The Empress in Lakselv. Plans call for an extended floating pier, allowing ships to come alongside for passenger embarkation and disembarkation, to be installed before the 2016 season.
Cruise Northern Norway & Svalbard has reported an increase in passengers for 2015, while ship calls were down.

“We had 380 calls at our 12 different ports this year, compared to 425 last year,” said Erik Joachimsen, managing director, “but with bigger ships, we received 420,000 passengers this year, up from 412,000 last year.”

He said that in 2010, ships averaged 823 passengers each, compared to 1,106 this year.

Since 2010, passenger traffic has grown from 289,000 to 420,000.

“For 2016, it seems like we are not going to have any increase in passengers, but will maintain approximately 420,000, but as we expect fewer calls, the average size of the ships will continue to increase.”

Driving the traffic numbers this year were turn-around cruises in Lakselv and Narvik by Pullmantur. The 1,600-passenger Empress called at other ports in Northern Norway and Murmansk in Russia. In addition, the Costa neoRomantica sailed to Northern Norway form Amsterdam.

Pullmantur is returning for the 2016 season with the Empress sailing four cruises alternating between turning around in Narvik and Lakselv. (The Empress will also sail four cruises between Malmo and Trondheim.)

In 2016, the neoRomantica will sail one 14-day cruise from Amsterdam, calling in Northern Norway and Spitsbergen.