Wales and Short Sea ports celebrate strong year for cruise

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MS Island Sky at ABP’s Port of Troon

Associated British Ports’ (ABP) Wales and Short Sea Ports enjoyed a successful return of cruise during 2021. While the pandemic brought the cruise industry to a halt, it has seen a strong come back. Since domestic cruise calls resumed in May 2021, Wales and Short Sea Ports has seen more cruise calls than before.

In 2019, ABP received 18 cruise calls at its Wales and Short Sea Ports and 2021 saw 22 cruise calls with an increased number of luxury and new cruise ships. Noble Caledonia’s flagship vessel, the MS Island Sky, was welcomed on its maiden call at ABP’s ports of Lowestoft, Ipswich, Swansea and Troon.

Mike Deegan, Head of Fleet Operations for Noble Caledonia said:

“Our extended UK season this year has given us the opportunity to call at locations we have not used previously and ABP’s ports at Swansea, Lowestoft and Ipswich, which were maiden calls for us, were perfect for our small, expedition-style cruise vessels. In addition, the use of Troon as a turnaround port was ideal for us not only in terms of location and proximity to transport links but also in terms of the warm welcome and “can-do” attitude afforded by port staff there.

Mike Deegan continues: “I visited many of the UK ports over the Summer and the over-riding feeling of our guests was that, whilst they may not have chosen to cruise the UK coast outside of a pandemic, they are now wondering why they haven’t previously. This was equally true of the visits to ABP ports where we found much to interest our discerning guests in terms of local history, heritage, flora and fauna. We shall be back!”

Paul Litten, ABP’s Head of Commercial, Wales and Short Sea Ports, said:

“Last year was an unpredictable year but notwithstanding, we were delighted to have seen and been able to support the return to cruise. Domestic cruise looks to be a fast-growing market and our Wales and Short Sea Cruise Ports are well positioned to accommodate the demand.”