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Amsterdam and IJmuiden gear up to welcome over three quarters of a million pax

Amsterdam and IJmuiden gear up to welcome over three quarters of a million pax
With the summer cruise season off to an official start today, Amsterdam and the surrounding area is expecting 184 calls in 2015: 142 in Amsterdam and 42 at IJmuiden, along with more than 1,700 river cruise ships.

The total of cruise passengers is due to tally over 775,000.

Several new ships will be making their first-ever visit to Amsterdam this year. Celebrity Cruises is premiering Celebrity Silhouette, which can carry up to 2,850 passengers. MSC, too, will be sending out a larger ship than last year: MSC Splendida, which, with a length of 333mtr, is the largest ship ever to visit Amsterdam.

Additionally IJmuiden will welcome three AIDA ships on a maiden voyage this year. With the addition of the new large sea lock, the port will be able to comfortably accommodate projected growth in numbers and size of ships, informs Port of Amsterdam.

River cruises are similarly growing in popularity. The total number of river cruise ships to call at Amsterdam increased from 1,483 in 2013 to 1,685 in 2014 and is expected to pass the 1,700 mark this year.

US-based Viking River Cruises named eight new river ships and Uniworld christened its SS Maria Theresa in Amsterdam this week.

Tourism is one of the key economic drivers of the Amsterdam region. Millions of tourists visit Amsterdam every year, including nearly 800,000 cruise passengers.

Port of Amsterdam ceo Dertje Meijer commented: ‘Tourism generates considerable income for both the city and the region as a whole: shipping companies and their passengers spend around € 90m here annually, while the cruising industry has created roughly 1,100 jobs in Amsterdam. The port is working on an ongoing basis to keep optimising our facilities.’

René Kouwenberg, director of Passenger Terminal Amsterdam, is looking forward to the upcoming cruise season: ‘Amsterdam will attract almost as many cruise ships this year as in the record year 2012, when we welcomed a total of 144 ships. We are also pleased to welcome back Holland America Line next year after several years of absence when Koningsdam will homeport from 2016 and could not have asked for a better gift in our 15th anniversary year.’