Significant upgrades to the infrastructure that were initiated in 2020 have led to the grand opening of a cruise ship visitor center at the Greenock Ocean Terminal, located in Inverclyde, Scotland.
Situated approximately 25 miles west of Glasgow, the port celebrated its launch event on August 25, 2023. Several government officials, local businesspeople, and port representatives were present at the ceremony.
The Cruise Terminal, a $25M million investment
Inverclyde, a western coastal port of Scotland at the River Clyde’s entry point, celebrated the inauguration of its newly built $25 million cruise terminal and visitor center. The new establishment boasts an arrivals and departures hall, an art gallery/museum, and a restaurant.
A new cruise ship berth, which was part of the project, had already opened prior to this. This berth enables the port to accommodate ships up to 1,115 feet long, a capacity that allows most mega-ships to call, just short of the 1,186-foot-length of Royal Caribbean’s Oasis class ships.
Prior to its official launch, the visitor center first welcomed cruise passengers in June. Among the first visitors was one of the world’s largest cruise liners – the 1,082-foot-long MSC Virtuosa, which docked at the terminal.
The expansion of the Greenock Ocean Terminal was designed to increase the number of cruise visitors to 150,000 guests annually, a goal that the port has already surpassed.
In early 2023, port officials predicted a successful year, with 91 cruise ships scheduled to dock at the Greenock Ocean Terminal, marking a 25% increase compared to the previous year.
The surge in cruise tourism is expected to inject nearly $30 million into the local economy and create over 70 jobs, a welcome development for the regional authorities.
“The launch of the new Ocean Terminal reflects the collaborative efforts of the public and private sector, with both the UK and Scottish governments contributing £5.2 million ($6.5 million US) each. This collaboration showcases the benefits of working together for the welfare of our communities,” stated Malcolm Offord, UK Government Minister for Scotland.
A significant $1.2 billion Glasgow City Region City Deal contributed to the project’s partial funding through a partnership between various governmental entities.
Inverclyde’s Connection to Cunard
Inverclyde, which comprises three towns – Port Glasgow, Greenock, and Gourock—and several small villages, has a rich maritime and shipbuilding history. The port has a longstanding relationship with Cunard, as it is the shipyard where the first Cunard ship was built in the 19th century.
The new visitor center’s museum and art gallery, known as the Wyllieum, is named in honor of the late artist George Wyllie, a former Customs Officer in Greenock.
Inverclyde isn’t the only fast-growing cruise port in Scotland. Other ports, such as Edinburgh and Dundee, are also experiencing a significant increase in ship visits this year.