Port of Cromarty Firth’s ‘Mr Cruise’ made an MBE in Queen’s New Year Honours

Captain Iain Dunderdale, who was credited with making the Highlands a leading destination for cruise liners, has been made an MBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours list.

The 73-year-old was honoured for services to the community in the Highlands, principally for his instrumental role in growing and promoting the cruise industry in Scotland and near 40 years of voluntary service with Invergordon Lifeboat.

Capt. Dunderdale was pivotal in the creation of Cruise Scotland, based at the Port of Cromarty Firth, as well as the setting up of Cruise Europe in 1991, which he was vice-chair and chair of for 19 years. In recognition of this tireless work and commitment within the industry, he received the prestigious Seatrade Outstanding Achievement Award in 2015.

As an ambassador for not only the Port, but also for the Highland region and Scotland, a fundamental part of his role was to encourage US cruise liners to come to Europe. As a result of his work, the cruise business at the Port has risen from nothing to its current record-breaking success.

Last year saw more than 167,000 passengers and 69,000 crew come into the Port on 104 cruise ships, generating over £16m to the Highland economy.

The former cruise development manager at Cruise Highlands enjoyed 36 years of service with the RNLI, becoming lifeboat operations manager. During this period, he was responsible for many service launches, including the RNLI’s current all-weather Trent Class Lifeboat, Douglas Aikman Smith, and he was presented with the RNLI Gold Badge in 2016.

Bob Buskie, CEO of the Port of Cromarty Firth, said: “No-one deserved this award more than Captain Iain Dunderdale MBE. I would like to extend our congratulations to him on this incredible achievement.

“He is a legend, not only for us, but also in the Highlands, and within the cruise industry across Europe. He has done so much to heighten the profile of both the Port and the Highlands, as one of Scotland’s premier cruise destinations. He played a central role in building the Scottish cruise industry up from nothing. In the last decade, the cruise industry has generated more than £100 million for the Highland economy.

“His lifelong commitment to the RNLI is testament to his hard work and loyalty to Invergordon and the safety of the Firth.”

Capt. Dunderdale’s MBE nomination was led by Port of Cromarty Firth, with letters of support received from Cruise Scotland, Cruise Europe, RNLI, Highlands Council and the Lord-Lieutenant for Ross and Cromarty, Skye and Lochalsh.