The Port of Kiel opens its 2012 cruise shipping season on Saturday, March 31st.
With a firework display to see her off, this year’s first guest, “AIDAcara,” will leave the port’s Ostseekai Terminal around 1700 for the Norwegian fiords.
“We are well prepared and looking forward to the new season, which will, once again, be longer than last year,” said Dr. Dirk Claus, Managing Director of the Port of Kiel. “It won’t be long before cruise ships are sailing in northern Europe the whole year round.”
Regular maintenance and overhaul work on gangways and operational areas was all completed punctually at the Ostseekai Terminal in time for the start of the new season. One new feature is that the terminal facility is now eco-powered – meaning that its electricity is 100 percent generated by water. In addition, the waste disposal system has been adapted so that ships can now offload paper, plastic and residual waste separately.
“This is a step in the right direction”, said Dirk Claus. “We are also working with our partners to provide the ships of the future with shore-based electric power.”
Berth No. 1 in Kiel’s Ostuferhafen will be extended to do just that, so that next year it will be ready to handle cruise ships of the 300 m category. The terminal facility has 395 m of quayside and has all the amenities required to process cruise ships, including a handling building big enough to process passengers and luggage. Still primarily a start and end port for cruises, Kiel is also gaining importance as a port of call for day excursions.
This year’s season will last until mid December and, during it, 26 different cruise ships are registered to call a total of 137 times. The most frequent guests will be the vessels of shipping companies AIDA, Costa, MSC and TUI Cruises, which, like the ships of many well-known classic German travel companies, regularly call at Kiel to exchange passengers. For the first time, three ships in the MSC Crociere fleet – “MSC Magnifica”, “MSC Poesia” and “MSC Lirica” - will call at Kiel. During the Kieler Woche, between June 16th and 24th, eleven cruise ships will visit Kiel fourteen times, along with the “Star Flyer” under full sail. This year no fewer than eight cruise ships will call at Kiel for the first time, among them Cunard’s “Queen Elizabeth” which is expected at the Ostseekai Terminal on July 24th.