Zaandam Calls in Santos to Open Cruise Season

Zaandam in Santos (Photo: Daniel Capella)

Holland America Line's Zaandam has called in Santos, Brazil, making the start of the 2019-2020 season for the port.

Santos is Brazil’s main homeport with one of the biggest cruise terminals in South America, built in 1998 and operated by Concais, according to the 2020 Brazil Market Report by Cruise Industry News.

Spanning over 40,000 square meters, the port can handle some 40,000 guests a day. Various buildings serve cruise calls with a separate luggage operations section and covered parking lots for cars and busses.

Concais was originally awarded a 20-year deal to operate the terminal and has recently extended it, with further infrastructure investments planned.

“In the next 20 years, our company must invest R$190 million ($45 million) in infrastructure and equipment. Our intent is modernization, following the example of other destinations worldwide,” said Sueli Martinez, operations manager.

The plans include the construction of new buildings and the redevelopment of other areas in addition to new passenger boarding bridges. 

A date for work to begin has yet to be set, but some investments have taken place prior to the start of the 2019-2020 season, which was slated for Nov. 17, as the terminal has put in new security systems.

The Zaandam kicked off the season which will see 13 different ships and 113 calls.

Santos is forecasting 288,000 embarking guests, up 1.3 percent from last season. 

“In total, the terminal will receive 627,000 passengers, an increase of 3.8 percent,” Martinez said.

The MSC Seaview is back for a second consecutive season, and MSC is also adding the Sinfonia into the market, meaning Santos will go from having five regular callers to six.

Another highlight is Costa, which is extending the length of its season, featuring an Easter sailing.

“We can’t sell only Santos. We understand that to achieve good results, this has to be done by the Brazil as a country,” Martinez said.

Santos is ready for bigger ships, and upcoming work on the Outeirinhos Wharf will allow ships to dock in front of the terminal as opposed to nearby commercial berths which require passengers to be moved to the terminal via bus.

The construction on the wharf was started by the government in 2012 in preparation for the 2014 World Cup. Only half of the work, which includes a new quay for up to six cruise ships, was finished. The remaining work awaits financing.

Currently, the only berth located in front of the terminal has size limitations.

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