90,000 tourists and 30,000 crew members within a few months, with the ships' occupancy reaching up to 90% and an average of 2,500 people - this is what this year's season of cruise ships calling at the Port of Gdynia looked like in numbers. It ended with the visit of the AIDAmar ship. The 2023 season was very good, and the next one promises to be even better.
The 253-meter AIDAmar arrived at the Port of Gdynia on Friday, October 27. Even though it's already autumn in the calendar, the visit of a cruise ship with exactly 2,550 passengers on board ended the summer season of cruise ships calling in Gdynia. It was good - after the suspension of cruises during the pandemic and geopolitical turmoil related to Russia's attack on Ukraine, the cruise market is recovering.
– There is an obvious rebound in the cruise industry. We are returning to full ship occupancy, which has reached an average of 2,500 people this season. This is even more than before the pandemic. We will probably end the entire season with 90,000 tourists and about 30,000 crew members – says Adam Hoppe, deputy head of the Commercial Department at the Port of Gdynia Authority.
This year, cruise ships called at Gdynia 36 times. This is less than last year, which was undoubtedly due to the removal of Russian locations from the tour schedule, but during the season the situation stabilized after a dynamic start. What is very important, despite the smaller number of calls, significantly more passengers visited Gdynia.
– The market rebound resulted in better filling of ships. Last year, ship occupancy ranged from 40 to 90%, so on average there were only 1,400 people per ship – says Adam Hoppe.
The representative of the Port of Gdynia also emphasizes that visits of cruise ships to Gdynia work both ways – residents also benefit from them, and not only because ship passengers disembark, visit the city, buy souvenirs and eat at restaurants. Each first port call of a ship, as well as the visit of exceptionally large vessels, are additionally celebrated, and there is a traditional exchange of plaques between port representatives and the vessel's crew. The berth of a huge cruise ship at the French Quay, right next to the Emigration Museum, attracts Gdynia residents and tourists from Poland to the port area. The ships can be admired both from the balcony of the museum building, as well as from the publicly accessible Pilot Quay, where there is a bench for the builders of the Port of Gdynia.
– People come from far away to see the ship. It is interesting both for residents and tourists from the interior of the country – adds Adam Hoppe.
He also reveals that the next season of cruise ships promises to be at least as good for the Port of Gdynia. Although the notification process is still ongoing and will be carried out until the last moments, more calls have already been reported than in 2023. However, Adam Hoppe warns that anything can still happen, because – as the last two years have shown – the situation is changeable and shipowners can react quickly.
– Next season promises to be better than this one. At the moment we have over 50 vessels registered. We will talk about the details in the spring, when we will verify everything. We will continue to add and subtract wraps. It happens every year – concludes the deputy head of the PGA Commercial Department.
AIDAmar, which concludes the season in Gdynia, is a quite frequent guest at the port, which does not detract from its attractiveness. The ship was built at the German Meyer Werft shipyard in 2012. It is owned by Carnival Corporation & PLC and operated by AIDA Cruises. There are a total of 1,097 cabins on the ship's 14 decks, most of them with balconies. The ship offers various amenities and attractions for passengers, among others: restaurants and bars, 4D cinema, boutiques, casino, swimming pools, SPA and library, as well as basketball and volleyball courts. AIDAmar also has its own brewery. In addition to the crew, passengers are served by humanoid robots that, among others, welcome guests, provide information about attractions and promotions on board and available trips.