The peaks in cruise traffic in Var Provence is usually in Spring (April-May-June) and Fall (September-October). Since the resuming of cruise activity in France from June 30th, there is no exception to this rule. After the call of Mein Schiff 2 in La-Seyne-sur-Mer on September 16, last week has seen a significant number of calls on a daily basis in Var Provence’s boutique ports: welcoming successively 5 cruise ships on our shores:
Monday September 20: Club Med 2 in Bandol
Tuesday September 21: SeaCloud II in Saint-Raphaël
Tuesday September 21: Club Med 2 in Saint-Tropez
Thursday September 23: Star Clippers in Bandol
Friday September 24: Star Clippers in Saint-Tropez
During these 5 days, local residents were able to admire and enjoy the choreography of a myriad of luxury cruise ships announcing the premises of a return to normalcy in 2022. Passengers truly enjoyed their visit as for all these calls, they were allowed to stroll around freely (in respect of the Covid protocol) and they benefited from a very warm welcome.
The Var Provence Cruise Club has set up the “Cruise Friendly” approach: a specific welcome dedicated to cruise passengers on their arrival. A Cruise Friendly map is given to them by hostesses, listing the stores, restaurants and leisure service providers in the city that have undertaken to respect the specific criteria of the charter. These businesses are all mobilized and waiting for their visit, ready to give passengers a warm welcome, including special discounts for any purchase. This approach enhances the experience of cruise passengers ashore, and is gaining growing interest internationally as new ports join the Cruise Friendly network of best Hospitality destinations: Reunion and Martinique Islands, the ports of Sète and Yokohama, and others to come.
Faced with this success, the Var Provence team is working on a new website: www.cruise-friendly.com and a Cruise Friendly application that will allow passengers to geolocate themselves easily during their visit and to discover the shopping routes and sites of tourist and cultural interest.
Var Provence expects 20 additional calls before the end of the cruise season at the end of November for a total of 44 calls and 20,000 passengers in 2021.
With 186 calls and 200,000 passengers expected in 2022, which looks like a great year ahead, the cruise activity in Var Provence should reach the same volumes as in 2019 and return to its cruising rhythm!