In 2005, the first Christmas cruise visited Copenhagen. This December, the ships will once again find their way to Northern Europe’s leading cruise destination. Cruise lines have discovered Northern Europe as a Christmas destination and three cruise ships have scheduled their arrival.

“Since the beginning of the year, we saw a rise in inquires about Christmas cruises. Early on, the British cruise lines P&O, Fred Olsen and Cunard expressed their interest in Christmas cruises to Northern Europe. And, when the ships Artemis, Black Watch and Queen Victoria announced their arrival in Copenhagen, the cabins were fully booked in just a few days,” says, Per Schmidt, chairman of Cruise Copenhagen Network and General Manager of Copenhagen Malmo Port.

The first Christmas cruise ship: Artemis, arrives at Langelinie on the 10th December followed by Black Watch on the 12th December and Queen Victoria on the 14th December. HRH Camilla Duchess of Cornwall wife of HRH Prince Charles of England will name the Queen Victoria before setting sail from Southampton the 11th December on its maiden voyage. A few days later, Copenhagen will be on the program. Sir Roger Moore will attend the ship’s Keys & Plaque ceremony on Friday noon.

Santa Claus and the Helsingør Girls Guards will greet the three ships. Christmas decorations adorn the pier and the shops on Langelinie. Queen Victoria will receive a special greeting from Tivoli Boys Guards and festive fireworks Friday night at 22 pm. The Women’s Marine Corps will play upon sail away on Saturday 15th 17pm

Per Schmidt, continues:

“Since 2004, we have worked with a strategy that would get the cruise lines to discover the possibilities Copenhagen has to offer – both traditional and original that differentiates the destination from its competitors – even in December. And the Scandinavian Christmas markets rank high on the passengers’ wish lists.  Our wish is that December cruises can be part of expanding the season so Copenhagen can welcome cruise ships year round and be competitive in the winter and spring as well”

Previously, the cruise season began in early May and continued through the end of September. But, this year, the season continues through December.  Furthermore, the 2008 season begins in early April and the cruise lines already scheduled two Christmas cruises.

Interest in cruising Northern Europe has increased since 1992 when Cruise Copenhagen Network began its focused efforts on getting more cruise companies to choose Copenhagen. During the last five years, the number of cruise passengers has increased from 173,000 to 502,000.

Christmas cruise ships in Copenhagen:

10.12 at 9:00 - 11.12 23:00 Artemis

12.12 at 9:00 - 12.12 23:00 Black Watch

14.12 at 8:00 - 15.12 17:00 Queen Victoria