Falmouth’s senior pilot Captain Nick Martin, 48, has gained warm plaudits from around the port when he piloted the 112,000 tons cruise ship Caribbean Princess into a quiet anchorage in Falmouth, just inside St Anthony’s lighthouse, to allow a safe tendering operation to take place.

Caribbean Princess, a modified Grand Class vessel from Princess Cruises, is the largest ship tonnage wise to cross the St Anthony to Pendennis line in to port. The ship has tonnage 112,894 tons with a length of 289.9 metres (951 ft).

Powered by diesel electric she can cruise at 22 knots. Guest capacity is 3,142 with a crew of 1,200.

With a residual easterly swell in the bay tendering could have been difficult. To have a cancellation due to the swell conditions would have cost the local economy tens of thousands of pounds in lost revenue.

Nick Martin, who has been a pilot for 19 years, drew up a plan for the anchorage before discussing the pilotage operation with Falmouth Harbour staff, A&P Marine Operations team and the ship’s agents. All were happy for him to proceed if the Captain of the ship agreed.

Nick said: "Captain Vincenzo Lubrano phoned me from Cobh, and we discussed the pilotage in detail. He was very happy to proceed with the plan.

"The idea was for me to remain onboard the ship during the ship’s stay at anchor. The ship used one anchor with stern thrusters and bow thrusters used to keep the ship in position."


Falmouth’s senior pilot Captain Nick Martin. Image: David Barnicoat Collection

n Falmouth’s senior pilot Captain Nick Martin. Image: David Barnicoat Collection


Caribbean Princess was on the final stages of her transatlantic repositioning cruise from the USA to Southampton. Unfortunately, the ship encountered bad weather on a passage from the Azores to Cobh, Ireland which meant she docked in Cobh nine hours late, only allowing passengers five hours ashore.

Once at anchor 2,300 passengers were tendered ashore to the A&P international cruise terminal by the ship’s own boats. There a large team from the Falmouth Cruiseship Ambassadors who greeted the passengers, giving them important information about the town.

Nick said Captain Lubrano and his officers were amazed that so many passengers went ashore, normally tendering operations sees less than this number. Onshore a fleet of shuttle buses took passengers into the town drop off points whilst others went on excursion tours around west Cornwall.

Guests from the cruise ship took the opportunity to visit Land’s End, Lanhydrock house, St Ives, Polperro and various country drives.


A close encounter. Image: Miles Carden

A close encounter. Image: Miles Carden


Other guests opted to take A&P’s complimentary shuttle service into town to explore the farmers market, Pendennis Castle and the seafront.

Jessica Westlake, Cargo and Cruise Coordinator at A&P Falmouth said: “I met and spoke with lots of the guests from the cruise ship, who were thrilled to have a whole day in Falmouth while the sun was shining.

"One guest in particular said how delightful it was to be able to explore so many attractions in just one day, he visited Land’s End, Pendennis Castle and the Falmouth seafront.”

Nick remained onboard the ship for nine hours before being relieved by colleague Captain Alex Head who sailed the ship.

This week has been exceptionally busy so far, with cruise calls by the Viking Mars and Viking Star inward from Barcelona, followed by the Caribbean Princess and Spirit of Adventure which stayed overnight.

Yesterday (Wednesday, May 22) the Spirit of Adventure sailed as Holland America’s Zuiderdam arrived. Ambassador Cruises Ambition returns to the port from her cruise to Norway on Friday, May 24.