| 8.4°C Belfast

Number of cruise ship passengers setting sail for Belfast up 25%


More cruise ships than ever will be in Belfast this year

More cruise ships than ever will be in Belfast this year

More cruise ships than ever will be in Belfast this year

This year will be Belfast's busiest for cruise ships, with more than 145,000 passengers set to visit - up 25% on 2015.

Belfast Harbour will play host to 81 cruise ships over the next 12 months, carrying passengers from around the world.

The harbour is also in the process of building a new £1m cruise ship terminal.

The delayed project has been earmarked for a site at Airport Road West, planning documents have shown.

It was originally planned to be close to Titanic Belfast, one of the region's top tourist attractions.

A spokesperson for Belfast Harbour said: "In recent years cruise lines operating on western European itineraries have introduced larger and longer vessels which require deeper channels and additional quay space.

"To accommodate these next-generation cruise ships, and the increased popularity of Belfast, Belfast Harbour plans to develop a new cruise berth at D3, near the RSPB nature reserve on the Co Down side of the port.

"This £14m project, developed following positive feedback from cruise line operators and excursion providers, will enhance passengers' experience of Belfast and further support the city's popularity as a cruise destination."

Joe O'Neill, Belfast Harbour's commercial director, told how the port had "almost doubled the number of cruise ships calling into Belfast, which is a major achievement".

It is the "huge popularity of world-class attractions" that has helped bring in visitors from across the world, according to Gerry Lennon, chief executive of Visit Belfast, who added that having the right infrastructure was crucial.

Belfast Telegraph