RESIDENTS and community leaders are hoping efforts can be made to improve the chronic traffic problems caused by cruise ship shuttle buses.

While Portland Port’s busiest ever cruise season has been welcomed as providing a major economic boost, residents remain frustrated with the congestion and queuing chaos at the drop off and pick up points for the ships’ passengers in a residential area of Weymouth.

Buses and coaches have been seen to struggle to manoeuvre due to the narrow roads, some with double yellow lines, and parked vehicles.

It reached boiling point on Sunday, October 22, when two ships, the Norwegian Star and the massive MSC Euribia (pictured below), docked at the port - the Euribia had not been scheduled to stop - and thousands of passengers took the option of visiting Weymouth to see the sights and do some shopping.

Dorset Echo: MSC Euribia and Norwegian Star at Portland PortExasperated residents in the Spring Road area behind Hope Square said that they considered that day to be the worst single day yet, with huge queues forming, and passengers using the benches outside their front doors whilst waiting for the buses.

One resident described it as “hell”.

Read more: Traffic chaos as coaches transport cruise passengers

The last ship of the season - the AIDAmar - is due to dock tomorrow (Tuesday).

And next year promises to be just as busy for the port as, for the first time, cruise calls have been scheduled for 10 out of 12 calendar months with only January and March without bookings.

Speaking about the double docking on October 22, one resident said: “It was hell. They queued back down to Newtons Cove, there were far too many people.

“It is a residential area on a Sunday and you are just inundated with people.”

Another resident said: “Really I think they are good for the area, and for the shops but at the same time I have concerns with how it will be once the new builds are done.

“Is there nothing that could be done using the car park that is better for everyone?

“I do think the Weymouth guides do a really good job meeting the tourists and guiding them.”

Read more: Cruise ship cancellation due to protest 'cost local economy around £400,000'

Town councillor Luke Wakeling said: “After some issues in early May, accredited traffic officers have been monitoring vehicle safety on cruise ship event days.

“I hope stakeholders will continue to work together to improve management of the drop-off, in particular vehicle movements and queuing, so that Weymouth can continue to welcome these additional visitors, whilst ensuring both our local residents and visitors have a positive experience on these days.”

Read more: Cruise ships' £3.6m boost to local economy in 'Super September' boom

The port said that the cruise ships have given a significant boost to the area with a spokesperson saying that around £10m a year has been generated in Portland, Weymouth and further afield by the cruises.

President of Weymouth and Portland’s Chamber of Commerce Paul Appleby said it’s been an ‘extraordinary year’.

Mr Appleby said: “The chamber is grateful to Portland Port for championing the cruise industry.

“The chamber is thankful, and they genuinely deserve the praise as the cruise ship business has been so good for the towns.”

Portland Port did not want to comment any further when approached by the Echo.

It has previously said it was monitoring the situation closely to avoid congestion issues and there were traffic management plans in place, with bus marshals and port representatives deployed on cruise days.

It said there were no current plans to change drop-off points, saying that the calls help to extend the tourist season.