£350m new har­bour to launch Euro­pean routes

Evening Express (City Final) - - Front Page - BY ADELE MERSON

CRUISE pas­sen­gers will soon be able to travel di­rect from Aberdeen on six new routes in­clud­ing Rus­sia. In­de­pen­dent travel agent Ram­say Travel has un­veiled the brand new routes which will be op­er­ated by Cruise & Mar­itime Voy­ages from the new Aberdeen South Har­bour. The six routes in­clude voy­ages around Bri­tain and Paris, trips to the Baltic States and St Peters­burg, Nor­way and Ice­land and will run be­tween Au­gust and Oc­to­ber 2020. The cruise com­pany has been run­ning voy­ages from nearby Dundee and hopes to build on its suc­cess in the north-east. A £350 mil­lion har­bour ex­pan­sion is un­der way at the Bay of Nigg, which will be­gin to wel­come cruise ships when it opens in 2020. Colin Ram­say, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Ram­say Travel, said: “We have six cruises start­ing and end­ing in Aberdeen. “It has been an as­tound­ing suc­cess for the last three or four years from Dundee. “We sug­gested to them that they do some­thing out of Aberdeen but the prob­lem was get­ting ac­cess to the har­bour. “The new south har­bour com­ing along has given us a great op­por­tu­nity.” Mr Ram­say said the city would likely ben­e­fit from cruises begin­ning and end­ing in its har­bour. He added: “Many peo­ple come for a cou­ple of days be­fore or at the end and they will stay in the city. “There is a pent-up de­mand in the north-east for this be­cause I know peo­ple have been go­ing from Dundee pre­vi­ously and many have to go to Southamp­ton.” The Marco Polo cruise ship, which will be used for the routes, has space for up to 800 guests along with eight pas­sen­ger decks, five lounge ar­eas, a swim­ming pool and walk-around prom­e­nade. Tourist bosses have re­cently said they are de­tect­ing “a lot of in­ter­est” in the north-east as a des­ti­na­tion for cruise ship pas­sen­gers. The new har­bour has also been de­scribed as a “game changer” for the cruise mar­ket since it will al­low much larger ships to en­ter the port.

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