Cunard’s Queen Victoria made her ever first visit to Wales during a port call to Holyhead over the weekend.
During the ship’s first call into Holyhead Port, Deputy Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, Dawn Bowden will welcome the ship’s passengers and crew to Wales and will get the opportunity to see first-hand how the ship operates.
This year, Wales is set to welcome the highest number of cruise ship calls to date, with 81 ships expected to call at Welsh ports during the year. The MS Queen Victoria is one of the ships to call in Wales for the first time.
In total, the cruise calls for 2023 will see more than 80,000 passengers and 39,000 crew visiting Wales, which equates to a potential passenger day spend income of £8.3 million for the Welsh economy.
Queen Victoria (QV), which carries 2,061 passengers and 981 crew, is a Vista-class cruise ship operated by the Cunard Line. She was the first ship to feature West End style theatre boxes within its three storey Royal Court Theatre, which can seat 800 guests. Meanwhile, the library onboard Queen Victoria, which is home to around 6,000 books, spans two decks and is linked by a spiral staircase. Elsewhere on the ship, guests will find various luxury restaurants, bars, swimming pools and an open air sports deck.
Cunard’s Queen Victoria is carrying passengers from 28 different nationalities on a cruise of the UK and Ireland.
Deputy Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, Dawn Bowden, said:
I’m delighted to have the opportunity to officially welcome the MS Queen Victoria’s passengers, the Captain and crew to Wales.
“It’s excellent news that we’re seeing such significant growth in the number of cruise calls to Wales this year. We’ve been working closely with businesses in the tourism sector to ensure visitors see the very best Wales has to offer.
“I hope we can look to further growth and welcome ships like Queen Victoria back to Wales again next year.”
During the call in Holyhead, the passengers were offered a variety of tours and trips, which included Anglesey's beautiful coastline and the fabulous Ffestiniog railway and Welsh countryside. Over 800 passengers took the opportunity to go on a tour and explore more of Wales, as well as independent guests exploring the local area.
A Cunard spokesperson said:
We are absolutely thrilled that Queen Victoria is sailing to Wales as part of our 12-night British Isles voyage. With its spectacular scenery and history stretching back to Neolithic times, a port call to Holyhead is the perfect stepping stone to postcard-pretty villages and charming countryside, with the stunning glacial landscapes of Snowdonia National Park just a short trip away.”
Anglesey Council Leader and Economic portfolio holder, Councillor Llinos Medi said:
The cruise industry brings thousands of visitors from around the world to the international Port of Holyhead year on year, which provides significant economic benefits for Anglesey and North Wales.”
"The County Council continues to work in partnership with Welsh Government, Regional Partners, Holyhead Town Council and port owners, Stena Line, to attract more cruise liners and ensure that the Island and region’s tourism sector is able to provide the best possible offer for passengers.”
“We are eager to enhance the local welcome and experience for visitors when they arrive in Holyhead but are limited by the financial support which is available.”
We’re enjoying another bumper year in terms of cruise ship visits with more than 50 expected to dock at Holyhead. This includes the MS Queen Victoria, her crew and passengers, all of which we look forward to welcoming for the first time to Holyhead and Wales.”