Tourism leaders in Torquay are looking into ways to encourage more cruise ships to the area when the cruise industry resumes sailing.

P&O Ventura off Babbacombe Bay. Photo: Jay RichardsP&O Ventura off Babbacombe Bay. Photo: Jay Richards

The call has come as two P&O cruise ships have been sheltering off Babbacombe during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Initially it has been suggested cruise lines may introduce single-country itineraries, as has already been started in Italy, as a way to get the industry back up and running.

As P&O is a primarily British line, it is hoped it will reintroduce more round Britain trips.

Richard Cuming, spokesman for the English Riviera Attractions Partnership, said: “In the first instance, it is likely that the itineraries will be round Britain.

“This is a good opportunity to encourage companies, especially P&O which has mainly British passengers, to come to the Bay.

“We need to be proactive and get discussions going to get the Bay included on the first trips.

“It’s a great destination to come to and I am sure there will be customers wanting to go on round Britain so we want to open up a line of communication to include Torquay.”

The captain on Azura Marcin Banach agrees the Bay is lovely, at least from the bridge of the 115,000 tonne ship which carries up to 3,500 passengers. He took to social media to share his photos of the Babbacombe coast.

He said: “This is our home away from home for a few days. This coastline looks absolutely incredible and it’s a nice view to look at from the office, admiring the beautiful English a Riviera.”

They are the latest cruise ships to take shelter in the Bay during the pandemic.

Sister P&O ship Arcadia was in the Bay several weeks ago and other previous visitors have included Marella and Carnival lines.

German cruise lines particularly have included Torquay in itineraries in the past but P&O has not so far.

Torquay is a tender port as there is no pier able to accommodate large ships but the shelter of the Bay means it is relatively easy to bring passengers ashore.