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Ports & destinations

Holland America Line boosts its presence on the St. Lawrence

Holland America Line, which is part of Carnival Corp & plc group, has signed an agreement with officials in Quebec, to increase its presence in the St Lawrence river region.

The agreement will serve to significantly increase summer cruise ship traffic on the St. Lawrence River. Using the Veendam, the company plans to add at least eight turnaround operations in Quebec City during the summer over a three-year period beginning in 2013.

 The Veendam’s arrival will be highly strategic in terms of developing Quebec City’s cruise ship sector. The potential increase in passenger traffic (more than 20,000 extra visitors per year) is sure to have a major impact. In this regard, the agreement confirms that Holland America’s entire fleet will be redeployed on the St. Lawrence in 2013. A large-scale promotional campaign will also be undertaken with a view to positioning Quebec City and eight other St. Lawrence ports within the international cruise ship circuit.

Under the agreement, additional turnaround operations are also planned for the Port of Montreal, which will be welcoming the Maasdam in the months of July and August. In addition, the Seabourn Sojourn, operated by the Seabourn cruise line (a Holland America affiliate), will be operating three St. Lawrence turnaround cruises from Montreal. The Seabourn Sojourn will visit a total of seven ports in Quebec (Montreal, Quebec City, Trois Rivières, Saguenay, Baie Comeau, Gaspé and the Magdalen Islands).


Seattle cruise season ends with record 933,900 passengers

The Port of Seattle has announced that a record 933,900 revenue passengers moved through the port’s two cruise terminals during the 2012 cruise season, further solidifying Seattle as a port of origin for Alaska-bound cruises, the port said in a statement.


The port estimates that the record passenger number generated more than $416 million in annual business revenue, $18 million in state and local taxes while creating 4,319 jobs. Each time a homeport ship docks in Seattle, it contributes $2.1 million to the local economy.


“The cruise business is good not only for King County, but for the entire state,” said Gael Tarleton, Port of Seattle Commission president.  “Our goal is to have cruise passengers extend their stay a few more days to discover what else Washington has to offer and to increase tourism spending statewide.  The exciting addition of the Celebrity Solstice and Oceania Regatta to our 2013 vessel schedule and our decision to continue our partnership with Cruise Terminals of America as our terminal operator continues our momentum toward that goal.”


CTA operates the cruise facilities at Piers 66 and 91.  With the port’s continued investment in facilities that work, and CTA’s efficient handling of operations, vessel schedules are maintained and passenger processing is smooth and efficient.  The port, CTA and the cruise lines have worked together to build successful partnerships with the community and regulatory agencies and those partnerships are vital to the continued success of the industry in Seattle.


The Celebrity Solstice, one of Celebrity’s newest ships, will offer 7-day Alaska cruises in 2013 and the Oceania Regatta will offer a variety of itineraries to Alaska including 7-days and 10-day round trip to Seattle.  These new ships join the impressive list of Cruising options sailing from Seattle next year offered by Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line.


During 2012, cruises to southeast Alaska operated at 109.95 percent of passenger capacity, the result of having multiple guests – usually families – sharing a cabin.


Seattle ranks 7th in the nation for ports for passengers while Washington ranks 6th in the nation for cruise industry expenditures according to newly released 2011 data compiled by Cruise Lines International Association, the world´s largest cruise association.

Fred. Olsen made a first ever cruise ship call to Trois-Rivières

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ Balmoral became the first ever cruise ship to call at the Canadian port of Trois-Rivières on 20 September 2012. The ship was sailing on the 28-night “Canada Eastern Seaboard” itinerary. Alan Lam reports.

To mark this occasion, the Master of Balmoral, Captain Victor Stoica, presided over an official ceremony aboard the ship, attended by local dignitaries: they included the Mayor, Yves Lévesque, General Manager of Innovation and Economic Development for Trois-Rivières, Yves Marchand, and CEO of the port, Gaétan Boivin.

The Mayor presented Captain Stoica with a work of art by artist Sylvie Leblanc, a book about Trois-Rivières, and a basket of local produce. In return, the Captain presented his hosts with a souvenir plaque from Balmoral.

“Trois-Rivières was a fantastic port of call and we received a great welcome from the local people,” said Guy Sharp, Balmoral’s Hotel Manager. “The Mayor met a lot of our guests personally, and he and his team were clapped into the Ballindalloch Restaurant by all our guests and crew. This town, the Ship’s Agent Audrey and the local dignitaries all made quite an impression upon us.”

“I have met many of Balmoral’s passengers and I have heard only positive comments,” said the Mayor, clearly delighted by the visit. “They find Trois-Rivières clean and welcoming, and I feel that this day is a great success.”

“We received a very warm welcome from the entire crew,” echoed Yves Marchand. “We talked with the Captain, and were delighted to hear that Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines was very happy with the welcome that Balmoral received in Trois-Rivières. Comments from the passengers have been very flattering, and we are confident that this good first impression means that the experience will be repeated in the future.”

The town organised a dedicated team of 70 people to greet Balmoral’s guests, offering - among others - guided tours and providing information.  

“We are proud to have convinced Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines to put their trust in us. Today was a first, but I am convinced that this is just the beginning,” said Yolande Masse, Trois-Rivières’ Director of Tourism.  

Trois-Rivières is a city on the Saint Lawrence River, in the Mauricie region of Quebec, halfway between Montreal and Quebec City.

Alan Lam


Record season for the Cruise Port of Hamburg

he visit of the AIDA Cruises ship AIDAblu on 4 October was the 150th of the 2012 season. This represents a new record and certainly gave cause to celebrate the arrival. To mark the milestone, Nadine Palatz (Marketing Manager, Hamburg Cruise Center) presented a commemorative shield to the ship’s captain, Dr. Friedhold Hoppert.

Christened in February 2010 in the Port of Hamburg, AIDAblu made already her third call to the Hanseatic city this year. In the 2012 cruising season, AIDA Cruises will be sending five ships to Hamburg, which will dock a total of 48 times in the city.

After spending the 2012 summer season in the Baltic, AIDAblu is returning on a short cruise to Hamburg via Copenhagen and Oslo. In the evening of October 4, the cruise ship left Hamburg to sail along the Atlantic coast to Palma de Mallorca in the Mediterranean. AIDAblu will then navigate through the Suez Canal to Dubai and from there cruise along routes in the Emirates.

Although the cruising season is slowly coming to an end, the cruise port Hamburg still has a number of highlights to offer with a total of seven cruise ship calls scheduled for the Advent season.

These will include a dual call on 18 December. Fred.Olsen's Balmoral will again be bringing numerous British passengers to the Hanseatic Christmas markets, while the Cunard liner Queen Victoria will also be docking at Hamburg Cruise Center Altona on December 18. She will then sail out of Hamburg on a three-week Christmas and New Year cruise before returning to set off on a world cruise on 7 January 2013.

The last call of the year will be on 20 December, when the Phoenix Reisen cruise ship Amadea will be heading out to South America.

A total of 161 ship visits in 2012 makes it a record year for Hamburg cruise tourism. The year’s highlights were the record-breaking month of May with a total of 33 calls, the arrival of the Olympic team from London on the Deutchland and the third staging of the Hamburg Cruise Days, which will be held again in two years’ time.

Belfast sets new cruise passenger record in 2012

Belfast’s buoyant cruise business has delivered a boost to the local economy after a record-breaking summer season. In 2012, a total of 44 cruise ship arrivals brought close to 75,000 passengers and crew to the city and its world-famous Titanic port as part of the ‘Cruise Belfast’ marketing partnership between Belfast Visitor & Convention Bureau (BVCB) and Belfast Harbour.

One of the last of the giant ships to arrive in Belfast, was the 290-metre-long 3,100-passenger Emerald Princess which berthed on Sunday. The final cruise liner of the 2012 season is this week's Amadea, with 900 passengers and crew.

Since the first cruise ship docked in 1996, a total of more than half a million passengers and crew have sailed into Belfast Harbour to explore a city famous for its rich maritime heritage.

Tony McAuley from Belfast Harbour said “Year-on-year, we are building the cruise business, and 2012 has delivered a record number of ships to the port. Breaking the 500,000 cruise visitor barrier is a fantastic achievement and testament to the efforts of Belfast Harbour and Belfast Visitor and Convention Bureau working together."

"The opening of the £76m Titanic Belfast and the new Visitors Centre at Giant’s Causeway earlier this year together with the associated 2012 cultural programming and events created a focus and impact for our sales and marketing activity. Titanic is a global brand and the iconic building on the very site that the world famous luxury liner was designed, built and launched has had significant impact on our marketing activities and attracting international visitors to Belfast."

Belfast’s success in ensuring the city is scheduled as a stopover on some of Northern Europe’s biggest cruise itineraries – 17 cruise lines have included Belfast in their ship’s itineraries this year - is the result of the sales and marketing by ‘Cruise Belfast’ in the US, German, French and GB markets. Work is already underway to attract and secure cruise ships for 2014/15.

Anne McMullan from BVCB said "Cruise travel globally is one of the fastest growing and highly competitive areas of tourism and the record-breaking cruise ship numbers arriving in Belfast is testament to the city's tourism success. Already we have over 50 ships scheduled for 2013, bringing over 100,000 visitors to the city, this also coincides with the year that Belfast hosts the World Police and Fire Games which will bring an estimated 25,000 visitors coming to Belfast. “Cruise ships are now a vital part of our tourism mix and a visible measure of Cruise Belfast's success in attracting cruise ship business to Belfast. We are now competing effectively among other European destinations, demonstrating that the billion pound investment made in the city's tourism infrastructure, improving the experience for residents and visitors alike, and attracting world class events, is now paying off."

The port of Belfast acts as a gateway city to the rest of Northern Ireland - the range of tourist attractions that are within a short coach trip of the port, including the Giants Causeway, Mount Stewart, St Patrick’s Country have supported the interest from cruise operators and are also seeing the benefits of increasing cruise business -Belfast's tourism success is Northern Ireland's success also.

Tony McAuley from Belfast Harbour concluded: "The ongoing investment by Belfast Harbour in its port-side facilities provides a platform for the wider NI economy to benefit. We are delighted to be an integral part of Belfast's successful tourism industry and to work with BVCB in further developing and maximising the opportunities for cruise tourism to Belfast and Northern Ireland.”