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Seatrade Europe opens – steps into the future with ground breaking keel laying ceremony for next LNG ship generation

September 8, 2017 Cruise No Comments Email Email

Seatrade Europe – the leading trade event for the European cruise and river cruise industry – opened today (6 September 2017) with a strong message to the 600-strong delegates that sustainability and environmental responsibility are amongst the key priorities for the cruise industry in 2017.

Talking to delegates as part of the opening ‘Balcony Chat’, Mr Kyriakos Anastassiadis, Chairman, CLIA Europe and Chief Executive Officer, Celestyal Cruises, said: “2017 continues to be a record year for cruising with 3 key priorities that we (as cruise lines) share collaboratively: One – that we do provide an environment that is safe and secure for crew and passengers; two – to be environmentally responsible.  As we face increased scrutiny and more questions are asked about how responsible we are, we should be proud of our achievements and better communicate this.  We are, afterall, at the forefront of embracing technologies and regulations; three – to continue to build sustainable tourism, adding value to each destination and working with local communities to safeguard the environment and also to grow business.”

The discussion moved onto a 9-strong panel session about the ‘Future of cruise industry in Europe’ which led to some lively debate amongst cruise line executives which was overlaid with great optimism about the future of cruising in Germany and across Europe.

Although China has replaced Germany as the world’s second-largest source market for ocean cruise passengers last year, the host country of Seatrade Europe retains a dynamically developing market. Karl J. Pojer, CEO of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises and Chairman of CLIA Germany, said he expected further growth. “I do not see why the positive development should not continue”, predicting the three million passenger benchmark could be reached already by 2020 (compared to 2m passengers in 2016).

Pojer added that Germany was a success story driven by innovation, speed and creativity. He described the current market development as healthy; stressing it was not built on price-cutting or a unilateral focus only on volumes. Felix Eichhorn, President of AIDA Cruises, supported this view and said the German market continued to need more capacity. “More ships will drive the market”, fellow panellist Wybcke Meier, CEO of TUI Cruises, confirmed.

Apart from the thriving German market, Europe’s cruise industry leaders have identified the Western Mediterranean source markets (Italy, France and Spain) as another field of growth. Gianni Onorato, CEO, MSC Cruises claimed a higher market penetration was needed in those countries – a view which received strong support from Neil Palomba, President of Costa Crociere. Palomba, who said Italy, France and Spain were picking up after some relatively difficult years owing to the economic crisis which hit Southern Europe in the early 2010s, but confirmed the market penetration was still very low with about or even below one percent. “Cruise lines should not compete against each other, but rather against the land-based tourism”, Palomba suggested.

Keeping the theme of environmental responsibility at the forefront of the conference, delegates were then invited to witness the first virtual keel laying ceremony by Carnival Corporation for AIDAnova, the world’s first fully LNG cruise ship. To much applause, Arnold Donald, President and CEO, Carnival Corporation and key brand leaders, celebrated this landmark occasion.

Mr Arnold Donald said: “Today we step into the future – reducing the environmental footprint using LNG – for the seven new ships for four Carnival Corporation’s global brands – Carnival Cruise Line, P&O Cruises, Costa Cruises and AIDA Cruises – which will feature a revolutionary “green cruising” design and will be the first in the cruise industry to be powered at sea by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) – the world’s cleanest burning fossil fuel.

The ships, with delivery between 2018 and 2022, will be built by the German and Finnish shipbuilders Meyer Werft and Meyer Turku.

Visitors to Hamburg during this important cruise week have also been able to witness the ‘Blue Port’ illumination which is transforming Hamburg’s waterfront into a big stage for the cruise industry this week on the occasion of Seatrade Europe and Hamburg Cruise Days – the world’s largest consumer cruise event fromSeptember 8-10 – drawing half a million visitors and 11 cruise ships.

The installation by light artist Michael Batz has been attracting international attention since 2008. Blue light once again transforms the Hanseatic city’s port into a magically glowing stage after dark. The preparations took an entire year for an installation that spans 8.5 kilometers along both sides of the Elbe. Fifty kilometers of cable were laid down, 15,000 cable ties and 900 sockets were used and more than 20,000 blue lights were attached to distinct buildings, industrial plants and ships within the port. The highest point where lights appear is the 110-meter roof of Elbphilharmonie, the new city landmark.

Also involved are the Speicherstadt and Kontorhausviertel districts, which received UNESCO World Heritage status in 2015. This is the sixth year of the blue waterfront.

Seatrade Europe continues until Friday 8 September 2017 at Hamburg Messe, Hamburg, Germany.

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