Edinburgh is renowned for its medieval Old Town, historic castle and playing host to world famous events such as the Fringe and Tattoo.
Tourists flock to grace the Capital’s cobbled streets from all over the world to take in its unparalleled beauty.
Many would expect the majority of visitors to arrive by coach, train or plane, but there is one mode of transport which is potentially overlooked yet provides a crucial part to the city’s economy. With ports in Leith and Rosyth and anchorages in Newhaven and South Queensferry, Capital Cruising has welcomed 114 liners into the River Forth bringing more than 150,000 passengers to the city in 2018.
Upon arrival, these tourists are in easy reach of the Capital’s bustling city centre and experience its unique culture.
This has led to Edinburgh being recognised as one of Europe’s best cruise destinations for the very first time.
The Capital has triumphed over stalwart cities Amsterdam, Belfast, Bilbao and Lisbon to land the top prize in Western Europe.
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John Donnelly, chief executive of Marketing Edinburgh said: “Edinburgh is a world leading and increasingly globally connected visitor destination – and becoming Western Europe’s Top Cruise Destination, in an industry said to be worth around £100 million to the Scottish economy, is another fine example of our Capital’s universal appeal. We take great pride in welcoming all types of visitors, and those stopping off for a day can easily navigate the Capital’s history and diverse leisure attractions through resources like the This is Edinburgh website, which covers all corners of city, from Leith to the Old Town and all the way to South Queensferry.”
The award, managed by Cruise Critic, is based solely on consumer ratings and reviews posted to the Cruise Critic website in 2018.
Cruise Critic boasts the world’s largest online cruise community, with more than 350,000 cruise reviews, covering approximately 500 cruise ships and over 300 worldwide ports. Edinburgh scooped the top cruise destination in the British Isles & Western Europe category at the Cruise Critic’s 2018 Cruisers’ Choice Destination Awards.
Cllr Kate Campbell, housing and economy convener, said: “Everyone who lives in Edinburgh knows that we live in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. We’re really proud of Edinburgh’s beauty, heritage, culture and many other attractions – but it’s always good to have that officially recognised.
“Tourism is incredibly important to our economy providing around 35,000 jobs – so the news that we are a top cruise destination is very welcome.”
Plans have also been floated to build a new cruise liner terminal at the site of the former Cockenzie power station.
Backers say the move would open the door to new ferry services to northern Europe, create much-needed jobs for young people in the area and boost the economy by attracting thousands of tourists.
Rob Mason, head of cruise for Capital Cruising in Scotland said: “This is a significant global recognition for Edinburgh and we are thrilled with the award especially as this is feedback directly from cruise passengers.
“Our cruise business is thriving and we are seeing our cruise calls grow each year.
“We are the only operator to offer the closest cruise connection to the beautiful city of Edinburgh and we have invested significantly over the past few years to provide the most direct access for liners of all sizes to Scotland’s Capital.
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“My thanks to our hard working cruise team and the 50 volunteers from Cruise Forth who work tirelessly all season warmly welcoming thousands of passengers to Edinburgh.”
Edinburgh takes the title from Amsterdam who won the annual award last year ahead of Cork, Lisbon, Guernsey and Greenock.
Adam Coulter, UK managing editor at Cruise Critic said: “Our data analysis shows that destination continues to be a top consideration for holiday makers looking to cruise, regardless of whether they are new to cruise or seasoned cruise travellers. We are delighted that Edinburgh has pipped so many other wonderful Western European ports to the post to be crowned the best destination in the British Isles & Western Europe. Not only does this highlight the rise in popularity of destinations more known for their immersive, educational and experiential offerings, rather than just their temperate climate or great beaches, but also shows just how attractive Scotland is proving to travellers across the globe.”