Appeal made for volunteers to greet Edinburgh’s growing number of cruise ship tourists
VIKING Cruise Lines’ newest ocean ship, the Viking Jupiter, brings 930 tourists to the Capital this week.
For many, their first contact when they come ashore will be with a Cruise Forth volunteer - a team of local people who greet guests arriving from cruise liners at the quayside and provide them with free maps and local information.
Started in Rosyth eight years ago, the Cruise Forth Project was extended to Leith in 2014 and then to Newhaven a year later when Forth Ports started to operate the harbour as a tender port.
From a solitary ship that first year, numbers have spiralled, some 34 cruise ships are due to anchor off Newhaven in 2019.
That growing number of arrivals has led Cruise Forth project manager Peter Wilson to issue an appeal for new volunteers to join his team.
He says, “The welcome volunteers do a fantastic job in helping to orientate passengers as they come ashore.
“Most have never been here before, have little idea of how to get around, currency, distances into town and so on.
“Sometimes, they come with a particular request for a shop they have researched, or a place they want to get too.
“The volunteers bring their own knowledge and a welcoming smile, as they help to reassure and inform.
“With an increasing number of ships, arriving at Newhaven and at Leith, between March and October, we are hoping to recruit some new members who might join us.”
In addition to meeting and greeting visitors at the harbour, a small number of volunteers also board vessels to provide information on local opportunities before passengers land.
Cruise Forth currently have around 50 volunteers operating across four Scottish ports - Newhaven, Leith, South Queensferry and Rosyth - with some assisting at more than one port.
Mr Wilson adds, “While most of our current team are retired folk, we have others who come for a few hours on their days off work to help.
“We provide training, and a uniform, and an abundance of fresh air.
“Most of our team just do three hours on any given day, so it is not too demanding.
“They are volunteers after all.”
The vital work the volunteers do was recognised in 2016 when they won the National Thistle Award for giving the Warmest Welcome.
Rob Mason of cruise port operator Capital Cruising says, “The award winning Cruise Forth volunteers are an invaluable asset to our cruise business.
“They bridge the gap between the port and the destination with the passengers benefitting from their local knowledge and recommendations to make their visit to our shores even better.
“Our cruise business is thriving and we are the only operator to offer the closest cruise connection to the beautiful city of Edinburgh - which won a prestigious Cruise Critic top destination award recently.”
Anyone interested in volunteering can find out more by contacting Peter Wilson at email@example.com.