A CRUISE ship carrying nearly 5,000 passengers has returned to Portland Port. 

MSC Virtuosa has come back to the Dorset port after visiting in April of this year for its first cruise call at the port's newly developed deep-water berth.

The ship, which was built in 2021, arrived at 5.33am today, Thursday, September 28, with 4,888 passengers on board. It is pictured here by Jim Perkins. 

Her arrival back in April brought the greatest number of guests of any single vessel visiting Portland Port so far - described as a ‘major milestone’.

It was the first cruise ship to use the port’s new berth, which is part of a £26m redevelopment project to boost capacity and drive growth.

As well as nearly 5,000 passengers, the MSC Virtuosa has 1,500 crew aboard.

The MSC Virtuosa measures 331m in length, 43m across her beam and is 65m in height.

Her tonnage is 181.541 and she has a maximum speed of 22.2 knots.

Prior to 2023 she last visited Portland in 2021 when she was the first cruise ship to call after the onset of the Covid pandemic although with fewer passengers.