This year’s cruise shipping season in the Port of Kiel ends on Sunday (September 21st) when the last ship of the season, Phoenix Reisen’s “Alexander von Humboldt”, leaves the Norwegenkai at about 1700 for the Norwegian fiords. During this year’s summer season, Kiel has been visited 126 times (114 times in 2007) by 23 different cruise ships. More than 220,000 passengers have arrived at or left a cruise ship at the city’s terminals. The Managing Director of the Port of Kiel (SEEHAFEN KIEL GmbH and Co KG), Dirk Claus, said “we can look back on the most successful cruise shipping season ever in the Port of Kiel. For the first time, more than 200,000 passengers were handled and even our own ambitious expectations were exceeded”.

Many factors contributed to making Kiel, once again, Germany’s most popular cruise ship port this year. Apart from attractive routes and easy access to the federal state capital, modern terminal facilities close to the city centre and a complete range of services were also among the many advantages of Kiel. “The port, in co-operation with agencies and shipping companies, offers the highest quality handling for both passengers and ships. Kiel is the ideal starting and finishing point for sea cruises”, said Dirk Claus. The new Ostseekai Cruise Terminal, experiencing its second season, made a splendid contribution to this. On peak days and inside just a few hours, 7,500 passengers were processed there without problems. Commented Dirk Claus: “there are only a few terminals on the German coast capable of handling two big cruise ships at the same time. Kiel’s Ostseekai was built to do just that”.

Kiel is very likely to continue the current pace of growth in 2009. The shipping companies MSC and Costa have already announced they will put bigger ships into service from Kiel. On May 20th, the “MSC Orchestra” (92,000 GT, 2,700 passengers) will arrive directly from the Caribbean, a day before “Costa Magica” (102,000 GT, 2700 passengers) arrives in the port. Dirk Claus said “because we have invested consequentially in the Ostseekai, we have acquired a good competitive position for ourselves. Looking ahead to future market development, we now need a new terminal building at the Schwedenkai”. Kiel has also won two new customers. Calling for the first time in the coming season will be the ships of TUI Cruises and the Holland America Line. The season will open on April 22nd when the AIDA Cruises newbuilding “AIDALuna” will visit Kiel. The highlight of the 2009 season is expected to be on August 8th and 9th. On that weekend six luxury cruise liners will be in the Kiel Stadthafen all at the same time, in addition to the ferries of Color Line and Stena Line.

The SEEHAFEN KIEL operates the city’s commercial port on behalf of the federal state capital of Kiel and is a 100% subsidiary company of the City of Kiel. Kiel has four cruise ship terminal berths at the Norwegenkai, Schwedenkai and Ostseekai, all close to the City Centre. Two additional berths are available at the Sartorikai and the Bollhornkai-Süd. The port offers the right berth for any type of cruise ship and its long-standing clients include reputable German as well as international companies.