There will be a huge increase in cruise passengers for the ports of Messina and Milazzo this year, with 18 percent more guests expected (442,293) on 165 calls, said Antonino De Simone, special commissioner of Port Authority of Messina and Milazzo.
MSC is the biggest customer for the port, as the Bellissima will call 34 times this season, bringing nearly 200,000 guests alone. The Grandiosa takes her place in 2020, calling 31 times.
Other cruise lines increasing their footprint in Sicily include Norwegian Cruise Line with 27 calls – 15 more than last year. There’s also an increase in business from Marella, Celebrity and Princess, De Simone said.
According to De Simone, there are less ships, but the vessels are getting larger. In 2020, traffic rises again on 170 scheduled calls, which should amount to over 480,000 cruise passengers.
A tender has gone out for a new cruise terminal, with a bidder expected to be selected shortly, according to De Simone.
While Messina brings the star power, the port authority also looks after Milazzo, where it is hoping to boost cruise traffic with a pier accepting ships up to 230 meters in length. Larger ships can anchor.
“Milazzo is a charming little town on the Tyrrhenian coast, lying at the beginning of a peninsula stretching towards the Aeolian Islands,” De Simone explained. “Here you will find old churches, Palazzi, and the fortified Citadel, which stands dramatically on the ruins of primitive Greek, Roman, and Byzantine settlements.”