2019 is looking great for the Azores, with an expected record 170,000 passengers and 152 calls, nine of which are maiden.
“We believe that 2020 could set new records,” said André Velho Cabral, cruise manager at Azores port.
“We’re committed to improving the partnership between cruise lines, ship agents, and tour operators. We’re looking to do a better job on the Azores archipelago brand awareness and welcoming passengers and cruise ships to the nine islands,” said Cabral.
The most popular shore excursions are Furnas Valley, Fire Lake, and Sete Cidades Lakes. Each provides passengers with experiences and landscapes combined with local culinary delights, water activities, and whale watching.
A pier extension has recently been completed in Velas port on S. Jorge island, with infrastructure improvements planned for Ponta Delgada’s commercial pier.
Ships are getting bigger and days with three or four ships at the same time in the port are becoming common.
“It’s a big challenge to manage all the ships, passengers, and tours, but we will improve the commercial pier,” added Cabral.
For 2024, Cabral said: “I hope Azores port will reach 200 calls and 250,000 passengers, with more North Americans. With direct four-hour flights from Boston, New York, and Toronto to Ponta Delgada, the Azores will be the perfect spot to start a cruise to Atlantic Islands, Northern Europe, or the Mediterranean Sea.”
In terms of berth reservations, the biggest cruise ship goes to the cruise terminal and the others to the commercial pier.