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Ports & destinations

Piraeus reports increase in cruise passengers

According to the 2016 statistics for the cruise sector, Piraeus port made a significant increase of over 10% (113,000 passengers) compared to 2015, while the home port traffic achieved an increase of 24%, as a result of the very good cooperation with the Carnival Corporation & plc. At a time of continuous difficulty in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Aegean is a sea of security and peace and the Piraeus cruise port is a modern hub which provides complete services to passengers and ships.

The 111th meeting of the Med Cruise Board of Directors (The Association of Mediterranean Cruise Ports) hosted by Piraeus Port Authority at its headquarters in Piraeus.

During the meeting, on the 27th of January, there was a working lunch for the Board members with the new president of CLIA Europe (Cruise Lines International Association), Kerry Anastasiadis, in order to take common initiatives for the development of the cruise industry in the Mediterranean.

Silversea to operate from Port Everglades at for least two winters

Port Everglades in Florida will welcome Silversea Cruises' newest cruise ship Silver Muse on 12-13 October 2017, and the port will continue to serve as the line’s winter homeport for the next two years according to a new agreement between Silversea and the Broward County Commission, the county said in a statement

"Silversea Cruises has been a valued customer of Port Everglades for many years, and with the agreement in place, we look forward to welcoming Silversea's newest flagship Silver Muse when it makes its U.S. debut this fall," said Port Everglades Chief Executive & Port Director Steven Cernak.

Silversea Cruises has been sailing from Port Everglades since October 2000. The 596-passenger Silver Muse is scheduled for five sailings next year in addition to voyages on Silver Spirit, Silver Whisper and Silver Wind also sailing from Port Everglades. The agreement is for an initial two-year period with the option to renew for an additional three years, with a minimum of 12 sailings annually.

Antigua & Barbuda minister upbeat on cruise industry outlook

After three days of discussions and presentations to cruise industry decision-makers in South Florida, Antigua & Barbuda’s Minister of Tourism, Honourable Asot A. Michael is “very encouraged” about the future of his country’s cruise sector, the ministry said in a statement.

The Minister’s optimism follows his recent visit to South Florida (January 25 – 27) during which time he met with several cruise lines including Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, MSC, Holland America, Seaborn, and Princess Cruises. The Minister and his team also received valuable feedback from the Operations Committee of the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA).

In commenting on his meetings, Minister Michael said, “The cruise executives and itinerary planners were impressed with our vision for improving how Antigua will be welcoming their ships and passengers, and their feedback has helped us to better understand their specific needs for achieving sustainable growth. I am confident that we have developed the right masterplan, and it is now up to our Government to identify additional financing to complete what we started last year when we successfully implemented critically needed marine improvements at St. John’s Harbour and the Heritage Pier.”

In 2016, under the leadership of Minister Michael, the Antigua & Barbuda Government commenced an ambitious cruise facilities and downtown development program. To date, some $50 million has already been spent on the harbour and lengthening and strengthening the Heritage Pier to allow for the berthing of larger ships up to a Quantum-class size.

The arrival of Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas on 2 December 2016 heralded the start of what is expected to be a new growth phase for the Antiguan cruise sector. The Cruise-sector Masterplan calls for further dredging of the approach channel and turning area, the creation of a fifth berth, and land reclamation to help with major improvements to pedestrian and vehicle flows, town aesthetics, tour operations, and shopping.

Gothenburg’s Amerikaskjulet to reopen as cruise terminal 2018

The Port of Gothenburg in Sweden said it would reopen Amerikaskjulet, the one time terminal of the Swedish America Line, as cruise terminal next year.

“Gothenburg has developed considerably as a maritime city,” said Jill Söderwall, Vice President Cruise at Gothenburg Port Authority. This year be the final season in which cruise ships can dock at Frihamnen. The area will form part of a major urban development scheme with the construction of homes and offices, forcing the present cruise terminal to find a new location.

The new central cruise terminal will be at Stigbergskajen in Masthugget. The quay and part of the terminal building, Amerikaskjulet, are currently being restored and will be ready to welcome vessels from spring 2018. The new name - America Cruise Terminal – evokes memories of the terminal’s illustrious past.

“The location is ideal as it is within walking distance of the inviting and vibrant districts of Majorna, Linné and Haga, and just a short journey by public transport or chartered bus into the city centre. Now that the beautiful and historically significant Amerikaskjulet is about to be revived as a passenger terminal, cruise guests can look forward to a warm, and authentic reception,” Jill Söderwall explained.

Amerikaskjulet was constructed in 1912 and operated as a passenger terminal until 1975. The building was then converted into offices, even if the quay was used occasionally by naval vessels and school ships. Part of Amerikaskjulet will now be converted into a reception hall with a tourist information office, souvenir shop and other facilities.

Malta reports another record year

According to figures published last week by the National Statistics Office (NSO), 2016 was yet another record year for cruise passengers visiting Malta. A total of 682,222 passenger movements were recorded, meaning an increase of 2% on 2015. As per NSO statistics, which exclude embarking passengers, the 2016 landed passengers amounted to 626,082.

The Minister for Tourism Hon. Dr. Edward Zammit Lewis welcomed these positive figures for the local cruise sector. The Minister noted that according to a study commissioned by the Valletta Cruise Port, it is estimated that in 2015 the cruise industry contributed around €90 million through direct expenditure into the Maltese Economy. ‘’Moreover, the multiplier effect increases this contribution and creates even further economic benefits,’’ explained Minister Dr. Zammit Lewis.

Minister Zammit Lewis stated that the sister island of Gozo is also reaping extensive economic benefits from the success generated by the cruise sector. In 2016, according to figures produced by Transport Malta, 19 cruise port calls were registered in Gozo, and that carried nearly 7,000 passengers. ‘’This number of passengers is actually double that recorded in 2012,’’ continued the Minister for Tourism.

The Minister noted that Malta is strategically positioned in the middle of the Mediterranean and also enjoys a resilient level of security while this industry is serving as an important incentive for regeneration projects and investment particularly within the Grand Harbour region.

Minister Dr. Zammit Lewis affirmed that Government is committed to continue investing and working to maintain the cruise sector on the growth path in the short and long term through more infrastractural investment and further collaboration with the stakeholders in order to attract more cruise lines toward Malta and Gozo.

Economic revenue from cruising is not the only contribution that Malta benefits from this sector. Passengers spend a few hours on local shores and enjoy a minor taste of what the country has to offer, that is, a fantastic tourist destination and a natural choice for their holidays. Many passengers are charmed by our islands during their short visit and decide to return for a longer holiday. ‘’Cruising is serving as an exceptional and very effective showcase for our islands’’ explained the Minister for Tourism.

Valletta Cruise Port stated that 2016 was another very positive year with 42 cruise companies and 81 different cruise ships calling the port. Clearly, the cruise industry is growing year-on-year and is increasingly contributing towards Malta’s economic growth and prosperity.

During the year, Valletta Cruise Port, a subsidiary of the biggest cruise port operator worldwide, Global Ports Holding, was the recipient of two awards namely, the Best Terminal Operator by Cruise Insight and the award for Best Mediterranean Port & Destination by Cruise Excellence Awards. These awards reflect the company’s drive toward excellence and certify the efficient port infrastructure and outstanding service, including passenger flows, safety and security, besides the attractiveness of the destination itself.

Acquiring ‘Homeporting’ operations is key to the growth of this sector and there is intense competition within all Mediterranean cruise ports on this front. Government is committed to work relentlessly together with all stakeholders to attract more cruise lines that are interested in offering cruises that set sail and terminate at our harbour. ‘’Therefore, it was of great satisfaction that last year we secured our second regular homeporting operation for Malta, with the prestigious P&O Cruises' Oceana,’’ stated Minister Zammit Lewis.

During 2017, this cruise line is expected to make 27 port calls carrying over 100,000 passengers on a Fly and Cruise programme, together with another 5 port calls where another 10,000 passengers would be visiting Malta as a port of call. The Minister for Tourism stated that thanks to such new initiatives the cruisel sector in Malta is succesfully growing and our tourism industry, and economy at large, is benefitting both directly and indirectly.

‘’These results reflect the coordinated and collaborated drive amongst all stakeholders, particularly Valletta Cruise Port, to continue developing our product and promote Malta as a unique and effective destination for Mediterranean cruises,’’ concluded the Minister for Tourism Dr. Zammit Lewis.

Furthermore, the Malta Cruise Network Forum was also established bringing together in one forum all stakeholders to ensure that Malta delivers efficiently, reliably and flexibly to the cruise lines and their passengers, while ensuring alignment among all parties involved.

The forecasts for financial year 2017 raise the bar even higher, with a target of over 700,000 passenger movements through 330 port calls.

Stephen Xuereb, CEO of Valletta Cruise Port and COO of Global Ports Holding commented that, “The cruise industry is growing with more new ships being ordered in line with increased demand. Between 2016 and 2026 the total of new beds coming on-board exceeds 220,000 worldwide. Continuous timely investment in our infrastructure and our service delivery is paramount for us to remain competitive. A planning application for a €6m project to widen Quays 4/5 has been submitted. Plans are being finalised to redevelop the Old Power House to create further quayside cultural and entertainment, with additional check-in facilities. 2017 is also the run-up year to Valletta 2018, where Valletta will hold the title of the European Capital of Culture, with the calendar of events adding exciting layers to what the destination already offers.”



CBR 1/2016 contents