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Ports & destinations

Cruise the Saint Lawrence promotes winter cruising

In response to a demonstrated interest in winter cruising by international cruise industry organizers, Cruise the Saint Lawrence last week hosted a visit for three cruise company representatives seeking to experience first-hand the wonders of winter in ports of call across Québec. With smaller expedition vessels currently under construction at shipyards around the world, cruise lines are intent upon tapping into the growing pool of cruise aficionados with a penchant for off-season explorer tours.

Trends in travel point to a marked interest in cruise destinations such as the Arctic or Antarctic viewed as ripe with the promise of truly unique experiences. Adventure cruise enthusiasts indeed figure among those travellers who ascribe a certain exoticism to Québec’s brand of Nordic experience. Cruise the Saint Lawrence must therefore spearhead the drive to raise the profile of our myriad outdoor activities, our unique Nordic attributes and our vibrant urban centres with offerings such as out-of-the-ordinary ice fishing expeditions and sugaring off excursions.

During this second winter familiarization tour, participants travelled to Montréal, Trois-Rivières, Québec, Gaspé and Îles de la Madeleine. Representatives from each of the Saint Lawrence member ports of call gathered at Gaspé to present the specifics of their individual locations and meet with cruise company representatives. Tour activities included baby seal watching, dog sledding, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, ice fishing, a visit to a cabane à sucre, and cultural discoveries in our urban ports of Québec, Trois-Rivières and Montréal.

Navigating the Saint Lawrence, Saguenay Fjord and Gulf of Saint Lawrence in winter can present challenges for cruise operators. Officials from Transport Canada, local port administrations, Canadian Coast Guard, Laurentian Pilotage Authority and other relevant authorities took part in an information session during which they detailed the technical requirements and services available to ensure ship and passenger safety.

Upon conclusion of the tour, guest cruise company representatives set about analysing and plotting possible cruise itineraries. Member ports of call and all organizations involved will naturally have to adapt offerings to take proper advantage of emerging opportunities.

Once again this year, event partner Chlorophylle, a Québec-based manufacturer of upmarket outdoor gear, outfitted tour participants.

Cruise the Saint Lawrence is a sectoral organization which groups together the nine ports of call located along the shores of the Saint Lawrence River. The mission of the organization is to grow cruise market activities in Québec and across Destination Canada New England through the provision of marketing and development services to members. Cruise the Saint Lawrence enjoys the support of partners Tourism Québec, Québec Tourism Industry Alliance and Industry, Science and Economic Development Canada.

Hamburg Cruise Days in September to welcome 12 ships

Hamburg Cruise Days, the world´s largest public cruise festival, will see 12 ships to attend the three day event in mid-September, Hamburg marketing GmbH that promotes the city, said in a statement.

The cruise ships to visit the port over the 11 to 13 September period are AIDAperla, AIDAsol, AIDAvita (AIDA Cruises), Amadea (Phoenix Reisen), Costa Mediterranea (Costa Cruises), Europa and Europa 2 (Hapag-Lloyd Cruises), Mein Schiff 4 (TUI Cruises), MSC Preziosa (MSC Cruises), World Explorer (Nicko Cruises) as well as the river cruise ships Frederic Chopin and Sans Souci (both of Plantours).

The port handled 223 cruise ships and more than 900,000 passengers last year, the city said.

Global Ports Holding signs 30-year concession agreement with Antigua Barbuda

Global Ports Holding Plc, the world's largest independent cruise port operator, has announced that, following it signing of a Memorandum of Understanding which was announced on 9 November 2018, GPH has now signed a 30-year concession agreement with the Government of Antigua and Barbuda for cruise port operations in Antigua on an exclusive basis. The concession also includes certain retail outlets in the project area. This concession marks the Group’s important second step in its expansion into the Americas, after the signing of Havana in 2018.

Under the terms of the concession agreement, the Group will use its global expertise and operating model to manage the cruise port operations in Antigua. In addition, GPH will finance the completion of the ongoing construction of a new pier which will allow the port to handle Oasis class ships. The Group will also invest in improving the current retail facilities and designing and financing the construction of new purpose built retail and F&B facilities.

The successful commencement of the concession is subject to a number of final conditions being satisfied, including, among others, the Group securing suitable financing. GPH is in advanced discussions with local and international banks in relation to long term bank financing for the concession. Full financial closure and commencement of the concession is expected to occur in first half of 2019, although there can be no certainty as to the timing or that the final conditions will be satisfied. A further announcement, as appropriate, will be made in due course.

Port St. Maarten reports over 1.5 million cruise passengers in 2018

Port St. Maarten welcomed a total of 1,597,101 cruise passengers on 489 cruise calls in 2018, reflecting a 29% increase in visitor arrivals year-over-year. The acclaimed cruise port saw a 30.3% increase from May through July, when cruise visitations to the island are typically a bit slower.

“St. Maarten’s cruise port has always been one of the best in the Caribbean. These arrival numbers don’t only reflect that fact, but also highlight how quickly the island has bounced back,” said the Director of Tourism of St. Maarten Ms. May-Ling Chun.

The latter half of 2018 also brought about the return to pre-Irma cruise arrival numbers. Port St. Maarten welcomed 646,431 passengers from September to December, indicating a 17.87% increase in arrivals from the same time period in 2016, a full year before Hurricane Irma.

“St. Maarten as a tourism product is set to come back even stronger and better than ever,” stated Stuart Johnson, St. Maarten’s Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport, and Telecommunication. “We look forward to continuing to welcome cruise passengers back to our shores with classic St. Maarten warmth and hospitality throughout 2019.”

Though 2017–2018 numbers year over year showcase a positive path of progression for Port St. Maarten, 2017 was generally a slower year for the port as it was not operational for the months of October and November.

Port of Galveston signs 10-year agreement with Disney Cruise Line

The Port of Galveston has finalized a new agreement with Disney Cruise Line extending preferential berthing agreement rights at the Port for an additional 10 years with an option to renew for two additional five year periods effective November 1, 2018.

The new agreement outlines plans for a shared cruise terminal that will accommodate a ship equal to or larger than the Disney Magic/Disney Wonder class of vessel. Additionally, it is projected that over the first five years of the potential 20 year agreement, Disney will nearly double its sailings. Disney Cruise Line has orders on the books for three new cruise ships.

“September 22, 2012 marked the first time ever that a Disney Cruise Line ship set sail from the State of Texas with the maiden voyage of Disney Wonder. The Port has been seasonal homeport to both Disney Wonder and Disney Magic ever since. We are thrilled to be able to continue to give Texas and the southwest region of the United States the opportunity to experience Disney cruise vacations from their own backyard,” said Port of Galveston CEO/Port Director, Rodger Rees. “We are proud to be one of the few selected homeports for Disney Cruise Line.”

“Our guests have loved visiting Galveston and setting sail from this historic port to the western Caribbean, Key West and the Bahamas,” said Jeff Vahle, president of Disney Signature Experiences and Disney Cruise Line. “As we plan to expand our fleet and introduce new experiences and entertainment aboard our ships, we couldn’t be more excited to extend our commitment with the Port of Galveston.”

CBM 2018/2019 Winter