UK’s Portland Port breaks multiple cruise records in 2023

Port hosts longest season, highest guest numbers and double call from largest cruise ships to date

UK’s Portland Port breaks multiple cruise records in 2023

Portland Port

The 330-metre Regal Princess and 326-metre Norwegian Getaway docked at Portland Port on the same day

By Rebecca Gibson |

Portland Port in Dorset, England, has broken several cruise records during the 2023 season.

On 30 September, the port hosted a double call from two of the largest cruise ships it has accommodated in its 27-year history, Princess Cruises’ 330-metre-long Regal Princess and Norwegian Cruise Line’s 326-metre Norwegian Getaway. The ships brought a combined total of more than 7,250 passengers to the port.

“Saturday’s double call also saw a record number of guests using the port’s complimentary shuttle bus to Portland Castle and on into Weymouth,” said Ian McQuade, Portland Port’s commercial general manager and chair of Cruise Britain. “Over 4,000 passengers took advantage of the service, no doubt delivering a welcome financial boost at the end of the summer season.”
Both Regal Princess and Norwegian Getaway moored alongside the port’s newly redeveloped £26 million ($31.4 million) deep-water berth and extended outer coaling pier.

“The newly developed deep-water berth is testament to the unwavering belief port management had that the facility would attract international passenger ships vessels of up to 350 metres in length,” said McQuade. “The redevelopment project provided 16,000 square metres of additional quayside space, with 11.7 metres of water depth, 380,000 tonnes of locally sourced infill material and 4,800 tonnes of steel.”

The deep-water berth opened in April 2023, when MSC Cruises’ MSC Virtuosa brought a record 5,000 passengers to the port in one day.  

“Various records have been set this year with the cruise calls at Portland, including the annual number of passengers at 130,000,” said McQuade. “There was another new record when 18 cruise calls arrived between the tail end of August and the end of September, with an estimated £3.6 million ($4.35 million) generated in the local economy.”

This year also marks the first time that port has cruise calls scheduled for 10 out of 12 calendar months. It expects to have received a total of 57 cruise visits by the end of 2023. 

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