The Port of Kiel will open its 2012 cruise season on March 31 with the AIDAcara, in addition to a fireworks display.

Dr Dirk Claus, Managing Director of the Port of Kiel said: We are well prepared and looking forward to the new season, which will, once again, be longer than last year. It won’t be long before cruise ships are sailing in northern Europe the whole year round.

This year’s season will last until mid December and, during it, 26 different cruise ships are registered to call a total of 137 times.The most frequent guests will be the vessels of shipping companies AIDA, Costa, MSC and TUI Cruises, which, like the ships of many well-known classic German travel companies, regularly call at Kiel to exchange passengers.

For the first time three ships in the MSC Crociere fleet – MSC Magnifica, MSC Poesia and MSC Lirica will call at Kiel. During the Kieler Woche between June 16th and 24th eleven cruise ships will visit Kiel fourteen times, along with the Star Flyer under full sail. This year no fewer than eight cruise ships will call at Kiel for the first time, among them Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth which is expected at the Ostseekai Terminal on July 24th.

Regular maintenance and overhaul work on gangways and operational areas was all completed punctually at the Ostseekai Terminal in time for the start of the new season. One new feature is that the terminal facility is now eco-powered – meaning that its electricity is 100% generated by water. In addition the waste disposal system has been adapted so that ships can now offload paper, plastic and residual waste separately. This is a step in the right direction, said Dirk Claus.