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Ports & destinations

Celeste Gladstone takes international role as Kevin O'Connor joins Intercruises

Intercruises Shoreside & Port Services, an experienced global business offering first class ground handling and port agency services to the ocean and river cruise industry, has announced management changes for Intercruises North America & Caribbean. After 25 years of direct involvement in the cruise industry, Celeste Gladstone is moving into a new role as Non Executive Vice President, focusing on business development and client relationship management to drive the global expansion of Intercruises as a member of its senior management team.

"I've been working in a 24/7 role for many years and I would like to devote more time to my personal life. However, I want to stay in the business that I love and this new role allows the time I need as a person, while enabling me to focus on helping Intercruises grow internationally. Developing Cruiselink and DFL into what Intercruises North America & Caribbean is today was a huge and rewarding task. We have developed one of the most talented teams in the industry, which will go forward and deliver the service our clients have come to know and expect," said Celeste Gladstone.

Kevin O'Connor has joined Intercruises North America & Caribbean as Chief Operating Officer (COO) and will work closely with Celeste during a three month transition period as he takes responsibility for the combined operations of all Intercruises businesses across North America, east and west coast, in December. Previously Kevin was COO at Transport Management Services (TMS), America's leading transportation management company for complex events. During his tenure at TMS, Kevin helped develop the TMS Gateway and TMS Anchor businesses, which were acquired by Intercruises in June 2011.

The existing Intercruises North America & Caribbean team will report directly to Kevin, with Tom Anderson, Executive Vice President Intercruises North America & Caribbean and Paul Matte, President Intercruises Canada, continuing to lead operations on the North American east coast and in the Caribbean, while Kelly Webber, TMS Gateway General Manager, will continue to lead operations on the North American west coast.

"I am delighted that Celeste has taken a role in which Intercruises will continue to benefit from her wealth of experience and passion for the cruise industry. She has forged an incredibly robust and successful business at Intercruises North America & Caribbean, which will continue to deliver an excellent service under Kevin's leadership," said Mark Robinson, Intercruises Managing Director.

Diverse and increasing number of cruise companies choose Atlantic Europe

Cruise companies from across the globe are choosing Atlantic Europe ports in order to maximise the opportunities the region offers and to meet consumer demand for more interesting and less congested ports.

Cruise Atlantic Europe, comprises eight ports in five countries of the Atlantic front (Lisbon, Porto (Leixões), A Coruña, Bilbao, Brest, St Malo, Dover and Cork), yet these ports are now seeing almost 800 cruise ship calls yearly, from more than 50 cruise companies, with 90 cruise itineraries in 2011 visiting two or more Cruise Atlantic Europe ports. And while Dover continues to be a popular embarkation port Lisbon, Porto (Leixões), A Coruña and Bilbao are also operating turnarounds, thanks to improved cruise terminal facilities.

Helena Fernandes from CAE said: "We have seen a steady rise in the number and diversity of cruise companies stopping at our ports from frequent visitors like Holland America Line, P&O, Fred. Olsen and AIDA to niche lines like Lindblad and Hapag Lloyd. There are many reasons for this increase but a key factor is that our ports are able to accommodate a range of ship sizes - anything from the sail assisted Sea Cloud and the intimate Sea Dream I to Royal Caribbeans Independence of the Seas at 154,407 gross tons."

I'ts not just the ability to cater for all ship sizes that is attracting interest in the region though. For cruisers these ports offer many more advantages. Fernandes continues: "The shorter cruising distances between our ports provide an opportunity to have more time on shore for cruisers to access the 14 UNESCO World Heritage sites and three European Capitals of Culture. Now with the range of excursions on offer, these destinations could see you climbing the mighty Mont St Michel, tasting port wine, sampling oysters or even hiking along Brittanys Crozon Peninsula. Experiences like these have caused the numbers of ships stopping at these ports to soar."

In addition at a time when air strikes, cancellations, ash clouds, earthquakes and terrorist alerts are rife throughout the travel landscape, Atlantic Europe could be seen to offer a more reliable choice for consumers. The regions ports are less congested than the Mediterranean and well placed for travel connections throughout Europe by air, rail or road - offering consumers the chance to discover a fascinating part of Europe in one trip.

Fernandes adds: "Our success proves that Atlantic Europe is becoming more than just an option for cruisers, the many advantages our ports offer make them must-see destinations. There really is no better time to see the other side of Atlantic Europe and wed encourage everyone to take another look our cruise destinations."

New cruise facility inaugurated in Venice Passenger Port today

Terminal Isonzo 2, the new cruise facility of the Passenger Port of Venice has been opened today. Carried out in 18 months and with an overall investment of 12 million euros (7 million euros by the Venice Port Authority and 5 million euros by Venezia Terminal Passeggeri), running at top speed it will guarantee the handling of 600.000 passengers per year.

Located in the Marittima Area in the homonymous quay, the terminal overlooks the lagoon and is conceived according to the maximum rationalization standards and extreme attention to the security of passengers in addition to the use of technologies and materials reducing environmental impact. The overall design has been conceived to guarantee an embarkation and disembarkation from cruise ships and an easy transfer of the passengers on buses.

"With this new terminal inaugurated today, the infrastructural development of the Passenger Port will increase our passenger capacity, allowing us to better welcome the 1.806.000 passengers expected by the end of 2011 (11,69% increase compared to 2010," emphasises a satisfied Sandro Trevisanato, Chairman of Venezia Terminal Passeggeri. "It is clear that we are acting in the right direction and this result bear out the merit of the choices we have made and the programme of investments we have carried out for the redevelopment of the Marittima area, in order to meet the needs of both operators and users. Venice has now become a major cruise hub. It is the departure point for itineraries that cover the most attractive area in the Mediterranean, which run through Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Greece and Turkey. Its success is attributable to a number of factors, including winning over and retaining leading players in the sector and having wiretapped the new market trends, such as the winter cruising success (60.000 passengers in the period November 2010 / March 2011) which allow to visit the Mediterranean during the low season, appreciating at best its several historical and artistic treasures. It is also worth mentioning the short cruise phenomenon, a growing new trend aimed at those trying out this holiday segment for the first time, and the excellent results achieved by the segment dedicated to incentive and business cruises."

The terminal is divided into two parts: the Arrival area measuring 7.485 sqm and the Departure area measuring 7.130 sqm with a panoramic terrace at the first floor measuring 2.150 sqm. The Departure Area is provided with a duty free, a café and a VIP lounge. The embarkment of passengers is made smooth and secure thanks to a mobile boarding bridge dividing the passenger flow from the baggage handling and the ship provisions.

Southampton gets ready for six cruise ships in one day

Saturday, 16th July 2011 will be an exceptionally busy day for Southampton, when six cruise ships will be berthed at various locations in ABP Southampton’s docks, accommodating thousands of crew and passengers getting off and onboard the cruise ships., the authoritative information website for cruise passengers and crew travelling from Southampton, will be handing out their free Map & Guide as well as helping passengers find their way to shops, museums, restaurants and essential services such as currency exchange.

From 3.30 am onwards, Crown Princess, Grand Princess, P&O Cruises Ventura, Fred. Olsen’s Balmoral, Celebrity Eclipse and Phoenix Reisen’s Artania, will begin their journey into the Solent at 15-minute intervals.

Embarking just east of the Isle of Wight, each cruise ship will be piloted by a highly experienced ABP Pilot through the Eastern Solent and Southampton Water to the ‘designated berth’.

The Southampton VTS team (based in an air traffic control like structure looking over Southampton Waters), will advise each of the six ABP pilots when to head off from the pilot station in Gosport, on one of the two brightly coloured orange launches crewed by a Marine Officer and a Coxswain, and wait within the ‘Nab Tower boarding areas’.

The pilots will embark on each of the cruise ships and join the ship’s Master to steer the cruise ship to its berth, which will take around 2.5 hours.

Tugs will also be available if required based on weather conditions etc on the day.

And for cruise passengers making their way to the city centre, the train station or Southampton’s Airport, a range of transport arrangements have been put in place by the cruise ships, taxi companies and ABP to ensure that passengers are not waiting for long periods of time to depart from the port.

Southampton’s Princess Coaches will be on standby at the Eastern and Western end of the docks just in case there is a shortfall of taxis available due to demand.

QE2 Anchor is placed in Southampton’s Old Town

The huge anchor from the city’s beloved cruise-liner the QE2, has been re-homed on the footpath in front of Holy Rood Church. On 10 July, the 13 tonne anchor, given to Southampton City Council as a gift from Cunard was lifted into place. It will create another historical site in Southampton and will be celebrated with a formal opening in the late summer.

Councillor Royston Smith, Leader of Southampton City Council, said: “Cunard’s generous gift has finally been given an appropriate home in Southampton. Not only will it add an important heritage site to the city, it will also raise the profile of the QE2 Mile and ultimately attract more people to Southampton’s Old Town. I look forward to formally unveiling the name plaque and opening the site with Cunard in due course.”

Peter Shanks, Cunard President and Managing Director, added:  "QE2 called at her home port of Southampton more times than any other port during her long and illustrious career so it is entirely fitting for there to be such a tribute to her in her home city.  The anchor and the designated 'QE2 Mile' will ensure that her legacy in Southampton will endure for many years to come.”

The QE2 anchor has a strong connection with Southampton. Not only did the ship bring prosperity to the city but it is also a symbol of great pride as it sailed off to help in the Falkland conflict 1982.  In 1957 Holy Rood Church was dedicated as a memorial to the sailors of the Merchant Navy. 

The council says it is turning Southampton’s Old Town into an exciting and vibrant city quarter, celebrating the city’s medieval heritage.  Holy Rood Place will create a more pedestrian friendly environment with new green bedding and will encourage al fresco dining from several of the new restaurants in the area. Another milestone in the Old Town includes Tudor House and Garden opening on July 30.