Cruise Traffic Surges in Liverpool

Celebrity ship calls in Liverpool

Cruise traffic is up 40 percent in Liverpool this year, and looks to be up at least 20 percent again in 2020, according to Peter Murney, head of cruise and marine operations.

2019 will see 86 calls, according to the port’s schedule. Visiting vessels can look forward to berthing in the heart of the city, steps from Liverpool’s notable UNESCO World Heritage waterfront.

“We strive to exceed passenger expectations at every stage of their journey. We change perceptions by ensuring guests experience Liverpool as the modern, thriving, dynamic, cosmopolitan destination we know it to be,” Murney said.

“One of our challenges is that the berth is on a floating pontoon with a 10 meter tidal range so at times pedestrian access bridges can be very steep,” Murney explained. “We overcome this by providing mobility buses that transport guests direct from gangway to passenger lounge and back.”

Berth bookings open two years out, he added.

Among the goals is to build the port’s turnaround business, as a new cruise terminal will be open and operational for the 2022 season.

Strong Growth Prospects for Hamburg

The AIDAblue Makes a Winter Call to Hamburg

Traffic is up 12 percent year-over-year for the port of Hamburg, with 800,000 passengers expected this year.

The widening of the harbor basin adjacent to the Altona terminal has been among the items driving the good news, with additional berth assignment options now available for large ships according to Kathrin Schweppe-May of Cruise Gate Hamburg.

First time callers include the MSC Preziosa, the Norwegian Jade and Independence of the Seas.

“This year’s Hamburg Cruise Days and Blue Port are expected to see record participation of ten cruise ships calling over the weekend. Participating ships will include AIDAprima, MSC Preziosa, Hapag Lloyds’ Europa and the Europa 2, the Mein Schiff 3 from TUI Cruises, Albatros and Amadea of Phoenix Reisen, Silver Wind, as well as Norwegian Jade and Plantours’ Sans Souci – which will be the first appearance of a river vessel at the event,” said Schweppe-May.

The parade takes place on September 9, with six cruise ships leaving the port jointly.

The port has also been able to drive winter business, with the AIDAprima homeporting year-round, but set to take a break this coming winter.

There are also regular calls, as 2017 started with the Queen Elizabeth docking on Jan. 5 and is going to close with the Aurora, which calls on Dec. 31.

December has also been a hit with Hamburg’s Christmas markets and calls from British cruise lines, said Schweppe-May.

“There is a good potential for new partners for regular calls during the weekdays as we have proven with this year’s debut of Norwegian Cruise Line that there is much more to come out of the world’s second largest source market,” noted Schweppe-May . “With the proof that the winter season is able to attract large numbers of passengers we are optimistic that this concept will develop further. Prime locations will with regard to the number of ships on order have to extend its seasons.”

A new cruise terminal is set to open in 2021, and will be integrated into a real estate complex including shopping, hotel, and entertainment options.

Venice Cruise Traffic Plateaus For Now

Ongoing vessel tonnage restrictions in Venice have capped cruise traffic for now, with a limit of 96,000 tons. In 2017 the classic Italian port is looking at a forecast of 473 calls and just over 1.4 million passengers, which is down from 2016. Next year looks set to be similar to 2017, according to a port spokesperson.

Meanwhile, government officials are still working to lock down an alternative route for larger ships to reach the port facilities.

New callers in 2017 include the AIDAblue, the Artemis, Norwegian Star, Silver Muse, Seabourn Encore, Arethusa, and both the Viking Sky and Sun.

The board of directors for VTP (the port authority) agreed earlier this year not to adjust berth fees in order to help foster growth.

Future growth will need to depend on the identification and availability of a new alternative route for ships to reach port facilities – thus allowing large ships to use Venice again. The port spokesperson also told Cruise Industry News that they want to increase their week-day call portfolio. VTP offers 10 terminal choices.