Up to now, the port has used non-passenger facilities to accommodate more than one or two ships at a time. Partially because other real estate developments may take these extra berthing spaces away, and to deal with anticipated future traffic, a plan to develop more dedicate berthing space for cruise ships has been formulated.
To accommodate the traffic and also the concentration of calls on certain days, the plan calls for at least six dedicated berths plus a spare berth by 2025. Ship size is also a consideration, and the network points out that the largest ships already cannot call on Stockholm nor on Bergen.
According to a document prepared by the Oslo Cruise Network for a recent hearing, the port is looking at three growth scenarios – 4 percent, 6 percent or 8 percent a year in terms of passengers; and 3 percent, 4 percent or 5 percent in terms of ship calls. Based on the 2010 passenger numbers and ship calls, the maximum growth scenario would lead to 920,000 passengers and 310 calls by 2025.
According to the network, Oslo can accommodate up to 10,000 passengers a day without congestion issues.
Noise (from the engines) is not considered an issue and the plan notes that Color Line uses shorepower at its ferry facility.
Cruise calls are concentrated in August and usually on weekends or days immediately before and after, due to Oslo being approximately one sailing day from other major turn-around ports such as Copenhagen, Amsterdam and Southampton. In 2009, 29 percent of the calls were in August due the month being the most popular vacation time in Europe. Monday was the most popular day in 2009 with twice as many calls compared to Tuesdays.
Last year 19 ships stayed overnight, with 41 ships slated for overnight stays in 2011.
Oslo also considers itself a turn-around port and had eight turnarounds in 2009 and nine in 2010, compared to 40 for Stockholm. Both Royal Caribbean and Cunard will turn around in Oslo in 2011.
Producing an estimated 80,000 cruise passengers a year, according to the network, Norway has a market penetration of 2 percent.
The plan is now being reviewed by the Planning Department of the city which will hand it over to the port, with its recommendations, in May.