Cruise & Ferry Review - Autumn/Winter 2023

189 traditional busy period from September to April, while also increasing efforts to attract more luxury business throughout the year. This includes ongoing work to continuously strengthen the shore excursion product with both sustainable tours and exclusive luxury options. Ports de Balears has installed a children’s playground on the quay in the port of Maó in Menorca. Designed for both local residents and cruise visitors, the fenced facility has a maritime theme with a Santa Maria ship as the star attraction. Valenciaport has issued a tender for the construction of two electrical substations that will enable the Spanish port to provide shore power to visiting cruise ships. The project is expected to take 24 months to complete. Meanwhile in France, the Marseille Provence Cruise Club and the port authority is continuing to implement a roadmap for the decarbonisation of maritime transport, primarily through shore power (accessible to cruise ships from 2025) and the availability of LNG. A recent air quality study noted a 35 per cent reduction in emissions of sulphur particulates since fuel regulations were enforced in 2020. In Italy, Taranto Cruise Port is continuing infrastructure in pursuit of its Port 6.0 vision, which is focused on innovation, sustainability, intermodality and logistics enhancements. Central to the vision is the newly completed multipurpose service centre building on the San Cataldo Pier which is reintegrating the city with the port. Port of Thessaloniki in Greece has renovated and repurposed an existing property on Pier 2 to increase its capacity. In June, it welcomed two ships in two different terminals for the first time as both Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ Europa 2 and Celestyal Cruises’ Celestyal Crystal visited the city. “The second passenger terminal is one more strategically important investment in the port’s infrastructure, which upgrades our position in the international port industry and creates new development prospects for Thessaloniki and the wider region,” says Thanos Liagkos, the port’s executive chairman and managing director. In October 2023, the MedCruise General Assembly will head to Burgas, Bulgaria, on the western coast of the Black Sea. The 63rd edition of this biannual meeting will offer delegates the prospect of exploring land first inhabited by the Thracians in the Bronze Age during another rich week of learning and networking. AN IONIAN DREAM Corfu is nestled alongside the northwestern coast of Greece at its border with Albania, just before the blues of the Ionian and Adriatic seas merge. People have travelled by sea to Corfu for over 3,000 years and the result is a rich patchwork of cultural influences framed within a beautiful natural environment. Blessed with classical architecture, picturesque coves, lush countryside, eclectic cuisine and engaging local traditions, the island captivates cruise passengers with its serene charm. The magic and mystery of Corfu is gradually revealed during a historical tour of the old town and through the countless captivating stories of the Venetians, British and French and others who once lived here. A stroll through narrow cobbled streets past quaint boutique shops and the Church of Saint Spiridon leads in to Spianada Square and Liston, a wide pedestrian street with blended architecture courtesy of the three historically dominant cultures. Further on, round the island’s only (and still active) cricket pitch lies the Museum of Asian Art (pictured above), in the shade of the Old Fortress which dates from around the sixth century. Plentiful discoveries await throughout the artfully preserved old town, providing a culturally rich visit for contemporary visitors. More adventures, sights and stories await eager explorers of all ages outside the old town, by road or boat. Shore excursion combinations enable guests to mix history, culture, cuisine and the natural environment are so easily found that it’s hard to imagine a flaw in the island’s appeal as a cruise destination. CFR’s executive editor Jon Ingleton (second from right in the front row) pictured during a tour of Corfu’s attractions with cruise line and media representatives MEDITERRANEAN: REPORT