After two lackluster seasons, the cruise line hard hit by the health crisis is picking up and heading back to sea with renewed vigor. On the occasion of this global recovery, the port of Caen-Ouistreham is doing well by hosting 13 cruise ship stopovers, a record for the Normandy destination.
Among these 13 calls, 6 will be inaugural calls and 3 new companies will visit the port for the first time (Majestic International cruises, Mystic Cruises and Hurtigruten). Due to its tourist and port assets, the destination attracts these companies positioned in the expedition and luxury segments.
Traditionally concentrated over 2 months (in May and June), the season is getting longer this year from April to November bringing new flows and new economic benefits for the territory as well as for its tourism and port players in full recovery.
Cruises are changing to meet new passenger expectations and environmental challenges. Caen-Ouistreham will welcome very recent prestigious ships, which have left the shipyards in recent months. These liners benefit from the very latest technologies and equipment limiting their ecological impact both at sea and in the destinations visited.
For example, the Ponant Explorers (Champlain, Dumont d’Urville and Bellot), labeled “Clean ships*” have in particular engines and equipment with better energy efficiency, less pollution, as well as innovative treatment of wastewater and waste limiting discharges into the sea. The ships of Mystic Cruises (World Voyager and World Explorer) have the latest generation hybrid engines which also limit CO2 emissions. The cruise is thus intended to be greener and closer to local populations.
Following this idea, new trends are also observed for excursions. Caen-Ouistreham is thus the maritime gateway to visit the emblematic D-Day landing sites and its central position in the heart of Normandy offers ideal access to the region’s key tourist sites. In addition to these great must-sees, cruise lines also offer even more local and small-group excursions. Many cruises favor local discoveries such as the historic center of Caen and its medieval monuments, the seaside resort of Ouistreham Riva-Bella and Sword Beach or even Bénouville and Pegasus Bridge. A new asset for local tourism.
The cruise club wishes to capitalize on this very good season announced, by winning the loyalty of the new prestigious companies which will visit the destination and by making others want to discover it.
Its members and partners will be mobilized all year round to offer an optimal welcome and adapted services both for cruise passengers and for ships and their crew members. Among the new features, Caen la Mer and Keolis Caen will offer cruise passengers and crew members the possibility of using a fleet of bicycles and taking the city center electric shuttle free of charge with a specific cruise stop.
International promotional actions are also being taken up intensively with companies and major cruise networks, in order to raise awareness of Normandy’s emerging and unique cruise destination. The cruise club will notably participate in major industry meetings such as Seatrade Global (in April in Miami) and Seatrade Med (in September in Malaga), major conferences (Cruise Europe in May in Edinburgh, Cruise Summit in November in Madrid) and targeted actions to attract new customers.
To adapt its long-term strategy, the cruise club will also conduct a market study this year to analyze the potential of the destination on the cruise market. The latter must make it possible to refine its positioning and properly size the future investments necessary both in the port and tourist sectors, to intensify the attractiveness of the port and the destination by meeting the challenges of tomorrow’s cruises. The optimization of the interface between the cruise, the stopover sites of the port and the cities of Caen la Mer will be one of the major challenges in order to maximize the links with the local population and the economic benefits on our territory.
* International label awarded by Bureau Veritas, awarded to ships that comply with the environmental requirements of the MARPOL convention, the anti-fouling system convention and water management concerning the emission of polluting substances.