Invergordon is a port town located in Cromarty Firth, Easter Ross (Northern Highlands, Scotland). Invergordon is officially ranked Scotland's largest cruise port. Inverness is to the southeast, at approx 24 mi (40 km) or at around 30 min drive distance (via A9 Road).
Port Invergordon is operated by "Port of Cromarty Firth" (abbrev POCF). According to the Port Authority CFPA, 2017's passenger influx injected into Highland Scotland's economy over GBP 14 million. Among the nearby popular tourist travel destinations are Loch Ness, Urquhart Castle ruins, Tain (resort town) and Inverness, Cawdor Castle (15th century), Dunrobin Castle (13th century, with Earls of Sutherland family memorabilia). Visitors can also travel north to Glenmorangie Distillery (overlooking Dornoch Firth) and then continue to Dornoch.
Port's cruising season runs from April through late-November / early-December. Port's largest cruise liner so far is MSC Meraviglia (GT 171600 tons, LOA length 315 m, max capacity 5400 passengers) which berthed on May 1, 2018.
In 2016, the port handled 63 ship calls and 97,993 cruise passengers. 2017 was a record-breaking year with around 45% increase in visiting cruise ship tourists. Based on pre-booked ship calls (91), the port expected over 142,000 passengers and the maiden calls of MSC Preziosa, CMV Columbus, MS Hamburg, Seabourn Quest, MS Europa 2, Marella Celebration. The first call was of AIDAvita (AIDA Cruises, on April 12) carrying ~1200 tourists. Season 2017 ended with Black Watch (Fred Olsen, on December 3) carrying ~800 tourists.
In 2018, the cruise port handled 171,000 passengers, received bigger-sized liners and the maiden calls of Viking Ocean (ships Viking Sun and Viking Sky). For 2019 were scheduled 12 maiden port calls and 180,000 tourists (16% increase over 2018).
On November 23, 2018, Port Cromarty Firth Authority announced a GBP 30 million (EUR 34 M) port expansion project, scheduled for completion in 2020-Q2. In 2016 were announced port's plans for building a new cruise berth, by adding 215 m (705 ft) quayside to the existing Berth 5. The new (second) quayside has length 218 m (715 ft) and land area 9 acres (36,420 m2). The new facility will be serving exclusively the energy and cruise industries. It will have capacity to handle large-scale energy projects (renewable, oil and gas), and also to berth world's largest cruise liners of RCI-Royal Caribbean's Oasis-Class (LOA length 362 m, GT 228,000 tons, max capacity 6370 passengers plus 2400 crew).
Port Cromarty is on Cromarty Firth (arm of Moray Firth) and located just 8 km (5 ml) from Invergordon (on Firth's opposite coast). Cromarty Firth is best-known for the North Sea oil rigs owned by Global Energy Group. The 2005-founded company has offices in Aberdeen and Inverness). It also owns Nigg Energy Park - large shipyard (with a drydock) that specializes in repairs and fabrication of offshore platforms. Along Cromarty Firth are also located all facilities serving cruise vessels, as well as bulk carriers (cargo ships) and oil processing.
Currently, from Port Invergordon are offered ~90 different cruise shore excursions via partnerships with local premium bus providers.
Invergordon cruise terminal
In 2018, Port Invergordon launched for local tourism businesses the "Cruise and Crew Club" initiative for improving customer services and developing port's shore excursion program.
Port changes in 2017 included adding new bollards (for the cruise ship berth) and upgrades to port’s freshwater supply system. In 2018-Q4 started construction works on a new cruise terminal with capacity to handle world's largest passenger liners. The new facility has expanded berth length 372 m (1220 ft), quayside draught 12 m (39 ft) and land area 11 acres (44520 m2 / 479200 ft2). The GBP 30 million project's completion is scheduled for 2020-Q2.