Portland Harbour Authority has increased its cruise options after welcoming its largest ship to date, the ms Westerdam. The Dorset port has seen its day-trip cruise visitor numbers rise to 10,000 compared to 2,000 last year and has won new contracts with Crystal Cruises, Oceania Cruises, Phoenix Reisen and Cruise and Maritime Voyages. ”Portland has been in contracts with small specialist cruise liners for a while, but in the past five years we have become more active in marketing the port,” Portland Harbour Authority’s Commercial Manager Ian McQuade told Travel Daily. “Through this direct approach we have boosted our cruise calls from two or three a year to 10.” He revealed that the German and US markets were particularly strong and he is visiting cruise liners in Miama and LA this week to discuss further contracts. “The main problem is that there is a lot of competition so we need to make cruise liners more aware of us and consider us as a regular call,” explained McQuade. “We have joined the Atlantic Alliance with 19 other ports in north west Europe to help them link several ports in the region in their itineraries.” He said the port would mainly concentrate on day calls but was keen to develop turnaround cruises in the future. This has been boosted by day call contracts with companies such as Cruise and Maritime Voyages, which focuses on regional departure points. McQuade said that liners were attracted to the port because of its easy access and excursion opportunities. “We are close to the Channel shipping lanes so it is not a detour to visit and this means we can be used in a round-trip,” he explained. “Also Dorset itself has many excursion ideas and the two ‘eye-catchers’ are Bath and Stonehenge, which are popular with tourists.” As a result, tourism in the area has been boosted as cruisers spend approx.