Plymouth has welcomed a bumper tourist season in 2023 from visiting cruise ships – and the diary is now lined up for an even bigger splash in 2024.

Thousands of cruise tourists visited the city and wider area, which brought an economic boost to the local economy.

Amanda Lumley, Chief Executive of Destination Plymouth

Amanda Lumley, Chief Executive of Destination Plymouth, said: “It’s been a very significant year for cruise visits to Plymouth, and we are very positive for next year with 18 bookings now in the diary, and double from 2023.”

“We are already booking cruise visits for 2025 and 2026, and our aim is to grow the sector from visiting ships to future ‘terminal embarkation days’ where visitors travel to the city and board vessels from Plymouth,” she said.

“This will boost hotel stays and local spending, and help with our target of 30 vessels per year, and I’m very proud of the way we work with our Plymouth partners across the port in a competitive cruise industry sector.”

“Teamwork is crucial, and our marketing feed back is very important in adding value to our services and supporting a very lucrative part of our sales to cruise operators across the globe,” she said.

Plymouth is building an international reputation for its cruise visitors, who are welcomed by Volunteer Cruise Ambassadors, Shore Handlers and Operators, together with the Cattewater Harbour Commissioners, (ABP) Associated British Ports, which owns and operates Millbay Docks, and is the home of Brittany Ferries Services.

Adrian Buss, Operations Manager, Port Facility Security Officer, at ABP Millbay Docks

Adrian Buss, Operations Manager, Port Facility Security Officer, at ABP Millbay Docks, said: “We are excited at the recent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with partners including Plymouth City Council and Brittany Ferries with plans to invest £22 million on works in Millbay Docks.”

Ocean Nova at Trinity Pier in Millbay Docks

“Strengthening the quay for bigger and heavier vessels and a passenger boarding bridge that will make the facility ready for more cruise visitors and embarkation days are part of the planning,” he said.

Millbay Docks (Picture courtesy of ABP).

“We are looking at improved infrastructure in the Docks to become a strategic cruise terminal and freight port, and especially working towards Net Zero with ‘clean, green, and good growth’ over the next decade.”

“Electricity Connectivity and plug-in capacity on the National Grid are something we are discussing with partners that is a technical and funding challenges for all ports, but we’ll find the right solutions,” he said.

Millbay Docks, owned and operated by ABP, covers 50 acres of the historic port estate, where Brittany Ferries services handle 400,000 passengers and 150,000 vehicles a year, as well as 80,000 tons of cargo, that contributes more than £95 million to the Plymouth and UK economy.

Mr Buss, added: “The investment in Millbay Docks has huge potential for the city’s cruise liner sector in Plymouth and leading in the field of marine innovation, green shipping, green jobs, and the city’s Freeport Status,” he said.

ON Tuesday the 28 November, Destination Plymouth will be holding its annual Tourism Conference at the National Marine Aquarium.

The all-day event will be celebrating 25 years of Ocean Conservation with a series of networking presentations and the day’s agenda includes the following key speakers:

09:15- 10:00 Registration and networking 

10:00 – 10:20 Welcome by Roger Maslin CEO, Ocean Conservation Trust 

10.20 – 10.35 Richard Stevens MBE, DL, Chair Destination Plymouth 

10.35 -11.00 Robin Tjolle, Regional Manager SW, Visit England 

11.00 -11.15 Emma Hewitt, Skills Lead at Plymouth City Council

11:15 –11.45 Coffee break 

11.45 -12.20 Kerrin McPhie, Chief Executive, Meetings and Industry Association 

12.20 – 12.40 Sarah Elliott, Project Manager at Destination Plymouth

12:40 – 13:00 Sarah Lloyd, Marketing Manager Plymouth City Council 

13:00 – 13.45 Lunch

13.45 – 14.05 Lee McQueen, Director of Business Growth and Adult Education, City College Plymouth 

14.05 – 14.30 Sam Richardson MBE, Chief Executive, National Coastal Tourism Academy 

14.30 – 15.00 Joy Nazzari, Founder and Executive Chair DNCO 

15.00 – 15.30 Sander Groothuis, Vice President Operations Carnival UK  

15.30 – 15.50 Amanda Lumley, CEO Destination Plymouth  

16:00 Thank you and close. 


Delegates and stakeholders from across the city, UK, and overseas attended the successful Destination Plymouth annual conference at the National Marine Aquarium recently – that focused on the city’s tourism and hospitality industry.

A packed conference connected peers and business leaders to hear from leading speakers of the many initiatives taking place over the next few years to grow Plymouth’s tourism and hospitality industry.

The showcase celebrated Plymouth’s international reputation for cruise liner visits, and especially 25 years of the National Marine Aquarium and its Ocean Conservation Trust.

It was the first time Westward Shipping News attended the annual event that was filled with inspirational presentations and plenty of business and people networking, and well done to the team at Destination Plymouth, especially the CEO Amanda Lumley, said News Blog Editor of WSN, Kevin Kelway.

We finally met up with Plymouth’s Douglas Kerr, founder of the Volunteer Cruise Ambassador Team who helps deliver some of the great city welcomes for cruise liner passenger arrivals on the Barbican, together with city shore handlers, port chiefs, and tourists bosses

Westward Shipping News is looking to do many more blog features of the amazing partnerships in the city on the cruise and tourist sector in 2024, including other regional ports in Torbay, and Falmouth.