Port of Aberdeen receives first cruise ship after £400 million expansion

The 202-metre-long AIDAaura is the longest vessel ever to visit the Scottish port

Port of Aberdeen receives first cruise ship after £400 million expansion

Port of Aberdeen

AIDAaura arrives in the Port of Aberdeen

By Alex Smith |

The Port of Aberdeen has welcomed the first cruise ship into the new £400 million ($500 million) Aberdeen South Harbour expansion.

The 202-metre-long AIDAaura, with capacity for more than 1,200 guests, is the longest vessel to ever visit the Port of Aberdeen. The vessel arrived from Hamburg, Germany for a full day visit as part of a Scottish cruise and berthed on Castlegate Quay. Guests were greeted by a 50-strong pipe band and Highland dancers from Robert Gordon’s College, along with ‘Welcome to Aberdeenshire’ volunteers.

“It is fantastic to see the first cruise call arrive at South Harbour, marking a new dawn for tourism in the North East of Scotland,” said Bob Sanguinetti, chief executive of the Port of Aberdeen. “While the tourism industry is still recovering from the impact of the pandemic, we’re very encouraged with the number of calls to the port secured for this year and next.”

Aberdeen will welcome 39 cruise calls between May and October 2023, with up to 31,000 guests visiting the region and boost the local economy by £4.2 million ($5.25 million), according to the port’s estimates.

The expansion is then expected to spark year-on-year growth in cruise tourism to the Port. More than 50 calls are already booked for 2024, including a visit from another record-breaking ship, AIDAdiva, which measures more than 250m in length and accommodates over 2,000 guests.

“The arrival of the first cruise ship into the South Harbour marks a step change for tourism in the North-east of Scotland as we welcome larger vessels and more passengers than ever before,” said Chris Foy, CEO of VisitAberdeenshire. “Disembarking guests - who will be met by our Welcome to Aberdeenshire volunteers – will have a wide range of experiences to enjoy during their time on our shores, planting the seed for future travel back to Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire for a longer stay.”

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