Portland Port in Dorset is preparing for its busiest cruise season yet, hoping to welcome more than 36,000 passengers.

In a welcome boost for the local economy, Portland Port is trying to establish itself as a major player in the cruise industry and is welcoming some of the larger ships carrying thousands of visitors.This year it is estimated these visitors will add nearly £2 million to the local economy whilst they are in the region.

The return of Fred. Olsen sips is welcome, and TUI also returns while NCL is planning three visits with Norwegian Jade. Norwegian Star came in 2015, while the port enjoyed a visit of TUI’s latest Ship Mein Shiff 5 in 2016.

Perhaps the most high profile visitor will be the Disney Magic carrying 2,400 passengers. Since it was announced a few months ago the ship would be stopping off in May this year, Disney has subsequently decided to add a second call to Portland, so the ship will be coming in July as well.

Due to the nature of Disney’s customers and the size of the vessels in Disney Cruise Line fleet, port bosses are optimistic these calls could be the beginning of the company’s ships becoming regular visitors. Port bosses and business leaders have hailed the ‘record breaking’ cruise season.

The season will also see the greatest number to date of inaugural calls between April to November. Overall the port is expecting to handle 24 cruise ships, bringing more than 36,000 passengers into Portland. Of these 24 calls, ten will be first time visitors.

The season will be starting with two first time visitors calling on April 26. Seabourn Quest and Holland America Line’s Rotterdam will be bringing more than 1,800 passengers between them. The visit of Quest is the first of two planned for the hip during 2017.

For all the details of timings, arrivals and departures, keep an eye on the Ports of Call section in Ships Monthly.

Photos by courtesy of Paul Dalloway