PORTLAND Port’s 2018 cruise ship season is going to be another record breaker – and it includes a visit from the longest vessel to ever dock at the island terminal.

Overall the port is expecting to handle 32 cruise ships bringing nearly 39,000 passengers.

In 2017, 34,000 passengers came in on 26 ships.

The port’s cruise season starts on April 3 with the visit of German cruise line Phoenix Reisen’s Albatros. This is Portland’s most frequent visiting cruise line, with the April visit being its 21st call.

Ian McQuade, General Manager – Commercial at Portland Port said: “Whilst it is always exciting to see new cruise lines and new ships calling at Portland the return of such important customers as Phoenix Reisen, Norwegian Cruise Line and TUI, is testament to the great experience their guests had when they previously called.

“This is essential for the long-term success of the business. Phoenix Reisen has been regular and frequent visitors to Portland and we are looking forward to seeing their vessels call a total of four times this year”.

The second cruise call of 2018 is on April 25 and marks an exciting point in the development of the port’s cruise business – the inaugural visit of Norwegian Cruise Line’s, Norwegian Breakaway.

This will be the longest and heaviest vessel to ever dock at Portland Port and will bring with her the greatest number of passengers on one ship that the port has dealt with to date.

The ship can accommodate in excess of 4,000 passengersand the port is looking to forward to welcoming them to Portland and the surrounding area.

Mr McQuade, said: “The inaugural call of the Norwegian Breakaway is very exciting for the port and would not have been possible without the berth extension that was opened in April last year. We hope that she will be the first of many similar sized cruise ships to visit Portland Port.”

Norwegian Cruise Line has a 50-year history in the cruise business and was responsible for introducing Freestyle Cruising that revolutionised the industry by giving guests the freedom and flexibility to design their ideal cruise holiday. It currently operates 16 purpose built Freestyle Cruising ships which includes some of the newest and most contemporary ships at sea.

The port has seven inaugural cruise calls booked for 2018 which vary in size and include Regent Seven Seas' Seven Seas Explorer and Seven Seas Navigator, TUI’s Mein Schiff 3 and Seabourn’s newest vessel the Seabourn Ovation.

Portland Port has seen a significant increase in its cruise business over the last ten years and part of the success story can be attributed to being members of cruise destination marketing groups, such as Destination South West and Atlantic Alliance.

These groups are dedicated to promoting their member ports as cruise destinations and showcasing what they can offer. Destination South West and Atlantic Alliance have both come to a natural end, so from 2018, Portland Port has become a member of Cruise Britain and Cruise Europe. Cruise Britain is a joint initiative between British cruise ports and service providers focussed on raising the profile of Britain as a world-class cruise destination. Cruise Europe has a very similar focus, covering the Northern and Atlantic Europe region.

With the increasing number of cruise ships, Portland Port is again looking to add to its pool of foreign language speaking volunteers to welcome passengers as they disembark from their cruise ship.

There can be a variety of languages spoken on any cruise ship so all foreign language speakers are invited to contact the Port, however, the most frequently spoken amongst passengers visiting Portland Port are German, Spanish, Italian and French. Expenses are covered for those assisting during Portland Port’s exciting cruise seasons.

If you are interested in volunteering and would like to know more contact Amy via e-mail a.sandfordsmith@portland-port.co.uk