Invergordon Cruise Port
Welcome to Invergordon Cruise Port
Do Cruise Ships Go to Invergordon?
In 2023 there are 131 cruise ships booked in to visit starting on the 1st of April and ending in mid-October. The largest ship this year was P&O Britannia with 3900 guests on board.
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.
Most ships dock at the service base which is an industrial dock. This means the ships can come right alongside the pier.
Invergordon Cruise Port
Invergordon Cruise Port is not solely used as a cruise ship port. It is also a busy industrial area supporting oil and gas energy and now working more and more with renewable energy.
Read More: Is Invergordon a Tender Port – No it isn’t – here 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
What To Do in Invergordon Cruise Port?
There is enough to do in Invergordon for a morning or afternoon, along with some pleasant walks. There are also plenty of shore excursion options.
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 a 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
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 shoreline. These black and white birds make a shrill call too. Herons are also seen dotted along the shoreline, 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.
Shopping Near The Cruise Port
There are a number of shops on 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, and 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 on the High Street. They do a selection of hot rolls, drinks, sandwiches, and ice cream.
- Harry Gow is a local Highland baker who 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
Fancy playing a spot of golf? 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.
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.
This church is always open to cruise ship visitors and crew. It’s a 2 minute walk from Invergordon High Street.
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 along with 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
Invergordon Cruise Port Facilities
Within the cruise port itself are toilets, an information point run by local volunteers, and a small shop.
Simply turn right when you get to the bottom of the gangplank and follow the signs for “Shore Visitors”
This is the shop. It’s small but there is an awful lot packed in – everything from Nessie items to whisky, jewellery, and clothing.
This is the information point. During the morning there are volunteers that provide help to visitors. There is also a handy electronic timetable showing the local bus and train times.
Getting from Invergordon Cruise Port to Invergordon High Street
It is very easy to walk to Invergordon High Street from the service base. When you leave the ship turn right at the bottom of the gangplank and follow the sign for Shore Visitors.
You will see a green walkway. Follow this out and pass through the security gate. Once through the security gate, you will see a road directly in front of you. Cross this using the pedestrian crossing. Then take the street straight ahead of you, called King Street. Follow this heading away from the ship and in a few minutes you will be in Invergordon High Street.
Taking a Ship Organised Tour from the Cruise Port
If you are taking a ship-organised tour then you need to turn left when you exit the gangplank and walk to the coach park. Follow the signs for ship excursions.
Then walk to the coach park. You won’t be allowed into the coach park until your coach is boarding. This is to keep you safe and minimise the number of people in an area where vehicles are moving around.
There is no cover or seating in this area or in the coach park.
Taking a Privately Organised Tour from Invergordon Cruise Port
If you have booked a tour that is not operated by the ship you need to follow the Shore Visitors route from the ship. Turn right at the bottom of the gangplank and follow the green path around to the security gate.
If you have booked a taxi tour your vehicle may be in the small car park on the right-hand side as you reach the road.
If you have booked a private tour or car you generally need to cross the road at the pedestrian lights and your guide will be waiting for you.
Check your tour booking for specific instructions.
Read More: Port of Invergordon – all about the facilities at the port
Read More: Which Cruise Lines Visit Invergordon?
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.
Read More: Check out my guide to the following shore excursions to see if they are right for you
Read More: Check out my tips for taking a Shore Excursion from Invergordon
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
Invergordon Cruise Port Weather
Here is the current weather and the weather for the next few days in Invergordon.
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 which 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.
Invergordon Cruise Port Videos
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
Are there any benefits for the locals of cruise ships visiting Invergordon? – it’s a hot topic!
Author Bio – Melanie Newdick, Invergordon Cruise Port
I’m an Invergordon Cruise Port expert because;
- I have worked with cruise ships in Invergordon for +10 years
- I work as Pier Co-Ordinator organising coaches and guides for ships
- I have worked as a Tour Guide for all cruise ship companies
- I guide private tours for cruise ship guests
- Check out my top money saving resources
- Planning Your Own Invergordon Port Tour – Things to ConsiderThis post was inspired after meeting more guests stuck at Urquhart Castle who were unable to get on the local public transport back to the ship. They had hoped to be allowed to return on one of the ship’s excursion buses but weren’t allowed. They were panicked that they might not make it back in… Read More »Planning Your Own Invergordon Port Tour – Things to Consider
- Cawdor Castle Shore Excursion from Invergordon Cruise PortThinking of taking a Cawdor Castle shore excursion during your Invergordon port call? Here is all the practical information you need to decide if it’s the perfect excursion for you. Cawdor Castle Shore Excursion – Travel Times Cawdor Castle operates timed entry slots for groups. There may be more than 2 coaches from the ship… Read More »Cawdor Castle Shore Excursion from Invergordon Cruise Port
- Loch Ness Cruise Shore Excursion from Invergordon PortThinking of Taking a Loch Ness Cruise Shore Excursion from Invergordon Cruise Port? Here is all the information you need about the practicalities of this tour, so you can decide if it’s the perfect trip for you. Loch Ness Cruise Shore Excursion Generally, most Loch Ness Cruise shore excursions operate as a half-day tour from… Read More »Loch Ness Cruise Shore Excursion from Invergordon Port
- Top Tips When Taking a Shore Excursion from InvergordonAre you coming to Invergordon cruise port? Thinking of taking a shore excursion from Invergordon? Here are my top tips to have an even better day in the Highlands. Shore Excursion from Invergordon Head the Right Way at the End of the Gangplank If you are taking a ship organised excursion then you need to… Read More »Top Tips When Taking a Shore Excursion from Invergordon
- Urquhart Castle Shore Excursion from Invergordon Cruise PortInterested in taking an Urquhart Castle shore excursion from Invergordon cruise port? Want to know if it is suitable for you? Check out this guide for the practical information you need to decide if this is the right tour for you. This guide is based on visiting Urquhart Castle on a ship’s excursion. Urquhart Castle… Read More »Urquhart Castle Shore Excursion from Invergordon Cruise Port
- Details of Which Cruise Lines Visit Invergordon Cruise PortWondering which cruise lines visit Invergordon port? Invergordon receives visits from many different cruise lines. Below are highlighted some of the larger ships and cruise companies that visit. We have had other lines such as Disney visit in the past. Many of the ships that visit call into Invergordon several times during the year. The… Read More »Details of Which Cruise Lines Visit Invergordon Cruise Port
- What is a Cruise Escort and What Do They Do?Ever wondered what the role of a cruise escort is? Well here’s my guide based on doing the role several times over the course of my coach holiday career. It may be a bit different from what you think! What is a Cruise Escort? The Role A cruise escort is there to just accompany the… Read More »What is a Cruise Escort and What Do They Do?
- Invergordon Cruise Ships – Are There Any Local Benefits?This article was inspired after hearing, yet again, that there are no benefits from Invergordon cruise ships. At a recent public meeting, there was mention of all the cruise ship guests ‘getting on buses’ and disappearing out of town. Having worked with cruise ships, as a dispatcher and a tour guide, I have a little… Read More »Invergordon Cruise Ships – Are There Any Local Benefits?
- 11 Invergordon Restaurants & Takeaways (And What to Try)Are you coming to visit Invergordon? Looking for something to eat while you are here? Well here is a list of places within the town for you to try, with suggestions from me and a few locals of what to try if you need some inspiration. Daytime Options for Invergordon Restaurants and Takeaways Invergordon Restaurants… Read More »11 Invergordon Restaurants & Takeaways (And What to Try)
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