Cruise companies from across the globe are choosing Atlantic Europe ports as part of their itinerary mix in order to maximise the business opportunities the region offers and to meet consumer demand for more interesting and less congested ports.
Cruise Atlantic Europe (CAE), comprises eight ports in five countries of the Atlantic front (Lisbon, Porto (Leixões), A Coruña, Bilbao, Brest, St Malo, Dover and Cork), yet these ports are now seeing almost 800 cruise ship calls yearly, from more than 50 cruise companies, with 90 cruise itineraries in 2011 visiting two or more Cruise Atlantic Europe ports. And while Dover continues to be a popular embarkation port; Lisbon, Porto (Leixões), A Coruña and Bilbao are also operating turnarounds thanks to improved terminal facilities.
Helena Fernandes from CAE said: “We have seen a steady rise in the number and diversity of cruise companies stopping at our ports from frequent visitors like AIDA, P&O, Fred Olsen and Holland America Line to niche lines like Lindblad and Hapag Lloyd. There are many reasons for this increase but it is made especially appealing as our ports are able to accommodate a range of ship sizes - anything from the windjammer Sea Cloud and the intimate Sea Dream I to Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas at 160,000 tons.”
It’s not just the ability to cater for all ship sizes that is attracting operators to the region though. For cruise operators the ports offer many more advantages. Fernandes continues: “The shorter cruising distances between our ports provide an opportunity to cut fuel costs, our port charges are low and operators can offer a good range of shore excursions that can boost revenue. CAE ports offer access to 14 UNESCO World Heritage sites and three European Capitals of Culture and operators have the ability to use our extensive library of video material to promote our destinations to passengers onboard and online.”
In addition, for the consumer, at a time when air strikes, cancellations, ash clouds, earthquakes and terrorist alerts are rife throughout the travel landscape, Atlantic Europe could be seen to offer a more reliable choice for consumers. The region’s ports are less congested than the Mediterranean and well placed for travel connections throughout Europe by air, rail or road - offering consumers the chance to discover a fascinating part of Europe in one trip.
Fernandes adds: “Our success proves that Atlantic Europe is becoming more than just an option for cruise operators, the many advantages our ports can offer make them must-see destinations. There really is no better time to see the other side of Atlantic Europe.”