Port of Kiel: Cruise Shipping Sets Passenger Record
Press release- This year’s cruise shipping season in Kiel was ending on Tuesday October 20th with a visit by the “AIDAcara”. Overall the port registered 133 calls this year by 25 different ships with a total tonnage of more than 8.6 million GT (an increase of 19.4% over last year).
The port’s cruise terminals saw 458,771 passengers (29.6% more than in 2014) board or leave a cruise ship. Dr Dirk Claus, Managing Director of the PORT OF KIEL (Seehafen Kiel GmbH & Co. KG) said: “Both passenger figures and overall tonnage totals have set new records for Kiel”. Once again the port has been used as both a start and destination point for Baltic as well as Nordic cruises by all the cruise shipping companies active on the German market. Most frequent visitors were the ships of the cruise companies AIDA, Costa, MSC and TUI Cruises, which called a total of 90 times. On no fewer than twelve occasions three, sometimes even four, cruise ships in addition to the regular ferries were in the port at the same time. Most of the cruises began at the Ostseekai Terminal but the new Berth No. 1 in the Ostuferhafen was also used 19 times for passenger exchanges.
The highlight of the 2015 cruise shipping season was the naming of “Mein Schiff 4” in Kiel on June 5th. Tens of thousands of onlookers witnessed this unique event live at the Ostseekai Terminal. Twelve cruise ships visited this year’s Kieler Woche Regatta, among them “Sea Cloud 2” which also took part in the Windjammer Parade. Cunard Line’s “Queen Elizabeth” came back to the port on two occasions this season and was seen off with a departure parade. Of the 35,500 mainly international passengers who visited the Schleswig-Holstein state capital for day trips during running cruises, most arrived on board Holland America’s “Eurodam”. The biggest cruise ship visitor was “Regal Express”, the flag ship of the American shipping company Princess Cruises, which weighed in at 142,714 GT. ”Kiel has a first-class terminal infrastructure and is ideally suited as both a starting point and as a destination port during running cruises”, commented Dirk Claus. “Once again the particular nautical quality of the port has also been in evidence”, he added. This summer several big cruise ships changed course and headed for Kiel after storm warnings indicated that other Baltic ports might not be reached with safety.
“AIDAcara”, setting sail Tuesday evening from the Ostseekai Terminal for the Canary Islands via the Kiel Canal, has more visits to the Kiel Fiord under her belt than any other cruise ship. Since the summer of 2010 the ship, the smallest in the AIDA fleet, has been a regular visitor to the port. During no fewer than 145 Kiel cruises, more than 350,000 passengers have embarked on or disembarked from the ship. In the coming season, the “AIDAcara” will be replaced in Kiel by her younger sister “AIDAvita”, which is also bigger in terms of passenger capacity. The 2016 cruise shipping season will be inaugurated next April 25th by another ship in the AIDA Cruises fleet – the “AIDAluna”. “We estimate that cruise ships will make about 120 calls in the coming year with some 400,000 passengers” commented Dirk Claus”. The highlights will be the maiden voyage of “Mein Schiff 5” from Kiel and the first visits to the port by Holland America Line’s “Zuiderdam” and “Koningsdam”. The port will also welcome a visit by “The World” lasting several days, as well as the first call by P&O’s “Arcadia” to the Kieler Woche. The 2016 season will last until October 8th, according to registrations received so far.