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Ports & destinations

MedCruise President and Spanish Ports President discussed the challenges of the cruise business

Airam Diaz Pastor, President of MedCruise, met the President of Spanish Ports (Puertos del Estado), Ornella Chacon Martel, at the headquarters of her organisation in Madrid, where they had the opportunity to discuss about the future and challenges of the cruise industry as well as look for ways of collaboration in order to promote a sustainable cruise business in ports and cities of the region.

Diaz Pastor detailed all tasks and actions that MedCruise is developing in different areas of expertise such as alternative fuels in shipping industry, IMO new regulations in terms of emissions and cooperation with European bodies, among others.

Furthermore, Chacon Martel had the chance to find out the importance of the Spanish ports inside MedCruise Association, where they represent the 27% of the total cruise passenger movements handled by MedCruise members, which places Spain at the second position at the MedCruise ranking.

On the hand, Diaz Pastor highlighted that the 76% of the total cruise passengers that visited Spain in 2017, have been welcomed by MedCruise members, which sheds lights on the important role that MedCruise plays at the Spanish Ports system in terms of cruise passengers and calls as well as cruise destinations.

Finally, both Presidents discussed the several ways of collaboration ahead as well as the synergies and sort of actions to be studied for being developed together. Diaz Pastor and Chacon Martel showed their interested in promoting the region and the whole Mediterranean as a sustainable cruise destination and leave a mark in the industry by working for a greener and cleaner cruise business in this bright period.

Global Ports Holding signs Antigua and Barbuda MO

Global Ports Holding, the Istanbul based port operator that is listed in London, said it gad signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to operate ports in Antigua and Barbuda in the Caribbean.

Emre Sayin, Chief Executive Officer said in a statement “There has been progress in our inorganic growth strategy for the Cruise segment, with concessions for Havana and Zadar signed so far this year, and an MoU recently signed in relation to port operations in Antigua and Barbuda.”

The concession in Havana was the first one for the company in the Caribbean. The company is the world's largest cruise port operator with an established presence in the Mediterranean, Caribbean, Atlantic and Asia-Pacific regions. It was established in 2004 as an international port operator with a diversified portfolio of cruise and commercial ports.

Cruise passengers boost Cork’s economy by €12 million

With one more cruise ship left to visit in December, the Port of Cork’s 2018 cruise season is drawing to a close. A total of 92 cruise ships will have visited in 2018, the most significant cruise season ever for the Port of Cork; and with over 157,000 passengers and 69,000 crews stepping ashore this summer, the local economy gained over €12 Million.

The increased cruise calls to Cork are indicative of the wider global cruise business which has seen huge growth. In 2018 it is estimated that 27.2 million people will have taken a cruise on over 450 cruise ships worldwide.

With the global cruise ship order book for new build contracts reaching 113 ships between now and 2027, Cork cruise business is set to grow further in the coming years and the Port of Cork is eager to attract these new ships.

Brendan Keating, Port of Cork Chief Executive said: "Even though our cruise business has grown 30% in the last year, the biggest beneficiary is the region with up to €12 million injected into the local economy over the summer cruise season. This is a significant boost which we are delighted to facilitate. In 2019 we anticipate over 100 cruise calls to Cork and realistically this is how we expect the cruise business pace to continue.."

In October, the Port of Cork visited all the major cruise lines calling to Cork and feedback from the companies was very positive in terms of their passenger experiences when visiting Cork. Currently all cruise operations are handled in Cobh, Ireland’s only dedicated cruise berth, however with the continued growth in calls, the Port of Cork is now keen to explore the option of a second cruise berth in Cobh.

In that regard, the Port of Cork last week launched their ‘Expressions of Interest’ to the market inviting submissions from potential interested parties to develop and/or operate a new cruise berth at Lynch’s Quay Cobh.

Conor Mowlds, Port of Cork Chief Commercial Officer said: "By launching the Expressions of Interest we will see if there is an appetite in the market to develop a new cruise berth in Cobh. From the Port’s perspective, we know this business is growing and we want to have every possible option ready to capitalise on this business."

LidaComm selected for Oceania's and Regent's shore excursion project

LidaComm, Inc., a Ft. Lauderdale, FL-based travel marketing communications firm founded in 2011 to serve the cruise and tour industries, announced today that it has been selected by Miami, FL-based sister companies Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises to revamp descriptions for approximately 1,700 shore excursions in the Mediterranean, Africa and Middle East. The project entails researching and writing descriptions to include an engaging overview, intriguing highlights, helpful travel hints and the essential details of each excursion.

“It is an honor to welcome the world’s preeminent luxury cruise line and the world’s first upper premium cruise line to the LidaComm fold,” said LidaComm’s Founder and President, James Lida. “There is no greater treasure than a cruise line’s destinations and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to assist in defining what sets these two brands apart from competitors.”

Oceania Cruises, which operates six ships worldwide, and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, which welcomes its fifth ship, the 750-guest, all-suite, all-balcony Seven Seas Splendor in February 2020, are known for their ability to reach intimate ports not accessible to larger megaships. Both cruise lines are part of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings.

“When we needed an expert to enhance our shore excursions, we immediately thought of LidaComm,” said Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings’ Vice President, Destination Services, Christine Manjencic. “Their comprehensive knowledge of the cruise industry and ports around the world, particularly of those in the Mediterranean, Africa and Middle East, will help us better convey the unique nature of our shoreside guest experience with flair and excitement.”

LidaComm, Inc. was founded in 2011 by James Lida, a 30-year cruise industry veteran in the fields of marketing, public relations and copywriting. His broad experience encompasses top cruise lines, magazines, a port, a travel agency consortium and a leading industry association. His in-depth knowledge of travel and tourism, particularly the cruise industry, has earned him a reputation as one of the go-to experts in his field. He brings that experience to a portfolio of clients at LidaComm, a marketing communications company specializing in marketing counsel, blogging and social media, collateral development and copywriting, advertising, and image development on both the strategic and tactical levels.

Celebrating its 15th anniversary in 2018, Oceania Cruises is the world’s leading culinary- and destination-focused cruise line. The line’s six intimate and luxurious ships which carry only 684 or 1,250 guests offer an unrivaled vacation experience featuring the finest cuisine at sea and destination-rich itineraries that span the globe. Expertly crafted voyages aboard designer-inspired, intimate ships call on more than 450 ports across Europe, Alaska, Asia, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, New England-Canada, Bermuda, the Caribbean, Panama Canal, Tahiti and the South Pacific and epic Around The World Voyages that range from 180 to 200 days.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises is the world's most inclusive luxury experience with a four-ship fleet that visits more than 450 destinations around the world. Regent Seven Seas Cruises completed a $125 million refurbishment program to elevate the elegance of the whole fleet to the standard set by Seven Seas Explorer. In early 2020, Regent will perfect luxury with the launch of Seven Seas Splendor. The cruise line’s fares include all-suite accommodations, round-trip business-class air on intercontinental flights from U.S. and Canada, the largest collection of free, unlimited shore excursions, unlimited internet access, highly personalized service, exquisite cuisine, fine wines and spirits, prepaid gratuities, ground transfers and one-night, pre-cruise hotel package for guests staying in Concierge-level suites and higher.

French cruise destinations meet the Chinese cruise market

For the second year in a row, a French delegation composed of cruise-club executives from three main French Atlantic ports (Valérie Conan/Le Havre Cruise Club, Laurence Bouchardie/Bordeaux Cruise Club and Guillaume Henry/Cherbourg Cruise Club) including one representative of the Mediterranean region promoting 12 ports (Anne-Marie Blum/Var Provence Cruise Club) have attended the Seatrade Cruise Asia Pacific held in Baoshan, Shanghai from 23-24 October.

This business trip, organised over a week period by Atout France, the French government Tourism agency, has enabled the French cruise club representatives to schedule meetings with major travel agencies of Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong, alongside their participating at Seatrade Asia. The objectives of this trip were to get insight about the evolution of the Chinese market, to identify the key contacts, to highlight France’s great offer in terms of maritime and river cruise ports, both for transit, turnaround and varied excursion experiences, as well as the immense potential of pre- and post-cruise stays available for the Chinese cruise guests.

An opportunity to network with cruise industry professionals and weave close relationships with all the travel agencies professionals encountered in order to deliver the best offers and services for their customers.

Likewise, compared to the previous visit of the delegation last year, Chinese professionals have highlighted the intense growth of the cruise market over the last 10 years, and especially to the Mediterranean being the first destination to be quoted. Northern Europe, however, is already well identified and attracts an increasing number of visitors.

From the meetings and exchanges the French cruise clubs’ delegation had with the professionals of the travel industry, hereunder are some of the first lessons learned:

– All brands represented by travel agents are present on the French territory, either in transit or on turnaround.

– There are still difficulties to obtain visas for Chinese citizens to visit some countries that need to be solved.

– Following the 10-year growth of the Asian market, not only in volume of departures from China to Asia, but also for fly-cruises packages, according to a majority of travel agencies who are very optimistic about the future, they confirm that Europe is definitely a major destination (2nd most popular after Asia), that offers the greatest potential and attracts repeaters, already familiar with cruise holidays in Asia.

– Ports and destinations must get ready to welcome this market and deliver quality services up to the expectations of their guests.


– Tailor-made excursions with Chinese speaking cruise guides.

– More middleclass Chinese passengers want to experience with the locals.

Shopping is still trendy:

– new services should be implemented locally for the Chinese market with the possibility of payment by WeChat.

– Cruise lines should develop new homeports to widen the variety of destinations.

On board:

– Cruise lines must deliver services dedicated to this market.

– Chinese speaking guides and crew to solve the language barrier (reception, services, catering…)

– High quality Chinese cuisine and food is key.

Interest in the French destinations goes far beyond the Cruise product only, as many Chinese visitors combine their cruise experience with a pre- or post-stay, offering great prospects for territorial spin-offs. To achieve this, however, the specific needs of Chinese customers will have to be considered.

And their expectations are more precise than one would think. Hence, the approach of the French delegation was warmly welcomed by all interlocutors, who are already familiar with the French tourist assets such as the many UNESCO sites for instance, and they rely on their support to identify new products, in order to satisfy their customers in search of immersive and authentic experiences, off the beaten tracks.

Thus, each destination has been able to assert its own attractions, but more importantly, the relationship is being forged for a longer-term collaboration.

CBM 2018/2019 Winter