Luxurious cruise ship is in Plymouth today

Cruise ship Oceania Sirena in Plymouth Sound today -Credit:William Telford
Cruise ship Oceania Sirena in Plymouth Sound today -Credit:William Telford

A huge £150m cruise ship is in Plymouth today - the first of five liners docking at Britain’s Ocean City this month. The 11-deck Oceania Sirena arrived in the Sound at 8am on Thursday, May 2, enroute from Ireland to Southampton.

The ship, operated by Oceania Cruises and flying under the Marshall Islands flag, can carry up to 800 passengers, with 375 crew. It has 349 cabins, over five of its decks, with nine bars or restaurants.

Built in France at a cost of £150m in 1999, the vessel was formerly called the Tahitian Princess, but was renamed when Oceania Cruises took it over from Princess Cruises in 2016. After leaving Plymouth at 6pm today, it will sail to Southampton and then around the British Isles, taking stops in Ireland and Scotland, before visiting France.

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Ticket prices for the voyage range from just over £1,000 to nearly £2,000. The ship is owned by Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd but operated by Oceania Cruises.

Sirena’s visit to Plymouth is the first of five this month, with Seabourn Venture due on May 9, followed by Silver Dawn, on May 15, Exploris One, the following day, and Amera on May 31. Plymouth Waterfront Partnership urged city businesses to make the most of the opportunity and said: “Welcoming passengers and crew from five Cruise Ship visits this month. If you're a waterfront business with any special offers on to tempt them in, please get in touch.”

Plymouth welcomed its first cruise ship last month when Ambition stopped on April 11. In all, Plymouth is set to welcome 14 cruise ships bringing more than 10,000 passengers this year. Plymouth’s Cruise Plymouth Partnership said bookings have leapt by 40% from last year cementing the city’s reputation as a “must-see cruise destination”.

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Among the vessels are several making their first call to Britain’s Ocean City, plus several expedition vessels. They include the first visit by Ambassador Cruise Line with its ships Ambition and Ambience, and expedition vessels such as Seabourn Venture, Exploris One, Star Legend, and Le Dumont D'urville.

The port will also welcome luxury cruise liners including Silver Dawn, Silver Spirit, and Seabourn Sojourn and Sirena along with visits by German operator Phoenix Reisen with Artania, Amadea, and Amera. The visits continue monthly until October with cruise lines from the USA, Germany and France represented along with UK ships.

Inquiries from cruise operators are already coming in for next year and 2026. The burgeoning cruise line business adds up to a significant boost to the city economy and additional employment opportunities.

Cruise ship Oceania Sirena in Plymouth Sound -Credit:Jon Walton
Cruise ship Oceania Sirena in Plymouth Sound -Credit:Jon Walton

Tourism bosses say passengers, and crew members too, generate additional revenue by spending on everything from visiting attractions, taking tours and boat trips, and shopping in gift shops and other retail outlets, cafes and restaurants. The port also benefits from berthing, pilotage and harbour fees.

Plymouth is also enjoying growing fame for its warm welcome, thanks to Cruise Plymouth Ambassador volunteers meeting guests as they come ashore, greetings from the town crier and the rousing performance of Plymouth Maritime Corps of Drums plus the support of Plymouth Waterfront Partnership.

Jon Walton, Plymouth Waterfront Partnership’s chief executive and waterfront manager, said: “ From all of the businesses of thePlymouth Waterfront Partnership we welcome the passengers and crew of the Sirena, the second of many cruise ships visiting Britain's Ocean City this year. We get great feedback from these visits for the wonderful welcome we give; we hope everyone has a great time. Huge thanks to the Cruise Partnership and especially to Doug and Annemarie Kerr who lead a simply marvellous group of ambassadors"

The Cruise Plymouth Partnership was created in 2021 with a shared vision to increase the number of cruise ships visiting Plymouth. This partnership includes Cattewater Harbour Commissioners, Associated British Ports Millbay, Destination Plymouth, The BID (Business Improvement District) – Plymouth Waterfront Partnership and Plymouth City Centre Company, and Plymouth City Council .