A RECORD number of cruise ship passengers will arrive in Greenock during 2018.
More than 120,000 people are expected at the Ocean Terminal between now and November in what will be the busiest year to date.
The number of ships has only gone up by one to a total of 59, but Greenock will welcome larger vessels than before, including the majestic Royal Princess — star of ITV documentary The Cruise earlier this year — which can hold over 4,500 people.
She is due 11 times from May to September, with sister ship Regal Princess — which can carry over 3,500 passengers — also set for a stop-off.
Other notable visitors include two Cunard liners — Queen Victoria followed by Queen Elizabeth — and MSC Cruises’ largest ever vessel, the 4,500-guest Meraviglia.
The busy schedule will generate an estimated £10 million for the Inverclyde economy and port bosses say things will only get better, with bookings already taken right up to 2022.
Craig Collins, terminal manager, said: “It’s a record year.
“Passenger-wise we’re 20 per cent up on last year from 100,000 to 120,000.
“It’s fantastic for the area because we’ve not just got the passengers coming through, the crew spend a lot of money in the town centre as well.
“It equates to around £10m that the cruise ships bring to the local economy.”
The cargo and container side of the Greenock operation is also booming but for now it is full steam ahead for the first big cruise ship arrival of the season, Magellan and her 1,250 passengers on April 14.
Sales manager Gillian Johnson, who is in charge of the container side of the operation, said: “It’s great for the local community and what it brings to the area — and cruising is a growing market.”
Terminal boss Craig says Greenock is in a unique position when it comes to cruise calls and he is looking forward to welcoming even more visitors over the coming months.
He said: “A lot of people coming here will stay local because we’re so close to the town centre. Cruising is more accessible now. It’s a growing market and we have bookings up to 2022.
“Hopefully the weather is better this year!”
Source : GreenockTelegraph