Kiel opens cruise shipping season
Kiel opens this year’s cruise shipping season on April 6th with the arrival of Fred Olsen Cruise Lines’ “Boudicca”, the company said in its press release. Dr Dirk Claus, Managing Director of the PORT OF KIEL (SEEHAFEN KIEL GmbH & Co. KG) said: “We are well prepared and expect record passenger figures as well as ship visits.” According to registrations currently to hand, 32 different cruise ships with some 600,000 passengers will make a total of 166 calls in the port. The 205 m long “Boudicca”, of 28,388 GT, sailed through the Kiel Canal during the night and arrived on the Kiel Fiord in the morning. There it was welcomed with a water fountain tribute from one of the port’s tugs and escorted to its berth at the Ostseekai Cruise Terminal. During an onboard reception following its arrival, Kiel City President Hans-Werner Tovar welcomed Captain Juha Sartela and presented him with the port’s traditional maiden visit plaque.
In his address City President Tovar said “We are delighted to be able to open the season for the first time with a visit by “Boudicca”. Ships of the Fred Olsen Cruise Lines are already among our most frequent visitors and bring a lot of international flair to the city”. “Boudicca” is on a ten-day Nordic and Baltic cruise that began in Dover on April 3rd. During her stay in Kiel, about 7oo English-speaking passengers on the ship will take part in day excursions ashore which will take them the length and breadth of the German state of Schleswig-Holstein – for example to places like Lübeck , the Baltic seaside spa resort of Laboe or the region known as Holstein Switzerland. According to Dirk Claus: “Kiel is the cruise shipping hub for the Schleswig-Holstein region. Ship passengers generate turnover of about €10 million a year and are of great importance for the local economy. We went to find out just how important their effect and are undertaking a study this season”. During 2018 23 of the cruise ship visits to Kiel will be part of ongoing cruises and Kiel has won two new customers in this sector in the shape of the U.S shipping company Viking Cruises and the Spanish shipping concern Pullmantur Cruises.
The hub of the port of Kiel’s cruise shipping business however is passenger turnaround. “Kiel is one of the leading starting point and destination ports for cruises in northern Europe”, said Dirk Claus. “We are reinforcing this position by erecting a second passenger handling building at the Ostseekai Terminal. The first passenger turnaround of the season takes place on Sunday April 8th when the cruise ship “AIDAcara” begins a seven-day Scandinavien cruise in Kiel. The destinations on that cruise are Stavanger, Oslo, Gothenburg and Copenhagen. The most frequent visitors to Kiel this season are the ships of AIDA and TUI Cruises. The biggest ship to call is the “MSC Preziosa” of 139,000 GT, which can be seen for the first time on the Kiel Fiord on April 28th .Seasonal highlights are the presentation of the new “Mein Schiff 1”- the latest cruise ship of TUI Cruises – as well as seven further cruise ship maiden calls, including one by Cunard’s “Queen Victoria”, which will berth at the Ostseekai Terminal on July 17th. Fourteen ships are expected during the Kieler Woche sailing regatta, from June 16th to the 24th.