Regal Princess in Oslo

The Port of Oslo, Norway, is looking forward to 102 calls next year, up from 81 this year and approximately 155,000 passengers. The record year was 2011 with 170 calls. But with larger ships, next year’s passenger number is expected to equal 2011’s 312,000, according to Anette Brække, head of cruise at the Oslo Port Authority. The average passenger load is about 1,900 per ship.

Brække attributed this year’s dip to SECA, sulfur emission control area, and that cruise lines planning several years ahead were hesitant to commit to the longer sailing distance to Oslo because of the higher fuel costs. As costs have come down, however, more ships are coming back, she said.

For 2017, Celebrity and Sea Cloud will also turn around in Oslo, embarking passengers.

The most frequent caller next year will be AIDA with 22 visits and TUI Cruises with eight, including its new Mein Schiff 6. Princess is also a regular caller at the Norwegian capitol.

Norwegian Cruise Line returned for the first time this fall after a three year absence, with the Norwegian Star. Next year, the Jade will be calling twice.

Things continue to look good further out and for 2018, MSC’s new Meraviglia will be calling.

“We can accommodate five cruise ships at a time,” she said. “We have four different piers, all of which are close to the city center. Our main pier is Søndre Akershuskai (just below the Akershus Castle). Additional piers are Filipstadkaia, Vippetangkaia and Revierkaia. In addition, we can use an industrial-area pier if we have a fifth ship.”

Starting next year, ships calling at Søndre Akershuskai will also be able to discharge their waste water into the city’s sewage system, according to Brække. “The costs of the discharge is included the port fee,” she added. The service was tested this year during eight calls.

In related news, the Port of Oslo and VisitOslo have joined forces to promote the cruise destination and have named a new project manager for cruise at VisitOslo. Francesca Bettinsolo assumes the new position Jan. 1, 2017. She comes from Nordic Cruise Services in Oslo where she has been manager of shore excursions for the past nine years.

Photos: The Regal Princess at Filipstadkaia towers above the new luxury condos at Tjuvholmen; Anette Brække, head of cruise at the Oslo Port Authority.