Scotland Port Readies for Big Jump in Cruise Ship Calls

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Greenock Ocean Terminal in Clydeport, one of Scotland’s west coast cruise ports, is expecting to make big strides in cruise ship arrivals this year. Nestled alongside the Firth of Clyde, the port also will show off its new visitor center for cruise guests.

Greenock Terminal to Welcome 150,000 Cruisers

Ninety-one cruise ships are scheduled to call at Greenock Ocean Terminal in 2023, a 25% hike compared to last year, officials said on March 15. Cruise ships will dock at the Scottish port’s new dedicated pontoon, delivering up to 150,000 cruise guests plus an estimated 38,000 crew members to the region – a record number of cruise arrivals.

The announcement came on the heels of other robust cruise arrivals predictions from the ports of Edinburgh, Dundee and other eastern Scotland ports, which in February revealed they expect to see a 50% spike in port calls in 2023, according to UK port operator Capital Cruising.

Located in the town of Inverclyde, the Greenock terminal welcomed 71 vessels as it returned to near-pre-pandemic levels in 2022, and local officials say the boost in tourism this year will enhance the regional economy.

Princess Cruise Ship in Greenock, Scotland (Photo Credit:

Clydeport Port Director Jim McSporran said, “Welcoming cruise liners to Greenock is a hugely important aspect of our port offering and we’re delighted that we continue to attract and grow cruise numbers to the region. This increase in tourism will benefit visitor attractions and businesses across Inverclyde and central Scotland, and we look forward to welcoming these visitors across the season.”

The port is poised to open a $24 million cruise ship visitor center at the terminal, which will include arrivals and departure halls, a restaurant and rooftop terrace, plus a museum.

Inverclyde Council member Stephen McCabe, said: “It’s timely that with 2023 shaping up to be a bumper year for cruise calls that the finishing touches are being put on our new state-of-the-art Greenock cruise ship visitor centre which will provide our guests from around the world with a first class welcome to Inverclyde and the west coast of Scotland.”

MSC Cruises’ 6,334-guest MSC Virtuosa is scheduled to make her maiden call to the port in 2023, and also is among the largest ships that will call this year. The cruise season in Scotland runs from April to November.

More Good News in the North

Another port in the far north of Scotland, the Port of Cromarty Firth, also will see more cruise ships visiting in 2023. According to the port, 125 vessels are scheduled to call, bringing about 200,000 cruise guests to the port, which is located in the town of Easter Ross and considered the gateway to the Scottish Highlands. The seasonal arrivals are estimated to inject $24 million into the local economy.

In 2022, 109 cruise ships carrying about 142,000 guests visited. The numbers remain shy of pre-pandemic cruise arrivals; in 2019, around 236,000 cruise guests and crew members arrived at the port.

The first cruise ship arrival of the season this year will be Ambassador Cruises’ Ambience, carrying 1,700 guests and 600 crew, set to call on April 1. The largest cruise vessel scheduled to visit will be P&O Cruises’ Britannia, carrying 3,900 passengers and 1,350 crew. Ships making maiden calls include AIDA Cruises’ 2,050-guest AIDAdiva.

Port Cruise Manager Allison McGuire said: “The record numbers of ships and passengers due to arrive at Invergordon this year shows the continuing popularity of cruise holidays and the enduring appeal of the Highlands as a destination for visitors from around the world.”

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