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Capturing the moment: A guest from the AIDAsol enjoying a traditional welcome to Aberdeen. Image - Supplied by Port of Aberdeen

The official start of the cruise season has been welcomed by Aberdeen Inspired as guests from the AIDAsol liner flocked into the heart of the Granite City.

The German-flagged vessel, carrying 1,998 passengers and 629 crew, had a day-long stopover on Monday, 8th April. Due to unsuitable weather, it anchored in the bay and tendered guests into Duthies Quay at the Port of Aberdeen’s North Harbour.

But that didn’t dampen the enjoyment of visitors heading into the city, with many waxing lyrical about Aberdeen to the Press & Journal on the first of 58 cruise calls scheduled for this year.

Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said: “It’s great to see Aberdeen’s cruise season get underway and already making waves with the arrival of so many visitors. I know they will have been given the warmest of welcomes from the many shops, restaurants, bars and attractions waiting to greet them in the Granite City and further afield.

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Looking good: AIDAsol passengers put themselves in the frame for a great visit to Aberdeen. Image - Supplied by Port of Aberdeen

“The arrival of AIDAsol heralds the start of what will be a record-breaking year for cruise ship visits – it is a fantastic achievement to have 58 calls scheduled. You simply cannot overstate the impact that will have on boosting our city’s economy and helping Aberdeen chart a course to a bright future.”

The port currently has 58 cruise calls scheduled for 2024, including 22 maiden calls, highlighting Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire’s growing appeal as a cruise destination. Bookings extend as far as 2027, by which time over 100 cruise calls are anticipated, featuring industry giants like Fred. Olsen Cruises and Holland America.

Bob Sanguinetti, CEO, Port of Aberdeen, said: “With a record number of bookings and a diverse range of visiting vessels, we are poised for unprecedented growth in the coming years and are eager to showcase the best of what Aberdeen and the surrounding region has to offer."

Aberdeen City Council Co-Leader Councillor Christian Allard said: “Aberdeen is establishing itself as a must-visit destination for cruise ships and the 2024 season is one we can build upon further. As a council we are delivering transformation through the City Centre and Beach Masterplan – thus ensuring that visitors enjoy a great experience when they disembark.”

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Piped ashore as cruise liner passengers arrive from the AIDAsol. Image - Supplied by Port of Aberdeen

Efforts to attract new cruise lines are ongoing, with Port of Aberdeen and VisitAberdeenshire actively promoting the destination at Seatrade Cruise Global in Miami from 8th – 11th April, the cruise industry's leading event.

Chris Foy, CEO, VisitAberdeenshire, said: “The growth in calls for 2024 is a vote of confidence in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire as a cruise destination. This year VisitAberdeenshire is enhancing the welcome offered to passengers through its expanded volunteer programme and has developed more opportunities for local suppliers to benefit from cruise calls.

“Attendance at Seatrade Cruise Global, the world’s largest cruise event alongside Port of Aberdeen is an opportunity to build relationships and secure more business for 2025 and beyond.”