Gdansk Hosts Cruise Baltic Meeting
Poland’s port of Gdansk hosted the recent Spring 2015 Cruise Baltic meeting attended by over 35 delegates representing 22 partner destinations from the Baltic Sea Region.
During the 2-day business meeting held at the Scandic Gdansk Hotel , the representatives – from both ports and tourism organizations – joined Cruise Baltic Director, Claus Bødker for a comprehensive program of activity; and in welcoming prestigious cruise line guests: Elisabetta De Nardo, Silversea Director of Port Operations; Tina Teichert, Shore Excursion Manager, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises ; Javier Rodriguez Sanchez, Ports, Ground, Travel & Cruise Operations Director, Pullmantur Cruises ; and Arkadiusz Robert Branka, Captain, mv Empress, Pullmantur Cruises.
On day 1 the agenda featured an industry update by Claus Bødker ; and the opportunity for private breakout face-to-face sessions between the cruise line representatives and Cruise Baltic destinations. Highlights on this first day, however, included a presentation and lively panel discussion – with contribution and participation by all the cruise line guests – on the issue of identifying “what do cruise lines expect port and destinations to deliver regarding guest experiences?”
At a separate Workshop, attendees were also divided into groups to discuss the important topic of “Maximizing guest experiences at the Baltic Sea destinations”. The concluding results of this Workshop will be translated into a document/template and made available for future use by the Cruise Baltic destinations – its effectiveness to be evaluated at a forthcoming Cruise Baltic meeting.
After the ‘business of the day’ the evening brought a welcome tour of the Port of Gdansk and a visit on foot to the historic Old Town, concluded by a memorable and delicious dinner at the Brovarnia Restaurant – all hosted by the CEO Gdansk Tourist Organization and CEO Port of Gdansk Authority.
Day 2 saw further debate between the Cruise Baltic partners and cruise line guests focused on: “Baltic Themed Cruises”. The outcome of these discussions will be revealed and produced in online brochure format for use by cruise lines.
On conclusion of the Cruise Baltic meeting, two guest speakers commented:
Elisabettta De Nardo, Director of Port Operations, Silversea:
“The new format, with the two participatory workshops, together with more 1-2-1 meetings, increased the interaction between cruise lines and destinations, which helps the networking and learning process.
The spirit of constructive co-operation that has been created will certainly lead to successful business for all.
“Since 2013 when I last joined a Cruise Baltic meeting, I have also been very impressed with the amount of news from the destinations – whether new initiatives for tours, news of port facility developments, or new port reception facilities for waste.
“A better awareness of the members has shown the amazing commitment of this Association, a best practice which was inspiring for me. Definitely the best Cruise Baltic meeting that I have attended to date.”
Tina Teichert, Shore Excursions Manager, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises:
“The Cruise Baltic Meeting was very interesting to attend. It was great to speak with the destination managers in person (both tourism and port) and to be able to give them some feedback about what exactly Hapag-Lloyd Cruises and its guests require and expect when calling at a destination. It is the easiest and most effective way to improve the communication between the ship and the destination and make each call a unique experience.
“Especially for the smaller ports it´s a great opportunity to increase their level of familiarity – while at the same time, it was also the perfect occasion for me to learn about new ports we might add to our itineraries.”
Cruise Baltic is a network of cruise destinations in the Baltic Sea offering easy access to 10 countries on a string with an ‘ocean of adventures’. The network – founded in 2004 with 12 destinations – has now grown in 2015 to 27 destinations.