A+ A A-

Ports & destinations

South Padre Island takes first step toward becoming the Western Caribbean’s newest cruise port of call

The South Padre Island, Texas, City Council recently approved a proposal by SPI Cruise Group — a partnership of cruise port design, maritime operations and marketing professionals — to create a plan to develop the destination into an attractive port of call on western Caribbean cruise itineraries.

With increasing emphasis on tourism sustainability and concerns of over-tourism in some eastern and southern Caribbean ports of call, cruise lines are seeking alternative destinations with existing tourism infrastructure to add to their cruise itineraries. With the rising popularity of western Caribbean cruises from the Port of Galveston, Texas, South Padre Island is well-positioned to provide a fresh new port with attractive shore excursion opportunities that explore the land, sea and sky, as well as some of the most attractive beaches in the region.

"South Padre Island has been a hidden U.S. jewel for many years," said Mayor Dennis Stahl. "We are looking forward to sharing our unique ecotourism sites, like Sea Turtle Inc., a renowned sea turtle rescue center, and the Birding and Nature Center, a world-class birdwatching destination, in addition to our pristine beaches and adventure activities."

SPI Cruise Group is composed of four companies experienced in the port development, cruise and maritime industries:

MarketScope Global brings more than 30 years of combined cruise industry experience to bear on understanding the market forces at work in the travel industry’s most complex and fastest-growing business sector. Project manager Jay Lewis created the cruise industry’s first scannable “comment card” system and its first automated brochure-ordering system. He has served as adjunct professor of marketing at the University of Miami and as a lecturer at Oxford and Cambridge for the Seatrade Academy.

IDEA is a well-known international design and planning firm that conceives conceptual designs and then facilitates production of branded destinations for the cruise, hospitality, entertainment and tourism industries. IDEA currently is working on the design of Port Grand Lucaya on Grand Bahama Island and has completed port-design projects for Falmouth, Jamaica; Harvest Caye, Belize; and Icy Strait Point, Alaska; among others.

Cruise and Port Advisors, led by cruise industry veteran Roger Blum, helps clients in multiple industries tailor their products and services to meet the needs of today’s cruise industry. Clients include destinations, port authorities, shore excursion operators, medical facilities, manning agents and onboard revenue partners. Blum's long-standing close relationships with top cruise executives create marketing opportunities for his clients. One destination client increased its cruise business by over 1,000 percent in just a few years.

NewmanPR has been providing clients in the leisure travel, maritime and cruise industries creative, customized and cost-effective marketing communications services for more than 70 years. Clients include the Florida Keys tourism council, Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America Line and port-development projects Icy Strait Point, Alaska, and Banana Coast, Honduras.

The initial stage of the project is expected to take four months to complete, and includes an aggressive marketing and communications plan to raise awareness of South Padre Island’s potential among cruise industry executives.

NYK Ports appoints Anthony Caputo as Director of Cruise Services

NYK Ports has appointed cruise industry veteran, Anthony Caputo, as Director of Cruise Services for Ceres Terminals Incorporated. Caputo will be based at Ceres Corporate Headquarters in East Brunswick, New Jersey, effective immediately.

In his role as Director of Cruise Services, Caputo will focus on new strategies for Ceres’ expanding North America Cruise Business while strengthening management efforts to forge strong customer relationships and delivering an exceptional customer experience to all who deal with Ceres Cruise Services in North America.

Caputo is an industry veteran holding a variety of senior management positions in his 25+ years of experience in stevedoring and terminal operations. In his previous position, Caputo launched operations at the new Kai Tak Cruise Terminal in Hong Kong from 2013-2016. Prior to this position, he spent ten years as Director for Royal Caribbean International, initiating operations at Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, NJ and overseeing cruise port operations in the Northeast United States from Charleston, S.C. to Quebec City, Canada. Caputo was responsible for financial profitability and performance in these areas. From 1991-2003, Mr. Caputo held the positions of Terminal Manager, Facilities Security Officer and General Manager for P&O Ports, responsible for all operations and administrative policies, procedures and objectives for the NYC Passenger Ship Terminal (Manhattan Cruise Terminal).

Caputo is a graduate of St. Peter’s College holding a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature, minors in Economics/Finance and a Master of Business Administration. He is a former member of the New York Maritime Committee, the New Jersey Department of Homeland Security, the AAPA Security Sub-committee and NY-NJ Harbor Operations Committee, Security and Cruise Subcommittees.

"Anthony’s extensive experience made him the ideal candidate for this position. His operational expertise and wealth of knowledge will allow Ceres Cruise Services to capitalize on new market opportunities and enhance strategic relationships with our existing customers,” commented Bruce Cashon, Senior Vice President, CCO, NYK Ports/Ceres Terminals Incorporated.

Ceres Terminals Incorporated is one of the largest and highest ranked Stevedores, Container/Cargo Handlers/Cruise Ship/Passenger Processing and Terminal Operators in the Transportation Industry. Ceres Cruise Services has built a reputation in the cruise industry on delivering high performance standards from Canada's most prestigious cruise ports in Vancouver, B.C. and throughout major cruise ports in the United States.

Ceres Terminals Incorporated and Yusen Terminals LLC (YTI) are sister companies and part of one of the largest transportation service networks in the world (NYK Group).

NYK Ports LLC is owned jointly by NYK and MacQuarie Infrastructure Partners.

Valletta Cruise Port welcomed 700,000th passenger of the year

Valletta Cruise Port, operator of the sea passenger terminals and Valletta Waterfront and a subsidiary of Global Ports Holding, said it has welcomed 700,000 cruise passenger movements so far this year.

A lucky recipient, who arrived in the Port of Valletta aboard the MSC Meraviglia, was selected as the 700,000th passenger and given the opportunity to return to Malta in the near future with a 3-day break in Malta inclusive of flights for two persons, courtesy of the Malta Tourism Authority.

Throughout their respective stay, accommodation will be provided by The Saint John, a boutique hotel, situated in the heart of Valletta. A member of AX Hotels, this property brings to life the history of a 17th century building with an inspirational retro and industrial feel with personalised rooms equipped with the latest technology, raw finish design and awe-inspiring architecture.

The Minister for Tourism, the Hon. Dr Konrad Mizzi said, “Today we have reached a new milestone in the number of cruise liner passenger arrivals. So far this year 700,000 cruise passengers have experienced entering the grand harbour and visited Malta. Government is committed to continue to work with the Valletta Cruise Port to ensure our offering is competitive and that our product continuously improves.”

“This marks a momentous milestone for Valletta Cruise Port, currently celebrating its 15th anniversary, and Malta. Together with local stakeholders we have worked relentlessly towards achieving this target and to ensure its sustainability in the future. The drive for excellence of the Valletta Cruise Port team and other collaborators to always exceed customer expectations is at the core of this success, coupled with the natural beauty of the Valletta Grand Harbour,” commented Stephen Xuereb, CEO of Valletta Cruise Port and COO of Global Ports Holding.

“The 700,000th arrival of cruise passengers is a significant milestone for Malta’s tourism industry; we have today reached a level of cruise traffic that we could only dream about just a few years back.

The cruise industry is an important contributor to the Maltese economy, in particular to the business community in Valletta and the Grand Harbour region. Beyond the injection of income that each cruise ship visit generates, there is also the positive contribution of showcasing some of the highlights of our Islands to day trippers and often also to their social media network.

Apart from the resultant promotion of our Islands, surveys have shown that many cruise passengers are intrigued to return to Malta and Gozo for a longer holiday soon after,” said Carlo Micallef, Chief Marketing Officer of the Malta Tourism Authority.

Valletta Cruise Port plc is anticipating closing the year 2017 with record passenger movements of approximately 780,000, aboard 340 cruise calls, with 2018 expected to be on the same levels.

The cruise industry contributed over €94 million to the local economy in 2016. Central to this growth is the booming reputation of Malta’s award-winning port and the sterling service being provided; as well as a healthy rapport with the cruise lines, which is further being strengthened given that Valletta Cruise Port forms part of the Global Ports Holding family.

Valletta Cruise Port started operating its second regular homeporting operation, with the P&O Oceana, in addition to the weekly homeporting operation by TUI Cruises, which operated for the 7th consecutive season.

Next year will be an important year for Valletta Cruise Port, marked amongst others by the port hosting the MedCruise General Assembly in May.


Global Ports Holding appoints Colin Murphy Regional Coordinator Americas

Global Ports Holding plc (GPH), the world’s largest independent cruise port operator, is pleased to announce the appointment of Colin Murphy as Regional Coordinator, Americas. Based in South Florida, Colin will work to deliver GPH’s strategy of acquiring cruise ports in the region as the company seeks to expand its existing footprint of 14 ports in eight countries, the Istanbul based company said in a statement.

Colin brings a wealth of cruise industry experience to his new role. He worked for [19 years] at Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH). Most recently, he held the role of Senior Vice President, Destination and Strategic Development, during which time he oversaw projects including the development of the award-winning Harvest Caye in Belize and the Bell Street terminal expansion in Seattle. In this role, Colin was also charged with negotiating and managing all of NCLH’s major port agreements, as well as relevant political relationships that impacted the ports’ operations.

Colin’s earlier career in the travel industry entailed working at several major US tour operators, including Collette Vacations, and as an SVP in Product Development role at Vantage Deluxe World Travel in Boston. Further relevant experience includes roles as Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Operations Committee at the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association and as a member of CLIA’s Global Ports Committee, GPH said.

Heraklion opens new cruise terminal

Heraklion Port Authority S.A. has announced that the new cruise terminal in Heraklion cruise port, pier 4-5, is fully operational. The inauguration ceremony of the new cruise terminal took place on 10 November 2017 at the new facility.

The event was attended by Mr.Christos Lambridis, General Secretary of the Ministry of Shipping and Island Policy, Mr. Aris Batsoulis, Senior Vice President of Medcruise, Mr. Thanos Pallis, General Secretary of Medcruise as well as members of the Greek Parliament, local authorities, and users.

Heraklion Port Authority S.A. has set as top priority the development of the cruise port with the view to become an important cruise destination and a possible hub for the East Med.

The new cruise terminal is a permanent tent construction covering 1.125 square meters, providing all the required services and equipment for transit as well as turnaround calls.

As from September 2017, Heraklion cruise port, has welcomed, Mein Schiff 1, Azura, Norwegian Spirit, Costa neoRiviera, MSC Fantasia, MSC Sinfonia, Queen Victoria, AIDAstella, AIDAaura, Silver Wind and Viking Star and successfully performed four full turnaround operations at the new terminal.