Ilfracombe’s ship comes in

Joseph Bulmer

Gigantic cruise liner to weigh anchor this summer

ILFRACOMBE has broken into the cruise market, with two large ships due to visit the harbour early this summer, bringing a potential influx of thousands of visitors to the resort.

With the support of Destination South West, the resort is set to welcome both the 6,000 tonne MS Rotterdam and 3,800 tonne MS Prinsendam cruise ships on first time visits for the Holland America Line.

The Rotterdam can carry 1,316 passengers and 600 crew and the Prinsedam 793 passengers and 470 crew.

Chairman of Destination South West, Mike Reynolds, said: “It‘s marvellous that Holland America have chosen to make two calls with their ships to Ilfracombe this year. With strong worldwide competition to attract these calls it has taken some time to get a major line to call at the port. However, the persistence of DSW has paid off and we hope the passengers really enjoy their time in the town and local area. It is a great opportunity for North Devon to put itself on the international tourist map.”

Ilfracombe harbour master, Lt Cdr Rob Lawson, said: “We have been members of Destination South West for seven years now, during which time Ilfracombe has tried hard to find its place in the cruise market and now all the hard work seems to be paying off. With the ‘hidden edge’ of the Exmoor National Park on our doorstep and the highest sea cliffs in England rising to meet the moor, the harbour boasts a very dramatic setting.”

He also highlighted many points in Ilfracombe that always impress visiting passengers.

“Chambercombe Manor is only a stone’s throw from the harbour. It is famed for appearing on the television series Most Haunted, which was more recently aired in the USA. Lynmouth, named England’s own Switzerland by Victorian tourists, is only a short coach trip away and a memorable ride on the funicular railway gives glorious views of the town and across the Bristol Channel to Wales. Ilfracombe Golf Course offers a stunning setting for a challenging round of golf with incredible sea views from every tee. Our only other cruise liner visit to date

was the Hapag Lloyd Ship MV Hanseatic and they vowed to return following the ‘fantastic’ welcome from the Ilfracombe people,” said Lt Cdr Lawson.

Town Councillor Philip Webb, chairman of the Ilfracombe Marketing Group, added: “We are delighted Ilfracombe has been recognised as a desirable location for the cruise tourist. We have put in place a cruise committee to ensure our guests get a warm, Ilfracombe welcome and have a wonderful time in our historic town with its ‘curious, coastal charm.’”

Laura Holt, sales and marketing manager for North Devon+ said: “We are thrilled that Ilfracombe Harbour is to be a key port of call for the South West. Ilfracombe is a stunning coastal town with a vibrant history and an attractive selection of boutique shops and great places to eat. During the late 1800s Ilfracombe Harbour welcomed thousands of visitors a week, who arrived on pleasure steamers from the Bristol Channel. It’s great news for the economy of Ilfracombe that, once again, they will be in a position to extend a warm welcome to sea-faring visitors.”

CruiseBritain has highlighted recent figures from the European Cruise Council’s annual economic impact study which show that cruise tourism generates an average expenditure of €97 per passenger port visit for the local economy.

Destination South West actively promotes the region to ensure that the South West continues to attract high profile cruise ships to its ports. Partners include ports, local government authorities, tourist attractions and other organisations with an interest in the cruise industry.

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