The first call of “AIDAcara” in Kiel means the port is once again one of the base ports of AIDA Cruises.
“We are the start and end port for cruises: all the big German cruise shipping concerns now back Kiel”, said Dirk Claus, Managing Director of the Port of Kiel (SEEHAFEN KIEL GmbH & Co KG). The “AIDAcara” was welcomed in the early hours this morning in the traditional way with water fountains from the fire-fighting ship “Kiel” and then escorted to the Ostseekai Cruise Terminal. At an on-board reception afterwards marking the ship’s first call, Kiel Lord Mayor Torsten Albig presented a plaque to Captain Sven Gärtner and welcomed passengers and crew.
“Today is a special day for Kiel”, he said. “The AIDA Cruises smile logo is once again a regular sight to admire in the port and on the fiord.”
There will be 21 cruise departures this year from Kiel by the “AIDAcara”, which makes the ship the most frequent guest at the Ostseekai Terminal. Commented Dirk Claus: “Sea tourism will continue to be a growth industry and AIDA is one of the top cruise marketing companies. We and our partners offer the shipowner a first-class infrastructure and the best service possible.”
AIDA is one of the Port of Kiel oldest customers and also inaugurated the Ostseekai Cruise Terminal. It was the base port for the former “AIDAblu” up until 2006 and in the following years the AIDA newbuildings “AIDAdiva (2007), “AIDAbella” (2008) and “AIDAluna” (2009) all were guests in Kiel.
One highlight of the coming season is already fixed. AIDA Cruises will hold the naming ceremony for its fifth Sphinx Class newbuilding “AIDAsol” in Kiel. Lord Mayor Torsten Albig said “We are particularly looking forward to this wonderful naming ceremony; the whole city is excited about it”. It will be the first time that a big cruise ship has been named in the Schleswig Holstein state capital since the impressive naming of “Color Magic” in September 2007. Dirk Claus said he was convinced that “the naming will be a maritime highlight and a magnet for the public. We are very proud that Kiel has been chosen for this ceremony”.
The SEEHAFEN KIEL operates Kiel’s commercial port on behalf of the state capital and is a 100% subsidiary of Kiel. The port boasts three modern passenger terminals for cruise ships at the Ostseekai, Schwedenkai and Norwegenkai, all in attractive Stadthafen locations close to the city centre. Further ship berths are available at the Sartorikai and at the Bollhörnkai-Süd. With the support of the federal state of Schleswig-Holstein and the EU, more than 60 million Euros have been invested inside just five years in the expansion of the terminal facilities in the Stadthafen. With 137 calls booked this year by 27 different cruise liners, Kiel is once again Germany’s most popular cruise shipping port. Some 350,000 cruise passengers are expected in Kiel this season.