With cruise activities based on the presence of itineraries developed in the region where a cruise ship is deployed, cruise ports tend to form regional cruise port associations. The membership of these associations expands to include ports and associates located in the same cruise region.
For most cruise port associations, the primary targets are promoting the respective areas as a cruise destination, linking members with cruise lines, and exchanging best practices. Policy-shaping via the formulation of common positions, policies, or plans on common interest questions and presenting such positions at regional and international forums is of secondary importance. Cruise ports have also attempted to create a global cruise association, but not with tangible outcomes.
Another peculiarity of the cruise world is that in the Caribbean, the most important market, cruise ports do not maintain their own association but are linked with the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA), a not-for-profit trade organization, established in 1972, with 22 member cruise lines that operate approximately 200 vessels in Floridian, Caribbean, and Latin American waters. This underlines the commanding role of the source market, the United States, in regional cruise interests.
The major regional cruise port associations include:
- MedCruise representing ports and associates in the Mediterranean and its adjoining seas. It is the largest cruise port association in terms of annual cruise passenger movements in its member ports. Membership exceeds 100 ports and spans more than 20 countries in three continents (Europe, Asia, and Africa), and is divided into four local markets: West Med, Adriatic, East Med, and the Black Sea.
- Cruise Europe represents cruise ports in Northern and Atlantic Europe. It was the first cruise port network with its membership divided into four chapters: Atlantic Europe, the Baltic, UK and Ireland, and Norway, Iceland, and Faroes. Three more ‘local’ cruise networks are particularly active in the region as well. These are Cruise Baltic, Cruise Britain and Cruise Norway, all of them being members of Cruise Europe.
- Australia Cruise Association represents regional ports, national and state tourism agencies, and shipping agents for Australia and the Pacific region. New Zealand Cruise Association is another active cruise network operating in Oceania, promoting cruise activities in the region.
- Asia Cruise Terminal Association includes some of the major terminal operators in the booming Asian cruise market, with membership from six countries (China, Japan, Malaysia, the Philipines, Singapore, Taiwan).