One of the Largest Ships to Enter the Port of Riga This Year Lands in Riga

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Last week the MSC Orchestra, one of the largest cruise ships to enter the Port of Riga this year, moored for the first time at the pier of the passenger terminal. The ship brought over 2,550 cruise passengers to Riga.

During the ceremony Ansis Zeltiņš, CEO of the Freeport of Riga, and Francesco Saverio Veniero, captain of the ship, exchanged the emblems of the ship and the port, which is an old port tradition observed upon the first arrival of a ship to a new port.

The length of the ship, constructed in 2007, is almost 300 m, the height is 60 m and the maximum load capacity (GT) is 92.5 thousand tons. The impressive cruise ship has 16 decks with fancy restaurants and bars, spacious recreation premises, SPA and beauty centre, shopping galleries, a 1,240 seat theatre, library, casino and a cigar room. Likewise, there are swimming pools, a waterpark and sunbathing deck, a fitness centre, treadmill, tennis courts, a basketball court and a mini-golf course. Every day more than 1,000 employees take care of passenger comfort on board.

MSC Cruises’ ships are annual visitors to Riga: in 2016, Riga was visited by MSC Magnifica for the first time, in 2015 — by MSC Opera, and before that — by MSC Lirica. The fact that cruise lines choose to continue cooperation and include Riga in more and more new cruise routes suggests that tourists like being here and we have been able to set and maintain a rather high standard of the Port of Riga and the city.

Cruise travel is currently one of the most rapidly growing tourism segments in the world, chosen for recreation by approximately 23 million passengers every year. Market trends suggest that the number of cruise passengers may increase by another third by 2030, revealing more and more new tourist routes and market niches. A significant increase in the number of cruise passengers has also been observed at the Port of Riga for several years now. Last year Riga was visited by 86 cruise ships, bringing almost 90 thousand passengers from more than 120 countries, hitting a new ten-year passenger record at the Port of Riga.

This spring, by order of the Freeport of Riga Authority, the dredging of the main navigation canal was carried out, which will soon enable even larger cruise ships, in terms of size and volume, to visit Riga.