Eighteen ships have already announced that they will be calling in Rotterdam during the port’s cruise season. This is considerably more than in 2008, when the cruise port was only occupied by a cruise ship for fourteen days of the season, due to cancellations. Furthermore, a number of options could still be taken up during the season, which has not yet begun.

Queen Victoria opens the season on 4 May and will moor at Wilhelminapier a further three times. Eurodam is returning to its home port. Shipping line Princess Cruises – which last year relocated its ships from Rotterdam to the Mediterranean – is returning with two vessels. Norwegian Cruise Lines is offering two five-day cruises from Rotterdam to Copenhagen and Oslo. Before now, the Norwegian company had only used the port for the inauguration of the Norwegian Gem and the Norwegian Pearl.

On 30 September, the port will bid a fitting farewell to the Black Prince. This ship, owned by Fred Olsen, regularly docked in Rotterdam a few decades ago. The vessel carried both passengers and freight (including tomatoes from the Canary Islands), but also called in Rotterdam as a fully-fledged cruise ship.

Ready for the future

Mai Elmar, director of Cruise Port Rotterdam, is satisfied. “The terminal is now being given a thorough overhaul. Rotterdam is ready for the future. Cruise ships are becoming bigger all the time and Rotterdam is able to welcome these vessels into its harbour in the city centre. The quay has been reinforced and deepened and our maritime and nautical services are fully geared to handling large ships. These floating palaces can be mooring at our quays within about two hours of being out at sea.” Despite the credit crisis, the director of the cruise port still has confidence in the product. “A cruise holiday offers many possibilities, thanks to all the facilities on board and the good price/quality ratio. Your ‘hotel’ sails with you to the different destinations and the sea is always an ideal place to relax, of course.”