Cruise Gateway
CRUISE GATEWAY - towards sustainable growth of cruise shipping in the NSR


Cruise Gateway increased the maritime accessibility by developing the North Sea Region as a cruise destination of its own and promoting it as a "lighthouse" for sustainable cruise. 

The project partners considered a broad range of topics linked to cruise and cruise potential, including joint lobbying and marketing, the creation of a regional maritime identity and innovative ideas for passenger excursions, as they seek ways to develop the North Sea Region as a cruise destination in its own right.

The common thread through all of this was sustainability – including the promotion of environmental awareness and eco-friendly transport structures, and avoiding congestion.

Cruise Gateway was also represented in the MTC cluster.

01/10/2010 - 30/09/2013
3 - Improving the Accessibility of Places in the North Sea Region
Area of Intervention
3.1 To promote regional accessibility strategies
ERDF Grant
875,650.00 €
ERDF Equivalent
63,975.00 €
Total Eligible Budget
1,879,250.00 €
Lead Beneficiary
Hafen Hamburg Marketing e.V., Germany
Adina Katharina Cailliaux
Tel: +49 (0) 40 37709 172
Project Homepage
Beneficiaries per Country
Hafen Hamburg Marketing e.V.
Port of Kiel
Columbus Cruise Center Bremerhaven
Bremen Senate Department for Economy and Ports
City of Antwerp/Tourism
Port of Oostende
Port of Esbjerg
Copenhagen Malmö Port AB
Cruise Destination Hardangerfjord
City of Gothenburg
The Netherlands
Cruise Port Rotterdam
United Kingdom
Essex County Council
Aberdeenshire Council
Shipbuilders & Shiprepairers Association
Background and Aim

Cruise Gateway North Sea was working to develop and promote the cruise industry in the North Sea Region. It was a three-year project with 12 cruise-related partners from six countries, co-financed by the EU-Interreg IVB North Sea Region Programme. 

Its partners were working together to:

  • Encourage sustainable growth of cruise shipping in the North Sea Region – always considering the environmental issues
  • Emphasise the unique attractions offered by the NSR as a cruise destination
  • Build up a marketing strategy and create a ‘Cruise Destination North Sea’ identity
  • Establish an integrated approach among all stakeholders, promoting reliable, high-quality services across all NSR cruise ports and ensuring accessibility
  • Exchange knowledge and experience between partners through a programme of conferences, workshops, surveys and studies

High growth rates of cruise tourism in Europe have been recorded in particular for the Baltic and Mediterranean Seas. However, so far the North Sea Region has not been recognized as a cruise destination of its own. Homeports are rare, multi-modal links lacking, regional economic effects underdeveloped and cruise circles missing. However in a booming market the North Sea Region definitely is an attractiveness holiday destination.

To benefit from these prospects and opportunities for improvement, the North Sea Region has to meet challenges such as:

  • How can a regional cruise policy ensure a sound performance of this industry?
  • How can ports and related actors promote a regional maritime identity?
  • How can growth be managed in a sustainable way?
  • Will attention be paid to service bottlenecks?
  • Will regional culture and nature of ports play a role?

Cruise Gateway's project partners aimed to contribute to improved cruise accessibility in the North Sea Region on a sustainable basis, enabling comprehensive economic and social benefits.

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 were 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 North Sea Region’.
The emphasis was 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 North Sea Region 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.” 

Cruise Gateway destination Rotterdam

Cruise Gateway kick-off meeting

Cruise Shipping Miami

Provisioning Kiel

Cruise Gateway partners in Antwerp

Cruise Gateway destination Bremerhaven

Cruise Gateway destination Hardangerfjord

Cruise Gateway destination Copenhagen

Cruise Gateway conference in Bremerhaven

Cruise Gateway destination Bremen

Cruise Gateway destination Antwerp

Workshop in Copenhagen

Cruise Gateway in Esbjerg

Cruise Gateway Midterm Conference

Best Practice Tour Gothenburg - Onshore power supply

GreenPort Cruise conference - visit AIDAsol

GreenPort Cruise Conference - Panel

Workshop in Gothenburg: Environmental Certification

Workshop in Kiel "logistic services to cruise ships"

Speakers at the Cruise Gateway Opening Conference

Speakers at the Cruise Gateway Opening Conference

Speakers at the Cruise Gateway Opening Conference

Speakers at the Cruise Gateway Opening Conference

Event Calendar
Events Archive