Oban ovation as last cruise ship sails into the sunset

A special presentation took place on the Seabourn Ovation last week. In the photograph are, from left, Olivia Stearman, assistant cruise director, Richard Robson, assistant harbour master, Andrew Pedder, captain, Andrew Spence, Bid4Oban, Linda Battison, OLTA and David Winchcole, Denholm Port Services.

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Seabourn Ovation glided away from Oban last Thursday evening signalling the end of a highly successful 2019 cruise ship season for the town.

A total of 30 cruise ships visited between March and September with an estimated 21,000 passengers and crew on board.

On Thursday, a small party travelled out to the luxury liner in order to mark the occasion with a presentation of quaich and a specially-engraved bottle of Oban whisky. The same presentation was made to the Astoria back on March 3 to mark the first visit of the season.

Andrew Spence, Bid4Oban chief executive officer, made the presentation to Seabourn Ovation captain Andrew Pedder.

‘The Port of Oban Cruise Group and BID4Oban are working tirelessly with Cruise Scotland and the Economic Development department of Argyll and Bute Council to ensure these visits grow and continue,’ Said Mr Spence.

‘Oban is recognised by cruise operators as a must-visit destination given the easy access to the town centre and hospitality on offer, and the vast majority of passengers stayed in the town contrary to local myths that they all leave to visit other destinations.

‘By engaging with individual cruise ships and providing a special welcome the town is receiving great feedback.’

Oban and Lorn Tourism Alliance (OLTA) and BID4Oban visited Visit Scotland Expo to showcase the town to potential tour operators in April 2019 and are planning to do the same in 2020.

Rab Black, chairman of the Port of Oban Cruise Group, said: ‘By engaging and offering a great onshore experience for passengers, Oban will continue to appear on the itineraries of many of the major cruise ship operators.

‘Along with our own tour guides and the work of the Port of Oban we will have even more visits in future years.’

The following were thanked for their commitment to welcoming passengers from the cruise ships: Oban High School Pipers – Jamie MacGregor, Emma Hill, Jenny MacLean, Gregor MacDonald, Innis Munro; Oban Community Council, in particular Marri Malloy and Lilius Grant; Councillor Elaine Robertson; Bid4Oban Town Ambassadors Kay McDonald and Joe Reich;  Oban Walking Tours guide Nan MacLachlan; Ann Murray Fraser and Deirdre Henderson of Oban Distillery; Gillian Campbell of Dunollie Castle and Museum; Linda Battison of OLTA who visited most cruise ships to speak to passengers and hand out information; Oban Harbour Master Vickie MacKenzie; Oban Deputy Harbour Master Richard Dobson.