Belfast Harbour to welcome 170 cruise calls in 2023
As the cruise industry in Northern Ireland continues to provide a welcome boost to the economy, the number of ships expected this season represents a 20% increase on the previous record set in 2019.
Between March and October this year, 62 different vessels from 36 different cruise lines will dock at the port carrying more than 350,000 passengers and crew.
This season will feature six embarkation cruises departing from Belfast with Ambassador Cruise Lines, where local residents can start and finish their cruise from Belfast.
There will also be 15 ships calling to Belfast for the first time, including Disney Dream, Norwegian Prima and MSC Preziosa, as well as Ambassador Ambition, demonstrating Northern Ireland’s increasing popularity as a cruise destination and providing testament to the quality of award-winning visitor attractions across the region.
Michael Robinson, Port Director for Belfast Harbour said:
“With 170 vessels due to dock in Belfast this year, it’s clear that cruise tourism is back on track in 2023. Last year, we had 141 calls to the Port as we transitioned from the 2021 cruise season, which was still partially curtailed by the pandemic, but this year we are on course to surpass our previous record year in 2019 as the global industry returns to full capacity.
“Cruise visitors make an important contribution to Northern Ireland’s tourism mix, attracting visitors from across the globe on day trips to attractions all across the region. We’re expecting a quarter of a million passengers to arrive to Belfast Harbour this season, which will provide an estimated £20m boost to the local economy.”
Mary Jo McCanny, Director of Visitor Servicing at Visit Belfast, added:
“The outlook for the cruise industry in 2023 is extremely positive with figures suggesting we will break the record for cruise calls that was set in 2019, demonstrating the strong partnerships that Cruise Belfast has formed with global cruise operators.
"This is an exciting year for the city as the tourism offering is going from strength to strength with more visitor experiences such as the Titanic Belfast multimillion pound refresh, the launch of Titanic Distilleries and McConnell’s Distilleries and the reopening of HMS Caroline.
The quality of our visitor attractions throughout the region continue to draw visitors from across the world and the Visitor Services team are excited to welcome them shore-side this season.”