The arrival of the elegant ‘Magellan’ cruise ship at Dundee last weekend underlined a growing commitment to Tay boardings.
Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV) berthed for the first time at the City of Discovery last year and such was the success of the launch season that more cruises were laid on for 2016.
These are now almost at capacity and the recent publication of the 2017 programme, with summer departures now arranged, has also seen a hungry uptake.
The cruise preview brochure boasts CMV’s largest Scottish cruise programme with cruises from Rosyth and Greenock on board ‘Marco Polo’ and new sailings from the Tay on board ‘Magellan’.
But the Port of Dundee isn’t home to ‘Magellan’, so while passengers from across Fife, Tayside and Angus head for the gangway and the ‘Majestic Fjordland’ of Norway or the Baltic cities, a few hundred of the total 1250 passengers take the chance to disembark for a day-long Scottish shore excursion.
North-east Fife is keen to lure a share of these visitors and a CMV spokesman said at the weekend that the company would welcome an approach from the Kingdom proposing Fife excursions.
Patrick Laughlin, manager of St Andrews Partnership, said that was an offer worth exploring.
The Partnership had previously expressed an interest in helping to promote the attractions of St Andrews and north east Fife to cruise passengers.
“Some tours to St Andrews already take place from Rosyth and Queensferry, but we would like to encourage more of these and so will certainly be exploring this with Cruise & Maritime in the near future.
“‘Magellan’ will be at Dundee five times during 2017, so it is never too soon to get planning.”
And NE Fife, with its history, museums, eateries, the Home of Golf ... and distilleries, has enough to rival the existing shore excursions to Glamis Castle and Scone Palace.
A link-up with CMV would strengthen’s Fife connection with the lucrative, and growing, cruise tourism sector, as there are already strenuous efforts being made to highlight what the Forth side of the region has to offer.
The Cruise Forth Project has been pushing the attractions in a bid to impress cruise operators as well as whetting the appetites of passengers for a Fife experience.
If Fife can establish itself as a ‘must-do’ on shore excursions, the spin-offs for business could be considerable.
This year it is reckoned more than 90 cruise ships will berth with up to 100,000 passengers.
And with the cruise market booming, potential growth is considerable.