Cruise ship boom: 225,000 passengers from 150 ships to visit Edinburgh, Fife and Dundee this summer

Some 225,000 passengers are expected to visit Edinburgh, Fife and Dundee this year after a 50 per cent hike in the number of cruise ships docking at east coast ports.
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Forth Ports’ Capital Cruising business is gearing up for an increase in cruise ship calls to 150 in 2023, from 100 last year. The cruise calendar in Scotland traditionally runs between April and October each year and the 2023 season kicks off on April 11 with the arrival of the Viking Venus into the deep anchorage near Newhaven with thousands of passengers expected to visit the attractions of Scotland’s capital.

Capital Cruising said Edinburgh was a globally popular destination and viewed by the cruise market as a “marquee” destination with iconic attractions, events, heritage and culture. The 150 cruise ships will sail directly into the Port of Leith, Rosyth and Dundee’s cruise berth as well as anchorages in the River Forth for Newhaven and South Queensferry. The 2023 Dundee season is likely to be a bumper year for the city with 14 cruise calls booked, starting on 13 May with the arrival of the Ambition. In 2022, the port welcomed four cruise ships.

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Last year saw the restart of the industry after lockdown during the global pandemic. The 2022 season welcomed some 100 cruise calls and 26 inaugural ship visits to Scotland with a further 62 ships visiting the firm’s London facilities, which will also see strong growth this year.

Rob Mason, head of cruise at Forth Ports, said: “It is brilliant to see the cruise industry return so strongly and continue to grow this year. Since the restart of the industry last year we have been working hard with the city, destination partners and the wider cruise industry to meet all of the industry’s challenges and deliver another successful cruise season. We know that there are significant economic benefits to the country as hundreds of thousands of passengers visit our cities and we look forward to welcoming them this year.”

Edinburgh-headquartered Forth Ports - which owns Capital Cruising - is one of the UK’s largest port operators and has invested significantly over the past few years in improved cruise terminal facilities in Tilbury, Rosyth, Newhaven and Leith.

The Tallink Victoria 1 cruise ferry, which is currently being provided by the Scottish Government as safe accommodation for displaced people from Ukraine, is the first cruise vessel to receive a shore power connection within the Imperial Dock in the Port of Leith. By switching to shore power, the vessel is now able to switch off all of its fossil fuel powered generators, and with Forth Ports’ electricity being provided through non-fossil fuel generation, this is seen as a significant step forward on the journey to net zero for the port.

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In line with the cruise industry’s commitment to sustainable tourism practices, significant work is being undertaken to ensure Edinburgh is recognised as a sustainability driven destination, with extensive destination development work also continuing to connect local providers with tour operators and cruise lines.

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