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As maritime tourism is growing, the demand for one more quay for cruise ships appears

2019 10 10
As maritime tourism is growing, the demand for one more quay for cruise ships appears

The season of cruise ships ended in Klaipeda Port – it was topped by the unique expedition ship "Nordstjernen" built in 1956. The ship sailing under the Norwegian flag brought 85 tourists. As this ship arrived to Klaipeda for the first time, captain Adomas Alekna from Klaipeda port gave a port’s coat of arms to its crew.

"The port’s coats of arms have not been handed to so many crews earlier – usually such gifts are given to the ships that enter Klaipeda Port for the first time. This year, the port city allured the record number of the first-time ships – even 11, although their usual number is 3-4. It is also a pleasure that we succeeded to attract 4 new cruise lines this year (usually there are 1-2 lines)", – told Mrs. Kristina Gontier, Manager of International Relations and Protocol of the Port Authority.

The cruise ships have moored in Klaipeda Port for 51 times this year. They brought more than 68 thousand of tourists. Approx. 60 percent of the tourists came from the USA, 20 percent – from Germany, the others were from Italy, Spain and France mainly.

There are some 450 ocean cruise ships in the world now (the number of river cruise boats is similar). It is probable that the number of cruise passengers in 2019 will reach 30 million, where 5 million passengers will be in the Baltic Sea. They make 16 percent of the global market. At least 120 new cruise ships will be built until 2027. The majority of new ships will be built in 2021, so it is probable that cruise navigation will grow even more in the regions two years later.

"In contrast to other line navigation areas, the cruise navigation has acquired "immunity" to economic recession. The world cruise navigation grows by 6-7 percent on average every year. The navigation of this type is differentiating rapidly: the ships, services onboard and in ports are directed to new and bigger groups of potential passengers. At present the segment of expedition cruises is growing rapidly. The today’s guest – ship "Nordstjernen" is exactly of this type. Another tendency has been also noticed – the segment of river cruises is growing very rapidly, so there is a risk that such cruises may become very serious competitors of ocean tourism," – said Mrs. K. Gontier.

Although registration for the cruise season 2020 has not ended yet in Klaipeda Port, but it is already clear that it will beat all the previous records of incoming ships and tourists. According to the latest data, event 76 cruise ships have registered. They should bring approx. 80 thousand tourists. 10 new cruise ships are going to visit the port. It will be not only the most intensive, but also the longest season of cruise navigation – it will start in March an end in the end of October.

"We believe that Klaipeda Port is getting more and more attractive to cruise lines. We feel huge international interest. So, there is a hazard that we will not be able to receive as many ships as there are willing to come to Lithuania in the future. In order to avoid such a situation, it is necessary to approve the port’s master plan and to open and opportunity to build one more modern quay of cruise ships in the port. It would allow developing maritime tourism even more and to give even higher added value to the city and the State," – said Mrs. K. Gontier.

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