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French Ports Seek More Cruise Traffic

French ports are expecting more than 841,000 cruise passengers for a total of some 5.5 million passenger movements on 4,172 ship calls in 2019.

Several of the ports made presentations at a recent function in Miami, starting with Le Havre, being the gateway to Paris. Other French Atlantic ports participating included Honfleur, Rouen, Caen, Cherbourg, Saint-Malo, Brest, Lorient, Nantes St-Nazaire, La Rochelle, Bordeaux and Bayonne.

Last year, French Atlantic ports hosted 424 calls and 662,000 passengers. That is expected to go up in 2019 with 109 different ships from 42 cruise lines calling.

According to Valerie Conan, director of the cruise department of the Le Havre Etretat Normandy Cruise Department, Le Havre is expecting more than 350,000 passengers on ocean-going ships on 135 calls this year, including 31 turnarounds, and more than 16,000 passengers on river vessels. Fourteen inaugural calls are planned for the Viking Jupiter, Celebrity Edge, Norwegian Pearl and Getaway, and on the same day, the Spirit of Discovery and the MSC Grandiosa.

To accommodate the traffic, Terminal 12 is being extended from 600 1o 2,400 square meters, in addition to a number of other upgrades.

Over the past five years, Le Havre has seen a nearly 22 percent increase in ocean-going ship calls and a 63 percent increase in passengers.

Having celebrated its 500th anniversary in 2017, Le Havre will restage some of the more popular summer events, host the women’s world soccer cup this year, and also participate in the marking of the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

Bordeaux has seen its cruise traffic grow and as a result is building a new cruise terminal in Pauillac to accommodate larger ships less than an hour from the city center. Ships up to 255 meters in length can call at two docks in the city. Ocean and river cruises are expected to bring 70,000 passengers to Bordeaux this year, with most ships staying overnight, said Laurence Bouchardie of Bordeaux, manager for Cruise Bordeaux.

The French Riviera features 17 ports for oceangoing ships and seven river ports as part of the Marseille, Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur region expecting 1,060 calls this year, said Anne-Marie Blum, manager of the Var Provence Cruise Club.

Marseille is the largest port and the only turn-around port for big ships with about 26 percent of the passenger traffic. Last year, Marseille posted more than 1.7 million passengers and the French Riviera ports 610,000.

With year-round calls, the Marseille has published what it calls a log book for visitors presenting shore excursions and pre- and post cruise options.

The Var Provence Cruise Club is expecting 211,385 passengers on 194 calls this year in St. Tropez, La Seyne, Toulone, St. Raphael, Bandol, Sanary, Freyus, Cavalaire and Le Lavandou.

Other ports participating in the event presentation included Nice, which can berth ships up to 210 meters in length, and Sete, which had 78 calls last year and is expecting 83 this year, and said they can accommodate ships of any size. Plans call for a new cruise terminal by 2022 or 2023.

Also present were the Corsica Cruise Club forecasting 84 calls and 32,800 passengers this year and Ajaccio and South Corsica, having confirmed 180 calls and 420,000 passengers. Other ports there dedicated to smaller ships will receive an additional 50 calls.

Photos: Valerie Conan, director of the cruise department of the Le Havre Etretat Normandy Cruise Department speaking in Miami. Morgan Pravos, cruise club advisor to Caen-Ouistream Normany.

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