Kiel posts best cruise shipping season ever. Record 147 ship visits. More than 485,000 passengers
This year’s cruise shipping season ended in Kiel on Saturday (October 8th) with a call by the “AIDAvita”. Overall, the port of Kiel was visited 147 times this year by 26 different cruise ships of more than 9.3 million GT, compared to 133 cruise ship visits in 2015.
That was an increase in tonnage of 8.1 % over last year. More than 485,000 passengers boarded or disembarked at the port’s various terminals – 5.8 % more than in 2015.
Dr Dirk Claus, Managing Director of the PORT OF KIEL (SEEHAFEN KIEL GmbH & Co. KG) said: “We can look back on Kiel’s best cruise shipping season to date. The number of calls by ships, as well as passenger volumes and also overall tonnage, were all at record levels for the port and came as the Ostseekai Terminal marked its tenth year of operation. The investment of €35 million made in the terminal has been a sound one”.
This year’s success has been made possible by the fact that, for the first time ever, two cruise shipping companies – AIDA Cruises and TUI Cruises – have each made Kiel the base port for three of their ships. Along with AIDA and TUI, the most frequent visitors have been MSC, Holland America Line and Costa with together more than 100 visits. On no fewer than twelve occasions three and even four cruise ships were berthed in the port at the same time. The highlight of the season, from a numbers point of view, was the opening Saturday of the Kieler Woche sailing regatta on June 18th when a record five ocean-going and two river cruise ships were berthed in the port at the same time in addition to the regular big ferries.
Other highlights of the 2016 cruise shipping season in Kiel included the maiden voyage of “Mein Schiff 5” and the first visits by the Holland America Line flagship “Koningsdam” and P&O’s “Arcadia”. The port welcomed back “The World” and also Cunard’s “Queen Elizabeth” – a ship notable for being the 2,500th cruise vessel ever to call at Kiel. Among the shipping companies which have been visiting the port for decades are Hapag-Lloyd and also Costa. The latter marked its 40th Kiel anniversary with a reception on board the cruise ship “Costa Pacifica”. Kiel can boast a good geographic location, port infrastructures and a pallet of services. In addition the port enjoys close partnership ties with its customers which have cemented business relations over many years. This port service pallet is being expanded in future to allow larger volumes of waste water to be brought ashore. For this purpose a pressure pipeline is being built next year which will quadruple current 30 m³ per hour handling capacity. The existing service is already regularly used by the shipping companies AIDA, TUI Cruises and Phoenix Seereisen.
As of this moment, 131 ship visits to the port have been booked for the coming season and they involve 26 different cruise ships. The new season will begin on April 9th when the “AIDAcara” arrives in Kiel. During 2017 and for the first time the shipping company MSC will base a cruise ship of the MSC-Fantasia Class in the port. Onlookers in Kiel will be able to admire the 333 m long class leader “MSC Fantasia” from April 29th on the Kiel Fiord. When she arrives, the 137,936 GT ship with 1,637 cabins will be the biggest ever to offer cruises starting and ending in the Port of Kiel.
Commented Dirk Claus: “With our very efficient passenger terminals at the Ostseekai and in the Ostuferhafen, we in Kiel are well equipped to handle ships of this class with their 4,000 passengers”.
In the coming season Kiel will also once again be the base port for all the shipping companies active on the German cruise shipping market. The most frequent guests will be the ships of AIDA Cruises and TUI Cruises, followed by those of MSC. In addition Kiel will also be visited regularly by ships carrying passengers from abroad undertaking day excursions into our region from Kiel. In this category the port expects newcomers “Le Soléal” from the Ponant shipping company as well as the “Balmoral” of Fred Olsen Cruises.
According to current bookings, the 2017 cruise shipping season will last until October 25th and will thus be the longest so far, apart from the winter cruises.