Cruise Manager for Port of Zeebrugge Piet Vandenkerkhove told Cruise Industry News that despite not seeing commercial cruise calls for many months, it was hoping it’d still welcome some passenger vessels in late 2021.
“For 2022 we currently have 127 calls booked. For 2023 it amounts to 105,” Vandenkerkhove said in May.
Zeebrugge has not had any new infrastructure development in the last couple of years (the new cruise terminal building was inaugurated in June 2018). However, the port is working on green initiatives.
“Air quality and emissions at cruise berth are (being) monitored. The complimentary port shuttle service will be run with zero-emission buses by the 2023 season. Since 2014, truck-to-ship LNG supply has been available. (Onshore power supply) is being considered and studied,” explained Vandenkerkhove.
He explained that the name “Port of Zeebrugge” might disappear in early 2022.
“The intention of the ports of Zeebrugge and Antwerp to merge is currently under the scrutiny of the competition authorities but when approved the new entity will go through life under the name ‘Port of Antwerp-Bruges’. For our cruise business this means the name of our USP destination (Bruges) is now integrated into the port’s name,” Vandenkerkhove said.
Asked about how Zeebrugge best fits into a cruise itinerary, Vandenkerkhove said that it’s thanks to its proximity to other ports and historic cities.
“The vicinity of Southampton (homeport), Le Havre (gateway to Normandy and Paris) and Dutch ports (Amsterdam, Rotterdam) and the unique Flemish hinterland (Bruges, Ghent, Flanders Fields in Ypres) largely defines our business. And of course, our geographical location and quick nautical access are ideal for ships traveling/repositioning between the Med and Norway/the Baltic,” noted he.