Likewise the German lines’ decision to place a ship year–round in the Canary Islands is also breaking the rules, commented Airam Diaz Pastor, commercial director, Puertos de Tenerife.
‘German’s desire to cruise in the winter months in sunnier climates is driving Dubai’s growth as a winter cruising destination,’ said Hamad M. bin Mejren, svp, Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM). They represent 40% of all cruisers visiting the Emirate wth Italians and UK source market next in the table.
Diaz said it had taken four years of hard work to get AIDA to deploy a ship in the summer. He saw a huge potential with 300,000 tourists spending the summer months in the Canaries this could be an important source market for a locally-based ship.
MSC Cruises’ Gianluca Suprani, head of Global Port Development & Shore Activities, MSC Cruises said in 2006 the company called in 75 ports globally with five ships based outside the Med in winter. In 2016 MSC will call at 175 plus ports worldwide and have 14 ships sailing outside the Med in winter with year-round cruising in Cuba, Caribbean and China and seasonal deployments in the Middle East and South America.
Michael McCarthy, chairman, Cruise Europe & commercial manager, Port of Cork Company
warned of the challenges facing winter cruise operations in Northern Europe due to weather and sea conditions and the need to be flexible with itineraries and suggested if seasonality is to grow then more port infrastructure investments will be required.
Sandra Bratland, md Cruise Norway explained the popularity of winter cruising in Norway since the first call by Saga Cruises in 2009. In 2017, the number will be 11 calls including AIDA which is sending a ship for the first time in winter.
She called on lines to be bold and brave in making out of the ordinary ship deployments in winter.