Wednesday 2nd October 2013 - Special events for cruise passengers in Livorno, but how many will benefit?

The Port and the Fortezza Vecchia  (Old Fortress) of LivornoThe Port and the Fortezza Vecchia (Old Fortress) of Livorno 29th September 2013

On Wednesday 2nd October 2013 there will be four cruise ships docked in the port of Livorno. One of them is staying overnight, quite an unusual occurrence on the Mediterranean cruise circuit.  The ship is the Azamara Journey, one of the smaller luxury cruise liners that sail in our seas through the long European season. Belonging to the Royal Caribbean company, it has a capacity of 694 passengers. The other three ships are the Nieuw Amsterdam, the second largest ship in the Holland America fleet with a capacity of 2106 guests, another small ship, the Delphin with a maximum of 470 passengers, and the huge 2852 passenger Sovereign belonging to the Pullmantur line. That's a total of 6122 passengers arriving in Livorno on Wednesday.

Many of these passengers will have opted to go on pre-booked ships' excursions to Florence and other Tuscan cities, but for those who remain in Livorno there is the chance to see a specially organised concert at the Porto di Livorno 2000 Cruise Terminal, the last concert in a series of six organised specially for cruise passengers visiting Livorno. In addition, the Fortezza Vecchia, Livorno's seafront fortress, will be opening again for the first time in months. Visits to the fortress will be initially reserved for groups.

Unfortunatey, both of these events take place in an area that only the smaller cruise ships can gain access to, that means only two of the  four cruise ships listed above. The "cruise terminal" venue for the concert is actually rarely used to welcome cruise passengers.

Those passengers staying in Livorno whose big-scale ships will dock in the industrial docks to the north of the city will be ferried into Piazza del Municipio by shuttle bus (a service incidentally run by Porto di Livorno 2000). These visitors are unlikely to even hear about these special events, unless a specific training session has been carried out for staff at the Tourist Information office (who are very good at selling bus and boat trips but not on offering general information about what Livorno has to offer). In fact, even when the "free concert for tourists" was held right opposite the tourist office (25th September 2013) only a handful of tourists was present.

As for Wednesday's concert and the fortress opening, it would be nice to think that the two events have been carefully coordinated to enhance each other, so that those visitors who ARE in the area will be given the opportunity (and the means of transport) to benefit from both. What an achievement that would be!

It would also be great to see some special evening events organised for the cruise passengers on the Azamara Journey staying in port overnight.

I will be watching with interest.