It will be the largest cruise ship turnaround operation ever performed so far north in Norway.
A SeaWalk XT floating pier is scheduled for delivery in May 2015, four weeks prior to Pullmantur’s Empress maiden arrival into the Porsangerfjord in early June. Empress will use the port for another turnaround later in the month.
Situated two hours from Honningsvag where cruise ships visiting North Cape currently call – North Cape Turnaround Port is ten minutes from North Cape Airport, the largest airport in Northern Norway, capable of handling all wide body aircraft.
This is the first SeaWalk XT model supplied by Cruise Venture AS designed specifically for turnarounds and is wider than other SeaWalks used for passenger transfer from ship to shore already in operation at Skjolden(introduced in 2012) and Geirganger (in 2013), Norway.
‘This is an innovation for tourism development in Northern Norway. Not only will this logistics solution help to prevent stagnation of cruise traffic in the Arctic in light of the strict new environmental demands that have been signalled, it will also contribute to new growth,’ commented the harbourmaster of the North Cape Regional Port, Leif Gustav Prytz Olsen.
As well as providing a seamless connection between the shoreside terminal and ship for passenger transfer, the infrastructure will also handle luggage. ‘Around 5,000 suitcases need to be moved between Empress and the Pullmantur aircraft landing at nearby L airport. We will use ATV (quad bikes) to do this and have ordered 40 trolleys to ensure that the transfer of luggage occurs quickly and efficiently’ says Fred Persen, responsible for international relations at North Cape Turnaround Port.
A 10,000sq mtr car park has been constructed at the port to provide adequate space for the semi-trailers and 25 double-decker buses that will provide shuttle transport between the airport and port.
An old harbour warehouse is about to be transformed into a cruise terminal to showcase North Norwegian coastal heritage, including authentic vintage ropes, nets and fishing gear.
Several supply companies in Porsanger and Karasjok have already started the processes of quality assuring their products ahead of the planned cruise tourism growth.
‘We will set up big lavvus (Sami herdsmen’s tents) at the port for tourist information and souvenir shops to reinforce our reputation as the ‘Gateway to Sapmi(Lapland),’ says Persen.