Cruise synergies for Santa Cruz de Tenerife

Tenerife Cruise Terminal Tenerife Cruise Terminal. Image: Tenerife Cruise Terminal

Santa Cruz de Tenerife is one of the busiest cruise ports in the Canary Islands. With Carnival Corporation as the new terminal operator, its growth is set to continue. Michele Witthaus reports.

In December 2018, Carnival Corporation partnered with the Port Authority of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, becoming the first concession holder to operate the Canary Islands’ newest cruise terminal. The new terminal, opened in 2016, can accommodate cruise ships powered by low-emission liquefied natural gas (LNG), including Carnival Corporation brand AIDA Cruises’ AIDAnova, the world’s first cruise ship that can be powered by LNG both in port and at sea.

Seven of Carnival Corporation’s brands – AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Seabourn and P&O Cruises UK – called at Santa Cruz de Tenerife in 2018, accounting for approximately half of the more than 600,000 passenger visits.

Carnival Corporation’s decision to become the concession-holder in the port of Santa Cruz de Tenerife was influenced by several factors, says Michel Nestour, Vice President, Global Port and Destination Development Group – EuroMed Region, Carnival Corporation & plc. “Key considerations included the decision by our German brand AIDA Cruises, the number one cruise line operating in the Canary Islands, to position in this market AIDAnova.

"In addition, this consideration was further supported by the willingness and openness of the Port Authority of Santa Cruz de Tenerife management team to pioneer this new technology and to achieve the first successful LNG cruise bunkering in their port, which occurred upon the arrival of AIDAnova in December 2018.”

As the first port in the region with the capacity to fuel Carnival Corporation’s new LNG cruise ships, Santa Cruz de Tenerife is well placed to boost both capacity and demand for LNG in the region. Mr Nestour explains: “The first AIDAnova bunkering required a lot of work from AIDA Cruises, Carnival Corporation, Shell and the Santa Cruz de Tenerife port and terminal teams. This is by all measures a great joint achievement that positions Carnival Corporation and its partners as pioneers. And yet, this is only the beginning of this journey for our next-generation ‘green’ cruise ships. To date, Carnival Corporation and its brands have an additional 10 LNG ships on order to be delivered by 2025.

“Regarding the Canaries, AIDAnova will be joined by another LNG ship, Iona from P&O Cruises (UK) in October 2020, and the first-ever call of Carnival Cruise Line’s LNG-fuelled Mardi Gras at this port as part of its inaugural season. Other cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean International, MSC Cruises, Disney Cruise Line and TUI are also following Carnival Corporation with an additional 11 LNG ships on order to be delivered by 2026.”

Carnival Corporation plans to cooperate with other cruise lines to ensure green cruising is the norm in Tenerife and the neighbouring islands.

“Each cruise line operates their own business model, but at Carnival Corporation, our brands believe that this change in fuel used for propulsion and in port will be a key factor in our overall sustainability efforts,” says Mr Nestour.

“A large majority of the ships in our fleet are also equipped with eco-friendly abatement technology such as Advanced Air Quality Systems (AAQS) in order to help us meet and/or exceed minimum local environmental regulations. Over time, cruise line operators will continue working on other technology. By pioneering the LNG way, we have already helped to create the procedures and approval process to operate LNG, and no doubt other cruise lines will benefit from this and other eco-friendly technologies, such as AAQS, that are steps in the right direction towards even greener cruising.”

Sustainability will also be embedded in the shore excursions and other activities accessible from the port, such as whale and dolphin watching and exploring historical UNESCO attractions.

“As part of our sustainability journey, we are also working to develop and further embed sustainable practices in our shore excursions,” explains Mr Nestour. “For example, some of our brands, including AIDA Cruises, have already embraced cycling tours. These bike excursions offer guests opportunities to discover the shoreside area in a healthy and environmentally-friendly way.

“In Gran Canaria, we work with Urban Adventures who provide tours that help our guests engage with local communities and head off the beaten path to really discover the destination. As well as helping to support local business, it also helps to better disperse guests to the lesser known sites and venues. Additionally, we also hire all of the sports equipment that we use as part of our programme and transport from local businesses. Providing sustainable shore excursions involving animals is also of utmost importance to us.”

Mr Nestour hopes that Carnival Corporation's presence in Tenerife will make green cruising the norm in the region. “With our investment in Tenerife, our goal is that by 2020, one in every two passengers coming through the Santa Cruz de Tenerife terminal will be sailing on a ‘green’ cruise ship. This will be a huge achievement from zero in 2018 and will be a trend we are hoping will benefit, in similar proportion, the other islands of the Canaries itineraries.”

GOOD TIMING FOR GREEN CRUISING

The appointment of Carnival Corporation to the Tenerife concession comes at a time when the port authority is committing significant resources to sustainability. It is currently
developing an energy efficiency project to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – CO2 – by fifteen tons a year. “The scope of work covers four different initiatives, including shore power supply to ships while in port, intelligent lighting management and renewable facilities to reduce the use of electricity at the port authority infrastructures,” says Pedro Suárez López de Vergara, president of the Port Authority of Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

“We are also working to overcome challenges related to air pollution, peak demand, infrastructural development at ports and local attractions and sewage water discharge, among others,” says Mr Suárez. “In this sense, the Port Authority of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is doing its best to recycle as many materials as possible from the visiting cruise ships. We apply the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), whose Annexes III, IV and V set the international standards for controlling marine pollution. Regarding cruise sustainability challenges and concerns on emissions, we are meeting the new regulations for CO2, SOx and IMO 2020.

“Our partnership with Carnival Corporation to supply LNG to AIDAnova and the future next-generation ‘green’ cruise ships is a step in the right direction towards our goal of a more sustainable and environmentally friendly future in cruising.”

Other environmental services available at the port include facilities for waste separation and compaction, as well as an advanced wasted water treatment system. The authorised port operators for garbage collection also use innovative systems to separate and recycle all types of materials.

“Another example of investments to further reduce environmental impact is the project of a Regasification Terminal and LNG storage, which will make it easier and cheaper to provide LNG to any cruise or vessel,” says Mr Suárez.

As home port for several shipping lines, Santa Cruz de Tenerife provides transport systems by bus to transfer cruise passengers from the port to the airport and vice versa. Mr Suárez believes that good relationships with stakeholders are crucial to sustainable cruise tourism.

“Our port authority holds regular meetings with our different stakeholders – mainly local authorities, such as municipalities, the local Government and port services providers, including the Harbour Master – to understand their needs, expectations and priorities. A good relationship between the port and the city is one of our priorities, so we work to enhance the necessary mutual partnership.

“It is also part of our roadmap to train the port police as ‘environmental inspectors’ as part of our initiatives to identify and correct any pollutant activities that may take place in our ports.”

Within the next two years, the Port Authority of Santa Cruz de Tenerife plans to apply the EcoPorts Port Environmental Review System (PERS) in line with ESPO’s recommendations related to cruise traffic.

Santa Cruz Terminal joins eight global ports and terminals already operated by Carnival Corporation. These are Barcelona (Helix & Palacruceros terminals) in Spain; Savona in Italy; Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic; Puerta Maya in Cozumel, Mexico; Grand Turk Cruise Center in Turks and Caicos Islands; Mahogany Bay in Roatan, Honduras; and Long Beach in California.

Carnival Corporation also operates two private destinations in the Caribbean, Princess Cays and Half Moon Cay, and has a strategic partnership in Dubai for the future operation of cruise terminals.

Additionally, through a joint venture, Carnival Corporation is a 50/50 operator with MSC Cruises of a terminal in Marseille, France.

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