The local economy of Portland, England, a frequent port call for ships sailing around the British Isles, received a welcome influx of unexpected cruisers when a Norwegian Cruise Line vessel made a surprise visit.
Portland, roughly 60 miles southwest of Southampton, is located along England’s famed Jurassic Coast, a World Heritage site in the county of Devon.
Norwegian Dawn Arrives a Day Early at Portland
Norwegian Cruise Line’s 2,340-guest Norwegian Dawn arrived in Portland, England, on July 10, the evening before her scheduled port call, bringing more business to shops, restaurants, and pubs. Poor weather conditions elsewhere prompted the early visit.
The Dawn-class ship that entered service in 2002 regularly calls at Portland on summer season itineraries that explore the British Isles and Ireland, plus France and Belgium. Norwegian Dawn is among many ships that call at Portland.
In fact, the port in 2023, expects a total of 130,000 cruise guests to visit, reflecting a 23% increase in cruise arrivals versus 2022. For 2023, cruise-related revenues are expected to bring about $13 million to the local economy.
One of the largest ships to call this season was MSC Cruises’ MSC Virtuosa, which carries up to 5,000 cruise guests. Cruisers who call at Portland typically visit the nearby town of Weymouth, and that is what the Norwegian Dawn’s guests did this week.
“One of the secrets of success in the growth of our cruise business is to be as accommodating and flexible as we can be for our customers. Praise must go to our staff and suppliers for their quick response to make arrangement for the Norwegian Dawn’s arrival and shuttle bus transport for its passengers,” said Bill Reeves, Chief Executive of Portland Port.
“On the evening of arrival about half of the ship’s passengers headed off to Weymouth to enjoy the pubs and restaurants or sample the local fish and chips, and their arrival would have provided an unexpected economic boost for many catering, hospitality and related businesses in the area,” Reeves added.
The ship was sailing a 10-day itinerary from Copenhagen to Southampton, departing the Danish port on July 2. Besides Portland, other port calls included Edinburgh and Stornoway, Scotland; Dublin, Ireland, and Belfast, Northern Ireland, among other destinations.
Norwegian Dawn is currently sailing a 14-night itinerary roundtrip from Southampton that departed on July 12, with calls planned to Le Havre, France; Bruges, Belgium; Invergordon, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Kirkwall, Scotland; Belfast, Northern Ireland, and Cork and Dublin, Ireland, among other destinations.
Port Call is Part of England’s Famed Jurassic Coast
Portland Port records show that roughly half of visiting cruise guests book excursions in the region, while the remaining guests use the port’s free shuttle buses to Weymouth, a quaint seaside town known for its colorful beach huts and Georgian architecture.
Some excursions explore the Jurassic Coast, one of Great Britain’s most popular destinations and the only place on Earth where rocks from the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods can be seen in one location.
Onboard Norwegian Dawn, guests will find a wide range of stateroom categories, including the ship’s garden villas, which are among the largest suites at sea. Some of the villas have multiple bedrooms and comprise up to 7,000 square feet.
Specialty dining venues on the ship include La Cucina, for Italian cuisine; the French-inspired Le Bistro; Tappanyaki, for Japanese specialties; Sushi; Los Lobos, featuring Mexican dishes; Cagney’s Steakhouse; and Modern Churrascaria, a Brazilian steakhouse.
Norwegian Dawn will continue to sail British Isles and Ireland cruises from Copenhagen and Southampton, plus Germany and Poland sailings between Stockholm, Sweden, and Copenhagen, and France, Spain, Portugal and Belgium voyages between Southampton and Lisbon through October.
In November, the ship will deploy farther south, offering a variety of Mediterranean and Greek Islands cruises.