As the world’s biggest ship docks at its new home, cruise line execs in London name-check the ports of the future.
As the world’s biggest ship, the Allure of the Seas, docks at its new home, Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, USA, Royal Caribbean’s trade trainer in the UK and Ireland has spoken about emerging cruise destinations during the WTM. Following a 13-day transatlantic crossing from the shipyard in Turku, Finland, the €800 million vessel arrived at its new home port to great fanfare and greeted by hundreds of people. Its maiden voyage scheduled for December 1 will be its first cruise to the Caribbean.
By then, the finishing touches will have to be made to the ship – including more than 12,000 live plants added by landscaping teams to the ship’s Central Park neighbourhood. The official naming ceremony will be on November 28, after which a one-night fundraising cruise in aid of the people of Haiti will take place. It’s possible that one day in the not-too distant future the 225,000 tonne, 362 metre ship will be touring the ports of Africa. Leon Hand, Royal Caribbean’s trade trainer in the UK and Ireland, revealed that the cruise company is looking to add African ports to its itineraries within the next five years.
“It’s at the food-for-thought stage, but we are certainly thinking about it,” he said during a cruise expo by the Association of Cruise Experts at the WTM. “We know that Africa is an emerging market, and it’s somewhere we will be looking at adding in the next five years.” Destinations are now the most important topic for customers when choosing a cruise, the association’s director Flo Powell point out. Northern Europe, in particular Russia and Scandinavia, has seen a huge growth in popularity with the UK market. In the Mediterranean, Kotor in Monetengro is one of the top emerging destinations as non-EU countries such as Croatia, Egypt and Turkey lead the way.