The 2009 cruise shipping season opens in Kiel on April 22nd. The first cruise ship to arrive on the Kiel Fiord this year, the brand-new “AIDAluna”, will be met with a traditional water fountain display from the fire-fighting vessel “Kiel” and escorted to her berth at the Ostseekai. From now until the end of September, 117 cruise ship calls have been registered in Kiel by 20 different cruise ships. Up to a quarter of a million travellers are expected. The Managing Director of the Port of Kiel (SEEHAFEN KIEL GmbH & Co KG) Dirk Claus said “the tonnage of the ships calling at Kiel this year will be nearly 40% greater than in the past. We are well prepared for this and have again expanded our handling capacities at the Ostseekai”.

The biggest ship of the season will be “Costa Magica”, at more than 100,000 GRT, while the 293 m “MSC Orchestra” will become the longest cruise ship ever to be handled in Kiel. On six days during the season, these two ships will tie up together at the Ostseekai and up to 9,000 passengers will check out or check in within just a couple of hours. Commented Dirk Claus: “both levels of the terminal building, offering more than 500 additional seats, are now completely available to passengers. Luggage will be processed through two new halls which have been added to the Ostseekai Terminal. The new halls blend in so well with their surroundings that passengers will hardly notice they have been added.” Other innovations include an improved ambience in the terminal building and an upgraded digital traffic control system on the approach roads to the terminal.

One newcomer to Kiel in the 2009 season is TUI Cruises. That new German company’s first cruise vessel “Mein Schiff” will use Kiel as its point of departure for 13 cruises this year. Eight luxury liners will be calling at Kiel for the first time this year , among them Hurtigruten’s “Fram”, “Crystal Symphony” and Holland America Line’s “Eurodam”, which only went into service last year. “The Schleswig-Holstein/Hamburg holiday region is also attracting ever-more visitors”, said Dirk Claus. “Even ships carrying guests from other countries are now calling at Kiel for daily land excursions. This is of economic significance for the whole region”. One high point of the season will be the Kieler Woche, June 20th – 28th, during which numerous sailing ships will join the eight cruise vessels due in Kiel at that time.

The SEEHAFEN KIEL operates Kiel’s commercial port on behalf of the Schleswig-Holstein state capital of Kiel and is a 100% subsidiary company of the City. Kiel boasts three passenger terminals for cruise ships – Ostseekai, Norwegenkai and Schwedenkai – all in attractive city centre locations. Additional ship berths are available at the Sartorikai and at Bollhörnkai-Süd. Inside just five years, and with the support of the federal state of Schleswig-Holstein, Kiel has invested well over 60 million Euros in the expansion of terminal facilities in the city’s Stadthafen.