Black Sea port, Constantza, Romania, hosted the Association of Mediterranean Cruise Ports’ (MedCruise) 36th General Assembly from June 2nd to 5th, at which member port and destination managers convened with cruise company leaders to discuss the challenges facing the cruise industry in the Mediterranean and its neighbouring regions.
Representatives of the National Company Maritime Port Administration SA Constantza and from the Romanian Ministry of Regional Development and Tourism welcomed over 100 delegates at the event’s opening ceremony on June 2nd.
At a series of workshops, conferences and business-to-business meetings, delegates representing 40 Mediterranean, Atlantic Islands and Black Sea ports, met with cruise industry leaders Charis Papacharalambous, Louis Cruises’ Senior General Manager; Elisabetta De Nardo, Port Operations Manager at Costa Cruises; John Tercek, Vice President at Royal Caribbean; Luigi Pastena, MSC Cruises’ Port Captain; Maurice Kennedy, Thomson Cruise Lines’ General Manager; and Rob Roberts, Manager of Shore Excursions at Princess Cruises.
During a closed-door session between port and cruise line representatives, participants continued brainstorming on MedCruise cruise port benchmarking and best practices, discussed the pros and cons of a Unified Mediterranean Berth Booking Process, and opened a dialogue on trengthening shore excursions options, including dealing with independent and sometimes illicit excursions offered at ports.
MedCruise welcomed four new member ports approved by the General Assembly in Constantza, including Lisbon (Portugal) (formerly “Portuguese Ports”), Burgas (Bulgaria), North Sardinia (Italy) and former founding member, Marseille France). The North Sardinia membership includes the ports of Olbia, Golfo Aranci and Porto Torres. The General Assembly also voted in three ship agents/tour operators as new associate members: Cemar Agency Network (Genoa, Italy), Karpaten Turism (Constantza, Romania), and Select Black Sea (Sevastopol, Crimea, Ukraine).
Developing Black Sea cruise itineraries was a major focus of the Constantza General Assembly, and the membership approved a Memorandum of Understanding with the Russian Federation to provide its Ministry of Transport with assistance in developing cruise shipping activities at the port of Sochi, Russia, as it prepares to host the Winter Olympic Games in 2014. MedCruise also organised a Black Sea Forum at which member ports Constantza, Burgas, Odessa (Ukraine), Sevastopol (Ukraine), Theodosia (Ukraine), Sochi, Batumi (Georgia), and Sinop (Turkey) presented their destinations, infrastructure improvement programmes and special incentives to cruise line guests.