Dunrobin Castle - ancestral home of the Clan Sutherland
Dunrobin Castle - ancestral home of the Clan Sutherland
Kilchurn Castle, Loch Awe
Kilchurn Castle, Loch Awe
Scotland is a great place to explore by cycle on trails and coastal paths
Scotland is a great place to explore by cycle on trails and coastal paths
Ardvreck Castle and Loch Assynt in Sutherland, Highlands of Scotland
Ardvreck Castle and Loch Assynt in Sutherland, Highlands of Scotland
The banks of Loch Lomond - Britain's largest stretch of inland water
The banks of Loch Lomond - Britain's largest stretch of inland water
Strathisla Distillery in Keith, Grampian Highlands
Strathisla Distillery in Keith, Grampian Highlands
Portree Harbour, Isle of Skye
Portree Harbour, Isle of Skye
Gleneagles Golf Course
Gleneagles Golf Course
Fantastic rivers and lochs await for you to try your hand at fishing
Fantastic rivers and lochs await for you to try your hand at fishing
Scotland's rich musicial tradition
Scotland's rich musicial tradition
The Northern Isles are home to the world-famous Shetland pony
The Northern Isles are home to the world-famous Shetland pony
Ring of Brodgar in Orkney
Ring of Brodgar in Orkney
Kayaks at North Beach, Little Bernera, Isle of Lewis, Stornoway
Kayaks at North Beach, Little Bernera, Isle of Lewis, Stornoway
Dolphin pond in magnificent mountainside setting of Benmore Botanic Gardens
Dolphin pond in magnificent mountainside setting of Benmore Botanic Gardens
Piper at Castle of Mey in Thurso, Caithness
Piper at Castle of Mey in Thurso, Caithness
Balmoral Castle, Royal Deeside, Aberdeen
Balmoral Castle, Royal Deeside, Aberdeen
Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum, Glasgow
Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum, Glasgow
Ben Nevis, Fort William
Ben Nevis, Fort William
Oban, Argyll & Bute
Oban, Argyll & Bute
Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle

Cromarty Firth, officially Scotland’s leading cruise port

The port of Invergordon is celebrating after figures released this week by Cruise Britain have confirmed its position as Scotland’s leading cruise port destination and the third most significant transit port in the whole of the UK, second only to Guernsey and Dover.

In 2013, the port of Invergordon handled 89772 transit passengers, slightly behind Dover, which handled 97067.

The figures are released just 2 weeks before the port of Invergordon is poised to start its 2014 season, which promises to be another bumper summer and the third best year for cruise tourism in the port’s history.

The cruise season gets underway on Sunday 6th April, when the Marco Polo berths in the Cromarty Firth, the first of 56 cruise ships set to visit between April and September 2014.

2014 will see seven maiden voyages paid to Invergordon, including a visit by the Queen Victoria, due to berth on the 26th May.

The Ruby Princess is set to be largest ship, carrying 3,200 passengers. This ship will pay its maiden call to the port on the 19th May and will visit on 9 occasions during the season.

In a further highlight, there will be three cruise ships in port at the same time, firstly on the 26th May, on a day which will also host the Queen Victoria and again on the 16th August.

Bob Buskie, CEO of Cromarty Firth Port Authority said “The release of these figures by Cruise Britain are of incredible importance, not just to the skilled team here of pilots and marine crew, working to make the statistics a reality, but they are so important for the towns and businesses that benefit directly and indirectly from the tourism brought to the Highlands through this port.”

He adds “For Invergordon to be the third busiest cruise transit port in the UK and Scotland’s leading cruise facility demonstrates how strategically important the Cromarty Firth is for Scotland and is a great testament to the dedication and hard work by Captain Iain Dunderdale, our Cruise Development Manager.”

Iain manages Cruise Highlands, a joint venture between the Cromarty Firth Port Authority and Bannerman’s of Tain. He has recently returned from the 30th annual cruise shipping conference and exhibition in Miami.

Iain adds “We have benefited from the trend of larger cruise ships, capable of carrying thousands of passengers. We also benefit from the depth of water available and sheltered conditions. Added to this is the Highland welcome, our proximity to world class tourism destinations and the welcome given by residents of Invergordon itself, who are rightly proud.”

The 2014 season is set to run until 12th September, when the Azores, another new ship to the Firth, will be last visitor before the winter.