Cruise shipping season closes in Kiel, passenger and ship tonnage totals at an all-time high
The 2017 cruise shipping season ended in Kiel on 21st October 2017, with a visit from the “AIDAvita”. This year the port was visited on 143 separate occasions by 29 different cruise ships with a combined total ten million GT.
For the first time, the number of passengers embarking or disembarking at the port’s cruise shipping terminals passed the half million mark.
Dr Dirk Claus, the Managing Director of the Port Of Kiel (SEEHAFEN KIEL GmbH & Co. KG), said: “Northern Europe cruises are increasingly in demand. We are benefitting from this development and have, this year, posted our highest passenger totals to date. In addition to that, we have registered highest ever cruise ship tonnage ever recorded in Kiel.
” The biggest cruise ship of the season was the “MSC Fantasia”, weighing in at 138,000 GT. She alone undertook 21 Baltic and Nordic cruises from Kiel. A good two-thirds of all the 2017 Kiel cruises were carried out by the shipping companies AIDA, TUI Cruises, MSC and Costa, a fact which underscores the significance of the port for cruise turnaround business. The most frequent cruise visitors to the fiord this year were the AIDA ships – four of which were stationed in Kiel for the first time.
The 2017 cruise shipping season was marked by a great many highlights. The latest new ship to join the fleet of TUI Cruises, “Mein Schiff 6”, introduced herself to the Kiel Fiord this year and began her maiden voyage at the Ostseekai. During the Kieler Woche sailing regatta between 17th -23rd June, no fewer than 16 cruise ships visited the port, among them many international vessels. The ships which headed for Kiel during that regatta – the biggest maritime folk festival and sail sports event in northern Europe – included ships in service with British shipping companies - like Cunard Line’s “Queen Elizabeth”, P&O’s “Arcadia” and Fred Olsen’s “Black Watch”.
From a port organisational point of view, however, attention was focussed mainly on a total of seven occasions when three - and even four - ocean-going cruise ships were in port at the same time, in addition to the regular Baltic ferry ships. At each of these peak periods, as many as 20,000 passengers were welcomed in Kiel. In the run-up to the introduction of new regulations governing the on-shore disposal of waste-water from ships, one of the most modern waste-water reception plants ever built went into operation at the Ostseekai in mid-June. It can process 300 m³ of waste-water every hour – a tenfold increase in capacities at previous facilities of this kind.
“In the coming season”, said Dirk Claus, “cruise shipping activity in the Port of Kiel will rise even further and for the first time more than 150 visits by cruise ships will be recorded.” The actual list of registered visits in 2018 will be published by the Port of Kiel at the turn of the year. Kiel will spend next year – yet again - being the base port for all the cruise shipping companies active on the German market. So, the most frequent callers will be the ships of AIDA, TUI Cruises and MSC.
For the first time, Kiel will be able to welcome the “MSC Preziosa”, which is to replace her sister ship “MSC Fantasia” on the Kiel Fjord. Another highlight of the new season will be the introduction of TUI Cruises’ new “Mein Schiff 1” which is expected in Kiel on May 19th at the close of her maiden cruise. To keep abreast of the positive development s on the cruise shipping market long term, construction will begin late summer 2018 on a second terminal building at the Ostseekai. It will go into operation for the 2019 season. The 2018 season meanwhile will open on April 8th with the arrival of the “AIDAcara”.