Cruiseships desperately seeking new quays in Italy
Costa, Royal Caribbean and MSC illustrate ports' must-have so as to appeal the upcoming wave of newbuildings
The ongoing plan of investment launched by cruise companies globally has already turned into a tough search of quays hosting upcoming newbuildings.
The subject was clearly illustrated at “Noi, il Mediterraneo... 12 mesi all'anno” convention in Palermo, attended by representatives of the three leading cruise companies who reached the island to listen to Pasqualino Monti (President of Western Sicily Sea Port Authority) illustrating the new cruise terminal's project.
Karina Santini, Emea Marketing Manager for the region at Royal Caribbean, stated that: “Overall 105 new cruiseships are currently under construction and half of them will be deployed within the next five years, for this reason we are desperately seeking new suitable quays”.
The manager also added that competition isn't a real problem there isn't and there won't be any traffic shifting from one port to the other.
“On the other hand, cruise companies will have to cooperate with each other not to call at the same port simultaneously. We don't have to hurt cities, although the size and number of ships currently under construction is increasing, longer stopovers are a must”.
In essence, Italian ports will be overcrowded, provided they will be providing the services required.
“Our ships' lifetime reaches 30 years therefore we need a long-term plan targeting 2048”, illustrated Beniamino Maltese, financial manager of Costa Crociere, while recalling that cruise companies chose ports on the basis of passengers and travel agents' advice.
“Palermo has no internationally renowned airport and tour operators and excursions should be upgraded”, added the manager.
Gianni Onorato, MSC Crociere's Managing Director, stated that in order to appeal new ships “adequate port infrastructures won't be sufficient, the whole port should provide proper services. If Palermo targets turning into a renowned port it must be reached by a larger number of airlines”.
MSC Crociere also confirmed that 30% cabins currently booked in Naples are in fact hired by foreign passengers and so happens in Bari and Ancona, which are definitely providing adequate air services.
“I confide Palermo will also become a homeport”.
In essence, Italian ports can seize many opportunities, “our growth forecast in the cruise market across the Mediterranean stands at +7.1% per year, however the Italian leadership in terms of economic impact is at risk”, finally said Karina Santini, illustrating that “Spain is developing faster than Italy as far as cruises are concerned. Finally, ports must be suited to host larger and larger ships”.