French Ports Ready for Record-Breaking Cruise Season

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Three cruise ports in France’s Normandy region, Le Havre, Honfleur, and Rouen, are gearing up for a record-breaking number of cruise ship port calls in 2024.

The three ports are situated on or near the mouth of the Seine River, offering easy access to Paris and other popular tourist spots in the northern reaches of the country.

Le Havre to Receive 162 Ship Calls in 2024

Cruise ship port calls and embarkations are on the rise for the three northern France ports that comprise Haropa Port, the organization that operates the ports in Le Havre, Honfleur, and Rouen. Le Havre is the largest of the three, situated on the English Channel at the mouth of the Seine River.

Haropa Port is working in partnership with Le Havre Croisières, Honfleur Tourist Office, and Rouen Tourist Office to boost their cruise tourism business.

While spring, summer, and fall are the busy seasons for cruising to all three ports, Le Havre started its 2024 season in January, with a port call from MSC Cruises’ MSC Euribia. Year to date, the 6,300-guest ship has made 10 calls at Le Havre, known as the gateway to Paris. By bus or train, cruise guests can reach Paris in a little over two hours.

Through 2024, 46 cruise ships will make 162 calls to Le Havre. Notable ships that will visit the port include Cunard’s 2,700-guest Queen Mary 2, which will call in June and October.

Queen Mary 2 Ocean Liner
Queen Mary 2 Ocean Liner (Photo Credit: Wandering views / Shutterstock)

Four popular ships will make their maiden calls to Le Havre in 2024: Viking’s 930-guest Viking Saturn, on April 12; Princess Cruises’ 2,000-guest Coral Princess on June 26; TUI Cruises’ 2,900-guest Mein Schiff 7 on October 5; and Norwegian Cruise Line’s 4,000-guest Norwegian Encore on November 16. 

53 cruises will embark guests at Le Havre in 2024, with the lion’s share — 28, operated by MSC Cruises. Other cruise brands scheduled to embark passengers at the port are Princess Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Cunard Line, Rivages du Monde, and Compagnie Française de Croisières, a new French line that launched operations in early 2023.

Compagnie Française de Croisières will operate 15 cruises from Le Havre in 2024, all sailing to the British Isles or Northern Europe aboard the 1,100-guest Renaissance.

Le Havre is in the process of building a new cruise port at Florida Point that will feature three cruise terminals. Slated to open in late 2025, the port will be able to welcome 600,000 cruise arrivals each year and nearly 14,000 per day.

New Le Havre Cruise Development
Render: HAROPA PORT

The facility is being constructed as a carbon-neutral building, with environment-friendly policies and materials, including solar power and shoreside electrical hook-ups for docked ships.

When completed, Le Havre will be able to accommodate three cruise ships at the same time. It currently can handle two ships. During construction at Florida Point, ships berth at the port’s Pierre-Callet and Joannes-Couvert docks.

Honfleur, Rouen Expecting Robust Ship Schedules

While part of Haropa Port, also known as the Major Seine axis River and Seaport, the ports of Honfleur and Rouen are much smaller than Le Havre. Honfleur, located at the mouth of the Seine River directly across from Le Havre, has 48 cruise ship calls on its calendar in 2024.

Read Also: MSC Cruises Ships by Size, Age and Class

Several ships will make their inaugural calls to the scenic harbor, and local officials are planning plaque ceremonies to mark the visits. The maritime tradition typically features the presentation of a special plaque to the ship’s captain and officers.

Viking Saturn Cruise Ship
Viking Saturn Cruise Ship (Photo Courtesy: Viking Cruises)

Ships making their maiden calls include smaller vessels such as Viking’s Viking Sky, Viking Neptune, and Viking Mars, all with capacity for 930 guests; Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ Seven Seas Mariner and Seven Seas Splendor, both accommodating 700 guests; and Azamara’s 670-guest Azamara Onward.

Roughly 50 miles inland from Honfleur and located on the banks of the Seine River, the port of Rouen will host 12 cruise ships in 2024. The port, the smallest of the three in the Haropa group, welcomes Seabourn Cruises’ Seabourn Venture on an overnight call April 9, 2024. The expedition ship carries up to 264 guests.

Other ships making their maiden calls to Rouen, which recently completed an expansion of its cruise terminal, include Silversea Cruises’ 690-guest Silver Dawn, Windstar Cruises’ 312-guest Star Pride, Azamara Onward, Crystal’s 960-guest Crystal Symphony, Hapag-Lloyd’s 230-guest Hanseatic Nature, and Oceania Cruises’ 684-guest Sirena.

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