MORE than 800 tourists will visit Milford Haven next week, as the town’s cruise season gets underway.

The Ocean Princess will arrive at 8am on Tuesday, August 5, and be in port until 5pm, before departing for Dublin.

Mayor of Milford Haven, Cllr Eric Harries will be among the welcoming party to greet the passengers, as will local dance group FF Dancers, and Paul Treweeks with his birds of prey display.

There will also be a magician providing light entertainment, and local maritime author Fred Nicholls will be signing copies of his new book before free shuttle buses take passengers into the town.

Mr Nicholls will also be at Milford Haven Museum from 11am to talk about his book, which tells of the trials and tribulations of life at sea in the 19th century.

Port of Milford Haven cruise development officer Sue Blanchard-Williams said she is looking forward to the start of the cruise season.

“It is a wonderful advertisement that Princess Cruises thoroughly enjoyed visiting Pembrokeshire last year,” she said.

“The fact they are returning to our waterway three times this year is a wonderful achievement for the area.”

She said numbers for those visiting were increasing annually, with around 5,000 passengers expected this year – compared with 3,000 last year.

With each passenger spending around £80 in the local community and each crew member around £55, Sue said the visits are also a great boost for the local economy.

Operated by Princess Cruise Line, Ocean Princess measures 181m in length, and first visited Milford Haven last year.

She will return to Pembrokeshire again on August 17 and 21, and is expected to visit again in 2015.