Cruise Ship Visits Continue To Rise For Scilly

The Marco Polo

The cruise ship season starts tomorrow and once again, it looks like this year will see a further increase in the numbers of visiting vessels.

A total of 41 cruises will stop in the islands’ waters.

Julian Pearce of the Council’s Tourism Department says they’ve been working closely with Destination South West to encourage ships to stay overnight.

That gives passengers a chance to visit islands other than the traditional cruise ship destinations of Tresco or St Mary’s.

Some cruise visitors have been to the islands on a number of occasions and, rather than have seasoned visitors decline a repeat trip ashore, Julian says the TIC staff want to put together a suggested-things-to-do list to encourage people who have already been to the Abbey Gardens or St Mary’s that there are a range of alternative activities.

Although that’s not ready for the start of the season, he hopes it will be taken on board by TIC staff soon but not all cruise operators want information on local options given out freely as many make a mark up on their own excursion sales.

St Mary’s Harbourmaster, Dale Clark, has been keen to improve the visitor experience with more information on the quay.

Dale says the team on the quay try to provide the highest possible service to both cruise ship passengers as well as locals who use the area.

Feedback from the cruise lines show the Scillies are proving a very popular destination with their customers and there’s an increase of five ships visiting this year, compared to last.

Dale says they’re seeing more ‘overnighters’ this year, which he thinks this could be a real boost to tourism.

It gives passengers a chance to see more of the islands and the operators like it because it saves them fuel costs.

The first cruise ship, Quest, arrives tomorrow at 9.30am, leaving later in the evening. She’ll be returning on the 3rd May for an overnight stay.

And regular visitor, the Marco Polo, will be stopping here on Sunday.