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Invergordon Cruise Port

Welcome to Invergordon Cruise Port

Do Cruise Ships Go to Invergordon?

In 2023 there are currently 131 cruise ships booked in to visit starting on the 1st of April and ending in mid October. The largest ship going to Invergordon is the P&O Britannia with 3900 guests on board.

Why Do Cruise Ships Go To Invergordon?

Cruise ships go to Invergordon because it has a deep water harbour. The port can accommodate the biggest cruise ships without tender boats. Invergordon is also the closest cruise ship port to Loch Ness. There are lots of other shore excursions available including Dunrobin and Cawdor Castle.

Invergordon cruise ship port is located within the Cromarty Firth, a large sheltered area of the North Sea. The cruise port is the main port for attractions such as Loch Ness, Urquhart Castle, Dunrobin Castle, Cawdor Castle, and Inverness.

Read More: Port of Invergordon – all about the facilities at the port

Definition of Invergordon Cruise Port

Invergordon Cruise Port is not solely used as a cruise ship port. It is also a busy industrial area supporting the oil and gas energy and now working more and more with renewable energy.

Read More: Is Invergordon a Tender Port – No it isn’t but there is everything you need to know about arriving

Read More: Invergordon Cruise Terminal – things to help you plan your visit

Overview of Invergordon Location and Attractions

Invergordon is a small town in the Highlands of Scotland. It is set beside the Cromarty Firth. It has a population of around 4,000 people. Many of the cruise ships that berth at Invergordon have a larger population than the town itself!

Invergordon has an interesting history. It became an official naval base in 1912 and many remnants of buildings can be seen from this time, not least Admiralty Pier.

It has a small high street which is just 5 minute walk from the cruise ship berth. It also has a pleasant shoreline with a footpath linking it to its neighbouring town of Alness, approximately 3 miles away.

Around Invergordon is a mural trail showing local stories, activities, and history. There is also a small but very interesting museum which is free to visit.

Invergordon is located 25 miles North of Inverness and 98 miles South of John O Groats. It is located on the East Coast. Invergordon is part of Ross-Shire, which is part of the Highlands of Scotland. The Highlands of Scotland comprise 1/3rd of all the landmass in Scotland.

Read More: How to Travel from Inverness to Invergordon – by bus, taxi, or train

Invergordon History

What is Invergordon Known For?

Invergordon is a cruise ship port and an oil, gas, and renewable energy port. It has a mural trail with 17 murals. It is also home to the Stoltman Brothers. They were Britain’s, Europe’s and the World’s strongest men in 2021.

Early Development and History of the Port

Invergordon has been a trading harbour since the mid 1700s. After becoming a naval base in 1912 Invergordon was very well used as a naval base in both world wars. All the largest naval ships were here and many facilities were built in Invergordon to entertain those working on the ships. There were several cinemas, a theatre, and various sporting complexes.

Invergordon had a large aluminum smelter built in the 1970s. It promised a wealth of jobs for the locals. However, within 10 years the smelter had closed due to the high running costs. It was a traumatic experience for the town. A large grain distillery was also built – at the time the largest in Europe. The distillery still operates today. If you wander through Invergordon you may be able to get a whiff of it!

Recent Developments and Renovations

More recently Invergordon has become a busy cruise ship destination offering a wide range of shore excursions. The port is able to accept the largest cruise ships thanks to a deep section of water beside the shore and a deep channel running through the Cromarty Firth.

Cruise ships visiting the Cromarty Firth will likely pass a number of oil rigs. These are not drilling for oil but are either stored or waiting to go back out to the North Sea oil fields. There are also a number of businesses that support the energy industry in the Cromarty Firth, including Technip who specialise in laying underground pipelines.

In 2023 it was announced that Invergordon had been chosen as a green port. This means there will be extra investment and opportunities relating to renewable energy projects for the area.

There had been plans for a cruise ship terminal to be built. Given the green port focus, this now seems less likely.

Cruise ship berthed at the Service Base seen from renewable energy pier

Attractions at Invergordon Cruise Port

Natural Attractions in the Area

Does Invergordon Have a Beach?

The beach is located beside the Cromarty Firth Port Authority Service Base. If you walk towards Alness from Invergordon you will see the beach on the left hand side. It is also a good place to do some bird watching.

The wildlife of the Cromarty Firth is a great natural attraction. Dolphins live at the entrance to the Cromarty Firth. Some cruise ships offer dolphin spotting trips to go and see them. Seals live at the opposite end of the firth. They are often spotted hauled out on rocks or sandbars enjoying the sunshine.

There is plenty of birdlife including a large number of seabirds. Terns are common around the cruise port. These feisty birds are great parents and will vigorously defend their nests when they have chicks. Oystercatchers are common and often seen along the shore line. These black and white birds make a shrill call too. Herons are also seen dotted along the shore line, standing still until they spear a small fish with their long beak. There are also wading birds and large numbers of geese.

In the summer months an Osprey lives in Cromarty Firth. It can often be seen whilst driving on the main road into Inverness.

There are some nice walks in the area.

Saltburn Woods is a popular walk with cruise ship guests. This is a small community woodland and is popular with locals and dog walkers too.

There is a walking route that runs between Invergordon and Alness. This is popular with locals, cyclists, and joggers amongst others. There are some nice views across the Cromarty Firth on this walk.

Cruise Critic

Shopping Near The Cruise Port

There are a number of shops in Invergordon High Street including;

  • A Post Office
  • Two gift shops and a local artist selling a wide range of artworks
  • Two gift shops including one that supports local community projects
  • Two household stores selling everything from home items to wool
  • A newsagent
  • A pharmacy selling a wide range of toiletries and healthcare products including medications
  • A small supermarket that sells food, drink, toiletries, local beers, and Scottish whisky
  • Sweet shop
  • Frozen food supermarket

Restaurants and Dining Options

During the daytime there are a number of options for eating and drinking available;

  • Rasho’s Cafe is located on the High Street. This is a small cafe, run by a local couple Fay and Rasho. They serve a wide range of food and drink including breakfasts, breakfast rolls, soup, toasted sandwiches, mean meals such as macaroni cheese, pizza, and kebabs. They also do coffee, tea and soft drinks. Rasho’s also has free WIFI.
  • Grab N Go is a food takeaway in the newsagents in the High Street. They do a selection of hot rolls, drinks, sandwiches, and ice cream.
  • Harry Gow is a local Highland baker that makes everything from scratch. They do freshly made rolls, soups, cakes, and hot and cold drinks to takeaway.
  • The Co-operative supermarket has a sandwich and salad selection, as well as a hot food counter doing sausage rolls, hot pies, and cakes. They also have a Costa Coffee machine.

Most of the restaurants in Invergordon open in the evening when most cruise ships have departed.

Invergordon Places of Interest

Invergordon Golf Club

Fancy playing a spot of golf? Well Invergordon has a lovely golf club within easy walking distance of the cruise port. Check out their website for all you need to know and to book your visit.

Invergordon Museum

Open for every cruise ship visit this museum is in a lovely community building. It is a small but very interesting museum. There are generally teas and coffees available too. Check out the interesting books available on the local history and also the mural on the sea facing wall of the museum.

Invergordon Parish Church

This church is always open to cruise ship visitors and crew. It’s a 2 minute walk from Invergordon High Street.

Saltburn Community Woodland Walk

If you fancy taking a walk then head along to Saltburn where you can see the wooden pier and also explore these popular local woods. There are short circular walks around the woods alongwith some nice benches for enjoying the views. You are bound to meet some locals and most likely some local dogs too.

Invergordon Town Facilities

  • 350 pupil Academy school for 12-16 year olds
  • Golf course
  • Fire station
  • Primary School for
  • Small county hospital with 28 beds
  • Doctors surgery
  • Dentist surgery
  • 2 vet clinics
  • 2 industrial areas with various business
  • Whyte & Mackay Distillery
  • Leisure centre with swimming pool, gym, sauna, and steam room
  • Social club
  • Museum with free entry and an interesting collection of exhibits
  • Filling station
  • Railway station
  • Bus services to the North and South (South includes Inverness)
  • Various hotels and accommodations including guest houses
  • Various cafes, takeaways, and restaurants including fish and chips
  • Post Office
  • Various shops including gift shops, charity shops, household stores, convenience stores
  • Library

Cruise Critic

Invergordon Cruise Ship Excursions

  • Loch Ness is the most popular excursion for cruise ships that visit Invergordon. It is generally offered as a half day tour. Some tours include a 1 hour boat trip – it depends on the cruise ship company.
  • Cawdor Castle, with its connections to Macbeth is another popular visit. This small castle is still used as a home, outside of the tourist season. The gardens are lovely and full of interesting sculptures too.
  • Culloden Battlefield, the site of the final battle between the Jacobites and the British Government, is just outside Inverness. This is a popular visit, including fans of the TV series Outlander.
  • Dunrobin Castle is North of Inverness. This huge castle with 365 rooms sits beside the sea. It’s a romantic castle with lovely gardens and the best falconry display in the Highlands. It’s generally a half day tour.
  • Inverness is also a popular destination with many cruise ship companies offering shuttle bus type transfers direct to Inverness so guests can explore on their own.

Types of Ships that Dock at Invergordon Cruise Port

All types and sizes of cruise ships dock at Invergordon Cruise Port. In 2023 the cruise ship season starts on the 1st of April with the ship Ambience. The last ship call is currently on the 16th of October.

You can view the entire Invergordon cruise ship schedule for 2023 on the Port of Cromarty Firth website here.

Read More: Where do Cruise Ships Dock in Invergordon – find out which ships will dock where

Cruise Critic

Invergordon Cruise Port Weather

Here is the current weather and the weather for the next few days in Invergordon.

Invergordon Cruise Port Videos

The local pipe band playing for a cruise ship about to leave Invergordon Cruise Port

This video is a drone flight over the town. It gives a great view and also for the cruise liner that was in that day too!

This is a great video about the Stoltman Brothers and their competition goals.

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Further Reading

Where do Cruise Ships Dock in Invergordon – find out which ships will dock where

Is Invergordon a Tender Port – No it isn’t but there is everything you need to know about arriving

Invergordon Cruise Terminal – things to help you plan your visit

How to Travel from Inverness to Invergordon – by bus, taxi or train

Port of Invergordon – all about the facilities at the port

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