Will Jersey see record numbers of cruise passengers this year?
UP to 16,000 cruise-ship passengers could come ashore this year, Ports of Jersey has announced.
A number of different vessels are due to visit the Island this summer ranging in capacity from 254 passengers to 3,200.
Myra Shacklady, key account and marketing director for Ports of Jersey, says that if all goes to plan, the current record of about 4,500 passengers could be broken.
‘Last year we had a very high number of passengers come ashore – 4,503 – about 2,500 more than the previous year.
‘If all the ships are full, this year we could have a total of 16,000 people coming to Jersey, but it is more likely to be around 14,000 – the most we have ever had.’
One of the ships due to boost the numbers this year is the 92,000-tonne MSC Orchestra, which is 293 metres long and has capacity for 3,200 passengers.
Miss Shacklady added that the 60-metre-high ship would be an inspiring sight.
‘I used to be in the cruise ship industry and I always thought that there was a market for it here. When I started here in 2007 we had two calls a year and this year we have 13 calls.
‘This year, the MSC Orchestra is due to call. It can carry up to 3,000 people.
‘Certainly, if 3,000 passengers land in St Helier that is really going to spice up our town centre. It is a very large ship and has a navy blue hull. It will be very inspiring in the bay and is coming to the Island four times in total.
‘But if the weather conditions are not good, a ship may do a longer call at its previous port or jump to its next port. Instead of going to Cherbourg or Le Havre, it might come here instead and vice versa.’
By comparison, a total of 32 ships carrying a combined total of 68,710 passengers are due to call in to Guernsey in April and May alone, including the MSC Orchestra’s sister ship, the MSC Preziosa, which is due to bring with it a total of 4,345 people. Guernsey’s cruising season lasts until October.
Vessels visiting St Peter Port are able to moor much closer to the harbour than in Jersey, making it a more attractive destination to cruise-ship companies.
But Miss Shacklady warned that it would cost Jersey a significant amount of money to build a berth capable of accommodating larger vessels.
‘We have got something in our Harbour Masterplan for cruise ships. We are a small Island and if we were to build a berth to accommodate vessels 350-400 metres long it would be mega-money – we are talking around £50 to 70 million. There has to be a business case for it.’