I was amazed at the attention, both in the (national) media and on the quays, for the arrival and departure of the cruise ship Harmony of the Seas. Even though my research deals with the relationship between the city and the port, I only saw the departure of this colossus by chance. Nevertheless, I think the attention represents how we still perceive Rotterdam as a port city and maybe even miss the port-related activities within the city boundaries.
Meanwhile, the growing number of cruise calls, passengers and the mere size of the ships has been criticized, for example in this NRC article (Dutch). The City of Rotterdam and the Port of Rotterdam invested millions, promising new jobs and an increase in revenues from fuel sales and tourism. However, for an estimated 2 million euros in earnings, the cruise calls cost 2,5 million. The port and the city share the loss. According to Mai Elmar, director of Cruise Port Rotterdam, this is justified; and the city council agrees. The cruise ships in the heart of the city contribute to the “soft, attractive side” of the economy: the identity of Rotterdam as a world port and a world city.