Unscheduled cruise calls at Portland over the summer have boosted the local economy by £750,000 according to port bosses.

Five liners – including the iconic Queen Mary 2 – have visited Portland Port at late notice after being unable to stop at their destinations elsewhere due to weather or other operational reasons.

In the case of Queen Mary 2 it was diverted due to industrial action at the port in Le Havre, France.

These last-minute visits are in addition to the scheduled cruise ships - 50 ships in total are expected this year at Portland carrying more than 110,000 passengers.

Other unscheduled calls include Ambassador Line’s Ambience, Princess Cruises’ Regal Princess and SAGA’s Spirit of Adventure.

Latest to visit was the German line Plantours Kreuzfahrten’s MS Hamburg with 360 passengers.

More than 8,500 passengers have arrived on these additional ships from mid-May to July.

Based on industry figures from the Cruise Lines Industry Association (CLIA), the stops were worth in the region of £750,000 to the local economy.

While some passengers choose to take excursions, many choose to explore the local area, walking round Portland or travelling into Weymouth town centre. 

Ian McQuade, the port's general manager commercial and chair of Cruise Britain, said: “It is always a pleasure to welcome cruise ships on unscheduled visits.

“The unscheduled calls total five to date this year, out of 10 enquiries. They reflect the area’s increasing popularity for cruise calls and represent a further valuable boost of circa £750,000 for the local hospitality and tourism industry.

“Our location, new deepwater berths which allow the largest cruise ships to moor alongside and our reputation for pulling out the stops to accommodate visiting vessels make the port an attractive proposition for cruise lines on both scheduled and unscheduled visits.

“Our thanks go to our dedicated and responsive team, including our contracted shuttle bus operators and welcome team, who have been able to help us accommodate the unscheduled ships and their passengers at very short notice.”

Portland Port’s cruise calls bring in approximately £10m per year to the local economy, based on statistics from the CLIA for spend per head of passenger.

The figure includes expenditure in shops, bars, cafes and tourism attractions along with transport and tours.

The port has invested heavily in its infrastructure over several years, the largest investment being £26m on its deep-water-berth, to increase capacity and capability.

This has allowed the port to welcome larger vessels, including ships up to 350m in length on opposite berths on the same day.