Finale of the strongest cruise season in Kiel’s history.
Yestarday ,On Thursday,The PORT OF KIEL ended this year’s cruise season with the “Vasco da Gama” at the Ostseekai. Since spring, the Baltic Sea port has counted a total of 243 calls – almost 40 per cent more than in 2019, the season with the highest number of cruise visits to date.
With 20 first calls, this year’s cruise season in Kiel was one thing above all for many ships and shipping companies: a premiere. Half of all maiden calls were made by US shipping companies alone, such as Norwegian Cruise Line and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.
But ships from the British Carnival Cruise Line and the Norwegian Hurtigruten were also in Kiel for the first time.
“There have never been so many inaugural calls in one season,” says Dirk Claus, Managing Director of SEEHAFEN KIEL GmbH & Co. KG, “we are particularly pleased that after several years of planning we have succeeded in increasingly attracting international shipping companies to Kiel.”
A special aspect of this year’s season in Kiel was also the high number of transit calls, which at 34 was far above the figures for previous years.
Thus 70,000 of the total 834.431 cruise passengers visited Kiel as a travel destination alone. They were also the ones who created a particularly international flair in the state capital during the high season.
In addition to excursions to Hamburg and various destinations in Schleswig-Holstein, many of the passengers also spent their shore leave in Kiel itself. In addition to the Old Botanical Gardens and the Kiellinie, it was the city centre in particular that was favoured by guests.
“Kiel has a lot to offer: A beautiful city centre, good shopping opportunities and typical German restaurants and cafés. We really liked that,” emphasised Elizabeth and Rebecca from Wales.
The pedestrian connection between the cruise terminals and the city centre is very popular with both passengers and crew.
Focus on Shore Power
The PORT OF KIEL is one of Europe’s pioneers in the expansion of shore power infrastructure for ships. In addition to supplying the ferries of Stena Line and Color Line on a daily basis, the company has also been focusing on low-emission power supply for cruise ships since last year.
For the shore power facility at the Ostseekai, which was specially completed in the late summer of 2021, it was thus the first full season used primarily for the necessary integration of cruise ships. After successful technical tests this year, not only the “AIDAprima” but also the “Mein Schiff 4”, “Mein Schiff 6”, “Artania” and “Nieuw Statendam” were berthed emission-free in the port of Kiel.
Other ships have begun integration this year and will continue in the coming season. This makes the port of Kiel one of the leading German ports for the integration of cruise ships.
“Our conclusion after the first full shore power season is that the ships at the Ostseekai find an excellent infrastructure and employees with extensive know-how that make integration from our side possible without
any problems,” says Claus. A total of 19 calls were supplied with European green electricity this season.
However, the Managing Director also makes it clear that he expects more commitment from some shipping companies in the future when it comes to sustainability:
“Of course, the technical retrofitting of the ships must now also take place successively on the part of the shipping companies.
We already know from many ships that integration tests are firmly scheduled for 2023. That is an important signal!“ For the coming season, the PORT OF KIEL expects the number of calls supplied with shore power to triple.
According to the current sustainability report of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), 85 per cent of its members’ vessels are supposed to be capable of using shore power by 2028. Kiel is one of 29 cruise ports worldwide (2 per cent) that have a suitable infrastructure.
Two further facilities are already being planned in Kiel and are due to be completed by the end of 2023 and will then also supply the cruise terminal at Ostuferhafen.