'We will use the next three days to discuss challenges facing cruise lines in the Med, how ports need to adapt to new, larger ships coming into services, how we can promote the Med to emerging source markets such as China, how we can harmonise EU legislation across all ports and how to create sustainable growth,' commented MedCruise president Carla Salvado.
One of three cruise ports located in North Sardinia, Olbia, along with Porto Torres and Golfo Aranci, are set to welcome a record 150 calls and 280,000 plus passengers this year, reported Marco Mezzano from the North Sardinia Port Authority.
It is a relatively new cruise destination having promoted the area to the cruise industry in the past decade. In 2012, 48 cruise calls were recorded so we have come a long way in a short time frame commented Pietro Preziosi, special commissioner of North Sardinia Port Authority.
In 2015, Olbia will welcome then lion's share of traffic with 125 calls followed by Porto Torres with 14 and Golfo Aranci 11. Olbia which means 'happy' is a natural harbour and transit port, although MSC and Costa uise the port for limited embarkations. The largest ship to call to date is Carnival Breeze, while at Porto Torres the biggest ship to visit alongside is Celebrity Equinox.
The season currently runs from April through to mid October.
The most popular shorex from Olbia and Golfo Aranci is the Costa Smeralda covering an area of 80km of coastline with a hinterland of rolling granite hills interspersed with maquis shrubland and wild olive groves. At the heart of Costa Smeralda is Porto Cervo, a presitigious village with multicoloured buildings where passengers stroll and browse in the exclusive shopping district created by the Aga Khan in the early 1960s.
Tours from Porto Torres generally focus on Alghero, a town surrounded by old towers and walls and built by the Doria family from Genoa in the 12th century, Shops selling coral and filigree handicrafts are well visited.