Maritime cities to upgrade cruise port facilities for tourists

AFTER decades spent moving their docklands as far from city centres as possible, some of the world's major cities are now reversing tack. Several maritime cities have been missing out on cruise ship business because their harbour facilities are so far from where tourists actually want to be. However, both London and Dublin have plans underway to bring the cruise business into the hearts of their cities.

Cruise ship on the Thames at Greenwich.

Cruise ship on the Thames at Greenwich. Image by Roel Hemkes / CC BY 2.0

In London, city mayor Boris Johnson has given the final go-ahead for the development of a passenger terminal at Greenwich. The London City Cruise Port will be big enough for mid-size boats, with a passenger capacity of above 1500 and is expected to be operational by 2017.

Greenwich is already a major tourist draw in its own right with the Royal Observatory, Cutty Sark and National Maritime Museum among its main attractions. It also offers easy access to the city's major sights via train, light rail and even riverboat services.

It's anticipated that more than fifty ships a year will use the Greenwich passenger terminal, bringing yet more visitors to a city that is never exactly short of them.

A few hundred miles away in Dublin, Ireland – plans are also afoot to take full advantage of the burgeoning international cruise business. Dublin Port is currently looking to redevelop its harbour facilities with a massive €200 redevelopment plan.If it goes ahead, it would mean easy access for the world's most enormous cruise vessels to its port, which is just a couple of miles from the city centre. Mega-ships like the Allure of the Seas, with its 360 metre length, on board ice skating rink, mini golf course, and 300 rooms will be able to visit without difficulty.

It’s not just European cities that are investing heavily in their waterfronts. In Tampa Bay, Florida – a $1.5 billion plan for new berthing facilities has been put forward because some super-sized cruise ships are too big to fit under the city’s Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Plans are also afoot for a major cruise terminal in Kingston, Jamaica as the country’s capital city tries to capture a piece of the lucrative Caribbean market.

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