Cartagena was last Wednesday the pivotal venue for the cruise industry, with the celebration of the Conference of Premium and Luxury cruises, an event resulting from the initiative of the Port Authority of Cartagena held in collaboration with the Polytechnic University of Cartagena and Mediterranean Unique Experience, and organized by Cruises News Media Group, a consulting and media Company specializing in the industry and organizer of the International Cruise Summit, the Cruise Excellence Awards, as well as other events related to the industry.
The event was inaugurated by the President of the Port Authority of Cartagena, Joaquín Segado, who emphasised the disposition of Cartagena to work in the development of this segment of the industry and to adapt their work to the requirements and exclusive needs of premium and luxury cruises.
Fernando Muñoz, Commercial Director and Hortensia Sánchez, who is responsible for cruises and business development at Cartagena Port Authority presented the evolution of Cartagena as not only a general cruise destination but also in the segment of luxury cruises with a planned increase of cruise calls of premium and luxury cruises scheduled for the coming years. The Port of Cartagena will receive 33% more luxury cruise calls this year than in 2015, a trend that will continue to expand in 2020, and with further growth in the years ahead, due to the large order book of luxury ships that are currently in European shipyards.
Alfredo Serrano, Director at CLIA Spain provided an overview of the cruise industry as well as indicating future vessels on the order book, a growing market that adapts to the demand of both the consumers and other members of the industry.
Agustín Quesada, Director at Mundomar Cruceros, and representative of Princess Cruises and Cunard in Spain, explained what they expect to find in a port and destination of luxury and premium cruise companies, while Maco Gil, Star Class Cruises Sales Manager presented the different brands of luxury Cruises her company represents, both maritime and river cruises, and explained the space and crew ratios that make the difference between luxury and standard companies.
Luxury cruises are living a royal moment with more and more global and national demand, Cristina Rodriguez, Cruise Manager & Cruises Yachts Division at Perez y Cia spoke of the role of land operators and the requirements for this type of Cruise companies, while Teresa Holzl, Product & Operations Supervisor at Intercruises Shoreside & Port Services , offered a vision of the new experiences on land awaited by luxury cruise passengers, who must be able to encounter the highest quality standards they enjoy on board, seeking originality and exclusivity.
Aurelien Soler, Sales Developer Spain & Portugal at Ponant Cruises, presented a detailed image of his company, which is investing heavily in luxury expedition cruises, having commissioned six ships, two of which have already had their maiden voyages in recent months. Emiliano González, President at MSC Cruises Spain, explained how MSC Cruises large ships have included a private area for more exclusive clients, offering them a luxury service on a large ship. In addition, this company recently announced its intention to launch a luxury cruise division with smaller ships.
To conclude, the cruise companies’ executives, and representatives of the Port of Cartagena and CLIA Spain participated in a panel moderated by Virginia López, CEO at Cruises News Media Group, and discussed the opportunities of this booming sector. Attendees were able to ask questions directly to the speakers clarifying the unique needs of this segment in order to adapt their services to them in Cartagena.