It was a week of maiden calls in May for the Isle of Man with the Hanseatic Nature, Corinthian and Variety Voyager making their first-time visits. Four other maiden calls were scheduled for the season as well, including the Ocean Endeavor, Seven Seas Navigator, Ocean Majesty and Serenissima said Seonad-Siobhan Duggan, cruise consultant to the Isle of Man Government.
The maiden visits are part of a strong 50-call season, up from 24 vessel visits in 2018.
“We work hard with local stakeholders to constantly develop new opportunities and tours to market directly to the cruise lines and the shore excursion companies,” said Duggan. “For 2019, we have launched the ‘Cruise Welcome’ retail scheme which involves retailers offering incentives to cruise passengers and crew to visit their shops.”
Passenger and crew can access a Google Map showing details of the incentives and locatios of the participating shires.
“We are the jewel at the heart of the British Isles,” Duggan said. “We are one Island and not one port, and the first nation to be granted UNESCO Bioshphere Status. If weather prevents access to one port, we have three other ports available and can switch shore operations at very short notice to avoid call cancellations. This makes us hugely flexible and adept in making changes almost immediately to retain a cruise call.”
Among possible expansion plans, there is a feasibility study taking place that is considering developing a large deep-water berth at the Port of Douglas. If approved, the new berth could be ready as soon as 2023.
“Our main challenges come from the restrictions placed upon us as a result of being an Island nation. We have limitations in our transport network and cannot quickly add capacity,” explained Duggan .”We currently have a restriction of 1,400 passengers per day to ensure that we do not over extend ourselves and by working closely with the shore excursion planners we ensure our transport is used to best advantage.”