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Ports & destinations

Panama Canal cruise season official started October 5

The Panama Canal cruise season officially started onWednesday, October 5, and runs through the middle of next year. More than 200 transits of these passenger vessels are expected. The transit of Princess Cruises' Island Princess marked the beginning of the season, traveling for 14 days from Los Angeles, California, to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

According to Jaime Castillo, international trade specialist from the Panama Canal Research and Market Analysis office, at least 205 transits are expected this season.

Among the major companies that are considering Panama and the Canal experience as a destination are Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean International and Norwegian Cruise Line.

The arrival of smaller cruise ships, such as the Wind Star and Le Levant, also are expected to transit the Canal. These cruises typically travel between the Caribbean Islands and the East and West Coasts of Central America.

Two Carnival cruise ships, the Carnival Inspiration, located in Tampa, Florida, and the Carnival Paradise, ,which operates from Long Beach, California, are scheduled to reposition to their new homeport soon, offering very attractive 14-day trips that include the experience of transiting the Panama Canal.

The Carnival Paradise cruise will sail from Long Beach to Tampa beginning on November 28, 2011, while the Carnival Inspiration will depart on December 3, 2011, operating from Tampa to Long Beach.

With regard to inaugural transits, Norwegian Jewel, with its 2,376-passenger capacity, will sail from New York to Los Angeles in late April 2012. This cruise has a reservation to transit the Panama Canal on May 5, 2012.

Cruiseport Boston enjoys a busy day

October 2 marked the busiest cruise ship day for Cruiseport Boston since 2005. Four cruise ships were in port for a day-long visit for the first time in six years, said the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport). The four ships – Carnival Glory, Crown Princess, Crystal Symphony and Seabourn Sojourn – bring more than 7,000 passengers to Boston.

The last time four ships were in port simultaneously was on October 6, 2005 which was also the same day Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 came to Boston for the first time. The other ships that day were Crystal Symphony, Enchantment of the Seas, and Golden Princess.

"September and October are our busiest cruise months," said Mike Leone, Port Director for the Massachusetts Port Authority. "Boston is increasingly becoming a desired port of call on many cruise lines’ itineraries which provides good opportunity for local businesses."

The 450-passenger Seabourn Sojourn was anchored in Boston’s inner harbor while the other three ships were docked along Cruiseport Boston’s 3,000 foot pier. Those aboard Seabourn Sojourn were “tendered,” or brought to shore by small boats, getting off at Commonwealth Pier located at the World Trade Center in the Seaport District.

"Cruiseport Boston continues to be one of the fastest growing visitor economic engines for our region," said Pat Moscaritolo, President & CEO, of the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau. "As a result of investing in our cruise facilities and marketing, several thousand visitors from four cruise ships arrived October 2 to spend their vacation dollars at shops, attractions and restaurants in Boston and Cambridge. In addition to generating tax revenues for Boston and Massachusetts, the short visit will generate a desire to return for a longer stay."

Recently, Massport in partnership with the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau (GBCVB) created a new Cruiseport Boston map designed specifically for the cruise passenger. The map shows walking routes to Boston’s popular destinations and the ease of access to downtown shops, restaurants, and other attractions from the cruise terminal.

Cruiseport Boston serves as an economic engine for the region. According to a 2011 report by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), cruise industry spending generated about 7,521 jobs and $429 million in income for Massachusetts’ workers through direct, indirect and induced impact. It is estimated that passengers and crew spend $26 million in Boston last year Massachusetts accounted for more than $492 million in cruise industry direct spending in 2010, a seven percent increase over 2009.

For a fourth consecutive year, Cruiseport Boston set a new passenger record in 2010 with more than 300,000 travelers coming through the port. So far this year, 2011 is on pace to eclipse that record, which was a seven percent increase over 2009. Last October officials unveiled the $11 million makeover of the Black Falcon Cruise Terminal, transforming it from a vintage World War I military warehouse, into a hip new point of departure for ocean-going vacationers. The critical renovations were needed to keep pace with Boston’s growing cruise industry and to ensure the continued economic benefits that cruising brings to the region.

Cruiseport Boston’s Black Falcon Cruise Terminal is located just 10 minutes from the Massachusetts Turnpike (I-90) and Routes 1 and 93. It is also conveniently located just 10 minutes from Boston Logan International Airport and downtown Boston. Cruiseport Boston offers an attractive mix of cruises to Bermuda, Canada & New England, Europe and the Caribbean. Each year more than a 300,000 passengers use Cruiseport Boston. You can find us on Facebook at or follow us on Twitter at 

The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) owns and operates Boston Logan International Airport, public terminals in the Port of Boston, Hanscom Field and Worcester Regional Airport. Massport is a financially self-sustaining public authority whose premier transportation facilities generate more than $8 billion annually, and enhance and enable economic growth and vitality in New England. No state tax dollars are used to fund operations or capital improvements at Massport facilities. For more information please visit

MSC Cruises praises Genoa at inauguration of new quay

MSC Cruises has praised the city of Genoa for their initiative and foresight in upgrading its port facilities through a 13-million euro investment programme that focused on the dredging, extension and enlarging of quay 1012 in the historical maritime station, Ponte dei Mille, famously known as the point from which all ocean liners started their transatlantic voyages to America over a century ago.
Speaking at the inauguration of the impressive new quay, last Saturday 24 of September, MSC Cruises CEO, Mr Pierfrancesco Vago, said Genoa’s commitment to ensuring port infrastructure is kept at the highest of standards can be viewed as an example to city and port authorities around the world.
"Port cities like Genoa are shining examples of how efficient and timely team work between all major stakeholders can achieve top results. I thank you most sincerely. The seriousness of this commitment is as strong as my belief that the upgrading of port facilities and maritime structures for new generation vessels is so valuable that its importance can never be taken for granted. Through quay 1012 the city of Genoa has shown a keen understanding of the major economical impact that the cruise sector, and MSC in particular, brings to its port. It can now guarantee the thousands of tourists that embark and disembark every day from our ships all the comfort and convenience of the most modern of facilities in one of the world’s most charming historical maritime stations," said Mr Vago.

The inauguration ceremony was attended by the Archbishop of Genoa, Angelo Bagnasco, the Mayor of Genoa, Marta Vincenzi, as well as representatives of the Port Authority and Maritime Station and members of the Provincial authorities.

Genoa has been the homeport of MSC Cruises since the start of its radical expansion programme in 2004. Next year the company will be deploying seven ships to the port during which 750 000 passengers will embark and disembark during a total of 157 ports of call.

MSC Cruises has also invested heavily in the city of Genoa. The MSC Group’s catering subsidiary MSC Italcatering’s has its headquarters in Genoa. The group is also building the new “Towers of San Benigno” office block that will not only bring all the different MSC departments active in the city under one roof but also modify the skyline of the city forever.


2011 Port of Cork cruise season draws a close

The Port of Cork welcomed its final cruise liner of the 2011 season to Cobh today following another successful year. In total 52 liners called to the Port of Cork, Ireland’s only dedicated cruise berth, carrying 100,902 passengers and crew, an increase on the 2010 figures.

With these high numbers of calls and increasing passenger numbers, the overall economic contribution of the cruise business in Ireland is estimated to be worth €60 million to the island of Ireland. Cork alone contributes an estimated €20m to the local economy both directly and indirectly. In a recent survey carried out by Red C Research on behalf of Cruise Ireland, the look of a port is seen to be a key feature, with those arriving into Cork port citing this as very important in encouraging passengers to disembark and take an excursion. Over 90% of passengers visiting Cork were satisfied with their experience which exceeded their expectations.

Captain Michael McCarthy, Commercial Manager Port of Cork commented on the cruise business saying: ‘with so many passengers arriving into Cobh and Cork, the impact this has on the local economy is very positive with the average spend per in-transit passenger approximately €73 per day.’

Continuing Captain McCarthy talked about Cork’s potential saying that: ‘In 2012 the numbers of calls are already looking very positive with 58 liners expected. As it is the 100th anniversary of the Titanic, Cobh will play an important part in commemorations and already there are three liners booked to call, which are basing their cruise theme around the Titanic.’

Feedback from cruise companies visiting Cork is very positive. Direct access to the quayside for passengers coupled with the accessibility of trains to Cork and the historic town of Cobh and its attractions on their doorstep, makes Cobh an attractive port of call. In 2010 the Port of Cork were awarded 1st place for ‘Best Destination Experience (Organised)’ in the world and 2nd place for ‘Best Port Welcome’ at the Dream World Cruise awards These awards along with Cork being voted within the Lonely Planet’s top ten cities to visit must be capitalised.

The Port of Cork has ambitious plans to grow the business to 75 calls over the next five years and already 2012 are experiencing that growth, with 58 liners expected to call. Some of these calls will stay overnight and atleast six liners will make their maiden call to Cork in 2012. This growth is attributed to the Port of Cork’s investment of over €8 million to date on berthing facilities, which are the only facilities in Ireland capable of handling the largest liners afloat today.

Kiel expands cruise berth capacity

The Port of Kiel is to increase its cruise ship handling capacity. In time for the 2013 cruise shipping season the port will extend its Berth No. 1 at the Ostuferhafen so that cruise ships of 300 m and over can berth there and exchange passengers. It will be the third berth facility for big cruise ships in Kiel. Dr Dirk Claus, Managing Director of the Port of Kiel (SEEHAFEN KIEL GmbH & Co. KG) said "more cruises start and end in Kiel than in any other German port. In order to cement our market position medium and long-term, we are investing in the expansion of our capacities." Currently, Kiel boasts two berths for big cruise ships at the Ostseekai and has further terminal capacities for ships up to 200 m in length at Norwegenkai and Schwedenkai. 

Berth No. 1 at the Ostuferhafen has a quay length of 380 m and a consistent water depth alongside of 9.50 m. As part of the expansion work it is planned to install new fenders and passenger gangways. Passenger and luggage handling will take place on an area of more than 3,000 m² and the former Warehouse No. II, acquired by the Port of Kiel just this summer, will be transformed into a passenger handling terminal. “We are offering shipping companies and passengers a very good overall package in the Ostuferhafen – one with a very special atmosphere”, said Dirk Claus. “We are modelling ourselves on the already well-established solutions at other ports in northern Europe.” From a transport point of view, the new cruise ship berth is almost ideally located for connection to the motorway network and more than 400 long-stay parking places are available directly at the handling building. The Ostuferhafen also meets ISPS Code port safety demands and has all the required supply and waste management facilities.