After a dip in 2017 (1,487,313 passengers) and a sharp rebound in 2018 to reach 1,715,000 passengers (shared between 438,000 on turnarounds and 1,277,000 in transit), Marseille is to welcome 1.85m million cruise guests this year representing an 8% jump.
Some 450,000 will embark and disembark in Marseille (+ 3%), whereas transit passengers will rise around 10%. Some 75 ships from 25 brands will make a total of over 520 calls.
Costa and MSC Cruises most frequent callers
Costa and MSC cruises, the two major brands in the French market have once again renewed their confidence in Marseille. Viking and AIDA have also strengthened their presence (with overnight stays year round by the latter).
The French hub’s cruise business is reinforced with calls from Disney, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Azamara, Holland America, Club Med, Princess, Fred Olsen, P&O, Norwegian Cruise Lines, amongst others.
Luxury callers include Regent Seven Seas, Crystal Cruises, Silversea, Seabourn, Ponant, Oceania and Hapag Lloyd.
Moreover, some 13 ships are going to make (or have already made) maiden calls in Marseille this year, including Viking Jupiter, MSC Bellissima, Azamara Pursuit, AIDAnova, Mein Schiff 2, Le Bougainville, Celebrity Edge, Nieuw Statendam, Costa Smeralda and MSC Grandiosa.
A new Log Book
Last week, Marseille unveiled its 2019 promotion and development tool for tourism and cruise professionals.
The brochure, enhanced by evocative photographs and maps, lists some 150 excursion ideas for discovering the Marseille Provence territory during a call or on a pre/post cruise stay.
It also provides practical information about taking an ocean, river or cargo cruise touching Marseille.
The Marseille Provence airport offers 176 regular lines operating direct flights with 124 destinations in 32 countries. More than 25 new routes are to open in 2019. The Log Book also includes information about the river cruise sector (some 200,000 passengers are expected this year) and can be found on www.marseille-cruise.com
Region Sud initiative formalised
In other news, the Region Sud France initiative announced at Seatrade Cruise Med in Lisbon last September was officially formalised and defined in Marseille on March 19.
The entities behind this initiative include the Cruise Clubs from Var Provence, French Riviera Provence, Marseille Provence and the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur regional Council, the French state, the regional Chambers of Commerce and Industry and their presidents.
Running through to end December 2021, some 47 steps will be undertaken centred on four major areas: focusing on environmental legislation, reinforcing the Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur regions in France and in international markets, making cruise tourism a lever for developing the regional economy and planning for future cruise tourism.
Jean-François Suhas, President of the Marseille Provence Cruise Club, who last year published a detailed document tackling the issue of maritime air pollution, said: ‘These problems have to be central to any development of the cruise business in our region and involve the full value chain starting with the ports and transportation through to tourist site.’
A Med ECA
He added, ‘we support the step initiated by France to create an ECA (emission control area) in the Med, which will have to be backed as well by the Italian and Spanish ports.’