Seine basin set for growth in cruising

2022-07-13T16:52:04+00:00 July 13th, 2022|Ports|

Haropa Port (Le Havre, Honfleur, Rouen and Paris) has given an update on cruise ship activity and investments in cruise facilities at the Seine basin ports.

In 2022, 130 cruise calls are scheduled for Le Havre. Three new cruise lines (Virgin Voyages, Ambassador Cruise Line and Mystic Cruises) are planning to call for the first time at the port. In all, 15 cruise ships will be making inaugural calls at the port.

Out of the 130 calls, 24 were designate Porte Océane as ‘starting/terminal port’. One example is the ‘Queen Mary 2’ that will be sailing in September on a transatlantic crossing to New York.

Haropa has plans for a new cruise terminal, due to be built at Florida Point in Le Havre. The infrastructure’s driver is a public interest grouping (GIP), notable members of which are the Le Havre Seine Métropole city and district federation and Haropa Port.

The new terminal has been designed to handle 600,000 passengers by 2030, compared with 400,000 currently. It represents an investment of just under €90 mill in public works to be carried out over the next few years, Haropa said.

Three berths at Florida Point will be equipped with electrical connection points at the rate of one per year, starting in 2023. Haropa has set aside €20 mill for this project.

Honfleur handled its first cruise ship on 14th April when the 2021-built ‘Hanseatic Spirit’, operated by Germany’s Hapag-Lloyd, made her inaugural call.

Seven other inaugural calls are expected at Honfleur – ‘Le Dumont d’Urville’, ‘Silver Moon’, ‘Le Bellot’, ‘Sea Cloud Spirit’, ‘Ambience’, ‘World Navigator’ and ‘Bolette’.

This season’s largest ship will be the ‘Ambience’ at 245 m long with capacity for 1,400 passengers. This ship, operated by Ambassador Cruise Line, is due to make three calls at Honfleur.

Also on 14th April, the Rouen Cruise Terminal welcomed the ‘Ocean Nova’, the first cruise ship of the season. Three other inaugural calls at Rouen include, the ‘Silver Moon’, ‘Volendam’ and ‘Azamara Pursuit’.

Rouen’s cruise terminal is currently undergoing a major, multi-phase work programme. The first stage involves the re-routing of water and electricity utilities.

This will be followed, at the end of this year, by extensive quay consolidation work to be completed in 2023, which will prepare the way for the installation of connection points for supplying electrical power to cruise ships while berthed.

This electrification work is expected to be completed in 2025.

The river cruise sector is also seeing a dynamic upturn in the Seine basin. In Le Havre, booked port calls have virtually doubled, rising from 110 stopovers in 2019 to 219 this year.

This represents around 7,500 passengers a year. The customer base consists mainly of German, British and American tourists.

Viking Cruises has recently added four new river cruise vessels to its fleet, which have been specifically designed for Seine River navigation.

In Rouen, work has begun on the modernisation of the piers at the Babin dock in the Saint Gervais basin to the north of the cruise terminal. This area of the port currently has two berths mainly used for wintering river cruise vessels.

Now underway, the main objectives of the work is to improve the piers and berthing/mooring facilities to increase the capacity from a maximum of seven ships to 10.

Once refurbished, the piers can be used by barge convoys (carrying freight) outside of the wintering periods.

The new infrastructure will enable water and electricity to be supplied – a wintering version for river cruise vessels and possibly one supply point for barge convoys.

This project was due to begin this summer for completion in 2023.