Cruise Season Gets Underway in the Port of Kiel
“AIDAcara” is first to call at the Ostseekai Terminal.
The 2013 cruise shipping year opened in Kiel on April 13 when the first ship of the season, AIDAcara, arrived at the Ostseekai from Dover. She berthed at around 0900 at the cruise shipping terminal after earlier being treated to a water fountain display from an SFK tug when she left the Kiel Canal.
Dirk Claus, Managing Director of the Port of Kiel said, “We are well prepared for the cruise shipping season. Everything is ready at Kiel’s cruise shipping terminal.” A total of 128 calls by 21 different ships have been registered this season. The trend of previous years is continuing; ships are getting ever bigger. As a result we expect an increase in passenger totals this year of more than 5%. The northern Europe route is also becoming increasing significant when seen in a global context.”
“AIDAcara” has spent the winter months in South America and will use Kiel as her base during the whole of the summer season. She has scheduled a total of 24 northern Europe cruises up to the start of October. They range from short, three-day cruises to 17-day trips in June and July. They will take the ship to Iceland, Spitzbergen and the North Cape. The most frequent visitors to the Kiel Fiord this year will be the vessels of shipping company MSC. Both “MSC Poesia” and “MSC Musica” (making her debut on April 25th) will begin and end cruises in Kiel.
The biggest ship to call at the port this year will be “Costa Pacifica”, which will berth eight times to exchange passengers. “On summer weekends we always have at least one big cruise ship visiting the Ostseekai Terminal”, said Dirk Claus. “During peak periods, we expect as many as 11,000 passengers and a correspondingly large amount of luggage at the cruise terminal,” Claus added.
The highlights of the season are when several cruise ships visit all at once. On no fewer than five dates this year, three cruise ships will dominate the scene in the port – and that’s not counting the giant ferry ships of Color Line and Stena Line. And four cruise ships will be berthed in the port on June 29th, the final Saturday of the Kieler Woche regatta week. To keep abreast of the growing demand, Kiel is investing in the expansion of its handling capacities. From June, very big cruise ships will be able to tie up at the new Berth One in the Ostuferhafen. Work on expanding Berth One has already begun. Dirk Claus said “initially Berth One will help ease stop-over traffic at the existing Ostseekai Cruise Terminal; from next year passenger exchanges will also be possible on this berth”. The Ostuferhafen marks its debut on June 9th when Holland America Line’s “Eurodam” ties up on Berth One.