The Scottish port of Greenock has welcomed its first cruise ship in more than a year since the pandemic began.
Royal Caribbean International’s Anthem of the Seas (pictured) called into the port on Thursday just over a week after the Scottish government eased restrictions in the country after it imposed a ban on cruise calls earlier this summer.
Noble Caledonia’s Island Sky berthed at Lerwick in Shetland on Monday, marking the return of cruise ships to Scotland.
Earlier this year, MSC Virtuosa’s scheduled call into Greenock was cancelled at short notice amid confusion at the time about cruise ship visits into Scotland.
The Scottish government later confirmed it had banned cruise vessel’s from the country until Scotland had reached the lowest level of Covid-19 restrictions.
The 4,180-passenger Anthem of the Seas is the first vessel of 50 scheduled to dock at the new cruise terminal in Greenock this summer.
Before the pandemic, estimates suggested around 150,000 cruise passengers could pass through Greenock once the terminal was built and £26 million would be spent in the local economy.
The terminal, worth more than £19 million, is part of a berthing and visitor centre development funded by Glasgow City Region City Deal; Peel Ports; Inverclyde Council; and the George Wyllie Foundation.
Peel Ports Clydeport director Jim McSporran said: “It’s a symbol that the gradual removal of Covid restrictions which is taking place will soon see the cruise industry return to its pre-pandemic scale of operations and more.”
Councillor Jim Clocherty, deputy leader of Inverclyde Council, said: “The cruise market is hugely important for Inverclyde and Scotland and worth millions of pounds to the economy.
“With more things now opening up again, I’m delighted to see vessels back here on the Clyde and I hope people take the opportunity to discover Inverclyde and the many things it has to offer.
“The fact that so many ships and passengers are booked in already for this year and next is testament to the warm welcome visitors receive here and cements Greenock and Inverclyde’s place as a friendly port.”