Cruise Corporations Step Ashore: Urban Waterfronts As Sites of Power

Monday, 16 July 2018: 10:30
Oral Presentation
Alexandra BAIXINHO, Goldsmiths, University of London, Portugal
Adding to the proliferation of leisure and recreational activities - an overall trend in the post-industrial urban context -, port-cities now host new leisure driven actors and practices, specifically related with cruise ship tourism.

Given the exponential growth of cruise industry, and the magnitude of cruise ships themselves, the landscape of many European port-cities has been changing rapidly in the last decades. However, the transformative power of these aquamobilities in the visited places goes well beyond their almost daily visual impact, playing a part in the co-production of their urban space and everyday life. This happens, for instance, through the investment in new cruise terminal infrastructures, often linked to wider regeneration projects. Here, power issues are frequently related with unaccounted surroundings, and lack of community involvement in urban planning process, raising questions about the ‘right to the city’.

Surprisingly, or not, the huge power of cruise mega-corporations is also gradually stepping ashore, as they extend their holdings to other tourism segments, and even port facilities and services. This paper will discuss how cruise aquamobilities actually unfold at, and co-construct, the visited places. Drawing on empirical research in several port-cities, I will highlight the more fine-grained findings reached through my visual/sensory approach.