Towards sustainable growth of cruise shipping in the North Sea Region

The Partners of the EU Interreg IVB North Sea Region (NSR) project, CRUISE GATEWAY, are looking at ways of encouraging and promoting cruise activity in the NSR. Launched 1st October 2010, the three-year 1.9 million Euro CRUISE GATEWAY Project will consider a broad range of topics linked to cruise and cruise potential, including joint lobbying and marketing, the building up of a regional maritime identity, and innovative ideas for passenger excursions.

So far, high growth rates in European cruise tourism have been recorded in particular for the Baltic and Mediterranean Seas – but the North Sea Region has not been recognized as a major cruise destination in its own right. Homeports are rare, multimodal links lacking, regional economic effects underdeveloped and cruise circles (brands) missing.

The aim of CRUISE GATEWAY is to create a raised awareness of the NSR as a cruise destination and to improve cruise accessibility on a sustainable basis, enabling comprehensive economic and social benefits. Keywords are cruise, North Sea, growth, sustainability and accessibility. Accordingly, besides the two obligatory work packages defined by the Interreg Programme 1) Management & Coordination and 2) Publicity & Communication, Cruise Gateway will also work on 3) Marketing & Branding NSR Cruise, 4) Cruise & Accessibility and 5) Cruise & Sustainability.

There is a high variety of Partners: cruise ports, marketing associations, councils and cities. There are heavy-hitting Partners from the sector and small new ports that just started to invest in and work on the advantages for their destination offered by the cruise sector. This variety and the different backgrounds of the Partners are crucial for the transfer of knowledge between the Partners and the overall success of the project.

Port of Hamburg Marketing (Germany) is the Lead Partner of CRUISE GATEWAY supported by the Hamburg Cruise Center. The Project Partners are

  • Port of Kiel (Germany)
  • Columbus Cruise Center Bremerhaven (Germany)
  • Bremen Senate Department for Economy and Ports (Germany) • Cruise Destination Hardangerfjord (Norway)
  • Essex County Council / Haven Gateway Partnership (UK)
  • City of Gothenburg (Sweden)
  • Copenhagen Malmö Port AB (Denmark/Sweden)
  • Port of Esbjerg (Denmark)
  • City of Antwerp/Tourism (Belgium)
  • Port of Oostende (Belgium)
  • Cruise Port Rotterdam (The Netherlands)
  • Aberdeenshire Council (UK)
  • Shipbuilders & Shiprepairers Association (UK).

CRUISE GATEWAY’s geographical spread is a perfect opportunity to develop the recognition and attractions of the NSR by highlighting its cultural richness as well as sustainable, economical development. This means environmental awareness, eco-friendly transport structures, attention to potential bottlenecks concerning safety and security.

CRUISE GATEWAY is cooperating with another EU project, Clean North Sea Shipping, on key eco topics. In addition four Cruise Gateway ports – Rotterdam, Hamburg, Bremerhaven and Antwerp – are members of the Atlantic Alliance, and there will be opportunities for the two projects to cooperate on different topics. Further institutions signing up to support CRUISE GATEWAY are Aberdeen City Council, the European Travel Commission, EWP Communications Ltd, Hanseatic Cruise Centers, Hapag-Lloyd Kreuzfahrten GmbH and the Hamburger Verkehrsverbund GmbH.

Once CRUISE GATEWAY has drawn its conclusions, it will transfer the project findings to industry stakeholders and lobby for best practice at local/regional, national and European political levels.


Overview: Work Packages

Cruise Gateway contains five Work Packages (WP). The first two are obligatory by the Programme. They are handling the Management & Coordination as well as the Publicity & Communications. In WP 3 to 5 the topics of the project are worked out: 3) Marketing & Branding NSR Cruise, 4) Cruise & Accessibility and 5) Cruise & Sustainability.