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2019 'Extremely Good' For Invergordon

MSC Meraviglia in Invergordon

Cruise traffic is well up in Invergordon this year with 180,000 passengers expected, which is a 15.9 percent increase from 2018.

“2019 is an extremely good year. However, in 2020 we are will see a slight fall in call numbers across the entire UK. But as the ships are larger and carrying more passengers, the figures are roughly the same. I’m happy to say that in 2021 the figures are on the increase,” said Allison McGuire, cruise manager.

Among the highlights this year are a trio of inaugural calls from the same brand as the Norwegian Pearl, Getaway, and Spirit were all scheduled to make their first-time visits.

“This is a huge testament to all the investment, improvements, and additional services we have added to the cruise visitors’ experience in the last 18 months,” McGuire noted.

Currently under construction is a new cruise and energy hub, which will accommodate the largest cruise ships, she said. The quay is 372 meters long with a 12-meter draft, and an 11-acre laydown area providing plenty of space for buses and ship services. The expected completion date is 2020.

Berth reservations are currently open through 2023, and local stakeholders often gather for a “Cruise & Crew Club” meeting. The local taskforce of sorts helps businesses and other local parties develop their products for cruise passengers and crew.

“In 2019 we worked hard to offer seven new experiences within the local area, and some are now to be promoted for the 2020 season,” noted McGuire.

“Our main challenge is our own success as a country in attracting increasing numbers of tourists. Accommodating up to 6,000 passengers in a relatively remote area and ensuring sufficient highest quality buses and guides can prove difficult, but we work closely with the Highland Council, local bus providers, and transportation agencies to ensure we deliver the best service we can,” McGuire continued. “There are over 85 different tours from Invergordon, so we have been successful in promoting a diverse range of options and ensuring no one place suffers from ‘over-tourism,’ encountered in some other destinations. We have also partnered with Highlands and Islands University to offer foreign language students the possibility of being a guide.”

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