“We are expecting 347 calls this season and 950,000 passengers, up from 328 calls and 850,000 passengers last year,” said Takayuki Miyamoto, assistant manager of cruise for the tourism and culture bureau in Fukuoka, which is served by the port of Hakata.
Those numbers are growing, in part from infrastructure improvements aimed at big ships, and are even further up from 2015, when the port had 259 calls and 580,000 passengers.
With capacity adjustments happening in China, the port expects a flat 2018.
Costa sailed 10 cruises out of Hakata in 2016 aboard the Victoria, upping capacity in 2017 with 32 sailings on the neoRomantica.
“Costa has successfully captured a new customer segment in the Japanese cruise market: families,” said Miyamoto.
The port is offering incentives for offseason and homeporting calls. With congestion a problem on particular summer days, the port has put in a berth allocation process that favors overnight calls as well as turnarounds.
Other projects include adding more shore excursion content.
“Currently, more than 95 percent of the cruise ships calling at Hakata are from China. Their shore excursions are mainly group tours to shops and sightseeing spots, and Japanese cultural experiences are rarely offered,” Miyamoto said. “Passengers’ interests lie not only in shopping but also in hands-on experiences. We believe diversification is the key. Small-group excursions will give passengers more flexibility with their shore excursions.”
More port development is aimed at attracting additional large ships. The city will dredge and lengthen the Chuo Wharf next year in line with specs for Oasis-class vessels. In addition plans call for expanding the berth at Chuo to accommodate two vessels at once.
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