River cruises growing like never before

Although sea cruises continue to be popular in the Amsterdam port region, river cruises are currently experiencing spectacular growth. In 2013, around 2,400 river cruise ships visited Noord-Holland, of which no fewer than 1,500 called in at Amsterdam. The number of sea cruise ships in Amsterdam and IJmuiden decreased last year by six percent to 176, but is increasing once more in 2014 to 189 calls.

This was announced by Hans Gerson, Chairman of the Amsterdam Cruise Port (ACP) promotional foundation, on Thursday, 27 March, during the well-attended opening of the cruise season. The host this time around was Gassan Diamonds in the heart of Amsterdam. This historic diamond factory received no fewer than 400,000 visitors last year and was proclaimed the Family Company of 2013.

According to Gerson, the economic contribution of the cruise sector to this region has increased to around 150 million euro. In 2008, river and sea cruise ships transported around 470,000 passengers to the Amsterdam port region, whereas the number of passengers last year was around 650,000.


River cruise success
To emphasise how important river cruises have become for Amsterdam and the rest of Noord-Holland, Gerson mentioned the christening of nine new river cruise ships from Viking River Cruises on Monday, 17 March, in Amsterdam. To guarantee the around 1,500 ships a good mooring place in the capital, the ACP has facilitated good regional collaboration. This will make it possible for these ships to divert to other cities in the region during peak cruise ship times. Due to the resounding success of the river cruises, the ACP is continuing unabated, even after six years, with its stimulation programme for this rapidly growing sector.


Prices
Amsterdam and IJmuiden once again took part in Seatrade Miami (10-13 March), the most important cruise event in the world, with the Holland Pavilion. The traditional Amsterdam breakfast again attracted more international shipping owners of sea and river cruises. True to tradition, Coster Diamonds and Gassan Diamonds raffled off a diamond among participants. The Happy Hour, where the new Consulate General Nathalie Olijslager held the opening speech, also attracted much attention.

The Port of Amsterdam won the Cruise Insight Award for ‘Most Efficient Port Services’ in March. This was acknowledgement of the extremely efficient collaboration between all parties involved in the handling of cruise ships and their passengers. The Port of Amsterdam was also nominated for the ‘Guest Port Services Award’ from the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, good for around fifteen percent of calls in Amsterdam.


Updated website
According to Gerson, the Amsterdam Cruise Port will be holding more content-related meetings in coming years. The ACP also wants to use Amsterdam Marketing to a greater extent to promote the sea and river cruises. The updated website (www.amsterdamcruise.nl), aimed at tour operators and shipping owners, should contribute to this.

Gerson also stated that the cruise sector is becoming ever more important for the tourism and cultural sector in Amsterdam and the surrounding area. The fact that the Rijksmuseum and Zaanse Schans recently became members of the ACP is direct evidence of this in his opinion.

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