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Published in: Cruise News



The Azores could see a milestone 2018 if everything goes to plan, with 180,000 cruise passengers, smashing the previous record set in 2015 of 141,000 passengers.

Cruise calls are mainly concentrated in Ponta Delgada, according to André Velho Cabral, cruise manager. There are also smaller ports for expedition and niche ships, such as Horta and Praia da Vitoria, in addition to seven other call opportunities.

For 2018, Ponta Delgada is expecting around 80 calls and 124,000 passengers, while Praia da Virtoria is scheduled for 27 calls and 30,000 passengers and Horta has 29 calls and 23,000 guests expected.

“At this time 2019 is very much like 2018 and 2017,” said Cabral. “We’re aiming for 145 calls and 175,000 passengers but some further calls are expected from expedition operators.”

Maiden calls on the books include the Nieuw Statendam, Celebrity Edge, Roald Amundsen and Hanseatic Nature.

“This archipelago has nine islands, all different from the others with many different things to do. We’re nature-based destination – our credo is like we’re powered by nature,” Cabral added. “Our most popular shore excursions mainly focus on nature-based trips.”

As ships get bigger, port and local officials in Ponta Delgada are working hard to ensure a quality experience with multiple vessels in port.

In five years, Cabral has his eyes on 200 calls a year and 250,000 guests, with regular summer cruise business.

“With more than 100 newbuilds coming on the next years, one of our goals for 2023 is to bring more North American residents to the Azores,” he said. “With direct four-hour flights from Boston, New York and Toronto to Ponta Delgada, the Azores will be a perfect spot to start a cruise.”



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