passengers.
This season is also expected to see:
- Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Magic calling in July at a UK port for the first time, with Kirkwall, Orkney, its only UK destination on a cruise including Norway and Iceland.
- Greenock Ocean Terminal becoming the first Scottish port to welcome over 100,000 passengers in its busiest season yet.
- The first direct sailing from Scotland to the Caribbean, with Fred. Olsen Lines’ Black Watch departing Greenock in November on a 32-day round-trip.
- Queen Mary 2 making a maiden call to Oban on a cruise to celebrate Cunard Line’s 175th anniversary.
- Cruise Scotland continues its successful programme of familiarisation visits for cruise line executives to increase their awareness of Scotland.
Cruise Scotland and its members prepare to return to the USA for the global industry’s premier annual event, Cruise Shipping Miami, from 16-19 March.
The organisation will also continue its postcard campaign aimed at delegates heading for Cruise Shipping Miami. They will be invited to stand 547 in Miami Beach to give their verdicts in a dram-versus-Tunnock’s tasting between two of Scotland’s famous international products – whisky and Tunnock’s caramel wafers!
Ongoing marketing initiatives also include exhibiting at Seatrade Europe, in Hamburg from 9-11 September, 2015.
A popular “Find-a-Cruise” page aimed at potential visitors from the USA has also been updated. It lists 37 operators with vessels calling at Scottish ports in 2015 and complements the lines’ own promotions.
Cruise Scotland has 17 full members (including 15 ports and two major ground handlers) and four associate members – the latest to join being Lochaber Chamber of Commerce.