Santander once again assembled at its beautiful city and port, the leading cruise line executives, tour operators and cruise industry experts on the occasion of the Santander Cruise Forum 2019, an event specially dedicated to premium and luxury cruises, promoted by the Port Authority of Santander, Santander City Council and CANTUR.
Reportaje perteneciente a la revista CruisesNews 49 – Junio 2019
During its second edition, the Forum contributed to enhancing Cantabria as cruise tourist destination in Europe, and positioning Santander as a pivotal city for luxury cruising.
The event took place in the auditorium of the Botín Centre and was organized by Cruises News Media Group, the international and media consultancy, specializing in the promotion, advice and communication to the cruise industry and organizer of The International Cruise Summit and The Cruise Excellence Awards, in addition to other activities related to the cruise industry.
The forum was opened by Jaime González, President of Santander Port Authority, Francisco Martín, Minister of Industry, Innovation, Trade and Tourism of the Government of Cantabria and Gema Igual, Mayor of Santander. All three highlighted the high quality of tourism in Santander and Cantabria and the co-operation which exists between these three institutions in its promotion and also their willingness to continue collaborating in order to secure this area as a consolidated cruise destination.
Santander has risen from 11 cruise calls to 24 last year and is designing a plan to continue growing in a sustained and sustainable manner.
Virginia López Valiente, CEO of Cruises News Media Group provided a global overview of the cruise industry and of luxury cruises in particular, a market in constant growth. 2019 will end with more than 30 million cruise passengers in the world; of which more than 10 million visit Spanish ports and destinations.
Agustín Quesada, Director at Mundomar Cruceros, and representative of Princess Cruises and Cunard in Spain, detailed what high-class cruise companies expect to find in a port and at a destination to satisfy the demand of their guests, while Maco Gil, Sales Manager at Star Class Cruceros presented the different brands of luxury cruises that her company represents, both maritime and fluvial, focusing on the space and crew ratios that make the important difference in luxury companies.
Luxury cruises are enjoying a thriving time with more and more global and national demand. Cristina Rodriguez from Pérez y Cía ship agents spoke about the role of her company operating in this segment, while Teresa Holzl, from Intercruises Shoreside & Port Services, offered a vision of the new shore excursion experiences on land for luxury cruise passengers. Shore excursions must maintain the quality standards that the cruise passengers enjoy on board, seeking originality, exclusivity and personalization.
The final round table was formed by Emiliano González, President at MSC Cruceros España, a company that has announced its breakthrough into the ultra-luxury segment with the order of 4 ships of approximately 60,000 tons and 400 suites.
Jannicke D. Rognstad, Vice President of Seadream Yacht Club, a company that frequently visits Santander, presented the prototype of its new mega yacht under construction. Giorgio Costa, Western Europe Sales Director for Silversea Cruises, presented the pioneering design of its ships, its expedition cruises and the unique experience programs for its guests on land. Aurelién Soler, Sales Developer Spain & Portugal at Ponant Cruises, displayed the considerable investment they are making in new constructions, their expedition cruises and the most characteristic elements of their brand.
The table discussed the opportunities offered by the boom in this segment, the suitability of Santander to host this type of tourism and the keys to adapt the services of the destination to the demands of this market.
The day ended with a closing address to the audience by Salvador de la Encina Ortega, President of Ports of Spain, who was visiting the Port of Santander for the first time. In his closing remarks, he valued the investments of the cruise industry in sustainability and care for the environment and announced initiatives such as the reduction of port fees for ships that use alternative fuels, amongst others.