Kiel hosts record number of cruise passengers

Kiel hosts record number of cruise passengers
The Port of Kiel is a popular destination on cruises to the Baltic and Scandinavia (Image: Port of Kiel)

Cruise passenger numbers surpassed the half a million mark at Germany’s Port of Kiel for the first time in 2017.

This year, the German port hosted 143 calls from 29 different cruise ships before the season closed on 21 October with a call from AIDA Cruises’ AIDAvita. Two thirds of the calls were turnarounds from ships in the AIDA, TUI Cruises, MSC Cruises and Costa Cruises fleets. Once again, AIDA was the most frequent cruise visitor and deployed four of its ships in Kiel for the first time. Meanwhile, MSC Cruises’ 138,000gt MSC Fantasia was the biggest ship to call, offering 21 Baltic and Nordic cruises from the port.

Highlights of the 2017 cruise season included several multi-ship days, the Kieler Woche sailing regatta which saw 15 cruise ships call in June, and a maiden call from TUI Cruises’ new Mein Schiff 6, which embarked on her maiden voyage from the port’s Ostseekai terminal earlier this year. In addition, the port opened a wastewater reception plant at the Ostseekai berth in mid-June.

“Northern Europe cruises are increasingly in demand,” said Dirk Claus, managing director at the port. “We are benefiting from this development and have, this year, posted our highest passenger totals to date. In addition to that, we have registered highest ever cruise ship tonnage ever recorded in Kiel.”

Kiel expects to welcome more than 150 cruise ship calls in 2018, which will open on 8 April with the arrival of AIDAcara. Highlights will include an inaugural visit from TUI Cruises’ new Mein Schiff 1 on 19 May, and the debut of MSC Preziosa, which will replace her sister ship – MSC Fantasia – on the Kiel Fiord.

In summer 2018, the port will begin constructing a second terminal building at the Ostseekai berth, which will become operational in 2019.

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