Copenhagen: New cruise records in 2018. At the same time, the cruise operation developed strongly in both Malmö and Visby

Oceankaj Cruise Terminal in  Copenhagen (Courtesy Copenhagen Malmö Port)Cruise traffic in Copenhagen continued to break records in 2018. 865,000 passengers and 343 arrivals were the figures when summarising the season – a season in which the glorious weather gave the visitors an especially fine experience.

At the same time, cruise traffic increased in both Malmö and Visby.

Copenhagen is consolidating its position as the leading cruise destination in Northern Europe. All figures are pointing upwards, producing an all time high. As well as passenger numbers growing to 865,000 and arrivals to 343, the ships’ gross tonnage also increased. This year it entailed 25.4 million gross tonnes.

”The trend towards larger cruise ships is continuing, and means that our gross tonnage is increasing. This year we received 52 large ships with about 4,000 passengers. This is more than ever before”, says Arnt Møller Pedersen, COO Cruise & Ferries in CMP.

Longer season

CMP is also benefiting from the fact that the cruise season has been extended by a month in 2018. ”Later this year we will be receiving Christmas and New Year cruises. It involves nine arrivals and is also a new record. These cruises principally attract German and British passengers, who visit the Christmas markets in Copenhagen”.

A new feature is that passport and visa control for passengers resident outside the EU’s Schengen area is handled at the cruise terminals at Ocean quay.

”This has been done for four arrivals. The police carried out the actual external passport checks in a process which worked really well. Next year, passport and visa control will be performed for 14 arrivals”.

Another new feature is that the luggage service will be extended through external suppliers. The passengers have received assistance with collection on the quay, with the luggage being taken onward to their hotel or to the airport if they are travelling further.

”In the long-term, we want to find a more comprehensive solution surrounding luggage handling, preferably together with the airport as it would make it even simpler for the passengers”.

Growth in Malmö and Visby

After a short break, Malmö has once again received cruises in 2018. There were nine arrivals with about 11,000 passengers.

”Next year the traffic will be further expanded. We will then receive 12 arrivals and 30,000 passengers, including the Pullmantur Cruises shipping company, which will make Malmö a turnaround-port in the next three seasons”.

”Visby has got underway according to plan, which is positive. The season developed well, and here too the traffic will grow in 2019”, Arnt Møller Pedersen sums up.

Talking of growing, Copenhagen is also aiming for more arrivals and passengers next year. Arnt Møller Pedersen is expecting CMP to then pass the dream barrier and for the first time receive more than a million passengers in Copenhagen – in other words an all time high again!

Modern cruise ship quays in Visby

Europe’s most modern cruise quays was opened in Visby in the spring, and it is now also receiving the large ships that dominate cruise traffic.
It has given an additional boost to the traffic. And growth is simply continuing. Next season sights are set on even bigger ships and more passengers.

The new cruise ship quays was inaugurated ceremoniously in April. Since then, there have been 75 arrivals with about 75,000 passengers.

“It has been a successful season. The terminal has functioned excellently and I would claim that it is one of the best facilities in the world”, says CMP’s terminal manager Henrik Ahlqvist.

Visby is now able to welcome the large ships which dominate cruise traffic. They are 300 metres or longer and have not previously been able to enter the port. Visby has consequently been losing both arrivals and passengers for some years. But that is now no longer the case.

“This year we received ships of around 300 metres, and the trend of larger ship is continuing”, Henrik Ahlqvist emphasises. Celebrity Silhouette Visby will be calling next year. She is 315 metres. During 2020 we will be visited by MSC Splendida, which is fully 333 metres long.

He is also pleased with the collaboration with Port of Visby and the shipbroker Carl E. Ekman.

“It seems like everyone is enthusiastic about the operation and are working towards a common goal, which meant that everything functioned excellently”.

Achieve the targets

Mats Eriksson is port manager in Visby. He is delighted to have the opportunity to be part of putting a new facility – purpose-built for cruises – into operation. The personnel in the port take care of the services on behalf of CMP: meet the ships, manage the waste, fresh water and a lot more besides.

“Both technically and in terms of logistics it has functioned well”
, he says. It is also good that we have already come close to the targets that Region Gotland set when the investment in the quay was made. The target is 100,000 passengers within five years and 150,000 within ten years. In 2018 we had 75,000 passengers. Next year we will receive 120,000.

Now that the cruise is over, CMP and Port of Visby will start putting more energy into technical and maintenance issues, as well as into exchange of experience.

“We are working on a long-term basis with CMP, which we think is ”best in class” when it comes to cruises. At the same time, we share our experiences so that together we can develop the operation and achieve the targets that have been set”
, Mats Eriksson says.

New shipping company in 2019

Everybody involved is doing their best to evaluate the past season. However there are already areas where there is a desire to see improvements for 2019, for example, the footway from the terminal in to Visby. With regard to 2019, the number of passengers will increase to about 120,000 and arrivals to 94.

“We are noting that it is simpler to “sell” Visby now that the quay is in operation,” Henrik Ahlqvist observes. ”Positive news for 2019 is also that we will be visited by ships from the Royal Caribbean. This also means that the number of American passengers will increase compared with this year”.

(CMP – Copenhagen Malmö Port)