This year’s cruise shipping season in the Port of Kiel reached its peak on Saturday, July 14, when five cruise ships and two big ferries were berthed at the same time in the Stadthafen inner harbour. Nearly 12,000 passengers embarked or disembarked. Dirk Claus, Managing Director of the Port of Kiel (SEEHAFEN KIEL GmbH & Co KG) said “Since the new Ostseekai Cruise Terminal was opened in April, we have had a total of six berths available for cruise ships in the Stadthafen – in addition to ferry terminal berths. Kiel is now very well-equipped for growing sea tourism and can offer passengers a holiday experience from the word go”, he added.
Cruise shipping is becoming ever more popular in northern Europe and Kiel has developed into one of the leading ports-of-call. Inside just a decade the number of visits by cruise ships has more than tripled. “As recently as five years ago the average number of passengers per visit was less than 900”, said Dirk Claus. “This year the average number of passengers per ship is more than 1,500”. To keep pace with the rapid development, the Port of Kiel, supported by the Federal German state of Schleswig-Holstein, has turned the Ostseekai into one of the most efficient cruise shipping terminals in northern Europe, creating additional land-side capacity in the port just at the right time. The terminal was inaugurated at the start of this year’s season, on April 24th, when the AIDA DIVA made her first call in Kiel.
“The Ostseekai is an investment by the Port of Kiel in the future”, said Dirk Claus. “For the first time ever, ships longer than 270 metres are able to berth at one or the other of our passenger terminals”. Next year, the 293 metre-long MSC POESIE is expected in the German fjord city while Costa Crociere’s 75.000 gt COSTA VICTORIA will also begin her cruises from Kiel in 2008. “The Ostseekai Terminal is tailor-made for cruise ships like that”, said the Kiel port chief, adding that “the number of cruise ship passengers in the coming year will, once again, probably increase significantly.
The Port of Kiel operates Kiel’s commercial port for the state capital of Kiel and is a 100% subsidiary company of the City of Kiel. The port has three modern passenger terminals in the attractive inner harbour – the Norwegenkai, the Schwedenkai and the new Ostseekai - and can provide quality handling there for cruise ships of any size. Last year more than 1.5 million passengers joined or left a ferry or cruise ship in Kiel.