Tula receiving ships

2018, February 1: Curaçao’s new cruise pier officially began operations on November 13, 2017, as scheduled, with the docking of Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines’ mv Adventure of the Seas. This first berth at the new Mega Cruise Pier II, was named Tula*, after one of Curaçao’s celebrated freedom fighters.

Mega Cruise Pier II is located next to Mega Pier I at Otrabanda, Willemstad, just west of the entrance to St. Anna Bay. It was built by the Dutch company, BAM, at a cost of USD48 million, and has capacity to receive 8,000 passengers a day. Depth alongside is 20 metres which allows it to receive the largest cruise ships now afloat. The structure comprises a 200-metre jetty, a 75 metre long approach trestle and four mooring dolphins.

Adventure of the Seas in Curacao [Photos courtesy of CPA]
Cargo ships, tankers and offshore service vessels will also use of the facilities.

The arrival of Adventure of the Seas was celebrated with a small ceremony on board the ship, attended by officials and guests of the Curaçao Port Authority (CPA). CPA’s Managing Director, Humberto de Castro addressed the gathering.

“Our vision is to reach 1 million cruise passengers in the coming five to ten years. When we strategize our cruise tourism growth we think in terms of number of passengers and in spending amounts. We aim for a spike in spending to $100 per passenger. With the addition of this second mega pier, at least now we will not have to worry about capacity anymore.”


Next phase

“The next phase of the project is finalizing the land side logistics. Apart from the facilities on the immediate premises of the Mega Pier Tula, the whole area surrounding the mega cruise terminals and including the Rif Baseball Stadium and the community swimming pool, Pisina Bennie Leito, will be transformed into a commercial and entertainment area where both residents and visitors will be able to enjoy leisure activities. This development fits right in with CPA’s vision to transform its business model from a tool port to a landlord port. The development of the area will help spur economic activities and contribute by branding Curaçao as a coveted cruise destination with excellent facilities,” a statement from the CPA noted.

Curaçao is rapidly gaining popularity as a cruise destination in the southern Caribbean. Of approximately 3,000 vessels piloted in each year, 300 are cruise vessels bringing approximately 600,000 passengers to the country. Average passenger spending currently runs about US $75 per passenger.

The CPA has been working closely with the Curaçao Tourist Board to effectively brand Curaçao as a unique cruise destination and to increase passenger spending. []

*Tula Rigaud, on August 17, 1795, led a successful bloody revolution to free slaves in Curaçao, thus changing the course of history in that (Dutch) Caribbean colony.