The first dedicated cruise terminal on the island of Ireland has opened in Belfast.
A partnership between Visit Belfast and Belfast Harbour, the terminal has been created to cater for the growing number of cruise passengers visiting the city in recent years.
More than £500,000 has been invested in upgrading the facility in the Titanic Quarter which now includes a Visitor Information Centre.
The money has been invested by Belfast Harbour with funding also coming from Tourism NI. The centre will be managed by staff from Visit Belfast.
Captain of the Crown Princess, Domenico Lubrano Lavadera, opened the terminal alongside tourism officials and the Lord Mayor of Belfast John Finucane.
"Cruise tourism has been one of the city’s success stories of the last decade and has become an important part of our tourism mix, contributing significantly to the local economy through attractions, transport providers and retail," said Councillor Finucane."I welcome the investment made by Belfast Harbour and Tourism Northern Ireland in Belfast’s new cruise terminal and look forward to welcoming increasing numbers of cruise visitors to Belfast and beyond."
CEO of Belfast Harbour, Joe O'Neill, said the new facility will offer a 'positive welcome' to visitors.
“Cruise calls to Belfast are now up to 148 calls in 2019, an increase of 31% on last year and this investment in a terminal facility will enable us to offer the anticipated 285,000 cruise visitors a positive welcome and first impression of the region," he said.
"Cruise & Maritime has already scheduled a number of departures from Belfast for next summer including Norwegian Fjord and British Isles itineraries. In line with our sustainability ambitions we have also installed wind powered quay lighting for the site and a ‘smart flower’ which will generate solar electricity for the terminal building.”