Plymouth is expected to receive an economic boost from the visit of 11 cruise ships in 2022, as the city ramps up its ambition to become a top destination for passing ships.
Plymouth’s cruise industry has seen a positive rebound with seven cruise calls to Ocean City in Britain during the summer of 2021. The city has hosted ship tours including Tradewind Voyages’ Golden Horizon, the most the world’s largest square-rigged sailing cruise ship; the Hebridean Princess boutique cruise ship; and more recently, the inaugural stopover of Vasco da Gama of the German Nicko Cruises, which is part of the Mystic Cruises group.
The 2021 tours were greeted warmly after all tours scheduled for 2020 were canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. With 11 other cruise stopovers already scheduled in 2022, Amanda Lumley, Executive Director of Destination Plymouth, said: “We have been working hard to increase the number of cruises in the city and expand the offer for passengers, so we have been delighted to welcome seven ships this year.
“Cruise tourism is a huge opportunity and provides a real economic boost to local businesses as many passengers will choose to stay in Plymouth and explore our attractions, shops and restaurants.
“We are committed to taking cruising seriously, increasing the number of visits and the financial and reputational benefits each visit brings.”
In July 2021, Plymouth appointed Glen Gardner as Cruise Development Manager shortly after announcing that Trinity Pier would become a major berth for cruise ships.
The city’s visitors plan envisions Plymouth becoming a “destination of choice” for cruise ships over the next five years, with key locations for the arrival and departure of boats at Millbay Docks.
Trinity Pier, where a huge warehouse was demolished in early 2021, is intended to accommodate ships up to 150m in length. West Wharf Pier, across the wharf, ships as tall as 220m can dock
Even the largest ships can be anchored in Plymouth Sound from where passengers can be brought ashore in tender boats. Tour passengers will typically be routed to the recently upgraded facilities at Associated British Ports Millbay, while independent guests are routed ashore to Barbican Pier.
Throughout 2021, additional efforts were made to improve the reception of cruise passengers upon arrival in Plymouth. A team of volunteer cruise ambassadors was on hand to warmly welcome you and share information and advice on things to see and do. In addition, Town Crier John Pitt and Deputy Town Crier David Green joined in the welcome evenings.
During the Vasco da Gama stopover on Sunday, September 26, a newly refurbished Destination Plymouth cruise caravan was set up at Commercial Wharf to provide “pop-up” tourist information, hosted by volunteers from the cruise ambassadors. Materials provided to guests included maps and information written in German, as well as leaflets and leaflets on the city’s attractions. Tasty samples of locally produced food and drink were also on offer, courtesy of donations from Plymouth Gin and Burts Snacks.
A plaque exchange also took place in the harbor master’s office in Cattewater, where senior officers of Vasco da Gama received a plaque from the city of Plymouth by the mayor of Plymouth, Cllr Terri Beer. In return, the ship’s staff captain presented his plaque to the city.
It is a centuries-old tradition, that a port official will hand over a port-of-call plaque and in return the ship’s captain, or senior officer, will hand over a ship’s plaque to the port city.
Before making a stopover in Plymouth, Vasco Da Gama had sailed around the British Isles with stops in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
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For most ports, including Plymouth, this was the first time an international cruise ship had visited since the pandemic began in 2020. Strict protocols were in place for all guests and crew on board. , access to each port is only allowed after strict controls, including a comprehensive testing regime and other safeguards.
The Plymouth Cruise Partnership is led by Destination Plymouth which works in partnership with Associated British Ports, Cattewater Harbor Commissioners, Plymouth Waterfront Partnership, Plymouth City Center Company and Plymouth Cruise Volunteers. The main objective is to develop the activities of the cruise sector in the city for the benefit of the economy.