Capital Cruising begins busiest ever cruise season across Scottish ports

Tuesday 16th April 2024

The busiest season ever for Forth Ports’ Capital Cruising business, kicks off this month. A record bursting 161 cruise calls are booked in this season calling across Scotland’s east coast, carrying an estimated 235,000 passengers who will be visiting Edinburgh, Fife and Dundee during 2024. This is further growth for the cruise business, which welcomed 149 vessels in 2023, where ships sail directly into the Port of Leith, Rosyth and Dundee’s cruise berth as well as deep water anchorages in the River Forth for Newhaven and South Queensferry.

The cruise season in Scotland traditionally runs between April and October bringing thousands of passengers who visit the attractions of Scotland including the capital city. Edinburgh is a globally popular destination and viewed by the cruise market as a “marquee” cruise destination with iconic attractions, events, heritage and culture and most importantly, the city is known for welcoming cruise lines and cruise passengers.

Dundee is enjoying further strong growth in cruise, with 16 calls booked for 2024. Their season starts on 27 April with the arrival of the Seaborne Venture. In 2023, the port welcomed 14 cruise ships and in 2022 it had four.

Commenting, Rob Mason, Head of Cruise at Forth Ports, said: “We are excited to have started our busiest ever cruise season. Cruise is an important contributor to our local and national economy. Over the past decade, there has been an incredible 93% growth in the attraction of cruise in Scotland with an expected 1 million passengers calling into Scotland’s ports, generating an incredible £130million for the country’s economy.

“91% of cruise passengers repeat a cruise with 60% returning to a destination. We are working hard with the city, destination partners, communities and the wider cruise industry to meet the industries challenges and deliver another success cruise season. We look forward to giving a warm Scottish welcome to cruise passengers this year.” [*figures from Cruise Scotland].

The cruise industry is firmly committed to the sustainable future for cruise travel both at sea and onshore, as cruise lines embrace new technologies, innovations and the uptake of sustainable alternative fuels. Whilst significant work is also being undertaken to ensure Edinburgh is recognised as a sustainability driven destination. EZ Bike Tours located next to our port in Newhaven provides environmentally friendly electric bike tours of the city as a shore excursion option. The launch of the Edinburgh Trams extension last year will also allow passengers easy access to the City using the tram stops in Newhaven and also at the Port of Leith.

Forth Ports’ has set out its commitment to reducing its own carbon footprint with ambitious targets to be carbon neutral by 2032 and net zero by 2042. Action is already underway and last year the Port of Leith becoming the first large mainland commercial port in Scotland to provide a shore power connection which allows ships to switch off any diesel-powered generators or engines.