Portland, UK is gearing up for this year as 2012 cruise calls start with a bang at the beginning of May, with a very exciting inaugural call from Royal Caribbean’s Vision of the Seas.

Ian McQuade, General Manager (Commercial), said: “We are very much looking forward to seeing the ‘Vision of the Seas’ here at Portland. This cruise season will most definitely be our best yet, and what better way to start it than with an inaugural call from a Royal Caribbean cruise liner.”

Passengers will be greeted by the Portland Town Crier, Stuart Cave, who will be crying for the first time at Portland Port. Tourist Information will also be provided by local tourism students from Weymouth College. Sarah Lawrence, Weymouth College Lecturer, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for our tourism students to interact with the cruise passengers and get first hand experience of how the port handles a major cruise visit.”

The Weymouth Concert Brass Band will be entertaining passengers on the quayside as they arrive back from their excursions and go on board ready for their departure. As the ship starts to leave Portland, passengers will be given a very loud send off in the form of the Nothe Fort Artillery’s canon.

New to the quayside this year will be local artists selling paintings, photography and jewellery amongst other wonderful things for passengers to purchase. Co-ordinated by Yvonne Beven, Community Organiser on Portland, the local artists will present their work on stalls whilst the cruise ship is alongside. Amanda Milner, Commercial Sales Manager at Portland Port, said: “We really want to enhance the passengers experience on the quayside this year, so to have local artists come to the port and sell their work is very exciting.”

Portland’s cruise calls have been increasing year on year; the facilities at the port and the proven capabilities to handle large cruise ships has meant that cruise operators are choosing Portland as part of their cruise itineraries. Ian said: “We have 11 cruise calls this year and 2013 is already looking extremely promising and is set to exceed this year’s record.”