Cruise Gateway will increase the maritime accessibility by developing the Northern Sea Route (NSR) as a cruise destination of its own and promoting it as a "lighthouse" for sustainable cruise. Main outputs are the creation of a brand for cruise in the NSR, the improvement of service quality in ports and environmentally friendly economic growth. Within the work packages, the brand will be jointly designed and best practices for a NSR cruise cycle will be identified and transferred. Cruise Gateway, at the end of the day, will have launched the “Green Cruise North Sea” and will have opened up "white spots", thus attracting more and new cruise passenger consumer groups to the NSR ports and their hinterland.
Cruise Gateway North Sea brought together 12 partners from seven countries, representing cruise ports, marketing associations, councils and cities. During the three-year term of the project, partners focused on marketing and branding, cruise and accessibility, and cruise and sustainability, with a series of workshops, conferences and best practice tours. Among the results of the project are some major reports, including:
- A best practice guide on ‘Sustainable cruise tourism in the North Sea’;
- An in-depth study into ‘Decision criteria for cruise port selection in the North Sea Region’;
- A research study into ‘Incorporating sustainability in the branding strategy for cruising in the NSR’.
The emphasis has been on the North Sea Region’s diversity of history, heritage and culture; landscapes, coast and countryside; traditional and modern architecture; vibrant cities and cosy towns and villages. The NSR also offers the advantage of short steaming distances between cruise ports, a major factor for cruise lines looking to save fuel by reducing speed and distance travelled. Philip Smart, representing project partner Aberdeenshire, said: “We started out three years ago promoting the idea of the North Sea, and we were not sure how this would develop. There are things happening in the North Sea and we can be proud of what we have achieved.” Mai Elmar, representing Cruise Port Rotterdam, said: “The North Sea Region is innovative and committed. It is now up to us how we work together to bring that message and story forward.”