The Port of Cork’s dedicated cruise berth is located in the Irish town of Cobh (Image: The Port of Cork Company)
Ensuring the success of the cruise business is not just important for ports, it’s also critical to the surrounding region. In fact, the destination is a crucial component to maintaining growth in the cruise sector.
Consequently, in addition to ensuring that their port has suitable facilities to safely berth the size of vessels they wish to attract, port executives must also promote what the surrounding areas have to offer in terms of shore excursions. There is an increasing demand for ports to provide cruise lines with shore excursions that meet the needs of all passengers, especially as the volume of repeat passengers continues to increase.
The Port of Cork in Ireland works closely with local shore excursion companies, tourism bodies and visitor attractions to ensure that cruise lines are being offered the best possible selection of shore excursions for their passengers. It’s also important that the port and the destination understand the cruise lines they are targeting and their passenger demographics, so that suitable packages can be tailored to meet their specific needs and requirements.
To achieve this, communication is the key and it’s vital that there’s a link between the port, the shore excursion company and the cruise line. Many ports and destinations have a great deal to offer, but if this vital communication link is broken, they will be unable to evolve and create new shore excursions. Selling a small sample of what they could potentially offer for cruise passengers is frustrating for cruise lines, who may potentially see the port as an unattractive place to include on their itineraries.
As tourism grows, ports, cities and regions are recognising the need to offer a variety of excursions to increase the overall experience for cruise visitors. Improving the passenger experience and making it more exciting will encourage cruise lines to return to the region, which in turn, will increase tourism and boost the local economy.
In 2019, Cobh – where the Port of Cork’s dedicated cruise berth is located – was recognised by cruise review community website Cruise Critic as one of the world’s best cruise destinations, winning in the ‘Top-Rated British Isles & Western Europe Cruise Destination’ category.
“We were blown away that Cobh has secured this top position as a cruise destination,” said Brendan Keating, chief executive of the Port of Cork. “This award is not only testament to the effort by the port to promote the region, but also to the local tourism bodies, businesses and attractions in Cobh who work hard to promote and develop their town.”
Certainly, all parties gain a lot when they practice responsive communication. Ports will be able to confidentially inform the cruise companies and tour operators about new shore excursions that were not previously on offer, which will encourage cruise lines to continue to call.
This article was first published in the 2019 issue of Cruise & Ferry Itinerary Planning. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed.
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