Record year in store for cruise trade at Harwich
Harwich has, for many years, had a great reputation as one of the UK’s top ports for handling cruise turnrounds – that’s when the cruise starts and finishes at the port. And more recently it’s been developing a strong position as a port of call, too – that’s when Harwich is included on the cruise itinerary, with the ship dropping in for a day so the passengers can take shore excursions.
This year promises to be an excellent cruise year for Harwich, with a season that’s starting earlier and ending later and a record ten transit calls by a range of different cruise operators.
In total, Harwich has 35 cruise ships booked – in a season which this year stretches from mid April all the way through to mid October.
The most frequent caller will be Royal Caribbean’s Jewel of the Seas, booked to make ten turnround calls at Harwich as it operates a season of cruises to the Baltic and Scandinavia.
In recent years, the Haven Gateway has worked in partnership with Harwich International Port to promote our sub-region to the cruise industry.
Living and working in the Haven Gateway, we can sometimes take for granted the beautiful coasts and countryside, wide open skies and historic attractions this area has to offer. Not only must we remember to appreciate all that we have, but it’s important to get that message out to the cruise operators, which are always on the lookout for new and different shore excursion ideas!
Of course, London and Cambridge are big draws for cruise passengers calling in at Harwich, but before they get that far we can offer picturesque Constable Country, historic Sutton Hoo, the timbered buildings of Lavenham, country houses and famous gardens – to not to mention the delights of local oysters, jam and beer.
Turnround or transit, cruise ships calling into Harwich generate jobs at the port and far beyond, and deliver significant benefits to the economy. When hundreds of passengers come ashore for an excursion, the impact on the wider economy is dramatic – it’s income for the places they visit, and for coach operators, taxi drivers, restaurants, cafes, pubs and shops.
Looking ahead, 2013 is promising to be an exceptional year for cruise business at the port. Celebrity Cruises has confirmed that the Celebrity Infinity will make 16 turnround calls at Harwich next year.
Harwich International Port continues to upgrade its cruise facilities; last year there was a significant makeover of the cruise terminal and this year the focus has been on improving car parking facilities.
Meanwhile, the Haven Gateway continues to play a proactive role in the EU Cruise Gateway North Sea project, which is considering ways to encourage and promote much more cruise activity in the North Sea Region, while focusing on sustainable growth and environmental protection.
In fact, the Haven Gateway is something of a centre of excellence for cruise – with Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, Reader Offers Limited and cruise conference and publications specialist Seatrade all based locally.