Cruise Atlantic Europe (CAE) is showing the cruise industry why Atlantic Europe is becoming the must visit destination. CAE has announced that since 2009, port calls have increased by more than 23%. As such the CAE is asking more cruise operators to see the other side of Atlantic Europe so they too can take advantage of the many benefits it has to offer.
The CAE comprises eight ports in five countries of the Atlantic front (Lisbon, Porto (Leixões), A Coruña, Bilbao, Brest, St Malo, Dover and Cork). Helena Fernandes from CAE said: “It comes as no surprise that port calls are on the rise as switched on cruise operators have realised that operating in the Atlantic Europe region provides some incredible incentives. Operating cruises to this selection of ports can both save money in terms of fuel costs and lower port charges but also provides an opportunity to increase revenue by promoting profitable shore excursions. It’s a win-win situation and we would encourage all other cruise operators yet to take advantage of the region, to do so.”
Indeed visiting CAE ports could see cruise operators spending up to 50% less in port charges compared to Mediterranean ports. Combine this with shorter cruising distances and therefore improved fuel efficiency and costs and the region becomes an attractive proposition. But it is with shore excursions that the real differences can be made. Currently on average only 20-40% of guests on cruises in the region take up shore excursions compared to 58% of guests on Mediterranean cruises. This is where the CAE has identified the biggest opportunity for operators and as a result have been working hard with ports to offer an exciting range of excursions which take in the 14 UNESCO World Heritage sites and three European Capitals of Culture that the area has to offer.
In addition a series of marketing initiatives targeting the trade – the latest being a 60 second video commercial – and other initiatives are being discussed with cruise operators to help them raise awareness of the destinations and excursions to passengers.
Fernandes continued: “There’s a whole host of excursions and activities waiting to be discovered and enjoyed by passengers at CAE ports. Operators
already visiting these ports can make real profit by promoting these shore excursions now and in the longer-term, all operators should seriously consider how they can design itineraries which visit these ports to achieve maximum benefits.
The region is well placed for travel connections throughout Europe and could really help operators offer some incredible itineraries to new and repeat passengers. Atlantic Europe and the CAE ports should not be underestimated and should be taken seriously as a cruise destination for any operator.”