New Cruise Terminal Opens In Belfast

Cruise ship visitors to Northern Ireland will now be greeted by the first dedicated cruise terminal on the island of Ireland as they step off their ship in Belfast.

A partnership between Visit Belfast and Belfast Harbour, the new facility includes a Visitor Information Centre and the latest technology to showcase local attractions.

Belfast Harbour invested £500,000 in the quayside facility, part funded by Tourism NI and managed by Visit Belfast.

The development is a significant step forward for the city's cruise tourism infrastructure and comes in response to the growing industry. Belfast is expected to welcome 148 visits from 35 different cruise lines throughout the year, with July the busiest month. SAGA's first ever new build vessel, the 'Spirit of Discovery' was one of 32 calls this month, while 'Disney Magic' will bring its globally recognised brand to the city in September.

The newly developed terminal was opened today, Monday 29 July, by Captain Domenico Lubrano Lavadera of the Crown Princess- a longstanding and popular cruise brand.

Cruise Belfast includes the space required to service the shore side activities associated with cruise tourism for coaches, shuttle buses and taxis, and a berth which has been dredged to accommodate newer and larger cruise ships. It will be staffed by Visit Belfast's travel advisors and utilises the latest digital and audio-visual technology to showcase Belfast and Northern Ireland's visitor attractions. 
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Belfast Harbour's CEO Joe O'Neill said it will connect visitors to the city centre and allow them to join organised excursions to popular attractions such as the Giant's Causeway, Hillsborough Castle, Mount Stewart and Titanic Belfast. New gangways and luggage scanners provide a potential opportunity for consumers to join cruises directly from Belfast instead of flying to Southampton or other regional ports.

Speaking at today's launch event, Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor John Finucane, said: "Cruise tourism has been one of the city's success stories of the last decade and has become an important part of our tourism mix, contributing significantly to the local economy through attractions, transport providers and retail. I welcome the investment made by Belfast Harbour and Tourism Northern Ireland in Belfast's new cruise terminal and look forward to welcoming increasing numbers of cruise visitors to Belfast and beyond. 

"We're renowned around the world for our warm welcome and these new facilities will enable us to make the best of first impressions."

John McGrillen, CEO of Tourism Northern Ireland, added: "Cruise ship visitors contribute footfall to our visitor attractions and provide an opportunity to showcase Northern Ireland to international visitors, many of whom are here for the first time.  Allowing cruise passengers to sample Northern Ireland also provides an effective strategy to encourage and generate repeat visits."

Gerry Lennon, Chief Executive of Visit Belfast added:
 "Globally, cruise tourism is one of the fastest growing sectors in tourism. From a standing start of just two ships in the late Nineties, we are now welcoming 285,000 cruise visitors to our shores. This has been down to the sales and marketing efforts of Cruise Belfast and the significant investments in our tourism offering.

"This means that we can fully showcase the wealth of experiences on offer and enable cruise visitors to make the most of their time in Belfast and Northern Ireland."


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