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Ports & destinations

Marella Explorer makes inaugural call to Gibraltar

Marella Cruises' newest ship Marella Explorer made its inaugural call to Gibraltar on Wednesday 18th July 2018.

Formerly known as the Mein Schiff 1, the ship recently underwent a multi million pound makeover. A number of new fleet features are a Champneys health spa, a selection of new eateries, new retail brands and The Emulator, a state of the art Interactive DJ screen overlooking the dance floor in the Indigo night club.

Marella Explorer has a capacity for 1924 passengers and 909 crew, making it the cruise line’s largest vessel in their six ship fleet. The ship will be sailing the western Mediterranean during the summer before sailing down to the Caribbean for the winter.

As with all other inaugural calls, an informal plaque exchange ceremony took place on board with the ship’s captain. Representatives from the Gibraltar Tourist Board, Gibraltar Port Authority and local shipping agents Incargo attended.

New passenger terminal is open for business at DP World Limassol

The new passenger terminal in Limassol, Cyprus, which was opened in May, provides world-class facilities and services for passengers and features seven pods with a total floor area of 8,205 m2. The terminal is designed to facilitate both Transit (day call) and turnaround (home porting) services. In addition, the East berth with a length of 480m and depth of 11m is able to handle the largest cruise vessels in the world.

At DP World Limassol, the terminal is separated into three principal areas; Cruise; Oil and Gas logistics zone; and Domestic/transit trade area. This allows DP World Limassol to offer additional services and operations that support the Cyprus economy.

The Oil and Gas logistics zone is 100,000 m2 with a 430m berth and has been awarded with full environmental impact assessment and relevant permits. Current occupation is at 30%, and has been used to support recent ENI’s successful Cyprus EEZ offshore drilling campaign. Exxon Mobile has also nominated DP World Limassol Oil and Gas zone as its planned drilling logistics base.

Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades, said: “The Cyprus Government is particularly pleased for the highly experienced international and local partners, DP World who will ensure the success of Limassol Port in the coming decades. The Port of Limassol is one of the largest commercialization projects in Cyprus to date. It serves as a model for the Republic of Cyprus and its ongoing efforts for a prosperous future as a modern centre for investment, trade and services."

Busy cruise season ahead for Baie-Comeau

For a fifth year in a row, cruise season of Baie-Comeau will begin with the arrival of the Pearl Mist on May 27. "Our team is preparing for a record year with the arrival of 11 giants of the seas, including the prestigious Disney Magic, for a total of 21 calls representing 18,875 passengers and crew," Baie-Comeau Cruises said in a statement.

“The small Baie-Comeau Cruises team, led by executive director Renée Dumas, has chalked up an incredible achievement with the upcoming visit of the Disney Magic, which will be like a childhood dream come true for many. The team continues to grow as it works tirelessly to overcome the obstacles in its path. Team members spread their passion and promote their vision through our community, taking the time to work closely with our local merchants and partners while spreading their “joie de vivre” around the world. Baie-Comeau is clearly benefiting from the arrival of international cruises and we will continue to grow,” said Baie-Comeau mayor Yves Montigny.

For the first time, Baie-Comeau will welcome the CTMA Vacancier from CTMA Cruises on September 19, Cruise and Maritime Voyages' Marco Polo on September 23, Disney Cruise Line's Disney Magic on September 25 and 30, Silversea’s Silver Wind on October 7,12 and November 2 and Silver Spirit on October 9 and 29.

Cruise investments have a positive impact for all residents

Starting in June, a new bicycle rental service will be available directly at the cruise terminal. The new service, financed in part by the regional tourism association, will offer hybrid, electric and tandem bicycles, as well as children’s bicycles and scooters to tourists and cruise passengers as well as to local residents. Significant investments will also be made in the coming months to enhance the rest areas along the Pioneer Promenade, from the cruise terminal to Pioneer Park.

Partners engaged in the cruise economy

In order to meet cruise line requirements for hospitality, Baie-Comeau Cruises mobilized its financial partners to make additional destination improvements and better position Baie-Comeau as a port of call in order to capitalize on the growth of international cruises on the St. Lawrence. "The involvement and financial support of our partners and their enthusiasm for our projects and development strategies are a clear signal of our shared commitment to developing Baie-Comeau as a cruise destination," said Baie-Comeau Cruises president Viviane Richard. Among other things, thanks to the Plan Nord Initiatives Fund, Baie-Comeau is acquiring a new gangway system custom made for large ships like the Disney Magic. The new system will be ready for the maiden call of the Disney Cruise Line’s vessel. It will allow our destination to offer a more efficient system for disembarkation/embarkation operations for large ships and the possibility of offering two gangways for ship operations.

Long-term outlook

The cruise industry is on a roll and Baie-Comeau Cruises has recognized the importance of a long-term vision. Shipyard order books have never been so full and ships are getting bigger. It is essential for Baie-Comeau to offer safe harbor facilities that meet the requirements of large vessels and that can accommodate several vessels at a time.

Baie-Comeau Cruises will proceed with a feasibility study on the construction of a new pier for tourists and residents. The impetus for the project is a desire to meet the needs of local residents, who would like to be able to bring their kids to the pier, as in bygone days. In the long term, Baie-Comeau Cruises also has plans to develop nautical tourism, diversify its service offerings, and create new events such as the one we had last summer with the Tall Ships Races. “Our organizing committee was overwhelmed by the success of the Tall Ships Races weekend and the enthusiastic response from local residents. It’s simple really—events like this put people back in touch with a lifestyle that they had back in the days. Being close to the St. Lawrence, enjoying the view and the fresh air—this is what defines us. That’s why I will continue to do everything I can to give the community a pier they can enjoy first-hand with their families.” said Renée Dumas, executive director of Baie-Comeau Cruises.

Hakata Port accommodates first turnaround of the season

On Saturday, June 30th, 2018, the Costa neoRomantica called at Hakata Port for this year’s first turnaround cruise from Hakata to the Sea of Japan and departed with a large number of guests.

Fukuoka City Jazz Orchestra, a Fukuoka city officials’ band sent them off with a passionate performance. The pier was filled with warm hospitality despite the rain.

Hakata Port will have 11 turnaround cruises by Costa neoRomantica as well as some turnaround cruises by Japanese cruise lines this year. The port will continue efforts to increase the number of turnaround cruises as a cruise hub port.

Valletta hosts its first ever cruise ship naming ceremony

Ultra-luxury cruise line Seabourn introduced its newest vessel, Seabourn Ovation, with the first ever cruise ship naming ceremony held at the Valletta Grand Harbour, Malta on Friday May 11.

Seabourn along with local representatives Valletta Cruise Port, Malta Tourism Authority and Mifsud Brothers Ltd, and a host of local stakeholders, worked on a line-up of celebratory events to mark this day.

On arrival guests were treated to a display of local folk dancing by dancers wearing Maltese traditional costumes.

Early in the afternoon, guests could follow a historic re-enactment by Inguardia showing events happening during the times of the Knights of St. John.

An artisan market was held aboard the ship where guests had the opportunity to view the artists at work and ask them further about their craft.

The evening celebrations kicked off with a live performance by the ship’s godmother, actress and singer Elaine Paige, one of the world's most highly awarded actresses and singers of Westend and Broadway fame. Following her performance, she completed the maritime tradition of releasing a bottle of champagne that was broken against the hull of the ship. The ship’s whistle cued in a 7-canon salute from the historic Saluting Battery, metres away from the ship’s berthing location at Valletta Cruise Port. This moment was broadcast on a large viewing screen for guests of the maiden voyage.

A full orchestra ensemble performed a themed musical work and provided additional entertainment during the evening ceremony. Guests also witnessed the debut of the new Seabourn anthem written by Tim Rice entitled “We Sail to See the Lives of Others.”

The evening was capped off with an impressive fireworks’ display synchronised to music, coordinated and produced by local fireworks’ factory St. Mary Fireworks of Mqabba, over Valletta’s Grand Harbour, lighting up the historic buildings and fortifications in the process.

“We would like to congratulate Seabourn on this momentous day. This event marked the naming of the fifth ultra-luxury vessel to join the Seabourn fleet over the past decade. This is indeed a proud moment for Valletta, and we are pleased to be have been entrusted with hosting our first-ever cruise ship naming ceremony in our historical Grand Harbour with the Capital City of Valletta serving as the best possible backdrop for this event," commented Valletta Cruise Port’s CEO, Stephen Xuereb.

The ship’s maiden voyage includes an 11-night Inaugural Mediterranean cruise visiting a number of key Mediterranean ports.