This April sees the much-anticipated return of cruise ships to Port Hercule!
On 6 January 2020, an ocean liner by the name of Amera weighed anchor and headed out to sea, leaving the Principality behind. It was the last vessel to tie up in Monaco. For more than two years, owing to the Covid-19 health crisis, the Monegasque authorities prohibited cruise ships from mooring.
But the goods news is that, as of April 2022, cruise ships are back at Port Hercule! The Azamara
Pursuit, a regular visitor to the Principality before the pandemic, got the ball rolling in the early hours of 5 April, disembarking several hundred passengers at Quai
Rainier-III. "A breath of fresh air" for Monegasque retailers and restaurants, particularly those on the Rock, which was visited by almost 176,000 passengers in 2019.
While business is back, there is no question of doing things the old way. "We are limiting capacity to the luxury and premium categories, with boats up to 250 metres in length and no more than 1,250 passengers aboard," explained Olivier
Lavagna, CEO of the Monaco port operator SEPM. Vessels anchored in the roadstead will also be limited, as will the cruise season, scheduled from April to mid-November.
The slight change of approach brings with it new objectives. Starting with facilities to accommodate mega-yachts, some of which can reach up to 150 metres in length. SEPM is looking to develop the "homeport" concept, which aims to make Monaco the port of departure or arrival for as many cruise circuits as possible. Such a move would "generate more significant economic benefits, especially for hotels. It would also make them [travellers - ed.] want to come back to the Principality later," predicts Olivier Lavagna.
In the meantime, from 5 April to 14 November 2022, some 137 cruise ships will stop over in Monaco, compared with 165 in 2019.