Cruise ports have developed itineraries and turnarounds for the west coast of Scotland, promoting it as the ‘New Alaska’ based on an industry study that highlights the region’s similarities with the North American state.
The report, conducted by cruise experts GP Wild singled out Greenock, on the Firth of Clyde, as the port with potential to become a ‘new cruising ground’ after drawing parallels with Alaska’s early days of cruising. Greenock, which is 20 miles from Glasgow airport, is now offering seven-day roundtrips, alongside seven-day and 10-day voyages to Reykjavik in Iceland, and turnaround facilities for new call Kristina Cruises. The port already offers turnarounds for Cruise and Maritime Voyages, Hebridean Island Cruises and Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, along with partial turnarounds for Cunard Line and Princess Cruises.
Cruise Scotland chairman Richard Alexander is keen to see more ships using Scotland’s turnaround ports and said: “All of Scotland’s west coast ports are outwith the ECA, as are the Irish ports which are also easily accessible from Greenock. Small ship operators who might prefer to avoid larger ports, could look at Oban or Holy Loch port as alternatives for turnarounds.”
The study also outlined coastal and inland scenery, cruising ground protected by offshore islands for smooth sailing and undeveloped harbours, alongside ready access to international airports and gateway cities, as features Scotland’s west coast and Alaska have in common.
“Scotland boasts world class scenery and the west coast offers a variety of picturesque towns and village such as Oban, Fort William, Portree, Ullapool and Stornoway,” said Alexander.