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#CruiseEurope- The European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) gathered with the relevant European cruise port organisations in Barcelona yesterday and decided to enhance the cooperation between the different organisations representing cruise ports.

Following the strategic cooperation agreement signed by ESPO, Cruise Baltic, Cruise Europe, Cruise Norway and MedCruise today, the organisations decided that:

  • ESPO will intensify its efforts as the official voice of the European Cruise and Ferry Port sector towards the European institutions.
  • A Cruise and Passenger port network would be set up within ESPO that would bring together Cruise Baltic, Cruise Europe, Cruise Norway and MedCruise and representatives of Cruise and Ferry port authorities. The network is to be seen as the continuation of the ESPO passenger committee. This network will meet regularly to discuss the latest developments at EU policy level relevant to the Cruise and Ferry Port sector and will define which interests should be defended.
  • ESPO will engage when needed in a constructive debate with the associations representing cruise lines and other stakeholders involved in the cruise or ferry sector and investigate potential collaborative synergies.
  • ESPO will develop a Code of Good Practice for EU cruise and ferry ports together with Cruise Baltic, Cruise Europe, Cruise Norway and MedCruise. The network will build on the work of the ESPO passenger committee towards this direction and will bring this a step further using the expertise of the participating cruise associations.

"I am very pleased with the decisions taken today. Cruise and ferry traffic is an increasingly important market segment for European ports and faces port authorities with specific challenges. Cruise and ferry activities in ports can however not be isolated from the freight business. It is therefore important that ESPO looks at both and make it possible to have an integrated approach when defining common positions of the port authorities on relevant policy issues," says Isabelle Ryckbost, Secretary General ESPO.

"On behalf of our 115 member ports, I am confident that this strategic cooperation agreement will advance the collaboration with cruise lines and the association representing them and will contribute in a sustainable and mutually beneficial manner to the continued successful growth of the cruise industry," says Captain Michael McCarthy, Chairman Cruise Europe.

"All organizations should focus on their "core business" and rather seek strategic alliances/partnerships with other organizations with complementary focus and expertise. By entering into this strategic cooperation agreement, ESPO shall be focusing on policy matters concerning the cruise- and ferry business from the ports perspective on a European level which will enable Cruise Norway to focus on being the marketing company we are supposed to be for the benefit of our shareholders. This agreement will minimize duplication of work, save resources in form of both time and money and should provide better results," says Ingvar M. Mathisen, Chairman Cruise Norway.

"This initiative is a clear mark of cruise ports commitment and investment in effective alliances. It is also a major step for improving the representation of cruise ports. Sharing knowledge and expertise port associations will advance cruise ports interests and best practices the finest way possible. They will also provide meaningful input in discussions with policy makers and stakeholders. MedCruise is looking forward to a strategic collaboration serving the prospects and the sustainable growth of the cruise sector," says Stavros Hatzakos, MedCruise President.
The participating organisations are:

ESPO

The European Sea Ports Organisation represents the port authorities, port associations and port administrations of the seaports of the Member States of the European Union and Norway. ESPO has also observer members in several neighbouring countries to the EU. 90 % of Europe's cargo trade in goods passes through the more than 1200 seaports existing in the 23 maritime Member States of the EU and nearly 400 million passengers pass through Europe's ports every year using ferry and cruise services. ESPO ensures that seaports have a clear voice in the European Union. The organisation promotes the common interests of its members throughout Europe and is also engaged in dialogue with European stakeholders in the Port and Maritime sector.

Cruise Baltic

Cruise Baltic is a close cooperation between 28 destinations - in the Baltic Sea Region. Our aim is to integrate the region's international cruise tourism industry by exchange of knowledge and information. Through Cruise Baltic, all the participating countries are able to offer the same service, high standards and full integration between ports and cities for cruise lines that want to discover the unique possibilities of the Baltic Sea Region. The number of cruise tourists visiting Cruise Baltic destinations has risen from 1.7 million passengers in 2004 to approximately 4.4 million passengers in 2014.

Cruise Europe

Cruise Europe was the first cruise port association, founded in 1991. We are now representing 115 members in Northern and Atlantic Europe. Our members host 7000 calls from ocean going cruise ships, and 10 million passenger movements.

Cruise Norway

Cruise Norway is a B2B Marketing Organization with 40 member ports in additions to associate members from attractions, tourist boards and ship/port agents. Cruise Norway's vision: Norway - the world's best nature-based cruise destination. In 2013 Cruise Norway members hosted approx. 3.1 million passenger movements and 2.300 calls.

MedCruise

MedCruise is the Association of cruise Ports in the Mediterranean and its adjoining seas. Established in 1996 MedCruise has today 70 members representing more than 100 ports, plus 32 associate members, representing associations, tourist boards and ship/port agents. Its member ports host over 27 million passengers and 14.000 cruise calls per year.

 

Published in Cruise Liners
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#RivalSistersWind Surf, the one part sailing yacht and one part upscale cruise ship departed Dun Laoghaire Harbour this evening, her rival sister, Club Med 2 is due to call to neighbouring Dublin Port tomorrow, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The largest ship in the Windstar Cruises fleet at 14,746 tonnes represented the final of four cruise callers to Dun Laoghaire this season. Since the harbour re-launched the cruise business in 2011, Wind Surf has been the most regular visitor, today marked her fourth time berthing at Carlisle Pier.

Next year, Dun Laoghaire is to welcome a record 23 cruiseships, including considerably larger callers and as previously reported newbuilds, notably P&O Cruises giant 141,000 tonnes Brittania. Her call in her inaugural season is a major coup for the harbour, as she is the largest ever cruiseship built for the UK market.

Combined these callers are to bring 66,000 passengers to Dun Laoghaire, a figure that surpasses for the first time ever to those visiting Dublin of around 60,000 visitors.

Wind Surf was launched for Club Med at a shipyard in Le Havre as their Club Med 1. This evening the Bahamas flagged vessel is on a course along the eastern Leinster seaboard. She is bound for an anchorage call off Dunmore East tomorrow.

Her former fleetmate sister, Club Med 2, which has a slightly larger tonnage of 14,983 is this evening off the Mull of Kintyre bound for Dublin. She is registered in Mata-Utu, the capital of Wallis and Futuna which is an overseas 'collectivity' of France. She will dock along Ocean Pier.

The 187m (637ft) sisters have five masts each and seven triangular self-furling, computer operated sails, which make for an impressive sight. They are known for luxurious amenities and for reaching to unique ports of call, taking some 310 guests and almost 200 crew.

 

Published in Cruise Liners

#CruiseFerryBerths - Brilliance of the Seas departed Cobh in the afternoon followed by Discovery this evening, the latter notably had berthed at Ringaskiddy Ferry Terminal as distinct to docking at the adjacent deep water berth, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The Royal Caribbean Lines 90,000 tonnes 'Radiance' class Brilliance of the Seas had called to Cobh's dedicated 'cruise' terminal before she headed for Klasvik, Norway. As for Discovery she is bound for St. Mary's, the capital of the Scilly Islands.

Normally, when more than one cruise caller arrives the same day, the Ringaskiddy deepwater berth that mostly accommodates large ocean-going cargoships also caters for cruiseships that has included the famous 'Cunarder' QE2.

Discovery of 19,900 tonnes is on charter to Cruise & Maritime Voyages, she had berthed at the Ringaskiddy Ferry Terminal ro-ro berth jetty. It is at this berth that Brittany Ferries cruiseferry, Pont-Aven of 41,700 tonnes, making her twice the size of the cruiseship, calls from Roscoff on Saturdays. She has a capacity for 2,400 passengers and like cruiseships, she features a pool.

The intimate 700 passenger Discovery is a small vessel in today's cruiseship market. She was launched as Island Venture in 1971 and is the surviving sister of a pair of almost 20,000 tonnes vessels built for Norwegian based Flagship Cruises.

The German built sisters were better known during careers for Princess Cruises as the Island Princess and Pacific Princess, which saw them appear in the popular US TV series the 'Love Boat' during the 1970's. The latter sister was scrapped this year.

On completion of this current cruise, Discovery departs Bristol (Avonmouth) on a 14-night cruise to the Azores and Madeira. It is understood that following her final cruise for CMV in October she is due to be sold.

Published in Cruise Liners

#Seabourn/Windstar – Seabourn Cruises ulta-luxury Seabourn Legend that called to Dun Laoghaire Harbour yesterday, is making her final cruise to Irish and UK ports before her transfer to Windstar Cruises next year, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Her sale along with a pair of sisters to Windstar Cruises, will see the intimate 212 guest superyacht-like vessel renamed Star Legend enter service in April 2015.

By coincidence, the fourth and final caller to Dun Laoghaire this season will be Windstar Cruises sail-assisted five-mast cruiseship, Wind Surf which is due to visit this week. She has become the harbour's most frequent caller since the Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company re-launched in promoting the cruise business in 2011.

Returning to Seabourn Legend and under the command of Captain Dvergastein, the 9,975 tonnes vessel took a pilot before entering the embracing harbour arms of Dun Laoghaire (see previous report). She is on a 15 day 'Route of Britannia' cruise which had departed from the Pool of London,  from where the 134m vessel transited through Tower Bridge.

She had visited St. Mary's, Scilly, and as previously reported on Afloat.ie, Waterford City Quays, marking an historic record-breaking total of three callers visiting on the one day. Today, she is in Belfast, where she is reunited with Hamburg which too had formed the trio meeting in the south-eastern city along with Silver Cloud.

The Seabourn Legend has an almost full occupancy booked for this cruise and this evening she is bound for ports along the western isles of Scotland and also a call to Greenock.

Following her Clydeside call, she is to return through the Irish Sea with further calls to the Isle of Man, France and Belgium before terminating her cruise back in London.

As to be expected with an upmarket cruise operator, Seabourn Cruises offers a very high standard in cuisine. They are a member of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, one of the world's most prestigious gastronomic societies devoted to fine dining, in which The Restaurent on Deck 3 is the place to be.

Among the other facilities there is the Veranda Café Lounge and nearby outdoor pool plus a pair of whirlpools. Also on that deck is the beauty salon, spa and gym. There is The Club bar and piano lounge, Casino, Show Lounge, Library / Video, Boutique and Card room.

As for accommodation, there are six categories of suites, in which there are a pair of owner's suites (54sq m) located on Deck 6. Features include living room with semi-circular couch, ocean view, dining area, forward-facing private veranda, bedroom with one queen size bed only, a walk-in closet and alcove closet. There is a bathroom with tub, shower and vanity plus a guest bath.

In addition the Owner Suites come equipped with two flat-screen TVs with DVD players, Bose Wave CD stereo system and there is complimentary Wi-Fi / internet service.

Published in Cruise Liners

#CruiseControl – The Hollywood blockbuster 'Speed 2: Cruise Control' released in 1997 starring Sandra Bullock and filmed on board Seabourn Legend, is to make her maiden call to Dun Laoghaire Harbour tomorrow, writes Jehan Ashmore.

This will be the first time that Seabourn Cruises, a prestigious operator in the high-end of the cruise market will visit Dun Laoghaire Harbour as part of a 15-day 'Cruise of Britannia'. The five-star 208 capacity cruiseship embarked her guests in London and she has a crew of 164 to pamper their requirements.

Her high-quality suites are renowned for personalized service coupled by award-winning choice of restuarents serving French fries to foie-gras.

Only a year after entering service for Seabourn, she was home for three months to the film production crew and actors including co-stars Willem Defoe and Jason Patric.

In addition to the many on board shoots, those that required high-drama stunts scenes, required construction of a replica of her bow which saw her crashing ashore in the film set in the Caribbean.

As previously reported, Seabourn Legend was one of record three callers to Waterford City Quays today, is currently underway tonight along with two other cruiseships. She was originally launched in 1988 as Royal Viking Queen as one of a trio of intimate yacht-like ships ordered by Royal Viking Line. The sisters were built by German shipyard, Schichau Seebeckwerft in Bremerhaven.

When her current owners took ownership, she was re-christened by Linn Brynestad, the wife of Seabourn founder Atle Brynestad. She retained her name for the film.

Tomorrow's call of the near 10,000 tonnes Seabourn Legend marks the third of four cruiseships due this season. Last year the harbour had 13 callers, there were four in 2012 and in the re-launching of the cruise business in 2011 saw two visits by the same cruiseship.

A record number of cruiseships, totalling 23 are confirmed for the 2015 season according to the Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company.
In addition, the harbour is to welcome another record with 66,867 passengers, which for the first time exceeds those visiting across the bay in Dublin Port where 60,751 passengers are expected to visit the capital.

 

Published in Cruise Liners

#HistoricCruiseDay – A historic occasion for Waterford City Quays, as for the first time ever a record total of three cruiseships are visiting Ireland's oldest city today, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The Port of Waterford are host to some 500 crew and more than 900 passengers. The visitors are to experience the south-eastern city established by the Vikings. Likewise of those invading Longboats, the cruiseships Seabourn Legend, Hamburg and Silver Cloud sailed upriver of Waterford Estuary to dock along the Suir.

Benefitting from the influx of tourists in bringing an economic boost are the business community, key tourist attractions and to those in the surrounding hinterland.

Seabourn Legend and Hamburg berthed closer to the Rice Lift Bridge at the North Quay while the largest caller in terms of gross registered tonnage (grt), Silver Cloud, moored further downriver at the Frank Cassin Wharf.

Listed below are some details about the cruiseship callers.

Seabourn Legend (1992 /9,961grt) Operator: Seabourn Cruises Passengers: 208 Crew: 164

Hamburg (1997/15,067grt) Operator: Hapag-Lloyd Passengers: 408 Crew: 170

Silver Cloud (1994/16,927grt) Operator: Silversea Cruises Passengers: 300 Crew: 210

By coincidence the cruiseships all fly the Bermuda flag.

Take note!... this evening all three cruiseships are to depart within a short timeframe of each other between 7.30-8pm (elements permitting). So there' a unique opportunity to see the shipping spectacle for both cruise-goers and onlookers alike.

An excellent vantage point is from the city-quays Millennium Plaza (near Reginald's Tower) as this faces opposite the Frank Cassin Wharf on the Co. Kilkenny side of the Suir.

It is at this quayside where the former Irish owned Bell Lines Container Terminal stood. The traditional city-centre port was shifted in the 1990's to a brand new deepwater terminal downriver at Belview, as the main port of Waterford.

The company was aquired by Irish Continental Group (ICG) and as previously reported, the group this week released mid-year financial results, for more click HERE.

 

Published in Cruise Liners

#AbandonedCall – The 51,044 tonnes Crystal Symphony, the biggest cruiseship caller to Galway Harbour this season as reported earlier on Afloat.ie, instead had to abandon an anchorage call this morning due to bad weather, forcing her to head for the Port of Cork, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Due to unfavourable sea conditions, the 992 capacity cruiseship which was off Mutton Island in Galway Bay, was prevented from anchoring and was unable to transfer her passengers ashore by her fleet of tenders to Galway Harbour.

Crystal Symphony has since departed Galway Bay and is currently off the Co. Clare coast. She is expected to reach Cork Harbour  tomorrow morning at around 06.30. 

It is understood that the 238m long vessel operated by Crystal Cruises was already scheduled to visit Cork, as part of her round island cruise which included as reported an anchorage call in Lough Foyle.

She is to berth at Ringaskiddy's Deep Water Berth in lower Cork Harbour.

 

Published in Cruise Liners

#BiggestCallerCrystal Symphony at 51,044grt is the biggest caller in tonnage terms to Galway Harbour this cruise season, yet her passenger capacity was surpassed by Thompson Spirit which called earlier this summer, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The 922 capacity Crystal Cruises operated vessel marks the sixth caller out of a total eight to include the 1,350 Thompson Spirit in May, making 2014 one of the busiest for Galway Harbour Company in recent years.

The mid-west port has proposed plans for a new port further out in Galway Bay to allow much larger cruiseships to dock. For further details visit their website HERE.

Crystal Symphony this morning anchored off Galway Harbour, close to Mutton Island having made as previously reported another anchorage call yesterday off Mouvile, Co. Donegal close to Greencastle on Lough Foyle.

It may be nearing the end of August, but the season continues as German operator, Phoenix-Reisen makes an appearance next Sunday with their Artania (44,348grt)

The one-time Royal Princess is due at the end of the month with a capacity of 1,260, making her the third largest caller of passengers.

At the other end of the spectrum, Club Med Cruises striking looking five mast sail-assisted Club Med 2 (14,983grt) with only 386 guests is scheduled to end the season in early September.

Published in Cruise Liners

#CruiseDonegal – Having sailed from Belfast, the 51,000 tonnes Crystal Symphony anchored this morning off Greencastle from where as previously reported, Donegal Co. Council are backing the Loughs Agency to upgrade facilities.

The visit of Crystal Symphony is an impressive sized cruiseship to Lough Foyle. The €170,000 investment in Greencastle is to develop the lucrative cruise trade to the north-west. The aim is to increase cruise-based visitors to tour the Inishowen Peninsula, with Malin Head been the main destination attraction.

Crystal Cruises, operators of the ultra-luxury 900 passenger-plus cruise line won three first-place awards from CruiseLine.com's Bon Voyage magazine. The online publication's panel of experienced cruise editors chose the winners for the first annual Editor's Choice awards, giving Crystal five accolades overall – more than any other luxury line.

Among the categories won was for Best Refurbished Ship in which Crystal Symphony was awarded Silver. The 238m long cruiseship having recently undergone a $15 million redesign.

The redesign for example involved a newly-styled Avenue Saloon, one of the ship's most popular venues. The piano bar retains its 19th-century gentlemen's club feel with rich mahogany woods, buttery leathers, and luxe velvets. So click HERE for a peak and more!

Published in Cruise Liners

#OvernightVisitorOne of a quartet of cruise-callers to Dublin Port yesterday, Seven Seas Voyager remains berthed this morning having spent an overnight visit in what will be an overall 38 hour call, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The Regency Seven Seas Cruises 42,363grt tonnes ship is at the high-end of the cruise market with a 6-star rating for the vessel which had a major refurbishment in late 2013. She has an international crew of 447 which allows her 700 guests to be pampered by having a high crew / guest ratio of 1: 1.5. This level of customer-service comes with ultra-luxurious facilities and where all cabin 'suites' categories also have balconies.

Her extended port visit allowing her guests a far more leisurely time to take in the attractions of the capital and beyond. Such calls and turnarounds are been encouraged by Dublin Port Company to increase cruise business and in boosting the local economy from such high-spending clientele.

All shore excursions from Regency are free in every port-of-call and where her guests can avail of many excursions in a day and during the entire cruise. This is offered so to increase experiences in the history, culture and cuisine of destinations visited with local guides and transportation.

Those wishing not to spend longer shore-time excursions can remain on board, however her berthing location in Dubin is somewhat unusual for a cruise-caller been further tucked in within Alexandra Basin. This is unfortunate given the more industrial backdrop at this stretch of quayside compared to those along the more customary cruise berths lining Ocean Pier.

It should however be acknwlowedged that AidaCara and Ocean Majesty (see report) had occupied these main cruise berths at Ocean Pier leaving the fourth caller, Ocean Princess to berth upriver at North Wall Quay extension.

In order to meet the demand from increased cruise calls and ever larger vessels, Dublin Port Company propose a €200m dedicated cruise terminal at the North Wall next to the East-Link Bridge. This more attractive solution closer to the city centre along the main river-channel would bring shorter transport times between the port and the capital.

After today's second opportunity to visit the capital and visitor attractions in the surrounding hinterland, guests will head back to the comfort of their floating hotel for her 20.00hrs departure tonight. 

This will involve Seven Seas Voyager firstly moving astern into the channel to swing off opposite the Poolbeg Yacht Boat Club & Marina before she heads downriver bound for Waterford.

Published in Cruise Liners
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