Cruise Season Underway for Scotland’s Largest Port

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The Port of Aberdeen, Scotland, has officially kicked off its 2024 cruise season, a year projected to break records with a larger-than-ever number of cruise ship calls. Besides being the center of the UK’s offshore industry, Aberdeen has many attractive features that draw in more cruise ships each year. 

AIDAsol Opens Aberdeen’s Cruise Season

Aberdeen, on the Scottish eastern coastline, can look forward to the busiest cruise season in its history, expecting 58 cruise calls, of which 22 are maiden calls.  

The season kicked off on Monday, April 8, with the arrival of AIDAsol, which brought 1,998 guests and 629 crew members to Aberdeen from Hamburg, Germany. Guests were tendered ashore with a warm Scottish welcome, including music played on traditional Scottish bagpipes.

However, 2024 is just a prelude to what is to come in the upcoming years. By 2027, the port expects to accommodate 100 cruise ship calls, including from companies such as Holland America Line, Azamara, Costa Cruises, and Fred. Olsen Cruises. 

Bob Sanguinetti, CEO of the Port of Aberdeen: “With a record number of bookings and a diverse range of visiting vessels, we are poised for unprecedented growth in the coming years and are eager to showcase the best of what Aberdeen and the surrounding region has to offer.”

The increase in the number of cruise ship calls, a trend that is reflected across the United Kingdom, is the result of initiatives by local stakeholders to attract more visitors. Whereas Aberdeen has been known as the home of the offshore industry in the United Kingdom, the area has much more to offer visiting cruise ship passengers.

Aberdeen Cruise Season Begins
Aberdeen Cruise Season Begins (Photo Credit: Port of Aberdeen)

Aberdeen City Council Co-Leader, Councillor Christian Allard: “Aberdeen is establishing itself as a must-visit destination for cruise ships and the 2024 season is one we can build upon further. As a council we are delivering transformation through the City Centre and Beach Masterplan – thus ensuring that visitors enjoy a great experience when they disembark.”

Read Also: Scottish Port Kicks Off Busiest Cruise Season In History

The port is relatively close to the UK’s royal family’s summer home, Balmoral Castle, the Scottish Highlands, and Dunnottar Castle, where various scenes from the hit series Game of Thrones were filmed. It is also a common stop for expedition cruise ships as they make their way north.

Diverse Array of Cruise and Expedition Vessels

Aberdeen’s 2024 cruise season, which runs between April 8 and September September 14, includes an impressive lineup of ships, showcasing the port’s ability to accommodate a wide range of cruise experiences. 

Aberdeen can accommodate larger cruise ships such as Costa Favolosa and AIDAsol; ships that cater to 3,780 and 2,174 passengers respectively. Luxury cruise ships are increasingly choosing to spend the day in Aberdeen, with Seabourn Venture calling at the end of April and May, residential cruise ship Villa Vie Odyssey visiting on June 3, Silver Spirit on June 26, and Azamara Quest on July 12, 2024.

Aidasol Cruise Ship
Aidasol Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: A. Kiro / Shutterstock)

However, Aberdeen’s popularity is particularly evident in the expedition cruise market. The port is typically one of the last ‘large’ ports the expedition cruise ships such as Quark Expedition’s Ultramarine visit before they set sail north towards the Orkney and Shetland Islands, Iceland, Greenland, the Canadian Arctic, and Spitsbergen.

Amongst the expedition cruise companies that will sail to Aberdeen in 2024 are Oceanwide Expeditions with Plancius and Ortelius; Ponant with Le Bellot and Le Lyrial; and Hapag-Lloyd with Hanseatic Inspiration.

Aberdeen’s strategic location, with access to the North Atlantic and the stunning beauty of the Scottish Highlands, makes it much more than a hub for the oil and gas industry. It makes the port an important call for cruise ships sailing around the British Isles.

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