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Ports & destinations

Baltic Sea region sets record with more than five million cruise guests

More people than ever before are cruising in the Baltic Sea. That is what the newly published 2018 edition of the Cruise Baltic Market Review is showing, along with other positive developments from the past year.

Extensive data from 32 Baltic Sea ports lay the foundation for this year’s newly released Cruise Baltic Market Review. The report presents the developments from 2017 as well as the expected numbers for 2018, and shows growth in both calls, turnarounds and guest numbers reaching a total of 5,054,849 guests. The reason for the positive growth in the Baltic cruise business is to be found in the cruise guest satisfaction level, which is among the world’s highest.

“Cruise Baltic is very pleased to report that a record-breaking number of cruise guests are visiting the Baltic Region. Furthermore, we had a growth in both calls and turnarounds. The positive developments are caused by our high guest satisfaction level which comes from the fantastic service provided in all member ports. Our guests love the well-functioning infrastructure and the high intensity of ports that makes it possible for them to visit several capitals in a one-week cruise, where they can experience local authentic cultures but where the locals all speak English,” director of Cruise Baltic, Claus Bødker, says.

The record-breaking number of Baltic cruise guests in 2017 is equivalent to a 16,6% increase compared to 2016. In average, visitor numbers have been growing with 9,7% since 2000 going from a total of 1,1 million visitors back then to the approximately 5 million guests last year. Besides guest numbers, Cruise Baltic also experienced growth within calls and turnarounds, where the total amount of calls was increased by 15,4% and the number of turnarounds was 3,9% higher than the year before.

“Cruise Baltic had a great 2017, when looking at the growth we experienced on all parameters, and the positive development does not end there as we estimate that we in 2018, will be breaking visitor records yet again,” director of Cruise Baltic, Claus Bødker, explains.

Next year Cruise Baltic expects guest numbers to grow with another 8,4% meaning an increase of 1,2 million guests since 2016.

Cruise the Saint Lawrence to promote winter cruises

In the wake of demonstrated interest by the international cruise industry in the wonders of winter in ports of call across Québec, Cruise the Saint Lawrence (CSL) is spearheading an initiative to promote the development of winter explorer cruises for adventure travellers in search of authentic Nordic experiences. CSL is indeed set to market the merits of the winter season with an inaugural familiarization tour in mid-February.

As trends in travel substantiate a marked interest in cruise destinations such as the Arctic and Antarctic, Québec’s brand of Nordic experience features a singular blend of bracing outdoor and vibrant urban possibilities.

Three international cruise line and one trade media representatives will be setting off to discover what winter has to offer in Montréal, Trois-Rivières, Québec and Saguenay. Program activities include urban discovery tours, ice skating, tobogganing, a taste of Carnaval de Québec and the city’s famed ice hotel, dog sledding, skidooing and ice fishing. The tourism supply of those ports of call not on the program schedule will also be presented to participants, with topics covered to include an insight into Inuit culture in winter, baby seal observation on the ice floes off the Iles de la Madeleine and skiing in the Chic-Choc mountains of the Gaspé Peninsula.

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 will therefore be taking part in an information session detailing technical requirements and services available to ensure ship and passenger safety.

The upcoming ground tour represents a first, not only for Québec but also for the entire Canada New England region. During the tour, winter offerings will be outlined for each of Québec, Atlantic Canada, the coast of Maine, Boston and New York. Participants will be outfitted by Chlorophylle, a Québec-based manufacturer of upmarket outdoor gear for which the prospect of a winter cruise season comes ripe with commercial potential.

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.

Port NOLA Tops 1.1 million cruise passengers in 2017, sets new record

The Port of New Orleans set a new record with 1,150,172 passenger movements at its Erato Street and Julia Street Cruise Terminals in 2017, marking the fourth consecutive year of more than one million cruise passenger movements and reinforcing its importance as a key driver of the hospitality industry’s economic impact in the region.

“These year-end results validate the continued appeal of cruising from the Crescent City and reflect our commitment to excellence,” said Brandy D. Christian, Port of New Orleans President and CEO. “We expect additional growth in 2018 and will continue to provide high-level service that complements New Orleans’ natural hospitality and vibrant energy. We hold ourselves to high standards and work to exceed expectations.”

With two state-of-the-art cruise terminals located close to the historic French Quarter and other local attractions, a majority of passengers choose to stay in New Orleans for a night or two before or after their trips, making a cruise from New Orleans “two vacations in one.”

As demand for cruises from Port NOLA continues to grow, our cruise line partners are responding by deploying newer ships with more capacity to homeport in New Orleans.

Royal Caribbean International returns to New Orleans and will homeport the Vision of the Seas, a 2,500-passenger ship that will sail seasonal seven-night itineraries in December 2018.

Norwegian Cruise Line will replace the Norwegian Pearl by deploying the largest cruise vessel to ever sail out of New Orleans with the 4,000-passenger Norwegian Breakaway in November 2018.

Carnival Cruise Line will increase its capacity on its short cruise program in 2019 by replacing the Carnival Triumph with the Carnival Valor, a 3,000-passenger ship. Carnival will also replace the Carnival Dream with the Carnival Glory that same year. Norwegian Cruise Line will also offer guests a new cruise experience in 2019 when the 4,000-passenger Norwegian Getaway repositions in New Orleans replacing the Norwegian Breakaway.

In September 2018, American Cruise Lines will increase its New Orleans-homeported inland river cruise vessels with the launch of the 190-passenger American Song, the first in a new modern riverboat series.

“Homeporting newer and larger cruise ships in 2018 adds to our city’s excitement as we celebrate our 300th birthday,” said Christian. “This is great news for tourists, residents and the region’s hospitality industry.”

Port NOLA ranks as the sixth-largest cruise port in the United States, with direct industry expenditures in Louisiana totaling $432 million, supporting 8,321 jobs and providing $347 million in personal income with an average salary of $42,000 per year, according to research conducted by Cruise Lines International Association. Additionally, 80 percent of cruise guests travel from out-of-state and 60 percent spend an average of two days in New Orleans either before or after their cruise. These passengers generate over 112,000 room nights in New Orleans-area hotels which generate over $15,000,000 in hotel revenue annually.

The Erato Street Cruise Terminal and Parking Garage features more than 1,000 covered and secured parking spaces located on top of the terminal with Seacap luggage assistance. The Julia Street Cruise Terminal Complex features a climate-controlled and ADA-compliant passenger gangway, as well as designated port parking with Seacap luggage assistance.

Cruise passengers embarking from New Orleans can visit the best beaches in the world from the Bahamas to Belize on a wide variety of itineraries as Port NOLA currently offers three ocean cruises: Carnival Dream, a 3,600-passenger ship sailing year-round, 7-night itineraries; Carnival Triumph, a 2,700-passenger ship, sailing year-round 4- and 5-night itineraries; and Norwegian Pearl, a 2,400-passenger ship sailing seasonal 7-, 10- & 11-night itineraries.

The American Queen Steamboat Company and American Cruise Lines both homeport two paddle wheelers at Port NOLA and offer inland river cruises. The American Queen Steamboat Company launched a new service in Aug. 2017 on its American Duchess, a 166-passenger, all-suit paddle wheeler that offers 9-night cruises. The American Queen Steamboat Company also operates the American Queen, a 436-passenger vessel that’s the largest riverboat in the world and offers 5- and 9-night cruises. American Cruise Lines offers 7-night cruises on the 150-passenger Queen of the Mississippi and the 185-passenger America.

Southampton handled 2.0 million cruise passengers in 2017 

A record breaking 2.0 million cruise passengers used the Port of Southampton in the UK in 2017 a, said Associated British Ports, the port’s owner, in a statement.

Every time a cruise ship visits Southampton, it is estimated to bring a cash boost of £2.0 million and in 2017 there more than 500 cruise calls. ABP Southampton Director, Alastair Welch, said: “2017 was a record-breaking year for the Port of Southampton and 2018 looks set to be even busier.

Danish ports expect record season, cruise calls to cover nine months of year

An all-time high number of cruise guests are heading towards Denmark in 2018. Copenhagen, will receive the majority of guests, but based upon numbers collected by CruiseCopenhagen, most Danish ports can report of an increase in cruise guests, the organisation said in a statement.

The Danish ports expect their busiest year in cruise. More than 1.1 million guests are expected to visit Denmark during the cruise season of 2018 which is an all-time record. At the same time, the cruise season in Copenhagen will be the longest ever. With 215 days, only January, February and November do not have any cruise calls. In comparison, the cruise season lasted only 173 days in 2016. Furthermore, Copenhagen will welcome seven cruise ships during this year’s Christmas season in December – also a new and positive figure.    

“Denmark will experience the highest number of cruise guests visiting the country in 2018, both in Copenhagen, but certainly also outside of Copenhagen there will be an increase of cruise guests this year. The Danish destinations and ports have co-operated strategically to promote the destinations effectively to our partners in cruise lines and to travel suppliers worldwide,” says Claus Bødker, Director of CruiseCopenhagen.

During 2018, a record of 100.000 guests will go ashore in Aarhus, and in Skagen, in Northern Denmark, the number of cruise guests will double. The destinations Bornholm, Kalundborg, Elsinore and Hundested have also announced a significant increase of cruise guests during this cruise season. In 2018, cruise lines will bring almost 250.000 guests to the Danish ports outside of Copenhagen and this number has never been higher.

Even though the ports outside of Copenhagen experience an increase of cruise guests, it is still Copenhagen that attracts most cruise guests. Copenhagen is the largest cruise destination in Northern Europe and with the anticipated 875.000 cruise guests in 2018, the capital expects to strengthen its popularity further in the global cruise market.