Edinburgh set for record number of visits from cruise ships this summer, says Forth Ports

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Edinburgh is set for a record number of visits from cruise ships this summer.

Capital Cruising, Forth Ports’ cruise division, said it would kick off its busiest ever season this month with the first of 161 cruise liners calling at its ports between now and October, bringing an estimated 235,000 passengers to visit Edinburgh, Fife and Dundee.

Cruise ship Celebrity Eclipse anchored off NewhavenCruise ship Celebrity Eclipse anchored off Newhaven
Cruise ship Celebrity Eclipse anchored off Newhaven

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A total of 118 cruise ships are due to visit Edinburgh - 29 will berth at Leith, 53 will anchor off Newhaven and 36 off South Queensferry. Some 27 cruise ships will dock at Rosyth and 16 at Dundee. The total of 161 ships calling at all Forth Ports’ east coast bases in 2024 compares with 149 last year.

Forth Ports said Edinburgh was a globally popular visitor spot and viewed by the cruise market as a “marquee” cruise destination with iconic attractions, events, heritage and culture. And it said the city was known for welcoming cruise lines and cruise passengers.

Rob Mason, head of cruise at Forth Ports, said: “We are excited to have started our busiest ever cruise season. Cruise is an important contributor to our local and national economy. Over the past decade, there has been an incredible 93 per cent growth in the attraction of cruise in Scotland with an expected 1 million passengers calling into Scotland’s ports, generating an incredible £130 million for the country’s economy.

“Some 91 per cent of cruise passengers repeat a cruise, with 60 per cent returning to a destination. We are working hard with the city, destination partners, communities and the wider cruise industry to meet the industries challenges and deliver another succesuccessfuls cruise season. We look forward to giving a warm Scottish welcome to cruise passengers this year.”

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Forth Ports said the cruise industry was firmly committed to a sustainable future for cruise travel both at sea and onshore, as cruise lines embraced new technologies, innovations and sustainable alternative fuels. At the same time there was also an emphasis on Edinburgh’s own climate credentials..

“EZ Bike Tours, located next to our port in Newhaven, provides environmentally friendly electric bike tours of the city as a shore excursion option. The launch of the Edinburgh Trams extension last year will also allow passengers easy access to the city using the tram stops in Newhaven and also at the Port of Leith,” the company said.

Forth Ports has has also committed to reducing its own carbon footprint with ambitious targets to be carbon neutral by 2032 and net zero by 2042. Last year the Port of Leith became the first large mainland commercial port in Scotland to provide a shore power connection which allows ships to switch off any diesel-powered generators or engines while they are docked.

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