Seatrade Winter Cruising Forum in Istanbul
The season for cruising is extended year by year. The cruise season used to run from May to September. In the Mediterranean area cruise vessels now sail from the end of January to mid December.
Seatrade Winter Cruise Forum took place for the 2nd time in Istanbul at the beginning of December, three years after the first convention in Malta in 2008. Since then, Norway has had an unbelievable increase from none at all in 2008 to 12 cruises expected in 2012. The rate of growth for winter cruising in Norway is the same as in Turkey. In 2010 Norway had 11 calls of port and in 2011 a total of 20, which is 1,2% of the total amount of calls. In 2012 we are expecting 39 calls of port which accounts for 2% of the total expected to be 2.019 calls in Norway next year. The main attraction for the winter cruises are the Northern Light, the unique winter activities like dog sledding, snow mobiling or a visit to the Sorrisnieva Igloo Hotel. It is the British cruise lines P & O Cruises, Cruise & Maritime and Saga Cruise which have discovered this exotic atmosphere and light in the Polar waters in February and March. However, it is not only the northern part of Scandinavia that has cruise calls duirng the dark winter months. Oslo and many of the Baltic cities like German, Danish and west-Swedish ports have cruise calls in December. The cruise passengers explore the Christmas Markets. Oslo has had December calls since 2006. Copenhagen just announced that next year will be a record breaking season with a total of six calls in December. Several cruise lines have announced an increase of deployment of vessels in Europe during the winter. The main reasons being the cost of capital, more ships, potential congestion during peak season in key ports, better air lift and a change of vacation habits mainly in Europe. The winter cruise passenger is older than the average, with less families, and they tend to participate in shore excursions more often than in the summer. For more information on the Seatrade Winter Cruise Forum in Istanbul, please see: http://www.wintercruisingforum.com/