Cruise ship’s early arrival gives Dorset economy a much-needed boost

RESTAURANTS, bars and shops got a welcome boost when a cruise ship docked for longer than expected.

Due to poor weather conditions elsewhere, the Norwegian Dawn arrived at Portland Port a day early, with 2,360 guests on board.

She docked at the port’s new £26m deep water berth the evening before her scheduled day-long visit, with passengers taking the opportunity to visit nearby towns and villages, including Weymouth, before a planned day of trips and excursions.

Operated by Norwegian Cruise Line, the Norwegian Dawn is a regular visitor to the port, and features in a schedule of calls this season, in which ships carrying more than 130,000 passengers are set to visit – an increase of 23% on last year.

Bill Reeves, chief executive of Portland Port, said: “The Norwegian Dawn is always a very welcome visitor to the port.

“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.

“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.”

READ MORE: Bibby Stockholm asylum seeker barge arrives at Portland: Your questions answered

Bill said the firm was grateful to businesses in the area who welcomed passengers to Dorset.

“By all accounts the guests had a great time and enjoyed their evening out,” he added.

“We look forward to many more cruise calls during the second part of the season in a record breaking year for the port.”

Cruise calls at the port are estimated to make a contribution of about £10m to the local economy, based on statistics from the Cruise Lines International Association trade body for spend per head of passenger.

The figure includes expenditure in shops, bars, cafes along with transport and tours.

In addition, further expenditure comes from the crew that are given time off when in port along with revenues through the port itself.

Portland Port has operated on a commercial basis since 1996 and has a number of commercial tenants, providing maritime and marine related services.

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The bonus arrival came just days before Portland Port welcomed the new asylum seeker barge, Bibby Stockholm, which will stay at the site for the next 18 months.

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