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Why don’t more cruise ships call in Wales?
You might be wondering why you don’t see more Welsh ports featuring on British Isles cruise itineraries, most don’t call in Wales at all. The simple answer is many of the smaller ports cannot accommodate larger ships. This a shame because the sheer variety of excursions and places to visit whilst ashore can rival most other cruise destinations you would find in the rest of the British Isles.
What cruise lines call in Wales?
You will still find smaller ships visiting the cruise ports.
Since 2016, Fishguard’s new tender berth allows for larger cruise ships to moor within the port, and expedition size ships up to 170m can berth alongside.
Oceania’s Sirena, Seabourn’s Seabourn Quest and Seabourn Ovation, Phoenix Reisen’s Deutschland, Silversea’s Silver Whisper and Silver Spirit and Silver Moon, AIDAbella and AIDAaura, Regent Seven Seas Navigator, and Hurtigruten’s MS Maud are all due to make ports of call in Fishguard in 2021 and 2022. (obviously all subject to change in these uncertain times).
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In Milford Haven and Pembroke port, Silversea’s Silver Cloud and Crystal Cruises Crystal Endeavor are both due to make stops in 2022.
Cruise & Maritime Voyages used to offer turnaround cruises sailing from Cardiff during 2019 but sadly since the unfortunate demise of the line in 2020 due to the pandemic, the Marco Polo will no longer be calling at Cardiff. However, Silversea’s Silver Whisper is scheduled to make a stop on her world cruise.
In Holyhead, which is a much larger deep-water port with 24-hour access and no locks you will find larger ships. With both a cruise jetty and an inner harbour, it can accommodate smaller ship as well as those up to 300m/100,00 tonnes as well as an anchorage point for ships in excess of this.
Due to call in 2021 and 2022 (at the time of writing) Royal Caribbean’s Jewel of the Seas, Princess Cruises’ Island Princess and Crown Princess along with Carnival’s Carnival Pride are all scheduled to make calls.
Swansea, Wales’ second city doesn’t seem to have any ports of call scheduled from cruise ships for the foreseeable future. This is a shame as the port is set up for turnaround operations. The Gower peninsular and many spectacular Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty as within easy reach of Swansea port.
Will more cruise ships call in Wales?
There have been some encouraging developments. For example, The Welsh Government has invested in a pontoon in the Fishguard port, allowing larger cruise vessels to call. This follows proactive investment by the Welsh government with its aim to put Wales on the cruise map.
In Milford Haven, revised plans for a multi-million pound marina redevelopment, including new hotels, shops and restaurants, have been approved by Pembrokeshire County Council.
The port of Holyhead is also to undergo change, with a new multi-use berth development under consideration.
In a statement on cruise development in Wales, Lord Elis-Thomas AM, Minister for Culture, Tourism and Sport stated,
“Going forward, collaborative working will need to continue if we are to further develop our cruise port infrastructure, so that we can concentrate on continued growth in cruise calls for Wales.”
“What is clear, is that Wales has something for everyone. Whatever your interests, Wales certainly has it all. We are looking forward to welcoming more cruise passengers in the years to come and sharing everything that we have to offer.”
Visit Wales by extending your cruise holiday
If your cruise itinerary does not stop at Wales, but you would still like to visit, there is the option of extending your cruise stay for a few additional days in the principality. For example, Liverpool is approximately a 3 hour drive away for the North Wales attractions and Southampton is approximately 3-5 hours’ drive to reach attractions on the South Wales coast.