Thursday 21 May 2015
- Guernsey gearing up for busiest weekend of cruise liners so far
- First visit of P&0's flagship Britannia this Sunday
- Local companies reporting good feedback from visitors
On the busiest day in the 2015 cruise liner calendar around 8,000 passengers will visit Guernsey waters and it is anticipated that as many as 6,000 of them will come ashore.
With up to 130,000 passengers expected to come ashore on 110 cruise liner visits between mid-March and the beginning of October, local operators are gearing up for a record-breaking season.
Sally Diamond, Leisure Manager at Guernsey Harbours, said:
"When you consider that only in 2012 we had just 55,000 visiting cruise liner tourists it demonstrates how far we've come in a few years to double that number and become the leading cruise liner tender port in Europe."
Feedback from passengers surveyed while ashore towards the end of last season highlighted the beauty of the island, the cleanliness of the port and the town and the friendliness of the people among their reasons for visiting.
Iain Phillips, Ships Agency Manager at Allied Coasters, is one of the many working at the port who has contact with those coming ashore. He said:
"The good thing about the visitors landing at the Albert Pier is that it's ideal for access into Town and it's a nicer part of the harbour. There's a lot happening in a commercial harbour and it makes it more interesting, seeing the fishermen, for example."
A highlight of the 2015 season will be the first visit of the Britannia this weekend, coinciding with Taste Guernsey's Seafront Sunday, and again in August. The P&O Cruises flagship liner, which was named by the Queen in March this year, carries 4,372 passengers who are looked after by nearly 1,400 crew.
This weekend is set to be the busiest so far this season, starting with the arrival of the 3600 capacity Royal Princess tomorrow (Friday 22 May). Even more visitors are expected on Saturday when two large ships and one small will be moored in the Little Russell.
Cunard Line's Queen Victoria, with more than 2000 passengers, and P&O Cruises Ventura, with more than 3,000 aboard, will be joined by the much smaller Island Sky, which is stopping over just for the afternoon.
The number of arrivals this weekend is expected to see some queuing in the Albert Pier embarkation area at peak times.
The biggest liner due this season will be the Anthem of the Seas, operated by Royal Caribbean International which carries 4,905 passengers.
Bruno Kay-Mouat, Managing Director of Alderney Shipping, agreed:
"There's very positive feedback from the ships who say that the passengers have enjoyed their experience. It's one of the few ports they go to that's a tender port - all others are alongside - so it's a good experience."
David Wilcox, Marketing Manager at Island Taxis, said:
"I have spoken to a lot of cruise passengers. A lot of them come because it's such a picturesque island as you enter the harbour. They like the steepness of the town, that you can see the different levels. They like the charm of the island and the fact that the locals are so helpful and friendly."
Mr Wilcox said that the most popular tour with cruise passengers, of those offered by his firm, was the scenic one, taking in the Little Chapel and the west coast.
Ms. Diamond said that an analysis of cruise liner passengers in 2013 and last year showed that, on average, 75 per cent of those on board came ashore.
"Guernsey is a favourite port on the cruise liner itinerary now and it's great to have so many people working together in and around the port to ensure that these valuable visitors to the island, even if here for just a few hours, leave with fond memories and resolve to return before too long."
- Britannia, officially named by Her Majesty the Queen at a special ceremony in March 2015, is P&O Cruises flagship.
- It is the largest liner the company has in service, with a total of 1,837 cabins, many with balconies, and 64 suites. She has capacity for 4324 passengers and nearly 1400 crew.
- During her first summer season, she will sail to the Mediterranean, Norwegian fjords, the Baltic, Canary Islands and Atlantic Islands.
- On board, there are four pools, including a dedicated one for teenagers.
- P&O Cruises' website describes St Peter Port as "the prettiest town in the Channel Islands with fine Georgian and Regency houses, tumbling terraced gardens, winding streets and hidden leafy alleyways."
- Among the suggested itineraries are walking tours around St Peter Port and Castle Cornet, ferry to Herm, cliff walks and island tours.