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Royal Caribbean Group to build, operate new Ravenna cruise terminal

Ships will connect to the terminal via an elevated walkway running the length of the pier where passengers will have views of the sea and beaches as they embark via new-generation mobile boarding bridges
Italy's Ravenna Port Authority awarded Royal Caribbean Group the tender to construct a new two-berth cruise terminal and the concession for Porto Corsini's cruise operations.

The terminal project represents a €27.7m investment, €5.9m funded by the port authority. Italy's VSL Club joined the Royal Caribbean initiative as investors. The concession term is 33 years.

This concludes a process begun in summer 2020, when RCL Cruises Ltd. presented a public-private partnership option to develop the Port of Ravenna.

Homeport aspirations

Upon completion in spring 2024, the terminal will position Ravenna as a world-class homeport instead of just a transit call. When the facility is totally operational, more than 300,000 passengers a year are expected, most on homeport calls. Ravenna is served by the airports of Bologna, Forlì, Rimini and Venice, and Royal Caribbean International sails from Ravenna in lieu of Venice.

The total concession area spans 22,000 square meters and the quay area 8,800 meters. The two-story terminal, with a 5,000-square-meter footprint, will have a total interior area of 10,000 square meters and three mobile boarding bridges.

Green spaces, sustainable features and shore power

Integrated landscaping spanning 12 hectares will provide public green spaces, pedestrian and cycling pathways, and entertainment areas for residents and visitors. The project plans for LEED certification focusing on water and energy efficiency, renewable energy production, recycling and waste management, and sustainable sourcing of materials.

Shore power will be available on the docks.

To support these sustainability efforts, the port authority secured 30m in funding from Italy’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan (Piano Nazionale di Ripresa e Resilienza).

'The fact that an international cruise operator of such worldwide importance as Royal Caribbean Group has decided to invest in our port is an important signal for the entire Ravenna area,' Port Authority President Daniele Rossi said. The proposal emphasized environmental sustainability and a thorough analysis of the territorial context, he added, including detailed insights on the impact to local access roads with suggestions for alternative routes to ease traffic.

For its part, Royal Caribbean Group looks to expand cruise options in the Adriatic region and throughout the Mediterranean, in anticipation of a strong tourism rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic.

'We are so honored to partner with the Ravenna Port Authority on this exciting cutting-edge project which will return growth to Ravenna and bring a new era of cruising to the region,' said Josh Carroll, VP destination development, Royal Caribbean Group. He added Royal Caribbean has assembled a world-class team committed to a 'high-quality experience through sustainable development while embracing the extraordinary natural beauty and warm hospitality this region has become so well known for.'

Carroll cited a wealth of opportunities for visitors to discover, including rich historic and cultural treasures, art and antiquities, the thrill of motor racing, unspoiled nature and beaches, international nightlife and Italian culinary tradition.

Private capital

'This is an innovative project, and it is the first time in Italy that private capital is directed towards this type of infrastructure, thanks to a specialized subject such as VSL Club,' added Fabrizio Vettosi, managing director of VSL Club SpA.

Royal Caribbean Group engaged architectural design company Atelier(s) Alfonso Femia and engineering consultants at RINA Consulting.

The terminal is envisioned as becoming a landmark for Ravenna and the centerpiece of local gatherings and events. Artwork depicting the sea and pristine nature of the region will be highlighted throughout the terminal which will feature a crew center, tourist information desk and spaces for local food outlets. Ships will connect to the terminal via an elevated walkway running the length of the pier where passengers will have views of the sea and beaches as they embark via new-generation mobile boarding bridges.

Mutli-use facility

The homeport operations are estimated to generate direct and indirect employment for 100 to 200 people a day in a variety of positions including pier staff, check-in agents, security guards, porters, stevedores, custodial staff, pilots, mooring personnel, port and shipping agents, bus, taxi, limo and truck drivers, tourist escorts and guides.

On days without ships at berth, the terminal and its walkway over the sea will be available for public and private events such as sport competitions and artistic and literary presentations with sizable ground floor spaces suitable for trade fairs and other large gatherings.

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