It may appear to be an extended harbour jetty but this £3m ‘berthing dolphin’ is going to make a huge impact in the UK cruising market.
What this means for Portland Port is that it puts it firmly in the sights of the larger of the cruise ships currently operating at sea.
Cruise liners as long as 340 metres can now easily tie up in this convenient port midway along England’s south coast.
In terms of those size of ships only the ports of Southampton and Portland along the northern side of the English Channel can accommodate such 1,100 feet long monsters.
For passengers on those liners it brings easy access for them to visit such UK tourist icons as Stonehenge, Salisbury Cathedral and the city of Bath.
Also there is expected to be a huge benefit for tourism in the immediate area of Dorset where Portland Port is based. With 36,000 passengers expected in the coming season and even more predicted the following year.
Ian McQuade from Portland Port said “The investment in a new berth extension enables us to handle ships in excess of 340 metres in length, putting us in a very unique group of ports along the English Channel that continue to serve an ever increasing range of cruise line customers.”
Talking about the up coming visit of the ship Disney Magic he added: “This is a major coup for the port and great recognition of the hard work by all the staff. We have established the port as a destination of choice for the cruise industry.”
The port held an opening ceremony with the local MP Richard Drax marking the occasion with the tape cutting whilst one of the fire-fighting port tugs manoeuvred and shot arcs of water high into the air as the new construction was cleared for use.
24 cruise ships are lining up to visit the port this year of which 10 are first time visitors. Lines like Holland America Line, Norwegian and TUI are on the list and continue to be.
The work took over a year to be completed and has put Portland in a great position to become a port of choice for the giants in the world of cruising.