The sail regatta ‘Kieler Woche’ is attracting ever more cruise ships. This year 14 luxury cruise liners are calling at the German Baltic port between June 21st and 29th – in addition to the numerous big sailing ships and old-time vessels already expected. The first highlight will be on Sunday, June 22nd, when four cruise ships will dominate the skyline in Kiel’s city centre Stadthafen alongside the ferry ships of Color Line and Stena Line. Dirk Claus, Managing Director of the Port of Kiel (SEEHAFEN KIEL GmbH & Co. KG), said “all the berths in the Inner Fjord are fully booked and that will be a fantastic sight for both travellers and visitors to the Kieler Woche”.

“MSC Lirica” and “Costa Victoria” are calling at the Ostseekai Terminal on June 22nd at the same time as “C.Columbus” and “Vistamar” tie up at Kiel’s Bollhörnkai to exchange passengers. A total of 7,500 cruise ship passengers are expected on that day along with 7,000 ferry passengers and 2,500 crew members. “Only Kiel has three passenger terminals right in the city centre”, said Dirk Claus. “Because of this, we are superbly-equipped to guarantee smooth processing. The positive developments this year and the forward bookings already in for the 2009 season prove that we have invested at exactly the right time. The new Ostseekai Terminal has given Kiel a quality lead”, he added.

The Kieler Woche’s cruise ship debut will in fact be on Saturday June 21st with visits by the “Hanseatic” and “MSC Opera” a day before Sunday’s ‘four-ship’ schedule gets underway. Two cruise ships with mainly English-speaking passengers – “Saga Rose” and “Azamara Journey” - will call in Kiel on Monday and Tuesday. Dirk Claus said “Schleswig Holstein is being seen increasingly as a tourist destination. Cruise ships are calling at Kiel for wonderful land excursions. This is an important result of our successful marketing activities in the USA”. The closing weekend of the Kieler Woche will get under way Friday with a visit by the “Deutschland”. That will precede visits by three cruise ships on Saturday. Closing out the week, the “MSC Lirica” and the “Costa Victoria” will be back at the Ostseekai Terminal on Sunday, both leaving at about 1600 hours that same evening.

With 125 visits scheduled this year, Kiel is the most popular German cruise ship port-of-call. With its three passenger terminals at the Ostseekai, the Norwegenkai and the Schwedenkai, the port is becoming a benchmark for handling quality. Because its ship berths are directly in the city centre, Kiel also offers an attractive setting for the start of any holiday - not just during the Kieler Woche.  This year about 190,000 cruise ship tourists will leave or board a cruise ship in the Port of Kiel. “Even bigger ships are already booked in for the 2009 season”, commented Dirk Claus. “With the ‘Costa Magica’ a ship of more than 100,000 GRT will berth in Kiel for the first time”, he said.