|One of the historic buildings in Trujillo, Honduras|
It's no secret that cruisers love “the destination” – both at an embarkation port or a port of call. What’s new at some of the world’s ports? Here’s a sampling of news for agents and cruisers.
New Belize Destination: In major news, Michael Feinstein, a businessman in Belize, says he’s received legislative approval for a $100 million island cruise destination with docking facilities for up to six ships near Belize City, according to Seatrade Insider.
The expansive project will apparently include shops, bars, restaurants and recreational facilities, plus such Mayan-themed attractions as an underwater city for snorkelers and a lagoon with waterfalls and grottos. Check out the Seatrade Insider story here: www.seatrade-insider.com/news/news-headlines/belize-developer-gets-go-head-for-$100m-cruise-port.html.
Port Everglades for Shoppers: One of busiest cruise ports is Port Everglades, FL. Many cruisers on a post-cruise shore trip head for Sawgrass Mills Mall, the world’s largest outlet mall in Sunrise. This year new shops and stores include Michael Kors, American Eagle Outfitters and, opening soon, LOFT.
Luxury anyone? For ladies who love their shoes, Sawgrass Mills now has the first and only Jimmy Choo outlet in Florida, as well as the first Florida outlet locations from Versace and Frette fine linens, a seasonal outlet location from Gucci Kids, and other designer name boutiques including those by Diane von Furstenberg, Armani, Robert Graham, Ippolita, and Wolford.
Singapore’s New Museum: In mid-2014, cruisers going ashore might head to Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) in Singapore, as it welcomes southeast Asia’s first Trickeye Museum. “Trickeye” is derived from the French compound word - Trompe-l’oeil – meaning “trick of the eye.”
Located at the resort’s Waterfront area, the new interactive museum will have six themed zones focused on Love, Circus, Masterpiece, Safari, Fairytale and Adventure. Visitors can expect to view 80 three-dimensional paintings and optical illusion masterpieces.
|Carnival Sunshine Serenity area|
Sunshine at Port Canaveral: Carnival Sunshine, which received a $155 million make-over in 2013, is scheduled to make its inaugural voyage from its new home port of Port Canaveral, FL on April 17. More than 500 travel agents, VIPs and news media will sail on a two-day cruise to The Bahamas prior to the launch of year-round service from the Space Coast.
Carnival Sunshine (www.goccl.com) has all the dining, bar and entertainment options that are part of Carnival’s Fun Ship 2.0 enhancement program. The ship also has several other one-of-a-kind features including WaterWorks with a 334-foot-long Twister slide, the longest on any Carnival ship; SportSquare with a suspended ropes course and a two-level mini golf course; and the line's first three-level Serenity adults-only retreat with a waterfall and pool.
The ship, formerly the Carnival Destiny, boasts a lighter color scheme plus many new spaces like the Havana Bar, which pays homage to Cuba’s past. For details about the new Ji Ji Asian Kitchen, read our story of the experience at: www.travelagentcentral.com/ocean-cruises/ji-ji-asian-kitchen-savory-dining-onboard-carnival-sunshine-41975.
Spanish Ports: Cruise traffic at Spain’s ports was up slightly in 2013, versus the previous year. Statistics by Puertos del Estado showed passenger levels were only up 1 percent to about 7.7 million, with cruise ship calls up by about 3 percent.
The busiest Spanish port? Not surprisingly, it’s Barcelona, a popular turn-around port for the cruise lines. It gained nearly 8 percent in cruise traffic with 2.6 million passengers. It welcomed 837 ships on port calls as well, up more than 8 percent.
Elsewhere around the country, the Balaeric Islands as a whole showed positive growth, posting a 21 percent increase in cruise passenger traffic and a 10 percent rise in ship calls, although Las Palmas posted lower numbers. Malaga had a dramatic traffic drop, though, down 39 percent in passenger totals and 16 percent in port calls.
Banana Coast Calls: Honduras’ new Banana Coast cruise port is picking up more business, giving cruisers more opportunities to explore this mainland port destination. Starting this October, Norwegian Cruise Line’s (www.ncl.com) Norwegian Jewel will make 16 port calls through April 2015 at the new port.
The Norwegian ship is the largest currently slated to call at the port. Silversea Cruises will visit in December and again in March 2015, Holland America Line will call at the port from November through March 2015, and P&O Cruises and Oceania Cruises will also visit in early 2015.
The port is located at Trujillo, which was founded by Spanish conquistadors in 1525. It’s the first mainland cruise destination in Honduras, and a region rich with history – and not surprisingly, famed for its banana trade. For more information, visit www.bananacoast.com.
Boston Cruising: Cruiseport Boston said it completed its 2013 season by serving a record 382,885 cruise passengers, according to the Massachusetts Port Authority (www.massport.com). That surpassed the number of passengers in 2012 by nearly 12,000.
In 2013, 287,542 people embarked and disembarked at the Black Falcon Cruise Terminal. Another 95,343 passengers outside of New England visited Boston as a port of call for a day or more. The number of cruise ships that docked at the terminal this year was 116, one less than 2012. Of those ships, 68 started or ended their cruise in Boston. Another 48 cruise ships called on the Port of Boston.
New Orleans Ashore: What’s new in the Big Easy for cruise passengers? The Riverwalk Marketplace will reopen in 2014 as The Outlet Collection at Riverwalk, the nation’s first outlet center in the heart of a major city center. Among the many national retailers debuting stores in the retail outlet is Last Call by Neiman Marcus. Visit www.riverwalkmarketplace.com.
In addition, after an eight-year, $52 million dollar renovation, the city's historic Saenger Theatre has reopened. Visitors might catch a show or act on a pre- or post-cruise stay. Since the opening, acts such as comedian Jerry Seinfield, Brian Regan, and Bonnie Rait have performed at the theatre. Visit www.saengernola.com.
Three Queens in Southampton: Port officials from Southampton, U.K., said the historic port will play a major role in the celebrations marking Cunard Line’s (www.cunard.com) 175th anniversary. Thousands of people are expected to gather at Southampton docks when the celebrations begin on May 3, 2015.
The luxury line’s three Queens -- Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria – will sail into the city. They’ll also depart together in formation at the start of a schedule of yet-to-be-determined events. It’s the first time all three ships will be at Southampton since the Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
The above is just a sampling of port and destination news for cruisers. Travel Agent will be on site at Cruise Shipping Miami in Miami Beach next month and will report back on what’s new for cruisers at ports across the globe. Stay tuned here for news from the conference.