Third terminal berth for large cruise ships in operation.
When the “AIDAcara” is heading out to Copenhagen at around 5 p.m. today, October 2, Kiel’s cruise shipping season will find its preliminary finish for the current year. Preliminary, as one more ship will again be welcomed in December on its Advent Cruise. So, Port of Kiel saw 128 calls by 22 different cruise ships with a total tonnage of more than 7.8 million GT. More than 360,000 passengers embarked or disembarked. Dr Dirk Claus, Managing Director at Seehafen Kiel GmbH & Co. KG (Port of Kiel): “We are striking a positive balance of the cruise season. The total tonnage (+ 6 %) as well as the number of passengers (plus 4 %) are exceeding last year’s level. We are happy with that.”
To relieve the Terminal Ostseekai, which is heavily booked at summer weekends in particular, ships were handled at the newly established Berth No. 1 in Ostuferhafen for the very first time. Dirk Claus said, “The new Berth No. 1 was well accepted, given that the infrastructure and the nautical conditions are excellent.” Along the quay of about 400 m, a constant water depth of 10 m was realized in spring, fendering facilities adapted to the needs of passenger vessels were installed and a new gangway erected. Dirk Claus: “Today, Kiel has three terminal berths for handling very large cruise ships. With that, we have paved the way for the capacity needed to increase the cruise ship calls to more than 150 in the mid-term.”
This year, the cruise ships of the shipping companies AIDA, Costa, MSC and TUI Cruises were the most often spotted guests on the Kiel Fjord with 85 calls altogether. Furthermore, Kiel is the turnaround port for smaller and mid-sized ships of well-known German providers as well as port of call for shore excursions and day trips of international shipping companies like Holland America Line. During their ship’s stay in Kiel, more than 60,000 transit passengers visited the tourist destination Schleswig-Holstein. The highlight of the season was once again the final weekend of the Kiel Week, when from Friday to Sunday eight luxury vessels visited Kiel and four of them participated in the famous Windjammer Parade. For the very first time, a theatre play accompanied the casting off procedure of two cruise ships on a buoyant stage. “Culture & Cruise” was a successful event so that another performance has been desired by many sides.
For the season to come, Port of Kiel has 124 registrations by 20 different (ocean-going) cruise vessels to date. The “AIDAcara” is going to be the most frequent guest, starting 26 cruises from Kiel alone and opening the season on 5 April 2014. The largest ship is going to be the “Costa Pacifica”, which is calling twelve times – more often than ever. Hapag Lloyd’s new “Europa 2” is having its premiere at Kiel’s Ostseekai on June 11. The newly built vessel by TUI Cruises, “Mein Schiff 3” can be admired on the Kiel Fjord in May already.