Cruise Norway expects to see a reduction in cruise calls this coming year, according to its 2015 marketing plan. Consequently, the plan concludes, it is more important than ever to ramp up its marketing as “the world’s leading nature destination.”
As of November, projected total calls for 2015 were projected at 1,729 with 2.6 million visitors, a 14 percent decline in calls and a 5 percent decline in passengers from 2014.
Bigger ships compensate for fewer calls, but also pose a challenge for port infrastructure and tour offerings, according to the organization.
Cruise Norway attributes the reduction to the impact of ECA and deployment changes. Fuel savings are also blamed by port officials speaking with Cruise Industry News.
On the bright side is an upswing in winter cruises with passengers being attracted by winter activities and the aurora borealis.
Among new developments, Pullmantur will be launching a new cruise this summer, sailing twice from Northern Norway to Finland and Russia and has committed to more sailings in 2016. Pullmantur President Jorge Vilches told Cruise Industry News the market response has been “very good.”
The port of Lakselv is being developed and rebranded as the port of North Cape.
These cruises, however, are in place of Pullmantur’s previous sailings from Trondheim which have been reduced to just one in 2015.
In addition, Bergen will be hosting the May 17 christening of the new Viking Star of Viking Ocean Cruises. Viking will be using Bergen as a turnaround port while Norwegian Air will be launching direct service from the U.S. to Bergen.