Le Havre Celebrates 500 Years Whilst Planning Ahead. This year there were 129 calls of which 12 were interporting/repositioning

This year has been one of celebration for Le Havre which took no time in making sure it made the most of such a significant anniversary.

Knowing how important it is for itinerary planners to be informed well ahead of time, Valerie Conan, director cruise department Le Havre Tourism Board, explained: “We first started promoting this two years in advance so the cruiselines could plan their calls to Le Havre.”

In addition money was spent on improvements, for example €300,000 on renovating the terminal and €40,00 on renovating the bus quay in the city centre. In terms of hospitality, there has been additional welcome organisation in the city centre for when the passengers alight the shuttles and a permanent desk is in place at the terminal.

A special tour was created around the 500-year history which was offered free to passengers on every call day. It was offered at the city centre shuttle stop so that it poses no competition to the cruiseline tours.

Highlights of the cruise year in the French port included the naming of MSC Meraviglia, the historic voyage on Queen Mary 2 to New York which attracted 700 passengers from the nearby region.

Partial turnarounds have become more and more popular with 40 scheduled in 2018 from companies such as MSC Cruises, Princess Cruises, Costa Cruises and Rivage du Monde. “Le Havre is not only a gateway to Paris but a destination in itself,” said Conan.

This year there were 129 calls of which 12 were interporting/repositioning. Passenger numbers reached 397,000. Next year 140 calls are scheduled bringing approximately 420,000 passengers.

Looking ahead, the port has committed until 2018 to a €8m programme of maintenance works on the Pointe de Floride, beginning with the modernisation of the Pierre Callet and Roger Meunier quays.

The study currently undertaken by the Strategic Committee of the Cruise Club confirms the potential for development of the cruise activity of Le Havre. It should lead to the construction of three terminals, with the aim of being able to simultaneously welcome, from 2020, three or four large ships depending on the size, and include two terminals for turnarounds.

Le Havre was named destination of the year at the 2017 Seatrade Cruise Awards.

(Cruise Europe)

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