Some 25 cruise calls are currently scheduled between April and September, with up to 12,000 tourists visiting the North-east. Port bosses said the benefit to local businesses this year and beyond could be significant with cruise calls to Scotland generating an average spend of £134 per passenger per call. The first scheduled cruise call to the new £400 million Aberdeen South Harbour is the 202-metre-long AIDAaura, which can carry more than 1,200 guests.
Bob Sanguinetti, chief executive of Port of Aberdeen, said: “We expect to see year-on-year increases in the number of cruise calls as we ramp up our capacity and capability. It’s encouraging to see that major international cruise lines are already booking their larger cruise ships for calls to Aberdeen in 2024 and beyond.”
The new deepwater harbour, which is scheduled for completion in the second quarter, significantly increases the port’s capacity for cruise calls and will be able to accommodate the majority of the world’s cruise ship fleet. Teams from the port and major cruise lines, such as Carnival Group, will take part in reciprocal training and familiarisation visits this year. This “collaborative approach” will see a wide range of larger vessels call at South Harbour for the cruise seasons in 2024 and beyond.
Chris Foy, chief executive, VisitAberdeenshire, added: “The opening of the South Harbour to cruise vessels in 2023 will be a timely boost to the tourism and hospitality sector in the North-east.”