Portland Port’s big cruise season officially got underway with the first visit of what is destined to be a record- breaking summer.

The ‘Azores’, operating on behalf of German cruise line Ambiente Kreuzfahrten, and the ‘Ryndam’ of major US operator Holland America Line both arrived today bringing nearly 2,000 passengers with them.

These are the first two inaugural calls out of six first timers for the 2014 cruise season.

The Eurodam is another Holland America Line ship calling at Portland for the first time, with the 285-metre vessel deciding to stay at Portland for 15 hours next week.

Portland will also see the return of old friends the Brilliance of the Seas and the AIDAstella, in a line-up of quite spectacular cruise ships this summer which will be capped by the first visit of a Costa Cruises vessel, the neoRomantica, in September.

The 2014 cruise season is shaping up to be yet another record breaker, the staff at Portland Port are certainly excited about welcoming over 24,000 passengers to Weymouth and the Isle of Portland.

Full details of this year’s cruise calls can be found on the Portland Port website at portland-port.co.uk/cruise/cruise-calls Meanwhile, the port has embarked on a major programme of works to serve the ever-growing number of visiting cruise lines.

Work on the first of the new mooring bollards is expected to commence shortly.

When completed the extended berth will enable the port to handle some of the largest cruise ships.

Ian McQuade, general manager, said: “Portland Port has seen record figures for cruise calls and passengers in recent years and already 2015 is looking good, with a berth capable of handling ships up to 340m LOA from 2016.”

The port was present at the Cruise Shipping Miami event on the Cruise Britain stand to promote the new berth.

This event is the major showcase of the year for the cruise industry and will give us the opportunity to brief all the cruise lines face to face on the berth extension.

“We want to ensure that Portland Port gets full consideration for inclusion in many 2016 itineraries,” said Mr. McQuade.

Key features of the development include: l Capability to handle ships up to 340m LOA ; l Construction of new, heavy duty, mooring and breasting dolphins; l Addition of a new suite of 150t mooring bollards on existing berth and on new dolphins; l High capacity pneumatic floating fenders; l Minimum water depth 9.6m; l Large service apron; l Entry into service 2016.