The cruise shipping season got underway in the Port of Kiel in the early hours of today with the arrival of the season’s first ship AIDAluna at the Ostseekai Terminal.
The cruise ship is coming in after from a transfer trip from the Caribbean
and will be based in Kiel – as will the AIDAvita and the AIDAlaura - for the whole of the summer season. During an on-board reception, Captain Marc-Dominique Tidow, representing the ship, its passengers and crew, was given a cordial welcome to Kiel by PORT OF KIEL Managing Director Dr. Dirk Claus. “The Port of Kiel faces a first-rate cruise shipping season”, Dirk Claus said
. “We have made all the preparations for it and we are delighted that AIDA Cruises will be represented here with three ships for the very first time.”
The stationing of AIDA Cruises’ third ship, along with the earlier delivery of the TUI Cruises newbuilding Mein Schiff 5, is steering Kiel towards a personal best in terms of arrival figures. Currently, 144 cruise ship arrivals have been registered this year by port authorities, a figure which tops the previous record of 137 cruise ship calls in 2012. Well over 450,000 passengers are expected this season while the total tonnage of cruise ships calling at Kiel will rise by about 8 percent to pass the 9 million GT mark for the first time.
The shipping company with most calls in Kiel this year is AIDA Cruises, which is offering 51 cruise trips from the port. It is followed by TUI Cruises with 29 calls and MSC with 20 calls by the MSC Musica. The biggest ship of the season will be the Costa Pacifica, which weighs in at more than 114,000 GT. On no fewer than twelve occasions during the season there will be three or even four cruise ships berthed in the port – in addition to the Baltic ferries. The highlight of the season will be the opening Saturday of the Kieler Woche sailing regatta. On that day, June 18, for the very first time, seven cruise ships will be visiting the port all at once. Dirk Claus said, “This is a unique get-together of cruise ships that has never been equalled before. Increasingly, the Kieler Woche is growing into a big draw for cruise ships.”
Further cruise season highlights are maiden calls by two ships of the Holland-Amerika Line – the Zuiderdam on May 14 and the Koningsdam on June 30 – as well as P&O Cruises’ Arcadia on June 22. In addition, on June 23 Kiel will become the first German seaport to be visited by Mein Schiff 5. On June 11 and again on August 13 there will be another opportunity to see Cunard Line’s Queen Elizabeth
in the Kiel Fiord.
The majority of cruises start at the Ostseekai Terminal followed by the Ostuferhafen’s Berth One, the Norwegenkai and the Schwedenkai and Sartorikai Terminals. At Ostseekai, Norwegenkai and in the Ostuferhafen parking is available for passengers directly on the terminals and can be booked through the “Port Parking” internet platform. There is now also a new Port Parking possibility at Kiel’s Holtenau Airport – where parking spaces are being made available for cruise ship passengers for the first time from the start of this season.