'Awful – shouldn't be allowed!': Angry locals of tiny Cornish town that banned second homes blast arrival of record biggest-ever cruise ship that increases the local population by 50 per cent

  • Post category:news
  • Reading time:8 min(s) read

  • It is the largest and heaviest cruise ship to have stopped in Fowey, Cornwall
  • READ MORE: Videos capture cruise guests who got back to the ship too late 

Angry locals of a tiny Cornish town that banned second homes have blasted the arrival of a huge cruise ship that increased the local population by 50 per cent for the day.

The 58,000 ton Spirit of Adventure cruise ship, operated by Saga Cruises, stopped in Fowey, Cornwall, on Friday.

The 775ft-long cruise ship weighing nearly 60,000 tonnes is the longest and heaviest ever to dock in Fowey, according to harbourmaster Paul Thomas.

He said the arrival of the Spirit of Adventure was a ‘big deal’ for tourism in the Cornish town and surrounding area, but its arrival had to be carefully prepared to guarantee a successful docking.

But not everyone is happy about the massive ship docking at Fowey Harbour. ‘Awful. Shouldn’t be allowed,’ said author Sasha Swire on X (formerly Twitter). 

The 58,000 ton Spirit of Adventure cruise ship, operated by Saga Cruises, stopped in Fowey, Cornwall, on Friday. Fowey's deep-water port is a popular destination for cruise ships due to its strong Celtic connection, maritime history and literary involvement

The 58,000 ton Spirit of Adventure cruise ship, operated by Saga Cruises, stopped in Fowey, Cornwall, on Friday. Fowey’s deep-water port is a popular destination for cruise ships due to its strong Celtic connection, maritime history and literary involvement

The town of about 2,200 residents offers various shops and eateries for day trip tourists to enjoy, as well as several historic buildings. The massive cruise ship Spirit of Adventure looked out of place in the tiny town as it towered over St Fimbarrus (right), Fowey's parish church and Place House's grade I listed tower (left), on Friday

The town of about 2,200 residents offers various shops and eateries for day trip tourists to enjoy, as well as several historic buildings. The massive cruise ship Spirit of Adventure looked out of place in the tiny town as it towered over St Fimbarrus (right), Fowey’s parish church and Place House’s grade I listed tower (left), on Friday

But not everyone is happy about the massive ship docking at Fowey Harbour. 'Awful. Shouldn't be allowed,' said author Sasha Swire on X (formerly Twitter). Another user added: 'With a very low tide it looked far too big for Fowey'

But not everyone is happy about the massive ship docking at Fowey Harbour. ‘Awful. Shouldn’t be allowed,’ said author Sasha Swire on X (formerly Twitter). Another user added: ‘With a very low tide it looked far too big for Fowey’

One user added: ‘With a very low tide it looked far too big for Fowey,’ while another said: ‘Madness! And they want to attract more like this in Fowey!’ 

‘That’s a lot of filth being pumped into the atmosphere in the heart of Fowey then. Impressive scale though’, a fourth commented. 

This sentiment was shared by another resident, who wrote: ‘How awful. It’s so horrible when you find someone’s parked one of those floating blocks of flats, blocking the view, never mind all the pollution they chuck out.’

READ ALSO: Cornish second home owners will pay DOUBLE council tax as council bid to raise more money from out-of-towners who often pay ZERO at the moment

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This comes after it was revealed that Fowey residents are being priced out of their homes due to an influx of second home buyers, which has pushed house prices up by more than £100,000 in just a year, according to the Sunday Times. 

In a referendum in 2020, residents voted in favour to ban new-builds being sold as second homes, which means that homeowners now have to prove the house is used as a primary and not secondary residence.

Fowey has 1,461 homes in total and 239 of them are being used as second homes, according to data by Cornwall Live from last year.

Many second home owners also come to the town without knowing how to properly pronounce the name – much to the dismay of local residents. The town is correctly pronounced ‘foy’ – like ‘joy’.  

The massive cruise ship Spirit of Adventure towered over St Fimbarrus, Fowey’s parish church and Place House’s grade I listed tower. 

‘What we are trying to do is attract this size of ship, which is just on our limit, but it means we can have those passengers going to visit the town and nearby destinations,’ harbourmaster Thomas told the BBC and added that another pilot even travelled to Germany to use a simulator to test how the ship would dock in different weather conditions.

Polruan Coastwach station manage Ray Wrigg said the ship’s size was impressive and even hid most of the houses opposite of it, saying that ‘gives you an idea of how high she is.’ 

Fowey’s deep-water port is a popular destination for cruise ships due to its strong Celtic connection, maritime history and literary involvement. 

The town of about 2,200 residents offers various shops and eateries for day trip tourists to enjoy, as well as several historic buildings.

The massive cruise ship towered over the small boats in the harbour, much to the dismay of residents

The massive cruise ship towered over the small boats in the harbour, much to the dismay of residents

Other residents were concerned about the fumes the massive cruise ship blew into the air in Fowey

Other residents were concerned about the fumes the massive cruise ship blew into the air in Fowey

The Spirit of Adventure was hard to miss as it anchored in Cornwall on Friday due to its length of 775ft

The Spirit of Adventure was hard to miss as it anchored in Cornwall on Friday due to its length of 775ft

This comes after it was revealed that Fowey residents are being priced out of their homes due to an influx of second home buyers, which has pushed house prices up by more than £100,000 in just a year

This comes after it was revealed that Fowey residents are being priced out of their homes due to an influx of second home buyers, which has pushed house prices up by more than £100,000 in just a year

The 775ft-long cruise ship weighing nearly 60,000 tonnes is the longest and heaviest ever to dock in Fowey, according to harbourmaster Paul Thomas (pictured)

The 775ft-long cruise ship weighing nearly 60,000 tonnes is the longest and heaviest ever to dock in Fowey, according to harbourmaster Paul Thomas (pictured)

Polruan Coastwach station manage Ray Wrigg said the ship's size was impressive and even hid most of the houses opposite of it, saying that 'gives you an idea of how high she is'

Polruan Coastwach station manage Ray Wrigg said the ship’s size was impressive and even hid most of the houses opposite of it, saying that ‘gives you an idea of how high she is’

The Spirit of Adventure is described as a 'boutique cruise ship' by operator Saga

The Spirit of Adventure is described as a ’boutique cruise ship’ by operator Saga

It has an impressive, modern interior and offers a private balcony for every guest, all-inclusive drinks and speciality dining

It has an impressive, modern interior and offers a private balcony for every guest, all-inclusive drinks and speciality dining

It has several luxurious restaurants and offers a wide selection of shows, a spa and a selection of bars

It has several luxurious restaurants and offers a wide selection of shows, a spa and a selection of bars

The Spirit of Adventure, described as a ’boutique cruise ship’ by operator Saga, has an impressive, modern interior and offers a private balcony for every guest, all-inclusive drinks and speciality dining. It also has several luxurious restaurants and offers a wide selection of shows, a spa and a selection of bars. 

The outrage over the massive ship anchoring in the tiny Cornish town comes after the Mail discovered that hordes of selfie-obsessed tourists from huge cruise ships similar to the Spirit of Adventure ruin La Dolce Vita in the Italian Riviera’s most exquisite gem Portofino. 

On a typical summer day in the Italian port town, two colossal cruise ships sit on the horizon, black smoke billowing from their funnels. Together, they carry more than 4,000 passengers from the United States, Britain and several European countries.

And, thanks to a local law allowing these behemoths to anchor as close as 600 metres from the protected bay, a swarm of visitors can hop on tenders from the mothership to reach Portofino in just minutes.

Several mornings a week, the cruise-ship hordes descend on the town — just as other tourists are alighting from packed ferries from the neighbouring coastal towns of Rapallo and Santa Margherita.

Then there is the logistical pressure of so many tender boats, with about ten arriving and leaving each hour

Then there is the logistical pressure of so many tender boats, with about ten arriving and leaving each hour

But the visitors do not just arrive by sea. By 10am, the main public car park has already reached its 250-vehicle capacity. 

Motorists are being turned away as buses from Genoa, 22 miles away, bring their own crowds. 

Cruise ships, ferries and day-trippers: by 11am, this tiny village is under siege. Hundreds of tourists are approaching from every direction.

Portofino now finds itself caught in a battle between those wanting to protect its charm and those who argue that anyone has a right to visit it whenever they choose.

As the throngs arrive, the residents are forced to retreat from the mayhem, while luxury holidaymakers withdraw to their yachts and five-star hotels.

An experienced manager who works within the hospitality industry in Portofino said: ‘We of course want people to see Portofino. 

By 10am, the main public car park has already reached its 250-vehicle capacity. Motorists are being turned away as buses from Genoa, 22 miles away, bring their own crowds

By 10am, the main public car park has already reached its 250-vehicle capacity. Motorists are being turned away as buses from Genoa, 22 miles away, bring their own crowds

Cruise ships with up to 3,000 passengers are descending on the tiny, picturesque town of Portofino where they crowd the small pathways and don't spend any money in the shops

Cruise ships with up to 3,000 passengers are descending on the tiny, picturesque town of Portofino where they crowd the small pathways and don’t spend any money in the shops

Several mornings a week, the cruise-ship hordes descend on the town ¿ just as other tourists are alighting from packed ferries from the neighbouring coastal towns

Several mornings a week, the cruise-ship hordes descend on the town — just as other tourists are alighting from packed ferries from the neighbouring coastal towns

It’s an iconic place and everyone is welcome. But for safety reasons, in terms of crowds and preserving the village, we should look at attracting smaller ships as it’s a small place.’

By now, the cobbles are barely visible under the sandals and trainers of ‘hit and run’ tourists, as the locals call them.

Holidaymakers wielding selfie sticks ignore signs warning they risk a £240 fine if caught lingering in ‘no waiting’ and ‘red zones’. 

The town’s mayor, Matteo Viacava, introduced the policy earlier this year to prevent what he called the ‘anarchic chaos’ caused by tourists blocking the narrow streets when they stop to take pictures for Instagram or film videos for TikTok. 

The decree states it is necessary to prevent ‘serious obstacles and potential danger’ — not least on the quay which has no safety barriers. 




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