Port of Kiel closes record 2016 cruise season

Port of Kiel closes record 2016 cruise season
AIDAvita closed the 2016 cruise season at Kiel on 8 October

The Port of Kiel closed a record 2016 cruise season with a call from AIDA Cruises’ AIDAvita on 8 October.

This year, the German port handled 147 cruise calls by 26 different ships, an increase from the 133 cruise ship visits in 2015. In addition, more than 485,000 passengers boarded or disembarked at the port’s various terminals – 5.8 % more than the previous year.

“The number of calls by ships, as well as passenger volumes and also overall tonnage, were all at record levels for the port and came as the Ostseekai Terminal marked its tenth year of operation,” said Dirk Claus, managing director at the Port of Kiel. “The investment of €35 million made in the terminal has been a sound one.”

For the first time this year, two cruise companies – AIDA Cruises and TUI Cruises – each homeported three of their ships in Kiel. Together with MSC Cruises, Holland America Line and Costa Cruises, these lines made a total of more than 100 calls.

Highlights of the season included 12 days with multi-ship visits, the opening day of Kieler Woche in June when a record five ocean cruise ships and two river cruise vessels berthed in the port at the same time as the regular ferries. Other highlights of the 2016 season included maiden calls by TUI Cruises’ Mein Schiff 5, Holland America Line’s Koningsdam and P&O Cruises’ Arcadia. Meanwhile, the port welcomed return visits from the world’s largest private residential yacht, The World, and Cunard Line’s Queen Elizabeth, which was also the 2,500th cruise vessel to call at Kiel.

In 2107, Kiel will welcome a total of 131 calls by 26 different ships in its longest season to date. Beginning with a call from AIDA Cruises’ AIDAcara on 9 April, it is currently set to close on 25 October.

Next year, MSC Cruises will homeport a ship – MSC Fantasia – in Kiel for the first time, while TUI and AIDA will continue to base ships in the port. Ponant’s Le Soléal and Fred. Olsen Cruises’ Balmoral will both make inaugural visits.

“With our very efficient passenger terminals at the Ostseekai and in the Ostuferhafen, we are well equipped to handle ships of this class with their 4,000 passengers,” said Claus.

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Rebecca Gibson
By Rebecca Gibson
Tuesday, October 11, 2016