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Ports & destinations

Adriatic Sea Tourism Report shows mainly healthy trends of business

A preview of some of the data from the Adriatic Sea Tourism Report shows that in 2016 there was a rise in cruise passenger numbers (approx. 5.1 million, +5.5%) and ferry passengers (17.6 million, +3.5%) and a positive situation for turnover in the marinas and charter companies.

The organisation will hold its annual conference in 27 and 28 April.

The number of cruise calls in the Adriatic region rose to more than more than 3,700, an increase of 10.5% on 2015. Last year, Italian ports recorded a figure of 2.3 million passengers (-2.5%) and 843 calls (-1.4%); yet these results have confirmed Italy at the top of the country list, ahead of Croatia and Greece, the organisation said in a statement

Acapulco registers a 64 percent increase in cruise ship arrivals during 2017

Acapulco is a destination that attracts both national and international travelers year-round to enjoy the destination’s beaches, nightlife, natural attractions and so on. Acapulco’s port receives ships coming from North and Central America during the cruise season, which takes place between September and July.

Acapulco is ready to receive 28 cruise ships, which have been confirmed for 2017, compared to 18 cruise ships during 2016, representing a 64 percent increase for this upcoming season despite Holland America’s announcement about their route adjustment. Therefore, meetings have been established with Holland America’s executives to present them with ongoing security advances at the port.

Acapulco will receive a total of 10 more cruise ships this year while continuing to promote and supervise the port of Acapulco’s operations to attract more ships, in collaboration with international cruise lines. Currently, the following nine cruise lines operate in Acapulco: Norwegian Cruise Line, Regent Seven Seas, V-Ships, Silversea, Oceania Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Global, Saga and Hapag-Lloyd.

Recently, a delegation headed by the Acapulco Tourism Board and integrated by the directive of the Integral Port Administration (API) of Acapulco, executives of the Acapulco Destination Marketing Office and several tour operators were present at the international convention, Seatrade Cruise Global - held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida - where they held meetings with the major shipping companies. Similarly, a meeting is scheduled with the Operations Committee of the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) to deliver a firsthand report on the operation of cruise ships at the destination.

It is important to highlight that Norwegian Cruise Line Holding, a company with regular operations in Acapulco, put this destination as an example before the Port of Lima, as its operations model has been executed with zero incidents in recent years. Thus, Peruvian authorities from Lima will visit Acapulco to experience firsthand the successful program which links the port with the city of Acapulco for travel tours, supported by various reputable travel agencies.

Cruise operations in the Port of Acapulco are assisted by the Center for Tourist Attention and Protection (CAPTA), which is an innovative organization recognized worldwide for tourism assistance and safety implemented for the first time in Mexico. The federal, state and municipal authorities reiterate their commitment to the successful operation of the cruise ships in Acapulco and will continue collaborating with the international cruise lines, resolving their concerns while continually attracting tourists to the destination by sea, as well as providing the necessary conditions for their visit.

Penang Port and Royal Caribbean Cruises enter joint venture to upgrade Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal

Penang Port Sdn Bhd (PPSB) will collaborate with Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCL) in a joint venture to upgrade and improve Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal (SPCT) in Georgetown, Penang, to accommodate berthing of larger cruise ships at its facilities. The 60/40 joint venture will be jointly managed by both parties, with the majority stake held by PPSB.


Plans for the facilities include extension of the existing berths to 688 metres from its current length of 400 metres. This will enable the terminal to berth two mega cruise liners carrying over 4,900 passengers each at any one time, in line with the industry requirement as Penang comes of age as a “choice port of call” for international cruise operators.

In addition, the redevelopment will include spaces for tour buses to ease the flow of traffic in the areas around SPCT. The USD35 million project will further focus on improving accessibility for the aged and physically challenged throughout the terminal from ship to shore.

This planned development has received unyielding support from both State and Federal government and associated government agencies including Tourism bodies, and will be a focal part of Malaysian Tourism EPP6 plan to create a “Straits and Borneo Cruise Riviera”.

This joint venture between RCL and PPSB, will showcase Georgetown, a UNESCO World Heritage site to a fast-growing tourism market, the “water tourists” that travel the world on luxury cruise liners. The ability to handle more and larger cruise vessels in Swettenham Pier will entrench Penang as a major cruise destination in the region.

RCL is scheduled to make 38 calls in Penang in 2017.

New digital travel company GoBe.com launches

GoBe.com launched yesterday, setting a new standard in the tours and activities sector. GoBe offers an interactive digital platform that travelers can use to book thousands of day tours and activities in hundreds of destinations worldwide. The highly anticipated venture is the only site of its kind that allows users to completely customize and build private itineraries.

GoBe has hand-selected every tour and experience on the site with authenticity, value, and fun in mind. With an activity searchable by nearly any traveler’s interest, the website offers easy-to-use search features that allow travelers to search by Destination, Interest or Group requirements. The site has three primary categories of activities: high-value group tours, private excursions, and exclusive, completely tailor-made “Travel Creations” that are found nowhere else online. Additionally, the easy-to-navigate portal searches cruise schedule itineraries, pricing, and availability for a wide variety of experiential activities, from architecture walking tours and culinary adventures to wildlife exploration and over-the-top bucket-list experiences. With hundreds of tours added each week, GoBe emerges as the world’s easiest-to-use online tour provider.

“We’re thrilled to officially open GoBe to every type of traveler, from hotel guests and staycationers to business travelers with a long layover. Today marks the start of our continued growth and evolution as the leading experiential online tour provider,” said Billy Campbell, Managing Director for GoBe.

Responding to travelers’ growing desire to uncover authentic local experiences, iconic attractions, and off-the-beaten path adventures, GoBe draws from decades of connections and expertise, guaranteeing an unprecedented level of reliability and security in every online booking. With energetic, responsive web design, GoBe allows users to search and book seamlessly on any device.

Saga Pearl II to launch Port of Cork’s cruise season 20 March

Saga Pearl II of Saga Cruises will start the Port of Cork’s cruise liner season on 20 March, the first of 65 calls expected to visit Cork this season. Seven new liners will call this season on their maiden call, while Princess Cruises’ Caribbean Princess carrying 3,500 passengers will make fourteen visits this season, the port said in a statement.

With 65 calls in 2017, the Port of Cork anticipates a very busy season ahead for all involved, and an increased economic benefit for the region. Approximately 160,000 passengers and crew are expected to visit the city and county between March and November.

Commercial Manager at the Port of Cork, Captain Michael McCarthy said: ‘The 2017 Cork cruise season is booming which is great for the port and the region. The numbers of calls are up compared to 2016 and we feel very positive about this increase in business. It’s also very encouraging to see cruise lines bringing their newest vessels to Cork on maiden calls and choosing Cobh as part of their cruising route.’

He continued: ‘It is our ambition as a port company to attract larger cruise ships and increase our cruise calls to 75 per year. Already in 2018 the bookings are indicating we will achieve this goal, if not exceed it.’

In 2016 Cruise Critic, the world's leading cruise review site and online cruise community, announced the winners of the inaugural Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice Destination Awards with Cork’s Cobh ranked second favourite cruise destination in the British Isles and Western Europe. These awards recognised the high level of effort that goes into ensuring every cruise passenger visiting Cobh has a memorable visit to the region.

As well as Cork the Port of Cork also operates Bantry Bay Port Company which will see eight cruise liners calling to the West Cork area this summer. Bantry Harbour and Glengarriff can accommodate the smaller boutique cruise liners whose passengers tend to look for active expedition cruises.

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