AMSTERDAM - For sea shipping and river cruise companies, Amsterdam and IJmuiden are increasing in their appeal as ports of call of choice. During the previous period, a positive trend emerged in maiden calls, for example. As many as eight ships called at IJmuiden or Amsterdam for the first time – five times at the Felison Cruise Terminal in IJmuiden and three times at Passenger Terminal Amsterdam.
A particularly unique event took place on 24 May, the day that the Holland America Line graced IJmuiden with one of its cruise ships, the majestic MS Prinsendam. Between now and August, the same cruise ship (which is able to accommodate 835 guests) will embark on another seven European cruises from the Port of IJmuiden.
Other striking scenes were the début arrival of two ships from the Costa shipping company in IJmuiden: the luxurious Costa neoRomantica (on 21 May) and the elegant Costa Classica (two days later). And last year, Mein Schiff 1 (from shipping company TUI Cruises) visited the Port of Amsterdam for the first time, whilst its sister ship, Mein Schiff 2, made an appearance there recently for the very first time.
The total number of maiden calls to be made this year will be an impressive thirteen.
Maarten Nouwen and Rachella Boellaard, both of whom work for the promotional organisation Amsterdam Cruise Port (ACP), are therefore very pleased about the development. Nouwen explains: “It is good to see that many different shipping companies are discovering the region of Amsterdam with new ships.” Boellaard concludes from this that the Amsterdam region appeals to tourists and it is high on their "to visit" list: “And shipping companies are of course responding to that wish.”
The terminal at IJmuiden (the Felison Cruise Terminal) is located before the locks of IJmuiden, which form the connection between the North Sea Canal and the North Sea. The terminal in Amsterdam (Passenger Terminal Amsterdam) is fantastically situated in the city centre. Both terminals offer a high level of service and easily meet the requirements that shipping companies place on docks. What's more, the terminals are located just a short distance from Schiphol Airport.
“The good connection with Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is ideal from IJmuiden”, explains the captain of the Prinsendam. The surrounding region is another reason for shipping companies to choose Amsterdam and IJmuiden as a port of call. “Haarlem is an interesting destination for our passengers”, explains the staff captain of the Prinsendam. As far as possible, the greatest compliment for the ports was made by the captain of the L’Austral (Compagnie du Ponant): “Sailing into Amsterdam continues to be one of the best experiences for a captain and his passengers.”
About the plaque & key ceremony
A maiden call – when a ship calls at a particular port for the first time - traditionally results in the plaque and key ceremony. During this celebration, which takes place on the ship, a delegation from the port warmly welcomes the ship's captain and presents him with a plaque & key (plaque of the city). The welcome delegation consists of representatives from the ports, Amsterdam Cruise Port (ACP) and staff of the terminal of call. In IJmuiden, the (deputy) mayor usually makes an appearance too. In addition to the plaque, the captain receives a copy of A Millennium of Amsterdam, a lovely book that outlines the origins of the Dutch capital, from ACP. The courtesies also consist of the captain giving a gift in return, usually also a plaque or a miniature version of the ship in question, followed by an extensive tour of the cruise ship.
ACP stands for Amsterdam Cruise Port, the promotional organisation for cruises to the region. Around fifty partners are affiliated with ACP, including Passenger Terminal Amsterdam (PTA), Felison Cruise Terminal and Amsterdam Marketing.
By collaborating in the field of marketing and promotion, ACP expects the stream of cruise ships and passengers to continue. Whereas ACP's tourist partners work on campaigns for potential visitors, the nautical partners focus on shipping companies and tour operators. ACP's activities include undertaking promotional missions to shipping companies in America and Europe, and taking joint action during international trade fairs (including Seatrade Europe and Cruise Shipping Miami) and similar events.