Edinburgh, Dundee and other eastern Scotland destinations are gearing up for a robust cruise season that will see a 50% spike in port calls in 2023, UK port operator Capital Cruising announced.
The April to October cruise season in Scotland will begin April 11 with a port call from Viking Ocean Cruises’ 930-guest Viking Venus at the Newhaven anchorage near Port Leith, the port for Edinburgh.
Port Calls To Reach 150
In 2023 Forth Ports’ Capital Cruising is expecting 225,000 cruise guests from 150 port calls in 2023, a big jump from the 100 ships that called last year. The numbers reflect combined calls at Edinburgh, Dundee, and Fife, the port operator said in a February 10 announcement.
Port Leith is the main port for Edinburgh, but some ships anchor at the nearby Newhaven and South Queensferry tender cruise ports. Both are located on the Firth of Forth, an estuary of the River Forth.
The port for Fife is Forth Ports Rosyth, on the north bank of the river Forth about 14 miles northwest of Edinburgh, and Forth Ports Dundee is found on a sheltered estuary of the River Tay, some 55 miles north of Edinburgh.
Forth Ports Head of Cruise Rob Mason said, “Since the restart of the industry last year we have been working hard with the city, destination partners and the wider cruise industry to meet all of the industries challenges and deliver another success cruise season.”
He added, “We know that there are significant economic benefits to the country as hundreds of thousands of passengers visit our cities and we look forward to welcoming them this year.”
Edinburgh At Center Stage
Edinburgh is seen as a marquee cruise destination, the announcement noted, thanks to its iconic attractions such as Edinburgh Castle and the Royal Mile, plus its history, culture and events.
Along with Viking, several major cruise lines are scheduled to call at Edinburgh this year. Seabourn’s 40,350 gross ton, 604-guest Seabourn Ovation will call at Rosyth during its 26-day British Isles & Western Europe, sailing roundtrip from London on April 23.
Royal Caribbean’s 990,090 gross ton, 2,500-guest Jewel of the Seas is slated to call at Edinburgh, using the tender port at South Queensferry, on her 12-night Iceland and Scotland cruise sailing roundtrip from Amsterdam May 12.
Carnival Cruise Line also will call at Edinburgh when its 88,500 gross ton, 2,124-guest Carnival Pride sails a 9-day cruise roundtrip from London on July 21.
Other lines slated to call in 2023 include Silversea, Windstar Cruises, Sea Cloud Cruises, National Geographic and others, according to the Capital Cruising schedules.
Port officials said that efforts are ongoing to connect the cruise lines to local providers who will work with the lines’ tour operations. They cited the recent success of an EZ Bike Tours operation at the Port of Leith. It offers environmentally friendly electric bike tours of the capital city as a cruise excursion.
They also said the port is committed to cutting its carbon footprint, and noted that the Port of Leith is the first large mainland commercial port in Scotland to provide a shore power connection that enables ships to turn off their engines.
In fact, Forth Ports said, the Tallink Victoria 1 cruise ferry, which the Scottish government is providing as accommodation for displaced Ukrainians, is the first cruise vessel to receive a shore power connection at the Port of Leith.
“By switching to shore power, the vessel is now able to switch off all of its fossil fuel-powered generators, and with Forth Ports’ electricity being provided through non fossil fuel generation, this is a significant step forward on the journey to net zero for the port,” the announcement said.