Azores: 2017 Season Promising, 2018 Set to be Huge

Locating strategically in the Atlantic Ocean, the Azores Port Authority is expecting 155 cruise calls this year.

“2017 is looking very promising and could be our best season until next year,” said André Velho Cabral, cruise manager. “We’re looking forward to 12 maiden calls including FTI’s Berlin, the Riviera, Koningsdam, AIDAdiva, Seven Seas Explorer, Columbus, Seven Seas Navigator and the Norwegian Getaway.”

2018, however, is looking huge, Cabral told Cruise Industry News, with bigger ships meaning more passengers.

“For the 2018 season we are looking forward to welcoming all ships, but we must point out the first time calls by the new Norwegian Bliss and also the Breakaway and Mein Schiff 6.”

While Ponta Delgada is the main port, plans include increasing space on Sao Jorge Island to accommodate small- and medium-sized cruise ships.

Cabral said Azores is part of the mid-Atlantic corridor and that itinerary option could be the next big thing for the industry in Europe.

“The corridor is a sure bet,” he said. “For example, cruise lines string together an itinerary with the Azores, Madeira, Canary or Cape Verde with destinations on the coast in Europe and Africa. This corridor is a safe zone in Europe and there are many new and different ports to explore and that’s another reason to those who want good alternatives to the traditional Mediterranean destinations.”

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