This year 11 cruise ships in Dutch ports instead of 282

It remains quiet in the Dutch cruise terminals this year. Altogether, 282 seagoing cruise ships would dock in Amsterdam, IJmuiden and Rotterdam. There were 11. That seems to be the end of it, also for the rest of the year. All three ports let the CCeit know that they no longer expect any ships.

Beginning this year all cruises for Asia were suspended due to corona. And as of 13 March, cruise companies also canceled all trips for Europe and North America. Until that day Cruise Port Rotterdam received 11 ships. IJmuiden did not see a single cruise ship. The last ship moored in Amsterdam on New Year’s Eve. Since that ship left on New Year’s Day, none have come.

Corona on board

Even it seemed that the sea voyages would still get underway. In mid-June, the Norwegian Hurtigruten was the first shipping company to return to the ocean. But after quite a few corona attacks on board, the company cancelled everything.

This is where Mai Elmar, the Executive Director of Cruise Port Rotterdam, joins in. There were 116 ships planned for the whole year. “We share the insight that by 2020 there will probably be no more regular cruise ships.”

So far none of the 49 planned cruise arrivals in IJmuiden have come. “And for the rest of the year the expectation is not positive,” says Alexander Coesel, manager of the Felison Terminals in IJmuiden. “There’s nothing on the schedule.”

The company doesn’t expect to get any more runs this year:

For the environment this may have a positive impact this year, apart from the fact that the shutdown of cruise shipping is a huge economic noose for the entire sector and related activities. “A cruise ship generates an average gross turnover of around one million euros, with everything from bunkers, water and spare parts to guides, catering and transport,” according to Elmar. Cruise Port Rotterdam was forced to rely on the NOW scheme for government support.

Lower nuisance, less tax in Amsterdam

For Amsterdam, the impact of staying away from ships is considerable, both in a positive and a negative sense. In order to curb the influx of tourists, since the beginning of last year shipping companies have had to pay 8 euros tourist tax for every passenger who stops in the capital as a stopover.

Nuisance caused by cruise tourists is not a problem in Amsterdam this year, but the municipality is now losing tax revenue. With the 116 planned ships, some 75,000 passengers liable to tax would be washed ashore, according to De Graaff, good for some 600,000 euros. That comes on top of missed income from travel guides, shopkeepers and hotel and catering entrepreneurs.

Repatriate and supply

The fact that regular cruise ships no longer call at Dutch ports does not mean that cruise ships no longer call at all in the Netherlands. “Cruise companies have carried out a huge humanitarian operation to get crew back home all over the world,” says Elmar. As part of that repatriation operation, Rotterdam received 6 more ships in corona time, but without passengers.

And there are still cruise ships parked off the coast near Wassenaar, which occasionally need new supplies. For such so-called technical calls they sail to the Felison Terminals in IJmuiden. “They fill up with fuel, provisions are brought on board and personnel are allowed to enter the quay”, says Coesel of the Felison Terminals. “There are about 100 men on board, maintenance people, cleaners, a cook, a doctor. They’ve been living in their own bubble for months. They’re not allowed outside the dockside gates because of corona.”