Increasing cruise ship business brought visitors of 51 different nationalities to Falmouth during 2003 – a number that could rise even higher this year.
Over the space of just three years, the port’s cruise business has risen by 72% - up from 25 ships in 2002, to 39 last year and 43 already booked for 2004. The majority of visitors are currently American, followed by British and German passengers but many other nationalities also book onto the cruises that come to the port.
A&P Falmouth also reports that with the first turnarounds of 2004 only just over, cruise ships are already booked to visit Falmouth in 2005.
Mike Reynolds, Port Operations Manager for A&P, said: “We’ve just completed the third turnaround for the Van Gogh this year, which has already led to more than 1,300 passengers coming through Falmouth for cruises out to the Caribbean.
“Over the course of the coming year, we’re expecting to see nearly 40,000 passengers arriving in, leaving from or visiting Falmouth as the result of cruise ship calls and turnarounds.”
Among the calls booked for this year are the first calls by the cruise ships Regatta and Insignia, as well as some other notable visitors, including:
The World, a 196m luxury vessel arriving late May that rather than carrying regular cruise passengers, contains studios and apartments owned outright by the ship’s residents – who also decide the vessel’s itinerary
Grand Princess, which at 108,000 tonnes will be the largest passenger-carrying ship ever to visit Falmouth and will bring 2,600 visitors in late August
Discovery, the first visit – in September – of a vessel now under new ownership that
used to be a regular visitor when known as Island Princess
A&P Falmouth is also continuing to pursue a multi-million pound scheme with SWRDA to refurbish and enlarge Falmouth Docks
that would include improved facilities for cruise ships, including the building of a dedicated cruise visitors’ centre.
Mr Reynolds said: “A&P are continuing to try and regenerate the dock and port facilities and are working alongside the Regional Development Agency and we hope to be able to make an announcement on the project later this year.”
Mr Reynolds said: “The cruise ships will be bringing nearly 40,000 visitors to Falmouth and, at present, A&P are paying to lay on shuttle busses for about half of the ships. However, we can’t afford to pay for them all and I’d like to see more support from local businesses so that we can ensure we get as many cruise ship passengers as possible into the town centre.”