Published on : Thursday, January 24, 2019
Cruise Belfast, the partnership between Belfast Harbour and Visit Belfast, has announced details of its most successful season to date, with 285,000 tourists expected and ship numbers going up 31 per cent from the previous season (115).
July is expected to be the busiest month with 32 ships scheduled to call, including Saga’s first ever new build vessel, the ‘Spirit of Discovery’. Other first time callers to Belfast include Disney Cruise Lines’ ‘Disney Magic’ and Cruise & Maritime Voyage’s new vessel ‘Vasco da Gama’.
In all 35 separate cruise lines are to dock at Belfast Harbour, with Cruise & Maritime Voyages (15) and Princess Cruises (13) the most frequent callers.
The Italian-based Costa line will also visit Belfast for the first time. The largest ship to berth is the 319m long, 125,000 tonne Celebrity ‘Reflection’, which carries 4,300 passengers and crew.
Belfast Harbour commercial director, Michael Robinson said that the arrival of almost 300,000 visitors to Northern Ireland is a “significant economic boost” for the local tourism sector.
“Belfast is now the third most popular destination in the UK and Ireland for one-day cruise ship calls after Dublin and Orkney. This is a remarkable achievement that reflects the ongoing marketing activities of our partnership with Visit Belfast under the Cruise Belfast brand,” Robinson said.
Visit Belfast chief executive, Gerry Lennon opined that the city is quickly becoming a global player in the cruise tourism market.
“Belfast is asserting itself as a destination of choice in the eyes of cruise lines and their passengers,” Lennon said.