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Ports & destinations

MedCruise launches working group to promote the Black Sea

MedCruise, the organisation which promotes Mediterranean as a cruise destination, said it has launched a working group to promote the Black Sea towars the cruise industry.

Formation of the working group composed by MedCruise members from Black Sea region comes after the action plan signed by Port of Odessa, Port of Varna, Port of Constanta and Port of Burgas during the 52nd MedCruise General Assembly held in Malta in May 2018.

This action plan highlighted the absence of the maritime cruise ships in the Black Sea in 2017 and the slow comeback of the cruise ships in the region on a three years period of time as well as the cruise itineraries that are already locked for the cruise session 2019-20, MedCruise said in a statement.

Var Provence Cruise Club celebrates 10th anniversary

The Var Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the General Council representatives celebrated together with a party of 100 guests the 10th anniversary of the Var Provence Cruise Club on September 6th 2018 in La-Londe-Les-Maures.

With an increase of almost 90% in number of passengers welcomed in the Var Provence ports in 10 years, it is an average of 300000 visitors who disembark each year and discover the most popular area after Paris!

Launched in 2008 by the Var Chamber of Commerce and the General Council, the Var Provence Cruise club has been working for 10 years to develop cruise business acting as a single point of contact that promotes the Var area as a major touristic destination for cruise passengers and by federating the local actors to ease the emergence of positive initiatives. Making Var Provence a must-see Mediterranean cruise destination!

VPCC and all its partners (Chamber of Commerce, local authorities, tourism committees, and tourist professionals) are working to ensure that the economic growth of the cruise sector expresses its full potential, to meet the Cruise Lines companies and passengers needs and expectations.

With two leading cruise ports, Toulon Bay and Saint-Tropez, the Var Provence network boasts now 10 cruise ports. The area can accommodate cruise ships of all sizes at berth in Toulon Bay (Toulon and La Seyne-sur-Mer) and at anchor in small typical Provencal boutique ports (Saint-Cyr-Sur-Mer, Sanary-sur-Mer, Bandol, Les Embiez, Le Lavandou, Cavalaire, Saint- Tropez, Fréjus and Saint-Raphaël). With its new finger pier project, the Ports of Toulon Bay will be able to welcome the world's largest ships by 2022.

With their own specificities and identity, the 10 cruise port destinations can be part of the same itinerary as well as sites of excursions from another nearby port of the Var Provence network. The Provencal hinterland offers a large choice of exclusive experiential and immersive excursions and ecotours dedicated to cruise passengers. The VPCC has developed a catalogue of more than 100 tailor-made cruise excursions ideas in partnership with tourist offices and leisure providers.

The Var Provence Cruise Club is still working on developing new excursion ideas but also capitalising on the success of its Cruise Friendly Welcome Quality Label which ensures a warm welcome to the passengers by enhancing their experience ashore helping local businesses to attract new customers. Finalist in the “Best marketing initiative of the year” category at the Seatrade Cruise Awards 2017, Cruise Friendly was initially deployed in partnership with 72 shopkeepers and leisure providers in the cities of Toulon and La Seyne in 2013. It is today acclaimed by other Var Provence ports reaching a total of 431 shops in seven Cruise Friendly Cities: Bandol, Sanary, Toulon, La Seyne-sur-Mer, Hyères, Le Lavandou and Saint-Raphaël.

The VPCC is working to extend its brand to include the most visited hinterland sites and to other ports in France as well, but not only, having been approached by leading ports in other destinations of the world which are interested in implementing this great initiative locally.

The VPCC is already involved in 2 other projects: the Region Sud Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur cruise branch program which brings together Marseille Provence, French Riviera and Var Provence Cruise Clubs on new common grounds in terms of cruise marketing promotions and the European program Interreg Marittimo which is called ItinERA: involving French and Italian ports’ destinations (Var Provence, Corsica, Liguria, Sardinia and Tuscany) in order to increase their cruise competitiveness offering a range of eco-friendly excursions based on sustainable development and biodiversity aiming to build two cross-border cruise itineraries.

Costa Cruises enters second tripartite partnership with Singapore Tourism Board and Changi Airport Group to grow the fly & cruise market in Asia

Costa Cruises has announced that it has entered its second tripartite partnership with the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and Changi Airport Group (CAG). The three-year tripartite partnership will leverage Costa’s global presence, Singapore’s cruise hub status and Changi Airport’s air hub connectivity to further enhance Southeast Asia’s appeal as a cruise destination.

The partnership will see joint-marketing initiatives rolled out in different countries where Costa operates worldwide, and includes creating attractive packages especially for Costa’s guests. It is expected to bring in over 100,000 international fly & cruise visitors to Singapore over three years.

Costa Cruises was the first cruise company in the world to start regular cruises in Asia back in 2006. Currently 4 ships out of the 14 total of the Costa fleet are based in Asia year round. The Costa Fortuna is a ship with a total capacity of 3,470 guests, and currently deployed in the Far East will be homeported at Singapore from mid November 2018 to March 2019.

“Costa Cruises is a pioneering company in the cruise market, constantly innovating its product offer in order to deliver guests an unforgettable cruise holiday experience. We are thrilled to strengthen the opportunity to further develop such an exotic destination like Singapore, where Costa has a longstanding presence and which offer a big potential for the cruise holiday market thanks also to the presence of the international Changi Airport," said Neil Palomba, President of Costa Cruises.

Singapore is a popular gateway to the Southeast Asian region for cruise visitors, due to its strategic location, dynamic tourism landscape, and leading air and cruise infrastructure. In 2017, Singapore welcomed 421 ship calls and logged a passenger throughput of 1.38 million. This represents an increase of 3% and 17% respectively over 2016 figures.

“STB is delighted to enter into another partnership with Costa Cruises and Changi Airport Group. Costa Cruises is a valued partner that has homeported out of Singapore for over 10 years. This latest collaboration will leverage Costa’s strong brand in key long-haul markets in Europe to further diversify our cruise visitor source markets, and strengthen Singapore’s position as the region’s homeport of choice,” said Yap Chin Siang, Assistant Chief Executive, Policy & Planning Group of STB.

Changi Airport Group’s Managing Director for Air Hub Development, Lim Ching Kiat said, “With Changi Airport’s strong air connectivity to more than 400 cities worldwide, Singapore is well-positioned to serve as a cruise hub for the region. We are excited to enter a second tripartite partnership with Costa Cruises and Singapore Tourism Board, as this will provide greater opportunity to grow the fly & cruise segment – part of our strategy to provide sustained growth for our partners and the Changi air hub.”

Qatar's cruise season starts with the arrival of Boudicca

The 2018/19 cruise season kicked off in Qatar with the Boudicca docking at Doha Port last week. The season, which continues until April 2019, is expected to see nearly double the number of cruise ships that arrived in the 2017/18 season.

Of the 43 ships scheduled to call in Doha Port, 10 ships will be making their maiden calls to Qatar. And, with the majority of calls being megaships, this season is set to be the biggest yet for Qatar, bringing 140,000 visitors to Qatar's shores – nearly triple those that arrived last year.

In addition to being the biggest yet, this season will witness a significant first for Qatar: the arrival of two megaships at Doha Port at the same time – an occurrence that is due to happen a total of five times throughout this season.

Hassan Al Ibrahim, Acting Chairman at QTA commented, "It continues to be an exciting period of rapid growth for Qatar’s cruise tourism sector, which will witness more firsts this season. We are pleased to see our local partners join in our efforts to develop services and products specifically for cruise visitors. They are an ideal complement to our partnerships with leading international agencies and we look forward to drawing a growing number of visitors to Qatar's shores to enjoy the country's pleasant winter weather." He added, "These developments highlight the opportunities for investors to develop authentic and memorable experiences that reinforce Qatar’s position as a hub to discover."

QTA and Qatar's major transport services provider, Mowasalat recently signed an MoU to further develop tourist transport services, ensuring the growth in cruise tourism demand is matched with flexible and reliable transportation. QTA also continues to work with local and international partners to carefully plan, develop and manage the cruise terminal facilities, infrastructure and operations needed to achieve sustainable growth. Qatar is expecting to receive 200,000 cruise visitors by the 2019/20 season and has plans to turn Doha to a turnaround port.

QTA recently signed an agreement with the German AIDA Cruises and the Italian Costa Cruises to place Qatar on the two companies' winter itineraries as well as to cooperate in designing special promotion packages for their passengers. As part of the agreements, luxury ship AIDAprima and Costa Mediterranean are expected make their maiden trips to Doha Port this season. Between them, the two cruise lines will bring up to a quarter of this season's passengers to Doha.

Port Tampa Bay marks more than one million cruise passengers in one year for the first time ever

Port Tampa Bay welcomed its millionth cruise ship passenger for the fiscal year 2018. It is the first time the Port hit this milestone in its history.

On Monday, September 17, 2018, Port Tampa Bay surpassed the million cruise passenger mark when 1,000,524 passengers came through the Port. This past weekend, thousands more passengers continued to enjoy the Tampa area as three more ships called at port.

Business Research & Economic Advisors estimated that a 3,000 passenger ship generates an average of $403,000 in passenger and crew onshore spending per call in a homeport city. As Tampa continues to develop in the months and years ahead, including the impact of Sparkman Wharf, Water Street and other projects, that number is expected to dramatically grow, as cruise passengers will have many more opportunities for dining, shopping, and entertainment. Cruise passengers have long enjoyed the convenience of our nearby nationally top-ranked airport, next-door secure parking garages from all three cruise terminals – not to mention the draw of our stunning beaches and local attractions like Busch Gardens, the Florida Aquarium, and Ybor City.

"This is fantastic moment for Port Tampa Bay and our cruise line partners," said Port Tampa Bay President/CEO Paul Anderson. "This milestone shows that Tampa is truly a world class destination for cruise passengers."

As FY18 winds down, Port Tampa Bay is celebrating several cruise records and cruise business developments. Earlier this year, Port Tampa Bay saw two all-time record cruise passenger weekends, the highest traffic weekend being Easter weekend: March 31 - April 1st when 29,167 passengers were in and out of the Port. Additionally, Carnival Cruise Line added 20 more cruises to Cuba, completed a makeover of the Carnival Paradise, and doubled the Carnival's capacity in Tampa with the addition of the Carnival Miracle's only year-long program with seven day cruises from Port Tampa Bay. Royal Caribbean put a larger ship in rotation (Majesty of the Seas) with cruises to Cuba to accommodate a strong customer demand in Tampa.

There are numerous options for cruise vacationers to choose when boarding a cruise in Tampa. Whether it’s a 4-day cruise to Cozumel, or a 5-day excursion to Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Mahogany Bay, or Cuba, or 7 day to multiple western Caribbean destinations. Veteran cruisers can opt for 14-day Panama Canal cruises that include stops in Central America and North Coast of South America. There are a wide range of itinerary choices from entry-level cruisers to experienced cruisers.

All of the major cruise lines serve Port Tampa Bay: Carnival Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean International, Norwegian Cruise Lines and Holland America Line. Port Tampa Bay thanks all of our cruise line partners for their continued support.