Le Havre is expecting 140 cruise calls this year and 420,000 cruise passengers, said Jean-Baptiste Gastinne, president of Le Havre Cruise Club.
Those numbers are up from last year and include 40 turnarounds, made up of 22 calls by the MSC Magnifica, 12 from the Royal Princess, as well as turns from Costa Cruises and Rivages du Monde.
The 2017 season was closed out by the Artania, which was on a Christmas cruise, becoming the 129th vessel to visit and rounding the passenger number for 2017 off to 397,522
The port facilities can easily handle three large cruise ships at once, said Gastinne, with virtually no size limits and a generous water depth of 10.5 meters.
There is no shortage of shore excursions for passengers, with both Normandy and Paris nearby.
Terminal 12 will get an upgrade in time for the 2019 season, enhancing its footprint for turnaround operations for big cruise ships.
“Thanks to the strong relationships with other cruise destinations in Northern Europe, we have driven visibility to the region and we now benefit from regular calls from cruise lines, which used to stop only for seasonal repositioning in the past,” noted Gastinne.
As the industry grows, Le Havre hopes to add three additional cruise terminals with the aim of welcoming up to four mega-ships at once and hosting two simultaneous turnarounds. 800,000 passengers annually by 2023 is not unrealistic, Gastinne noted.