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Invergordon Port – Does it Use Tender Boats?

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Invergordon Port

Is Invergordon a tender port?

Cruise ships coming into Invergordon do not require tender boats no matter which pier or area the ship is berthed at. Invergordon can accommodate the largest cruise ships without tender boats thanks to the deep water in the Cromarty Firth.

Invergordon Port is located within the Cromarty Firth. This area of the North Sea is very sheltered and protected thanks to a relatively narrow entrance channel.

The entrance channel is approximately half a mile wide. It runs between two sandstone headlands, known as the Sutors. The small town of Cromarty is on the Southern side Nigg Energy Park is on the Northern side.

The water depth at the entrance channel is just over 15 metres or 50 feet deep, to 26 metres or 85 feet deep.

In parts of the Cromarty Firth, the water is 55 metres deep or 180 feet deep.

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Invergordon Port Tide Height

The difference between low and high tide in Invergordon is around 4 metres or 13 feet.

You can find all the data on tide heights and times on the Tide Times website here.

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Invergordon Port Ship Berthing Locations

For 2023 most cruise ships will be berthing at Invergordon Service Base.

This is a large concrete pier that can accommodate all sizes of cruise ships.

It is a short walk of around 10 minutes to reach Invergordon town centre from the cruise ship gangway.

A small number of cruise ships in 2023 will be berthing at Saltburn Pier. This is a long wooden pier located just outside Invergordon in the small village of Saltburn.

Cruise ship guests are not permitted to walk along the pier so shuttle buses are provided to take guests and crew into the small town of Invergordon. The transfer takes around 5 minutes.

Saltburn Pier can accommodate some of the smaller cruise ships. It has less parking available for coaches than the main cruise ship port.

(If you want to find out more including which ships are where check my post about where cruise ships dock in Invergordon)

Admiralty Pier which is the large wooden pier located beside Invergordon town is no longer used for cruise ships. This is privately owned and the pier is used for freight rather than cruise ships. It was in use for cruise ship guests up until around 5 years ago.

Invergordon Cruise Port can accommodate several cruise ships at one time. There is space to accommodate two ships within the Service base at two different berths, and a third ship can be accommodated at Saltburn Pier.

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Invergordon Port Weather Conditions

Given that Invergordon cruise port does not need tender boats it means it can accommodate cruise ships in rougher weather conditions than other ports that rely on tender boats.

This can often mean that there are some additional cruise ship calls during the year where ships are diverted from other cruise ship ports to Invergordon because they cannot moor due to the bad weather.

The sheltered nature of the Cromarty Firth means that cruise ships can still be berthed if the weather is poor. Sometimes it is the weather outside the Cromarty Firth, during the cruise around the coast on the North Sea that can cause issues for cruise ships. Thankfully this doesn’t happen that often.

Invergordon Port – Pilot Boat

Invergordon does have a pilot boat to bring cruise ships safely into berth. The pilot boat usually joins the cruise ships at the entrance to the Cromarty Firth. The pilot guides them through the deep water sections of the Cromarty Firth and around the oil rigs which are often parked in the Cromarty Firth too.

At the time of writing, in early 2023, there are only 3 or 4 oil rigs in the Cromarty Firth. However, there have been as many as 20 in the past. These make for an interesting cruise into Invegordon cruise port.

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