The professional development course in Ports and Passenger Shipping created by the Association of Mediterranean Cruise Ports (MedCruise) in collaboration with the Escola Europea de Short Sea Shipping (2E3S) started today, Saturday, November 24, 2007 aboard a deluxe Grimaldi Line ferry ship, the Fantastic.

The Fantastic departed from Barcelona with over 60 participants from the staff of MedCruise's member ports, and several of the cruise industry's leading experts as instructors. The ferry ship will be sailing from Barcelona to Genoa and back, between November 24 and 27.

Before leaving Barcelona, Costa Crociere hosted a luncheon aboard Costa Serena for all participants and instructors, and there was a plaque and keys ceremony, followed by a welcome speech to MedCruise members by Barcelona port president, Jordi Valls.

Before embarking and starting with the overview a introduction of the course, Sandra Yunta, General Manager of Palacruceros, the state-of-the-art passenger terminal of Costa Crociere in Barcelona, offered a tour of the terminal, followed by a boat tour of the port organized by the port of Barcelona and leaded by Carla Salvadó, Cruise Manager of this port.

The programme's coursework includes a wide range of subjects from the economics of the cruise line, diversifying shore excursions, port security and emergency management, cruise itinerary planning, passenger terminal design and managing port congestion. The course will apply a "hands-on", active-learning methodology in which all students must participate to help solve industry-related problems through case study analysis and presentations.

The four-day course will be taught by a team of cruise industry executives, government leaders and port executives:

Giora Israel Carnival Group, Vice-President, Strategic Planning

Bruce Krumrine Princess Cruises, Vice-President of Shore Operations

Eduard Rodés Escola Europea de Short Sea Shipping, Director

Laurent Monsaingeon MedCruise, President

Juan Madrid Port of Barcelona, Marketing and Commercial Director

George Michaelides George Chr. Michaelides Tourism Consulting Ltd, Managing Director

Tim Moore Fred Olsen Cruises, Tours Manager

Albert Poggio, OBE MedCruise, Senior Vice-President

Patrick Weinheimer Maritime Security, European Commission

Luis Ajamil Bermello, Ajamil and Partners, President

Antonio Pedevilla GNV – Grimaldi Group, Line Manager International Services

Jean-Claude de Troch City of Villefranche-sur-Mer, Vice-Mayor

Pierre Courbot Top Class Maritime Agency, Director

Valeria Mangiarotti MedCruise, Vice-President

It is hoped that sailing together from Barcelona to Genoa and working together in teams will allow port staff students and participating private- and public-sector industry leaders to develop good working relationships that will last even after the course is finished.