There was a hint of nostalgia in the air as Belfast returned to its primary maritime roots.
With no passenger planes in the sky, water is currently the only medium of transport to the rest of Britain and beyond — and Belfast was suddenly a major seafaring hub all over again.
The port has been exceptionally busy over the past five days, with an extra 30,000 passengers availing of the five Irish sea routes.
According to Ian Baillie, Stena Line’s route marketing manager, the numbers travelling by boat have quadrupled compared to normal traffic expected at this time of year.
Added to that are the thousands of vehicles that have been transported between Northern Ireland and Scotland in a matter of hours, as hitherto stranded commuters take decisive action.
In the waiting room of the terminal building, the small cafe/shop is doing unprecedented business; 100 packs of sandwiches disappeared in an hour yesterday, while books and newspapers were also flying off the shelves.