Edinburgh Cruise Port Terminal, 100 Ocean Drive, Leith, Edinburgh EH6 6JJ, United Kingdom
32 °F / 0 °C
Edinburgh's principal cruise port is Port Leith, but some ships may alternatively stop at Newhaven (tender cruise port). Both seaports are located on Firth of Forth’s southern shore. Firth of Forth (mainland Scotland) is River Forth's estuary. Aberdeen Harbour is approx 100 ml (160 km) away. Edinburgh is Scotland’s capital city. By population (around 0,5 million, metro 1,35 million) it is ranked country's 2nd largest - after Glasgow. Edinburgh is also UNESCO World Heritage Site, attracting international and UK tourist with its historic sights, castles, numerous entertainment and activities options, the annual Edinburgh Festival.
Forth Ports (Edinburgh's cruise port operator company) manages a total of 7 UK seaport terminals and anchorages - Leith, Rosyth, Dundee, London-Tilbury, plus the anchorages South Queensferry and Newhaven (England). In 2018, Edinburgh received 114 cruise ship calls with 150,000+ tourists (passengers and crew). In 2019, the number grew to 155,000.
Port Leith (Edinburgh)
Port Leith is to the northeast of Edinburgh City and is within city's council area. Leith is one of Edinburgh's most profitable enterprises, with annual cargo shipping capacity over 1.5 million tons.
Leith Docks became Edinburgh's port in early-19th-century, when there were built numerous facilities serving the shipbuilding and ship repair industries. During 19th-century, Leith also became a major port serving Scotland's herring export trade.
Currently, Port Leith is Scotland's biggest enclosed (harbor) deepwater port, with capability to handle vessels up to 50,000 DWT (deadweight tons). Port Leith provides easy access to major roads in Scotland, including A1 highway, Edinburgh by-pass, M8 and M9. It offers road and rail connections and is perfectly located for North Sea shipping operations of any kind. Port's busy cruising season is March through October, with roundtrip itineraries offered mainly by large liners operated by Cunard, Princess, MSC, Costa.
Port Rosyth (Edinburgh)
An alternative cruise port for Edinburgh is Port Rosyth, but it is rarely used. Large-sized liners usually anchor near South Queensferry (opposite to Rosyth), from where their passengers are tendered ashore. Port Rosyth is located across Forth Railway Bridge, approx 35-min drive distance from Edinburgh's downtown. Rosyth is a ferry port used by Blue Star Ferries. Next photo shows South Queensferry's cruise ship anchorage area.
South Queensferry (aka "The Ferry") is a small port town located approx 10 ml (16 km) to the northwest of Edinburgh city centre. The town is between Forth Railway Bridge and Forth Road Bridge. The prefix "South" is used to distinguish it from the town "North Queensferry". Both towns are named for the established by Queen Margaret (aka Margaret of Wessex, 1045-1093) ferry service between them. The service discontinued in 1964, when the Forth Road Bridge was inaugurated.
The above photo shows Rosyth Dockyard (part of the seaport). Rosyth Dockyard is a naval dockyard owned and operated by Babcock Marine Ltd (2007-founded subsidiary of Babcock International Group / multinational corporation). Before company's privatisation in 1987, the large shipyard complex was named "Royal Naval Dockyard Rosyth" and was operated as British Government-owned and contractor-managed facility. In 1997, Babcock International purchased the shipyard. Currently, this is the shipbuilding yard for UK's newest and largest aircraft carriers of the Queen Elizabeth-class.
In 2017, the Fred Olsen ship Black Watch offered a total of 8 cruises leaving roundtrip from Rosyth. Operated in the period August 14 through October 14, the roundtrip itineraries included 7-night Norwegian Fjords, 10-night Northern European cities, 16-night Canary Islands and Madeira. Also roundtrip from Rosyth, In 2017 the company offered (for the first time ever) 2 river cruises. The itineraries were themed "French Rivers" and "German Waterways".
According to statistical data provided by Peter Wilson (cruiseforth.com), for season 2019, from all the 110 scheduled to visit Edinburgh cruise liners, 34 were booked at Newhaven, 29 at Rosyth, 25 at Leith and 22 at Queensferry.
Leith-Edinburgh cruise terminal
Smaller-sized cruise ships to Edinburgh dock at Leith port's cruise terminal, located approx 3 ml (5 km) from downtown Edinburgh. Cruise vessels enter the port from River Forth's estuary. The dock can accommodate vessels with max LOA length 720 ft (220 m).
Newhaven UK is a tender cruise port, meaning passengers are tendered between the anchored ship and the quay (~10-min ride). Newhaven Port Authority complimentary provides bus transfer to Ocean Terminal's shopping mall. At the quay, there are a taxi rank and a bus station.
Port Leith is an important destination for Northern Europe's ship cruising industry. The port handles around 40 cruise vessels and 20,000 passengers annually. Leith Cruise Terminal provides good facilities for turnarounds (roundthrips) and transit calls. Its central location is convenient for shore excursions and tours to Edinburgh and the surrounding areas.
The cruise ship terminal building features a modern design and has all the necessary passenger facilities, including waiting area, phone, internet, toilets. More amenities are offered by the "Ocean Terminal" shopping mall, located at 5-min walking distance from the Leith cruise port terminal. The nall has shops, banking facilities, restaurants, cafes, car parking, and is served by Lothian Buses lines 11, 22, 34, 35, 36. Lothian Buses started the direct service "X99 Cruiselink" Queensferry-Edinburgh (in 2018) and Newhaven-Edinburgh (in 2019).
At Port Leith are available taxis and shuttle buses. The port's parking area is adjacent to the cruise terminal and can accommodate up to 450 vehicles (cars and tour buses). The closest to the cruise port airport (Edinburgh Airport) is about 30 min ride. The closest to the port railway station (Waverley) is about 15-min ride from the cruise terminal.
At Ocean Terminal is also the permanently berthed Royal Yacht Britannia (officially "HMY Britannia"). This is Queen Elizabeth II's former royal yacht, operated in the period 1954-1997.
Large cruise ships dock at Newhaven (Edinburgh City's district) located between Leith and Granton. It is approx 3 km (2 ml) north of downtown Edinburgh. These liners actually anchor near Newhaven and their passengers are transported between the anchorage point and the tender pier via tender boats. This distance is approx 1,7 ml (3 km) or about 15-min ride.
At Port Rosyth, due to the lack of public transportation service, the available ways for cruise ship passengers are taxis (at the passenger / ferry terminal building) and eventually shuttle bus service provided by the cruise company.
Most cruise operators offer shuttles to Edinburgh's downtown. This service is at fee pp. The local bus operator Cramond Coaches provides an alternative shuttle service to downtown. Cramond Coaches staff will be waiting at the pier. Their buses go to Charlotte Square, from where passengers can catch the green bus (hop-on / hop-off) for the popular Edinburgh Tour. Cruise line's bus shuttle offers 25-min travel to Waterloo Place (a green bus stop).
Leith-Edinburgh tours, shore excursions, hotels
City Tours and Shore Excursions
- Edinburgh castle: the castle is the most popular landmark in the city. It is two kilometres from Edinburgh cruise port. It is located on a volcanic rock’s top. The view from the highest point offers a panorama of the Firth of Forth and Fife. Inside you can see the Great Hall, the St Margaret’s Chapel and the Stone of Destiny.
- The Royal Mile: the one-mile long road connects the Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse, both Royal Residences.
- Royal Botanic Garden: the second oldest (after Oxford’s) British botanic garden. It dates from 1670 and was originally medicinal plants garden. It is located in the north of the city and is amazing, especially in the spring time.
- Edinburgh Fringe Festival: the world’s largest art festival is held for three weeks every August.
- National Museum of Scotland: located on Chambers Street. It was reopened in July 2011 after a renovation for £47 million. It houses 16 galleries and displays more than 8,000 different objects.
- Camera Obscura: spend a really fun time! Located in Victorian rooftop chamber near the Edinburgh Castle’ entrance.
Port Leith-Edinburgh cruise ship schedule shows timetable calendars of all arrival and departure dates by month. The port's schedule lists all ships (in links) with cruises going to or leaving from Leith-Edinburgh, Scotland. To see the full itineraries (ports of call dates and arrival / departure times) and their lowest rates – just follow the corresponding ship-link.
|24 April, 2020|
- Cruise Industry
Edinburgh will host a prestigious European cruise event for the first time. Capital Cruising, part of Forth Ports, announced it had won a bid to host...September 15, 2019
- Cruise Industry
A Scottish marine services company is currently considering the launch of a new ferry service between Rosyth-Edinburgh and Groningen Holland. ...August 21, 2019
A 20-year-old man has died on board a Norwegian Cruise Line's ship anchored off Scotland's coast, with 2 fellow travellers falling ill and needing to...June 6, 2019
- Cruise Industry
Crystal Expedition Cruises announced the complete 2021 deployment for the luxury expedition yacht Crystal Endeavor. During expedition voyages that...March 7, 2019
- Cruise Industry
Holidaymakers who are looking to explore Iceland and Greenland can now benefit from Fred Olsen's free door-to-door transfers up to 90 miles on 5...August 17, 2018
- Cruise Industry
A new Poseidon Expeditions cruise programme departs from Edinburgh in spring 2019 on a 12-day exploration into the north. From the Highlands to High...August 9, 2018
- Cruise Industry
The flagship of Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, Balmoral, commenced her inaugural cruise season from Edinburgh (Rosyth) on May 16, 2018, on a 10-night...May 23, 2018
- show more news