Today, Fishguard hosted the largest cruise ship ever to drop anchor in the harbour.
The German Cruise Ship, the AIDAVita, is 202 meters long, weighs 42,290 tonnes and carries 1,260 passengers. The ship was be able to dock in Fishguard following infrastructure improvements which were funded through the Welsh Government’s Tourism investment Support Scheme.
The project received £147,598 to provide a pontoon facility to accommodate the safe embarkation/disembarkation of passengers from cruise ships at anchorage in Fishguard Port.
The cruise ship market is big business for Wales – and Cruise Wales and partners are working to grow the market. An increasing number of visitors from Germany are coming to south west Wales through cruise ships docking at Milford Haven Port, Pembroke & Fishguard.
59 ships will stop in Wales this year which is a 20% increase on last year. The cruise industry is worth £2.9 million to the Welsh economy.
Cabinet Secretary for the Economy and Infrastructure, Ken Skates, said:
“The cruise market has been highlighted in the tourism strategy for Wales as one way of growing the tourism industry in Wales by 10% by 2020, Germany has also been identified as one of our key overseas markets. I’m delighted that Fishguard is now able to welcome larger vessels and hope to see further growth in the number of ships coming to Wales and enjoying what the country has to offer.”
Carl Milne Stena Line Port Manager Fishguard Harbour, said:
“Stena Line are delighted to be involved in welcoming the German Cruise Liner AIDAVita to Fishguard on Friday.
“The improvements that have been made to the Port infrastructure will obviously help to seriously grow the Cruise market to the beautiful area of South West Wales.
The arrival of these cruise passengers will help boost our local economy which is very welcoming news. Stena Line look forward to welcoming the passengers from AIDAVita to our Port and surrounding area.”
The AIDAvita arrived in Fishguard at 8.00am and an in-port welcome included a greeting by local dignitaries; musical entertainment - including a male voice choir for guests as they depart and arrive back from their excursions; a marquee with local craft stalls and exhibitions and a regular free shuttle bus service taking passengers on tours of the local community throughout the day.
Cruise ship excursions include trips to Caldey Island, Skomer Nature Reserve, St Davids and Pembroke, Carew Castle and Tenby.
Visit Wales has also worked with German cruise operators and training providers on the German Ambassador Scheme which has seen German speaking guides in north Wales and South West Wales being trained to welcome German visitors. This scheme has already generated an additional £1 million worth of cruise business for Wales, as cruise companies appreciate the efforts made to enrich their passengers’ experiences of Wales.