THE biggest cruise ship to ever visit Portland will be docking next week - bringing more than 2,800 passengers to the borough.

Portland Port is eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Disney Magic as she makes her inaugural visit on Tuesday.

The Disney Magic is more than 300m long and has 2,809 passengers aboard, making her the biggest cruise ship to ever visit the island.

Disney Cruise Lines launched in 1998 and has firmly established itself as a leader in the cruise industry, providing a setting where families can reconnect, adults can recharge and children can experience all that Disney can offer.

The visit of the Disney Magic is, understandably, attracting a lot of attention for both the port and local area. When she made her first visit to other UK ports, such as Liverpool, huge numbers of people turned up to see the ship.

The port is therefore preparing for several thousand people to potentially visit the area to try and get a glimpse of the Disney Magic.

All possible measures are being put in place to avoid congestion, however, the port is asking that people do not attempt to visit the port unless access has been authorised in advance.

The berth that the ship will be docked at is not visible from Castletown, however, there are lots of good viewpoints in the local area.

Ian McQuade, general manager of Portland Port is optimistic that this cruise call could be the beginning of a long relationship between the port and Disney.

He said: “The Disney Magic will be the first cruise ship of over 300m in length to call at Portland Port and we do not expect her to be the last.

"The recently completed cruise berth extension will allow us to handle ships in excess of 340m long alongside and with more and more cruise ships over 300m long being delivered to the global fleet we anticipate this to be the first of many.”

Some suggestions of where people can see the ship from, include, but are not limited to:

  • Nothe Gardens in Weymouth
  • Sandsfoot Castle
  • Hamm Beach
  • Billy Winters
  • Taste Café Chesil
  • The Boat That Rocks at Portland Marina will have views of the ship arriving and departing
  • The Jailhouse Café at The Verne

Since April, Portland Port has welcomed more than 5,500 passengers to the island and along with the Disney Magic’s arrival, a further 23,000 passengers are expected in the run up to November.

Don't come to port to see ship - you won't be allowed in

A spokesman for Portland Port Police said: "We are busy preparing for the arrival next Tuesday of the Disney cruise ship Magic on her inaugural visit.

"There is a great deal of work being done to ensure the visit goes smoothly for all concerned.

"It has been brought to our attention that some people are under the impression that they will be able to come into the port and visit the ship itself. This is not the case, the ship itself does not allow ad-hoc visits and the Port Security Regulations 2009 specifically prohibit it.

"Therefore we are asking that you do not attempt to gain entry to the port by any means. Please stay away from Castletown area and keep the roads clear leading to the port.

"There are many good viewpoints locally including Sandsfoot Castle, Nothe Gardens, New Ground, Jailhouse Café and many more. Thank you all for your cooperation."