The cruise season is off to a flying start as the Seine Axis ports will be welcoming some 200 cruise ships, with 130 calling at Le Havre, 51 at Honfleur and 14 at Rouen, which are part of Haropa Port.
Le Havre is ready for three new cruise brands, including Virgin, Ambassador and Mystic, which are planning first-time calls, while the port is expecting 15 maiden calls in total. Out of the port’s 130 scheduled calls, 24 are turnarounds, including a Sept. visit from the Queen Mary II ahead of her trans-Atlantic crossing to New York.
Plans for a new cruise terminal and an investment of 90 million euro are underway in Le Havre too, with the port hoping to grow its cruise business to 600,000 guests by 2030, compared to 400,000 now. In addition, the three berths at Florida Point will be equipped with shore power, with one berth per year getting the technology starting in 2023.
The first cruise ship of the season in Honfleur arrived at the port on April 14 at the Hanseatic Spirit made its inaugural call at the port.
Seven other inaugural calls are expected at Honfleur: Le Dumont d’Urville, Silver Moon, Le Bellot, Sea Cloud Spirit, Ambience, World Navigator and Bolette.
Thursday April 14 also saw another key call In France as the Ocean Nova kicked off the cruise season for Rouen.
Three other inaugural calls are scheduled for Rouen: the Silver Moon, Volendam and Azamara Pursuit.
Rouen’s Cruise Terminal is currently the site of a major upgrade, with extensive berth work set to be done by 2023 and the addition of shore power by 2025.
The river cruise sector is also seeing an uptick in Franc.
In Le Havre, port calls have virtually doubled, rising from 110 stopovers in 2019 to 219 this year. This represents around 7,500 passengers a year, with a customer base consisting essentially of German, British and American tourists.
Viking Cruises has recently added four new river cruise vessels to its fleet, having been specifically designed for the Seine.
In Rouen, work has begun on the modernization of the piers of Babin dock in the Saint Gervais basin to the north of the cruise terminal to increase berthing capacity.