PASSENGERS from the first ever cruise ship to stop at Eyemouth Harbour are due to arrive in the town on Sunday, August 19.
‘MS Island Sky’ anchors off Eyemouth from 1.30pm to 4.30pm, tendering passengers to the pontoon on the Middle Pier. Those on board the Noble Caledonia cruise are on a 13 day ‘Islands on the Edge’ tour of the British Isles, leaving Tilbury on Friday, August 17, and stopping off at Whitby, Holy Island, Eyemouth, Leith, Orkney, St Kilda, Skye, Iona, Rathmullen, Arran, Scilly, Sark and Alderney on Channel Islands and Portsmouth.
Eyemouth Harbour Trust have put in months of work to became a Department for Transport approved port on May 31 this year allowing them to accept cruise passengers, and chairman, Grahame Sinclair said: “This is a very exciting opportunity for Eyemouth Harbour and the local businesses. The harbour trust’s staff have trained to handle this kind of business and have seized the opportunity with both hands. We aim to prove that Eyemouth is a town of great interest to visiting passengers and that this is the beginning of more cruise ships making a stop-over in the bay.”
Gunsgreen House manager, Derek Janes said: “We are delighted with this exciting new development and look forward to welcoming passengers to Gunsgreen House and Eyemouth in years to come.”
The 114 passengers on board the cruise ship have the opportunity to visit Floors Castle but the harbour trust is also organising a meet and greet party for passengers who wish to stay in Eyemouth for the afternoon and enjoy the town’s many attractions.
Eyemouth’s Provost and chair of Eyemouth Town Community Council, Johanna Pawley, added: “Eyemouth has so much to offer visitors, with three fabulous museums, a variety of shops places to eat, coastal walks, scenery and wildlife. We hope that this is the start of many visits and are grateful for all the hard work the harbour trust has put into arranging this visit.”
Kerry Waddell from Eyemouth and District Chamber of Commerce, also welcomed the development adding “This is really fantastic news for Eyemouth businesses in the midst of a very difficult economic period. I hope that the arrival of cruise ships in the harbour will increase visitor numbers for us all and create opportunities for additional trade.
“Our challenge now is to ensure we encourage these new visitors to spend some time in the town by showcasing to them all what we have to offer.”
MSP John Lamont is also delighted at the news saying: “This is great news for Eyemouth and is the result of months of hard work and effort from the Eyemouth Harbour Trust. To get approved port status from the Department of Transport is a fantastic achievement.
“I have no doubts that Eyemouth will prove to be a great destination for visiting passengers and that this is just the beginning of more cruises making a stop in the harbour. None of this would have been possible had it not been for the great efforts of the volunteers at the Eyemouth Harbour Trust.”
And Borders MP Michael Moore added his congratulations saying: “I want to warmly congratulate Eyemouth Harbour Trust on securing accreditation from the Department of Transport which means cruise ships will now be able to visit the port. Diversification of the port economy is critical and this is a very significant development for the town.”