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Ports & destinations

Hakata Port accommodates first turnaround of the season

On Saturday, June 30th, 2018, the Costa neoRomantica called at Hakata Port for this year’s first turnaround cruise from Hakata to the Sea of Japan and departed with a large number of guests.

Fukuoka City Jazz Orchestra, a Fukuoka city officials’ band sent them off with a passionate performance. The pier was filled with warm hospitality despite the rain.

Hakata Port will have 11 turnaround cruises by Costa neoRomantica as well as some turnaround cruises by Japanese cruise lines this year. The port will continue efforts to increase the number of turnaround cruises as a cruise hub port.

Busy cruise season ahead for Baie-Comeau

For a fifth year in a row, cruise season of Baie-Comeau will begin with the arrival of the Pearl Mist on May 27. "Our team is preparing for a record year with the arrival of 11 giants of the seas, including the prestigious Disney Magic, for a total of 21 calls representing 18,875 passengers and crew," Baie-Comeau Cruises said in a statement.

“The small Baie-Comeau Cruises team, led by executive director Renée Dumas, has chalked up an incredible achievement with the upcoming visit of the Disney Magic, which will be like a childhood dream come true for many. The team continues to grow as it works tirelessly to overcome the obstacles in its path. Team members spread their passion and promote their vision through our community, taking the time to work closely with our local merchants and partners while spreading their “joie de vivre” around the world. Baie-Comeau is clearly benefiting from the arrival of international cruises and we will continue to grow,” said Baie-Comeau mayor Yves Montigny.

For the first time, Baie-Comeau will welcome the CTMA Vacancier from CTMA Cruises on September 19, Cruise and Maritime Voyages' Marco Polo on September 23, Disney Cruise Line's Disney Magic on September 25 and 30, Silversea’s Silver Wind on October 7,12 and November 2 and Silver Spirit on October 9 and 29.

Cruise investments have a positive impact for all residents

Starting in June, a new bicycle rental service will be available directly at the cruise terminal. The new service, financed in part by the regional tourism association, will offer hybrid, electric and tandem bicycles, as well as children’s bicycles and scooters to tourists and cruise passengers as well as to local residents. Significant investments will also be made in the coming months to enhance the rest areas along the Pioneer Promenade, from the cruise terminal to Pioneer Park.

Partners engaged in the cruise economy

In order to meet cruise line requirements for hospitality, Baie-Comeau Cruises mobilized its financial partners to make additional destination improvements and better position Baie-Comeau as a port of call in order to capitalize on the growth of international cruises on the St. Lawrence. "The involvement and financial support of our partners and their enthusiasm for our projects and development strategies are a clear signal of our shared commitment to developing Baie-Comeau as a cruise destination," said Baie-Comeau Cruises president Viviane Richard. Among other things, thanks to the Plan Nord Initiatives Fund, Baie-Comeau is acquiring a new gangway system custom made for large ships like the Disney Magic. The new system will be ready for the maiden call of the Disney Cruise Line’s vessel. It will allow our destination to offer a more efficient system for disembarkation/embarkation operations for large ships and the possibility of offering two gangways for ship operations.

Long-term outlook

The cruise industry is on a roll and Baie-Comeau Cruises has recognized the importance of a long-term vision. Shipyard order books have never been so full and ships are getting bigger. It is essential for Baie-Comeau to offer safe harbor facilities that meet the requirements of large vessels and that can accommodate several vessels at a time.

Baie-Comeau Cruises will proceed with a feasibility study on the construction of a new pier for tourists and residents. The impetus for the project is a desire to meet the needs of local residents, who would like to be able to bring their kids to the pier, as in bygone days. In the long term, Baie-Comeau Cruises also has plans to develop nautical tourism, diversify its service offerings, and create new events such as the one we had last summer with the Tall Ships Races. “Our organizing committee was overwhelmed by the success of the Tall Ships Races weekend and the enthusiastic response from local residents. It’s simple really—events like this put people back in touch with a lifestyle that they had back in the days. Being close to the St. Lawrence, enjoying the view and the fresh air—this is what defines us. That’s why I will continue to do everything I can to give the community a pier they can enjoy first-hand with their families.” said Renée Dumas, executive director of Baie-Comeau Cruises.

Nearly 100 professionals attends first Melilla Cruise Forum

On May 9, Melilla was in the spotlight of the cruise industry, with the celebration of Melilla Cruise Forum 2018, an event which brought together in Melilla the local, national and international cruise industry. The event was organized by Cruises News Media Group, an international consultancy specializing in the cruise industry and organiser of the International Cruise Summit.

The celebration of this event is the result of an initiative by the Port Authority of Melilla and Melilla Autonomous City Tourism.

The event was opened by the Councillor for Economy of Melilla Autonomous City, Daniel Conesa, the President of Port Authority of Melilla, Miguel Marín Cobos, and the President of Melilla Tourism, Javier Mateo. All three of them demonstrated the willingness of Melilla to work as one in developing this type of tourism that the city will welcome with open arms, being aware that the foundation of this is currently being laid down in a strategy that will bring results in the near future.

Emiliano González, President of MSC Cruises Spain and CLIA representative, gave a vision of the state of the worldwide cruise industry, with a global total of 27.2 million passengers forecast for 2018, 5.5% more than the previous year.

Then, Chris Martin, Port Operations Director of Holland America Group, Seabourn and Princess, presented the different brands within his company and the differences of customers, destinations, and the levels of services between them. For her part, Fátima Traikia, of BC Tours Shoreside & Port Services, discussed the role of land operators in the cruise industry, and the requirements for tour operator shore excursions as well as offering port agency services.

Luis de Carvalho, CEO at BA Europe gave a presentation on the keys to building and developing a cruise destination. Following this, it was fitting to exemplify the knowledge gained by analysing a neighbouring success story, the Port of Cartagena. Fernando Muñoz, Commercial Director of Port Authority of Cartagena, explained the steps taken by his port and city in increasing six-fold the number of cruise visitors in just nine years.

Finally, a round table was held, with the participation of Emiliano González, President of MSC Cruises Spain, Mario Sennacheribbo, CEO of BC Agency, Monica Georgiou, Operations Manager of Columbia Cruise Services, and Leire Azcuna, Senior Manager Itinerary Planning of Pullmantur Cruises, discussing the opportunities of an industry, still young but with great expectations to grow. Delegates were able to ask questions directly to the speakers. It was concluded that the overall impression is very positive, and that Melilla can reach its potential with a clear strategy and good cooperation.

The day before, many of the executives participating in the forum, were able to learn for themselves the main tourist attractions of the city through a familiarisation trip, visiting key locations and savouring the gastronomy and local hospitality.

Both the organisers and the promoters highlighted the possibility of this forum becoming an annual event as tool for spreading knowledge, promoting the destination and evaluating its development.

Valletta hosts its first ever cruise ship naming ceremony

Ultra-luxury cruise line Seabourn introduced its newest vessel, Seabourn Ovation, with the first ever cruise ship naming ceremony held at the Valletta Grand Harbour, Malta on Friday May 11.

Seabourn along with local representatives Valletta Cruise Port, Malta Tourism Authority and Mifsud Brothers Ltd, and a host of local stakeholders, worked on a line-up of celebratory events to mark this day.

On arrival guests were treated to a display of local folk dancing by dancers wearing Maltese traditional costumes.

Early in the afternoon, guests could follow a historic re-enactment by Inguardia showing events happening during the times of the Knights of St. John.

An artisan market was held aboard the ship where guests had the opportunity to view the artists at work and ask them further about their craft.

The evening celebrations kicked off with a live performance by the ship’s godmother, actress and singer Elaine Paige, one of the world's most highly awarded actresses and singers of Westend and Broadway fame. Following her performance, she completed the maritime tradition of releasing a bottle of champagne that was broken against the hull of the ship. The ship’s whistle cued in a 7-canon salute from the historic Saluting Battery, metres away from the ship’s berthing location at Valletta Cruise Port. This moment was broadcast on a large viewing screen for guests of the maiden voyage.

A full orchestra ensemble performed a themed musical work and provided additional entertainment during the evening ceremony. Guests also witnessed the debut of the new Seabourn anthem written by Tim Rice entitled “We Sail to See the Lives of Others.”

The evening was capped off with an impressive fireworks’ display synchronised to music, coordinated and produced by local fireworks’ factory St. Mary Fireworks of Mqabba, over Valletta’s Grand Harbour, lighting up the historic buildings and fortifications in the process.

“We would like to congratulate Seabourn on this momentous day. This event marked the naming of the fifth ultra-luxury vessel to join the Seabourn fleet over the past decade. This is indeed a proud moment for Valletta, and we are pleased to be have been entrusted with hosting our first-ever cruise ship naming ceremony in our historical Grand Harbour with the Capital City of Valletta serving as the best possible backdrop for this event," commented Valletta Cruise Port’s CEO, Stephen Xuereb.

The ship’s maiden voyage includes an 11-night Inaugural Mediterranean cruise visiting a number of key Mediterranean ports.

Global Ports Holding reports buoyant start to the company's Turkey cruise season

The cruise season has begun in Turkey, with the three Turkish cruise ports operated by Global Ports Holding (GPH), the world’s largest cruise port operator, seeing increased levels of activity. This improving trend is supported by the most recent data from the Turkish Statistical Institute (Turkstat), which stated that tourist numbers for Q1 2018 rose 26.4% over the same period last year.

As the cruise season kicks off in Turkey, Ege Port- Kuşadası, Antalya Cruise Port and Bodrum Cruise Port are looking forward to welcoming some inaugural calls and returning ships over the course of the cruise season.

Antalya Cruise Port welcomed its first cruise ship of the season, Serenissima, on March 26th. This was shortly followed by Mein Schiff 1 on March 30th. The port is located near the Antalya International Airport and is in close proximity to attractive beach resorts and hotels. Transit passengers can take shore excursions to nearby towns and historic locations including Aspendos, Perge and Side.

On the western coast of Turkey, Serenissima visited Ege Port - Kuşadası on March 30th, with Celestyal Majesty arriving on March 31st, while later in the season it is set to welcome the returning Oceana and Regent Seven Seas. Azamara Cruises will have its first 2018 call to Kuşadası with Azamara Journey on May 15th. The Port is close to historic sites such as Ephesus, which is among the most visited ancient sites in the Mediterranean. While all passengers will get to experience the completely renovated Scala Nuova Village, which offers authentic local shopping among a picturesque array of Aegean village-like streets, with exotic, colorful shops, chic cafés, bars and restaurants and all tailored for cruise passengers.

Bodrum Cruise Port, situated in the heart of the popular vacation city, is also set to be busier this year with a number of inaugural calls. These include Thomson Cruises' TUI Discovery 2 on May 22nd, Mein Schiff 4 (TUI Cruises) in the first week of October and Ponant's Le Laperouse calling in the second half of October. They will all be greeted with Plaque Ceremonies and the warmest welcome.

On April 29th, Bodrum Cruise Port hosted the 5th edition of the Global Run Bodrum. Global Run is held at GPH ports every year to promote people travelling to different countries and getting to know new cultures, surroundings and cuisine, while keeping fit.