Wales may not be a quintessential cruise destination however economists are expecting 2014 revenue to hit an all-time high. In 2013 the cruise industry raked in a huge £2.4 million and this year that figure is set surpass all previous records!
Suzanne Thomas, Cruise Wales manager says, “This is an incredibly important development in Wales’ cruise agenda and operators are beginning to realise how much we can offer cruise passengers.”
So what’s behind the country’s success? Wales is home to spectacular natural scenery, a rich national heritage and a population of friendly and welcoming locals. It also enjoys a rapidly evolving arts, culture and food scene which makes the country a mecca for seasoned travellers on the search for a new and exciting destination to explore.
Constant growth across the board
According to experts the number of cruise ship calls to the country has increased by 34% over the past 24 months. This unprecedented growth is only set to continue with predictions that 2015 will see an additional 10% increase in cruise ship calls. These will be spread across the country’s six major cruise ports of Newport, Swansea, Cardiff, Milford Haven, Pembroke, Fishguard and Holyhead.
Already the country is expecting to welcome over 30 ships hailing from an array of destinations of origin. As well as UK voyages vessels will also be arriving from the USA, Germany, France and Canada. The ships come in all sizes, from colossal mega-liners to small scale luxury boutique vessels. The 2886 passenger Celebrity Silhouette will be one of the largest vessels to Holyhead water in 2015. Following in her wake will be four visits from Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas.
Preparation in full swing
In the lead up to the influx of cruise vessel arrivals Wales is taking all the necessary steps to ensure that passengers enjoy an unsurpassed on-shore experience. This involves the launch of a series of recruitment workshops presented to over 300 South Wales college students. The idea was to promote entry level hospitality positions on cruise lines and encourage the local community to get involved with the financial and professional opportunities of the cruising industry. Cruise Wales has also introduced German linguistic guide training workshops to help the ports of Fishguard and Milford Haven designed to help the ports cater for the flood of German holidaymakers set to arrive in 2015 and beyond.
“This year we have already welcomed over 20,000 cruise passengers to Wales and we have initiated special workshops and training to ensure that we can deliver new and exciting products for cruise passengers, as well as providing the cruise lines themselves with the facilities they need,” explains Thomas.
Wales emerging as a desirable cruise destination
It’s an incredibly exciting time for both Wales and the cruising industry as a whole. More and more holidaymakers are developing a growing appreciation for the convenience, cost effectiveness and unparalleled enjoyment of a cruise getaway, as well as the many delights that Wales has to offer.
Images sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credits: Les Haines