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Civitavecchia records 3m passengers, a first for an Italian port

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A record 3m passengers handled in first 10 months of 2023
2023 is going to be a record year for Civitavecchia, the port of Rome, with more than 3m passengers handled in the first 10 months to end October.

This record is a first for any Italian port and propels Lazio into Italy's leading cruise region.

Roma Cruise Terminal

Between January and October, Roma Cruise Terminal handled 3,014,491 transit and turnaround cruise passengers, and to meet demand a new cruise terminal is planned.

2023 numbers are up 53% on last year when 1,970,215 passenger were recorded. This is a 25% rise from the first 10 months of pre-pandemic 2019 (2,493,921).

The share of turnaround passengers is close to 47% of the total numbers. This is a 10% increase over 2019 and cements the position of Roma Cruise Terminal and the port of Civitavecchia as one of Europe’s leading cruise turnaround hubs.

Significantly, and as a result of the high occupancy levels, this year is the first time the average ship capacity exceeded 4,000.

Economic impact

John Portelli, general manager said ‘Cruise tourism is an important economic driver for Civitavecchia. As a result of the presence of cruise passengers, and in particular turnaround passengers, Civitavecchia has experienced a boom in the opening of B&Bs to complement the existing hotels.’

Around 200,000 cruise passengers spend at least one night in Civitavecchia, visiting the town, eating in the local restaurants and buying from the local shops, during their pre- or post-cruise stay.

‘We have also seen an increase in park and cruise traffic, largely as a result of the increase in Italian cruise passengers embarking on a cruise from the port of Civitavecchia. This year, for the very first time, we handled calls which had a turnaround of 10,000 passengers in one day.

‘On average ships with a turnaround between 8,000 and 10,000 passengers (embark and debark), engage around 300 persons such as porters, meet and greet, agencies, pilots, mooring, taxis, coaches, guides, security and supply trucks.,’ he explained.

Cruise ship supply hub

Civitavecchia is also an important hub for the supply of cruise ships. Around 60,000 tons of supplies are expected to be handled this year. 

Portelli added, ‘Recent studies indicate, that cruise ships, passengers and crew calling in Civitavecchia generate around €100m per annum for our economy and around €400m for the Lazio region. We are thankful especially to the cruise lines who continue each year to call Civitavecchia, the authorities and the local community for the unfailing support during this year.’

Pino Musolino, the president of the Port System of the Central Thyrean Sea (the port authority), spoke about the results so far,: ‘It’s an historical achievement and the result of a concerted efforts and strategy put in place by the Port Authority together with the Cruise Terminal and the major stakeholders.

‘Bouncing back so effectively two years after the pandemic means we managed to prove to the industry that the Port of Civitavecchia is a reliable one, a port capable of providing professional services and products to even the most demanding vessels and customers. We are immensely proud of this achievement, and are already focused on 2024 and beyond!’

New cruise terminal

2023 is expected to close with 3.3m passengers handled. Bookings for 2024 and 2025 are also very solid and reaffirm this year’s results. In response to the increase in volumes and in order to continue to improve the service provided to cruise lines, Roma Cruise Terminal will start the construction of the new Donato Bramante Cruise Terminal in the first quarter of 2024. Completion is expected during the first semester of 2025.

Also next year, a project to supply shore power will begin, with completion set for 2026. 

Roma Cruise Terminal, whose shareholders are Costa, MSC and Royal Caribbean, won the concession awarded by the port authority of Civitavecchia, Fiumicino and Gaeta in 2007. Since then it has handled around 38m passengers.