The annual Seatrade Cruise Global Convention took place in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, between 14-17 March. Gibraltar was represented at an event which annually brings together professionals from in all aspects of the cruise industry, including cruise lines, ports and ground handlers.
The event allows Gibraltar to meet face-to-face with existing and potential new cruise companies and to discuss performance, growth, and new opportunities, both as a port of call and turnaround facility.
Gibraltar is one of the most diverse cruise ports in the Mediterranean. In 2015 it ranked 28th out of 74 in terms of passenger movements at MedCruise member ports. This same year, Gibraltar ranked 3rd in terms of countries which experianced an increase in the number of port calls, with growth of 12.7% recorded.
This year Gibraltar is due to host 91 ships belonging to 37 different operators on 227 occasions. Cruise calls for 2015 were 204 and 181 in 2014. The largest vessel to call will be Royal Caribbean’s new 4,905-passenger Ovation of the Seas which arrives on 8th May, (having only entered service a month before on the 14th April), and the smallest is the 110-passenger SeaDream I which calls two days later on the 10th.
New cruise lines to Gibraltar include Carnival Cruise Line whose new Carnival Vista arrives on 23 October, German operator, TUI Cruises, which has scheduled 9 calls utilising all five of its ‘Mein Schiff’ ships, Viking Ocean Cruises and French-owned Ponant Cruises. The busiest month is October with 35 callers with 20 April the busiest day with four ships in port – Tere Moana, Star Legend, Le Lyrial and Viking Star. In terms of passengers, the busiest days will be 18 July and 15 August when Royal Princess and Thomson Discovery will be in port together on both days, bringing an estimated 6,000 passengers.
Minister for Tourism, the Hon Samantha Sacramento MP praised all those involved in the local cruise industry. “It is a real testament to the professionalism of all concerned that very large numbers of people arriving at the same time can be handled efficiently and courteously.” She added that, such a diverse mix of operators and ships reflected the universal appeal of Gibraltar to our visitors.