Cruise Europe new Members: Mo i Rana, Torquay and Stornoway

Newcomer to cruise, Mo I Rana, dates back to the eighteenth century and is the Norwegian town closest to the Arctic Circle, just one hour away. It has two calls booked in 2020 (Astor and Spirit of Discovery) and one (Deutschland) in 2021.

There are two quays: Toraneskaia with a length of 300m and draught of 8m and Bulkterminalen 129m/11m. There is also one spot for anchorage about 200m to 300m from the Toraneskaia quay, which is 10 to15 minutes walk from the city centre. A cafe is situated just eight minutes walk away.

The port is working on a dredging project which will increase the depth from 8m to 11m at Toraneskaia. It is hoped that this will be completed within the next few years.

There are no plans at present for a terminal, but Oystein Lorentzen, harbour master Mo i Rana Havn, said that “if the number of boats increases, we will consider it”. Both quays comply with ISPS and accept garbage. Buses will be made available when the ships start calling. In order to attract calls, the port is prepared to discuss discounts with companies for the first ship to call. Lorentzen also pointed out that “the authorities are preparing stricter pollution guidelines”.

In terms of bookings, there is a simple overview on the webpage (cruise) but the plan is to install a better port calendar next year.

There are plans to build a large airport in Mo i Rana with the capability of handling Boeing 737s.

Shore excursions include: the Arctic Circle and Sami culture; Skillevollen Activity Park which is open all year round offering everything from igloo building to roller blading; Gronsvik coastal fort from World War II and a visit to an Atlantic salmon farm or mining industry. From September to March it is possible to see the northern lights but this would require an evening or overnight stay.


Torquay is an established cruise port for vessels located in Tor Bay on Devon’s south coast, 33 miles north east of Plymouth and 22 miles south of Exeter. Vessels up to 10m draught can anchor within 0.5nm of the tender pier. There are no beam or height restrictions.

Two cruiseships can be at anchor at the same time, as happened in 2016 when Seabourn Quest and Hamburg called. Two tenders can come alongside the 28m by 9.6m pontoon at one time.

Passengers arriving into Torquay disembark directly into the town centre. Once cleared through the ISPS reception point, local shops, restaurants and cafes etc are just 10 minutes’ walk away which means the delights of a traditional Devonshire cream tea are on the doorstep.

Parking for coaches is immediately adjacent to the tender pier for those taking excursions further afield and interpreters can be arranged for a number of different languages.

There are many popular tourist attractions in or within driving distance from Torquay. These include: Torre Abbey on the seafront which is over 800 years old; the Agatha Christie Literary Trail; the working monastery of Buckfast Abbey just 15 miles away and Exeter Cathedral 22 miles away.

Torquay is part of the English Riviera UNESCO Global Geopark. Within 20 miles are Dartmoor National Park and the Napoleonic fort. The Eden Project is 65 miles away. Brixham fish market is 8 miles away, Sharphams vineyard (12.5 miles), Dartmoor Whisky Distillery (14 miles) and gin tours can be booked in nearby Ipplepen or as far afield at Salcombe.

Exeter, Newquay and Bristol airports are within 90 miles.

Last year there were five calls: Artania, Hamburg twice, Amadea and The World. This year has seen an increase to eight. Artania and Amadea returned, Astor and Rotterdam called twice and Seabourn Ovation and Europa made up the numbers.


Stornoway has seen its call and passenger numbers rise significantly from last year to this: 39/62 and 10,762/19,000 respectively. This year saw first-time calls from AIDA Cruises, Crystal Cruises and Windstar Cruises. In addition Queen Victoria called for the first time, the largest vessel to enter the harbour to date. Next year Oceania Cruises makes a first call with Nautica.

Stornoway Harbour has three quays with the primary cruise facility being at No 3 pier, which is capable of taking vessels up to 156m in length (if the weather is favourable) and with a draught of 6m. Smaller vessels can be accommodated at No 1 pier.

There is no limit to the size of vessels at the outer anchorage, which can then tender passengers ashore to the tender pontoon. The Outer Anchorage is 1.5m/30 minutes by tender but there is also an option for vessels to deploy dynamic positioning which is closer to the tender quay.

The cruise building is used by the daily ferry service passengers. It is equipped with toilets, seats and WiFi.

Passengers are greeted by the Stornoway Cruise Ambassadors, a voluntary group who provide information and advice on the island’s tourist attractions, including distributing maps of the region.

Visitors to the port have easy access to the town of Stornoway which is a five-minute walk to the centre.

In terms of infrastructure development, “the harbour is in the process of having a new marina developed which will have various tendering options,” said Norma MacRitchie Robb, marketing assistant Stornoway Port Authority.

In addition a deepwater port is being developed with a target date for completion of 2021. This will consist of a berth of 430m in length, with a depth alongside of 10.5m. A 10m channel is being dredged but tides mean spring lows are at 1330 while the morning and evening channel depth is more like 12m. The tidal range is 4.7m. This quay will be a one mile walk on a woodland path into town or a short shuttle bus journey.

(Cruise Europe)


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