“We’re delighted to see our port-of-call business expanding each year. With nearby Williamsburg, Jamestown and Virginia Beach, this has been a real niche for us. AIDA, Princess, Silversea and others are all returning in 2017. It’s a busy year in terms of transit calls,” said Stephen Kirkland, executive director of Nauticus, which oversees port operations in Norfolk.
New for 2017 will be the maiden arrival of TUI Cruises.
On the homeport front, Carnival will be back with its Sunshine to Norfolk’s state-of-the-art cruise terminal.
“This part of Virginia and North Carolina seem to be eager for more Bermuda product, and that’s something we’ll continue to work on,” Kirkland added.
“Though we are intent on growing our homeport opportunities, we are really focused on the port call business. I’d like to grow this exponentially over the next five years.”
There are many small but important adjustments happening to make Norfolk even more cruise friendly.
The city has added WiFi throughout the waterfront area, for example.
“One thing we’ve worked to improve is the offloading of bikes for AIDA’s shore excursions,” Kirkland said. “The bike tours are huge for their guests, and so we’ve tried to make the transit from gangway to street as convenient as possible. In fact, in part due to the popularity of these excursions, Norfolk installed new bike lanes throughout the entire city.”
Get an in-depth, behind the scenes look at the North America cruise market and the ports that make it happen in the 2016-2017 Winter edition Cruise Industry News Quarterly Magazine. Subscribe today.