Business is good for the port of Akureyri, with 122 ships expected this year and 130 booked for 2018. The port authority also looks over the smaller port of Grimsey which is expecting 29 ships this year and 30 in 2018.
We are also expecting a couple of ships to call at the tiny island of Hrísey, which is located in the Eyjarfjörður fjord – a fantastic ‘off the beaten track’ port call for smaller vessels,” said Pétur Ólafsson, port director, in an interview with Cruise Industry News.
“Alongside a significant growth in overnight calls, we are also seeing an increase in calls from vessels circumnavigating Iceland,” he noted.
Ólafsson said he wanted a sustainable growth pattern in the future.
“July for example is very popular with tourists in general and has become overcrowded in recent years. It would be good to see more ships calling outside of the busier main summer months – for example early or late summer, something that would definitely benefit passenger shore side experiences,” he continued.
The area will get a new high-power tugboat in early 2018, and the berth will be expanded by 100 meters, to a total length of 270 meters, by late 2019.
Tour companies have responded to demand, with new whale-watching excursion firms opening near the port.
Starting this year, the port will contribute to the country’s environmental efforts with a tree-planting program designed to offset carbon emissions from cruise ships calling. It expects to plant 2,000 trees per cruise season.