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Invergordon Cruise Terminal – Helpful Things to Know

Are you coming to the Invergordon cruise terminal?

Here is everything you need to know including what to look out for on the way in and out, facilities at the terminal, and what’s nearby in the town too.

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Invergordon Cruise Terminal – Entering the Cromarty Firth

Your cruise ship will approach the Invergordon cruise terminal from the North Sea. As your ship turns into the Cromarty Firth have a look for bottlenose dolphins. They are often spotted in this area. These bottlenose dolphins live in the area all year round. They are the largest bottlenose dolphins in the UK. That is because the water is so cold they need extra fat to cope with the temperature.

Boat trips go out every day from Cromarty to see the dolphins. This might even be an optional trip available through your cruise line!

Your ship will then pass through the entrance to the Cromarty Firth. This is a deep water channel about 1/2 mile wide. The channel is between two sandstone headlands, known as the Sutors.

Look on the seaward side of those sandstone hills and you should see the remains of some concrete structures. Some of these defenses date from 1914 and some from WW2.

Invergordon Cruise Terminal

Nigg and Cromarty

As you move into the Cromarty Firth you will see the small town of Cromarty on the port side of your ship. In the summer months, there is a small ferry that runs between Cromarty and Nigg.

Nigg is the area you can see on the starboard side of the ship. The most noticeable thing is Nigg Energy Park. This was previously an oil rig service yard which was brought back into use a few years ago. Now it carries out work on ships and is also a base for renewable energy projects.

You will probably see some large metal structures which are parts for offshore and onshore wind turbine projects.

Invergordon Cruise Terminal

The Black Isle

As you cruise further into the Cromarty Firth you will pass the Black Isle. This is the area of land on the port side of the ship. It is not an island but rather a headland with Cromarty being at the head. The Black Isle has very good soil for farming. Lots of grain is grown there. If you want to try a local beer then try something from the Black Isle Brewery.

invergordon cruise port half day loch ness tour

Invergordon Cruise Terminal

Oil Rigs in the Cromarty Firth

As you sail into the Firth you will also notice some oil rigs. Most of these are just being stored while not being used in the North Sea oil fields that are relatively close by. Many of these rigs are ‘cold stacked’. That means the staff have been reduced, or there might be no staff. It means the rig is unlikely to go back into service anytime soon and it will likely need work to put the rig back into service.

Some of the oil rigs are ‘hot stacked’. This means they have crew on them. Whilst they are not drilling in the Firth they are ready to go back out the oil fields quickly if they need to.

Invergordon Cruise Terminal

Approaching Invergordon

Where do cruise ships dock in Invergordon?

The majority of cruise ships dock at the Invergordon Cruise Port, located within the Port of Cromarty Firth complex. Some ships may dock at Saltburn Pier. This is a 1-mile long wooden pier just on the edge of Invergordon.

Most cruise ships moor at the service base. This is a large industrial area that is operated by the Port of Cromarty Firth. There are many businesses operating within the base that is connected with the oil and gas industry and also the renewable energy industry, especially wind turbines.

Cruising to the service base you will pass a long wooden pier. This is a mile long. It’s called Salturn Pier. Sometimes smaller ships will be moored here.

You will then pass Admiralty Pier. This was built in 1914 for the Admiralty when Invergordon was a naval base. Previously cruise ships did call at this pier.

Your ship will moor alongside the dock at the Invergordon cruise terminal.

invergordon cruise terminal view from coach park to the ship
The view from the coach park back to the ship

Invergordon Cruise Terminal Facilities

The Invergordon Cruise Terminal has the following facilities;

  • Coach parking for cruise ship excursions – take a left when you exit the ship and follow along to the coach parking area.
  • Quayside shop selling gifts and souvenirs – take a right from the gangway and follow the green path to the shop which is located in a mobile building structure.
  • Toilets – take a right from the gangway and the toilets are just on the left-hand side before.
  • Local information – volunteers are available to give information about local activities and things to do, including how to get around.
Invergordon walking tour small

Invergordon Cruise Terminal

Getting into Invergordon

It is very easy to reach Invergordon High Street from the cruise terminal. Just follow the green pathway. This will bring you to a pedestrian crossing. Cross over and follow the path to the right. Walk through the gardens on your left-hand side. Walk in between the buildings facing you and you will be on Invergordon High Street.

It is around 10 minutes walking from the cruise ship to Invergordon High Street.

Invergordon Cruise Terminal

Hints and Tips for Cruise Ship Guests

  • If you are taking a cruise ship organised excursion you will need to board a coach in the coach park. This area is quite exposed to the weather and often windy.
  • There is no seating in the coach park area.
  • Due to limited parking spaces coaches don’t arrive until around 30 minutes before the excursion departs (sometimes less)
  • Coaches are not allowed to run their engines for long periods when they are parked. This means on hot days coaches can get extremely warm.
  • Not all the coaches have air conditioning so a small fan might be a good idea.
  • There are no toilets in this area of the cruise terminal. The nearest toilets are at the other end of the dock, you will have to walk back past the gangway to find them.
  • Cruise ship guests are not allowed to exit the port complex from the coach park area. To exit the port you need to walk back past the ship and follow the green pathway toward the town.
  • If you are meeting a local tour operator (not a cruise ship-organised excursion) you will have to go out of the port complex to meet them. They will give you instructions on the meeting point but allow a little extra time to get there.

Invergordon Cruise Terminal – Conclusion

  • Invergordon cruise terminal is located in the heart of a busy commercial port specialising in energy
  • The cruise terminal can accommodate the largest cruise ships
  • It is less than 10 minute’s walk from the ship into the town centre
  • It is around 45 minutes to 1 hour to reach Inverness from Invergordon

Author BioMelanie Newdick, Professional Traveller

  • +36 years travelling for work. Visited +40 countries (many multiple times)
  • Stayed in over 700 hotels. Taken +9,500 on coach holidays
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Check out my Invergordon Cruise Port page for lots more information including places to eat (and what to try), how to get to Inverness by coach or train, and lots more

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Loch Ness Tour – details of a private tour for up to 3 people which does a complete circuit of Loch Ness

Find more information on my Invergordon Cruise Port page

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