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Ports & destinations

Port of Barcelona closes summer cruise season with passenger numbers up by 16%

The Port of Barcelona has closed the summer season with a 16% increase in cruise passenger numbers for the same period of 2010, confirming the Port Authority is on track to achieving its forecast of 2.5 million cruise passengers and 900 cruise vessel calls in the year 2011. By the end of October, the Port had received a total of 2.4 million cruise passengers and 785 cruise calls. 
Barcelona continues to consolidate its position as a turnaround or homeport with 58.5% of cruise passengers arriving at the port either beginning or ending their journey in the city. This type of traffic represents a significant boost to the economy of Barcelona and Catalonia as passengers regularly spend additional nights in the city or nearby areas with further spending on accommodation, restaurants, excursions and shopping etc. In 2010 alone, this type of tourism contributed 260 million euros to the country’s tertiary sector.

Client loyalty among shipping companies

This season, the three largest cruise vessels sailing in the Mediterranean chose Barcelona as their homeport: the Liberty of the Seas, (Royal Caribbean), the Norwegian Epic, (Norwegian Cruise Line) and the Carnival Magic (Carnival Cruises). All three shipping companies have located their most up-to-date and best-equipped vessels in the city. Excluding crewmembers, the three vessels can accommodate a total of 14,000 passengers. The Port is therefore maintaining its leadership in the cruise sector by strengthening its position as the leading cruise port in Europe and the Mediterranean and the 4th homeport in the world, surpassed only by the three large ports of the state of Florida.

Companies with a strong presence in the Port of Barcelona such as Costa Cruises and Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) have experienced significant growth throughout the year. Operators such as Pullmantur, Iberocruceros and Holland America have also increased their calls in the city. Disney Cruise Line has also consolidated its presence in the Barcelona port area by initiating all its summer cruise schedules in the Port. The Seabourn Cruise Line chose to launch the vessel Seabourn Quest in the Port of Barcelona This ceremony usually takes place in the shipbuilders yard or a nearby port but on this occasion was held in the Port of Barcelona. 
Efforts made by the Port of Barcelona to break with seasonality trends in the Mediterranean cruise sector to have cruise vessels operating all year round, continue to bear fruits. In the specific case of November, a total of 74 calls are scheduled, some 27% up on last year’s figure of 58. 

Cruise passengers by nationality

In relation to cruise passengers, the 2010 nationality study revealed that Spanish passenger numbers (19%) had increased to occupy first place followed by North Americans (17%), British (16%) and Italians (15%). This type of tourism is also beginning to attract other nationalities such as South Americans who make up 7% of the total, an increase of 5% on last year. 
Growth in the Port of Barcelona over the last 10 years is due to a number of factors such as the firm commitment of the APB and the Barcelona Port Community to the cruise industry, which has materialised into excellent facilities of international recognition. It is also due to on-going commercial initiatives, the excellent services and professionalism offered by the Barcelona Port Community to both shipping companies and passengers, the attraction of Barcelona itself, support infrastructure (airport, HSR, etc.) and high security levels at the cruise terminals and the port as a whole. 

More efficient operations

This season the Port of Barcelona set out to improve the accesses to cruise terminals by implementing two key actions. Firstly, the Port Authority opened a dedicated entrance lane for public transport (taxis and buses),in use since 1st July to coincide with days of heightened cruise activity in the port. Also, the taxi area at Terminal A has doubled in size allowing 15 vehicles to operate simultaneously. These initiatives have allowed mobility to improve at the Adossat quay, speeding up entry and exit operations and reducing the amount of time tourists have to wait before reaching the city. 
The Port has also introduced changes to reinforce security at the cruise terminals. Since 1st March companies responsible for port services provided to cruise traffic have taken on the responsibility of monitoring the security of passenger and luggage under the constant supervision and command of the Guardia Civil, who are still present inside port facilities to carry out the official surveillance of these services. This approach is being implemented with two main objectives: to release police personnel to enable them to focus on other surveillance and security tasks and to better allocate resources in response to demand as terminals can contract the resources they require on the basis of passenger volume and time slots. 

British Columbia records 8% rise in passenger count 2011

British Columbia cruise ports recently wrapped up a successful 2011 season with an 8% increase in total passengers over the previous year.  The communities of Nanaimo, Port Alberni, Prince Rupert, Vancouver, and Victoria welcomed 1.2 million cruise passengers on a total 435 calls in 2011, generating a total economic impact of $1.3 billion to the BC economy. Direct passenger and crew spending added up to $185 million and cruise line spending was $367 million in the province while overall business tax contributions were $50 million, CRUISE BC said in a statement.

"The growth in this year's cruise visitations is a positive sign that the industry is turning the corner from the challenges of the previous few years" said Cruise BC Chair Doug Peterson.  "More cruise ships are being positioned on the west coast to take advantage of the strength of the Alaskan cruise theatre. BC cruise ports play a key role as both homeports and destinations during the summer cruise season.  The economic generation from the direct and indirect spending is a significant benefit to both the individual communities and also to the province as a whole."

The 2011 cruise season saw multiple highlights and benefits extending across different regions of the province:

*    Success in Nanaimo's 2011 cruise season came not only in the form of a 26% increase in passengers from 2010, but also in the form of permanent infrastructure upgrades to the community.  

 *    The city of Victoria also had multiple reasons to celebrate.  In addition to once again leading Canadian ports in the number of cruise calls, with a total of 206 calls and 440,000 passengers, Victoria also welcomed its 4 millionth cruise guest to the city in August 2011.  Victoria was also home of Disney Cruise Line's first ever call to a British Columbian port on May 2nd.  In addition to the Disney Wonder, Victoria also enjoyed inaugural calls by the Oceania Regatta, the Celebrity Century and the P&O's Arcadia.

*    The Prince Rupert Port Authority's 2011 season concluded with more than 50,000 cruise passengers arriving on 21 ship calls from May through September. Two inaugural calls were made by the Oceania Regatta and the Norwegian Pearl, with weekly calls by Norwegian Cruise Lines.  In the fall of 2010, PRPA engaged a study to evaluate Prince Rupert as a port of call on Alaskan itineraries.  The results of this report were used to enhance the port's facilities and tourism offerings. 

*    Vancouver recently concluded a successful 2011 Vancouver-Alaska cruise season, posting a 15 per cent increase in passengers over 2010. Between May and October 2011, the Port welcomed 663,425 passengers on 27 different vessels and 199 cruise ship calls.  New in 2011, Port Metro Vancouver welcomed Disney Cruise Line's Disney Wonder and Oceania Cruises' Regatta for the first time, with both vessels home porting in Vancouver during their inaugural seasons in the Alaska market.  Vancouver also saw the return of Crystal Cruises to Alaska with the Crystal Symphony making 10 port calls in Vancouver.   

Port of Baltimore sets cruise passenger record for third straight year

Governor Martin O’Malley has announced that for the third consecutive year, the Port of Baltimore has surpassed its record for most cruise passengers in one year. Sunday’s sailing of the Carnival Pride on a 7-night cruise to the Bahamas included 2,295 passengers. That cruise pushed the number of passengers that have left on a cruise from Baltimore in 2011 to 212,821 on 89 cruises, which exceeds the previous record of 210,549 passengers on 90 cruises set in 2010.

"In these tough economic times, there is no more important goal we share than creating jobs and advancing innovation in Maryland," said Governor O’Malley. "Since beginning year-round cruises three years ago, and since we’ve introduced our new state-of-the-art boarding bridge, the Port has seen a remarkable increase in cruise business, which is good news for jobs and provides a boost to our State’s tourism industry. These actions together with the construction of our new berth help to secure the long-term economic future of the Port.” This year the Port of Baltimore has a record of 105 cruises offered by Carnival, Celebrity, and Royal Caribbean. Carnival and Royal Caribbean offer year-round schedules. Cruises sail to the Bahamas, Bermuda, Caribbean, and New England/Canada. Recently Carnival signed a new five-year extension to continue offering year-round cruises from Baltimore. The first two years are financially guaranteed and there are three one-year options.

Last month it was announced that the Port of Baltimore handled the fifth-largest amount of cruise passengers among East Coast cruise ports in 2010. Baltimore’s fifth-place position is one better than it ranked in 2009. Nationally, the port ranked 12th (up from 14th).

Earlier this year, the Port of Baltimore began using a state-of-the-art, climate-controlled enclosed passenger boarding bridge. The bridge is mobile and flexible to accommodate various sized cruise ships.

In the last three years, Baltimore has seen a marked increase in its number of cruise passengers. In 2009, its first year of year-round cruising, more than 167,000 passengers sailed on 81 cruises. In 2008, about 61,000 people sailed on 27 cruises that operated in the spring, summer and fall. The total economic value to the State of Maryland of cruising from the Port of Baltimore is about $90 million. Approximately 200 direct jobs in Maryland are generated by cruise activity.

Baltimore is within a six hour drive of 40 million people. It is the closest East Coast drive-to port from Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Indianapolis and Chicago and is within a three-hour drive from the New York City metro area. The Cruise Maryland terminal is 2.5 miles from Baltimore’s world famous Inner Harbor and 10 miles from BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport. 
Maryland’s median household income of $70,545 is the highest in the U.S. Baltimore is also located within a four-hour drive of eight of the ten wealthiest counties in the U.S. The Baltimore-Washington DC-Northern Virginia region is recognized as one of the most affluent in the nation.

Valletta Cruise Port set to reach new passenger record after 30% jump in October

Valletta Cruise Port is enjoying a strong year, with the number of cruise passengers 30% up year-on in October, while the number of passengers that have visited the Maltese capital on a cruise has already exceeded the full year figure achieved last year, the port said in a statement

"The total cruise passenger movements in October this year was 76,828 .  This represents a 30% increase over October of last year. In fact, this was Valletta Cruise Port’s best October in its ten year history. During this record breaking month, there was one maiden call with Costa Marina on the  27th of October," Valletta Cruise Port said.

Since the beginning of the year, total cruise passenger movements stood at 493,495, which is more than the total registered for the full year in 2010 (490,744).  Valletta Cruise Port registered the 500,000th cruise passenger movement with the TUI Mein Schiff 1 during the last home porting call of the season. 

Achieving this milestone among others, Valletta Cruise Port anticipates a record breaking year in 2011.  As a gesture of thanks and to celebrate the last call of the season,  the Malta Tourism Authority gave a farewell fireworks display upon the Mein Schiff ‘s1 departure from Malta’s Grand Harbour. The impact to the local economy is significant as Valletta Cruise Port’s  investment programme has created a direct and indirect source of employment to a number of households.  This initiative has generated in excess of  €250 million to the local economy since 2005.

In addition and to further enhance Valletta Cruise Port’s position, a newly established ferry service between Malta and Libya, will start its operations in November. This is expected to begin regular scheduled service this week and Valletta Cruise Port is pleased to collaborate with The Zammit Group, Fergun Shipping and BH International of Libya on this initiative.

Valletta Cruise Port desires to register its appreciation to the local agents, the Malta Tourism Authority, Air Malta, Malta International Airport and Transport Malta who are constructively in collaborative relationship with Valletta Cruise Port to develop the cruise sector business in Malta.

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.

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