In spite of the global slowdown, the cruise industry in South America seems to be steaming ahead according to the latest estimates from Buenos Aires Port, which for the coming 2009/2010 season is expecting 143 calls.
The season officially opens next November 11 with the arrival of Hanseatic from Hapag-Lloyd, the German line which specializes in cruises to Antarctica.
According to Buenos Aires port authorities the 143 calls are a significant jump from the 122 of last year, and even more encouraging the number of Argentine cruise tourists is forecasted to increase from 50.000 to 75.000. Most Argentines apparently target Brazil and its beaches.
Among the cruise companies increasing the number of vessels or capacity are Costa Cruceros and MSC. Costa Cruceros will be operating with Costa Magica and Costa Victoria from Buenos Aires and Costa Concordia from Rio do Janeiro and Santos.
MSC is expected to show up with six vessels with three calling in Buenos Aires, Armonia, Opera and Musica. The Buenos Aires Brazil itinerary will also count with Star Princess and Veendam plus units from Ibero Cruceros, Grand Mistral, Grand Celebration and Grand Voyager.
The other main option from Buenos Aires is the south cruises, including Patagonia, Chilean fiords, Falkland Islands and Antarctica. To these destinations vessels are considerably larger and most passengers from out of the region. Among the vessels mentioned are MS Veenddam from Holland America; Holand Princess, NLC and Celebrity, Peter Dailmann, Norwegian Sun and Seaborn among others.