Being prepared for more volume

Thursday, May 30, 2024 - 12:25 by ce-press

Whilst many brands scaled back operations in the Baltic, sister brands TUI Cruises and Hapag-Lloyd Cruises continued to operate in the region. Marcus Puttich, direction destination TUI Cruises, commented: “I believe the volume will come back up and when it does we have to be prepared. It will pose some challenges. We need to think ahead, so it doesn’t surprise us.”

Princess Cruises also remained in the region, explained Debbie Holbrook, director deployment & itinerary planning Princess Cruises, which is looking at its biggest ever programme in Europe in 2026. “We will have more ports than ever in 2026. There is an opportunity to bring off the beaten path [ones] as well.” But she advised: “Knowing in advance re availability is really important.”

Volume is returning for Carnival UK also, as Jack Cochrane, senior manager itinerary and destination planning Carnival UK, explained: “The region is going from strength to strength. We have seen a 30% growth in calls to 614 in the last five years [to 2024] and a rise in guests from from 1.2 million to 2 million. From an operational aspect, the research of the market you are trying to appeal to is important, for example Queen Mary 2 has a draught of 10.3m re the depth at the quay.”

When it comes to the smaller ship brands, such as Silversea Cruises, vp itinerary planning & destination development Justin Poulsen said: “We are seeing great strength in the Baltic which is encouraging us to grow capacity there. For summer 2025 we have redeployed a ship from the Mediterranean to the Baltic. We know we are really spoilt for choice [here]. It is quite easy to pivot and fill the slot left by St Petersburg.”

For destinations wanting a share of the high end pie, he had some advice: “Luxury travel is much more emotional. It is super important that destinations know who they are and what is the story they want to tell. The ports who do really well know exactly what market segment they want to attract and align with stakeholders on that plan. What unlocks that is information exchange.”

As did Sacha Rougier, vp itinerary planning & destination experience Orient Express Silenseas, which will sail its maiden voyage in the Mediterranean in 2027: “Work on your USP and don’t try to find something that doesn’t exist.” Whilst not committing to anything, she is “definitely looking at Northern Europe”.

Newcomers to the sector include Four Seasons Yachts, which is scheduled to make a call in spring 2027, said James Cabello, head of port operations & logistics. Although these ships will spend “98% of the time” at anchor, they are also bringing those passengers wanting high-end, tailored shore experiences.
Being prepared for more volume
Jack Cochrane with Nick Hoogeweij, Cruise Port Rotterdam and John Mawer, Cruise Port Liverpool (c) Jens Reiterer/Sthlm Eventfoto

Related port


Subscribe to our newsletter