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.

Advertisements

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.

Venice to reroute biggest ships but will maintain terminal

By Tom Stieghorst

Changes afloat for Venice cruisesTo reduce the impact of big cruise ships in Venice, Italian ministers have decided to route the largest ships away from the center city, while still allowing them to dock there.

Cruise traffic would enter the Venetian lagoon on the southwest end, transiting the Malamocco channel, which is already used by cargo ships.

As a first step, an environmental study has been commissioned to evaluate the dredging of a cut-off canal leading from the cargo channel to the existing Venice cruise ship terminal.

Activists say that the dredging will harm the Venice lagoon by deepening it and creating more wave action, while at the same time disrupting sediments and water life in the area.

But a committee of Italian ministers said the plan mitigates the effects of increasingly large ships on Venice while preserving their positive contribution to the economy.

“It seems to me to be a balanced solution,” Transport Minister Maurizio Lupi said in announcing the decision.

Some parties had pushed for a more radical option, such as relocating the cruise terminal to the industrial port at Marghera, a plan favored by Venetian Mayor Giorgio Orsoni.

Venice hosted more than 1.8 million cruise passengers last year, making it the third-busiest cruise port in Europe, after Barcelona and Civitavecchia, near Rome.

An increasingly vocal group of activists has protested that modern cruise ships have grown out of scale with Venice and are causing damage to the city’s foundations, an assertion disputed by the cruise industry.

As part of the new plan, the committee of Italian ministers reinstated a ban on cruise ships of more than 96,000 gross tons from using the current route through the Lido and down the Giudecca Canal.

That route takes cruise ship passengers through the heart of Venice and past Piazza San Marco, its biggest attraction.

Cruise lines, through CLIA Europe, emphasized the importance of Venice and the Venice Passenger Terminal to the entire cruise industry.

“While we believe that the passage of cruises through the Giudecca Canal is safe, we agree that a sustainable solution for Venice requires a new alternative route for ships, and so we are pleased that the Italian government is working very hard to find a sustainable solution,” a CLIA statement said.

A study last year found that the cruise industry in Venice created an annual economic impact of 345 million euros (about $462 million).

Individual cruise lines have been planning for Venice’s mandated reduction in ship size. Celebrity Cruises, for example, next year will sail a 91,000-gross-ton, Millennium-class ship on Eastern Mediterranean itineraries from Venice, while moving its 122,000-gross-ton, Solstice-class ship to Baltic itineraries.

The Italian government had originally banned cruise ships of more than 96,000 gross tons from the current route effective Jan. 1, but that ban has been stayed by a regional Italian court, pending a decision on an alternative route into the city.

The decision to move forward on the environmental study of the back channel addresses the court’s objection.

The plan calls for deepening the Contorta Sant’ Angelo, a 4-kilometer channel between Marghera and Venice that was cut in the 1960s for fuel barges, from a depth of 1.5 meters to 9 meters.

Authorities estimate the dredging project will take about two years and cost about 115 million euros (about $154 million).