Dario Dell Antonia : Monaco?s cruise asset
“The semi floating 352 meters long breakwater will unable to take in luxury ships of an average size from July 2001”, announces the principality’s tourism officer.
Cannes and Nice, with the renewal of its passenger ships, have been talking about a development of sea vacation cruises for years. However, it is finally Monaco who will be the first to realize its project with the capital works started for the enlargement of its harbour. The decision of the company called Festival (Azur, Bolero, Flamenco and the last one built for a total capacity of 3 600 berths) to make its cruises leave from Monaco is good news for the maritime activity of the principality. From 56 000 passengers, it will reach 100 000 passengers in 2001. Furthermore, Festival Croisières, a young company with a European calling, decided to set up its registered office in the principality and to establish the head office of a charter company which will take in charge the haulage of its cruises via Nice-Côte d'Azur airport. This is an establishment that could lead to others whereas American companies intend to set up more and more on the Mediterranean coast. What are Monaco’s ambitions in this sector? Here are the explanations of Dario Dell Antonia, the principality’s tourism officer.Did Monaco decide to focus on sea vacation cruises? Dario Dell Antonia:”First, Monaco always had a maritime activity by tradition. Onasis had its company and Niarchos owned a building. Concerning cruises, the Sea Goodess of the Cunard has been departing from Monaco from 10 years, as the Silversea cruise is since a few years. However, until now, the harbour’s infrastructures were not well adaptedfor berthing. The future floating breakwater which will be 352 meters long was first devised to protect the water surface but it will also enable the stop-offs. A harbour station should be built with a car park of 450 car-parking spaces inside the semi-floating breakwater. Thus it will be possible to take in two boats of 170 meters long at the same time. Our vocation won’t change for all that. It isn’t to take in huge ships but luxury ships of an average size. On the other hand, the point to have leading companies is that before of after the cruise, passengers often spend one or several nights inland.”What is the stage of construction of the semi-floating breakwater? Dario Dell Antonia: The studies took most of the time. A patent specification was registered by the engineer who designed the breakwater and the laboratory experiments showed that the heave on the water surface was reduced of 85%. The financing were found and the first part of the works will start with the construction of submerged blisters which will be undertake in La Seyne. The floating breakwater will be built from the beginning of next year in Algésiras, in Spain whereas in Monaco’s harbour, a platform of 10 000 square meters will be made. The overall of the works should be finished at the end of spring 2001.“Will the harbour district be restructured? Dario Dell Antonia :”The new semi-floating breakwater will enable to double the entry of ships in the harbour and to secure the water surface. On the other hand, a general development of the part of the harbour on the side of “Stars and Bars” is planned. Thus, it will be another centre of attraction. Bars will open. In two years time, as it will also be possible to admire beautiful boats, this district will become a new centre of entertainment for the principality. Monaco has everything to enter the third millennium with the other capital works in process, as the development of the underground station (it will open at the end of November) and the construction of the Grimaldi Forum, a building aimed for congresses and culture, which will be ready for September 2000.”