by Ulf Jahnke

Kiel welcomes Ponant’s “Le Soléal” for first visit

Mega cruise yacht brings French flair to the Kiel fiord

"Le Soléal" in Kiel

Kiel, May 12th, 2017: On Friday, May 12th, Kiel welcomed two very special cruise ships for their first ever visits to the port. The elegant “Le Soléal” berthed directly next to the TUI Cruises newbuilding “Mein Schiff 6” at the Ostseekai Terminal. Dr Dirk Claus, Managing Director of the PORT OF KIEL (SEEHAFEN KIEL GmbH & Co. KG) said:  “It is an honour for Kiel to again be able to welcome a mega yacht from the Compagnie du Ponant in our port. All those who visit the Ostseekai Terminal on Friday can look forward to a magnificent spectacle.” To mark the mega yacht’s maiden visit, the Deputy President of the City of Kiel, Robert Vollborn, and Port head Dr Dirk Claus presented a traditional gift from the Schleswig-Holstein federal state capital to Captain Erwan Le Rouzie during a reception on board the ship. Like her sister ship “Le Boréal” which visited Kiel soon after she went into service, “Le Soléal” embodies the unique atmosphere of a big cruise yacht and brings French flair to the Kiel fiord.

“Le Soléal” is of 10,992 gt, is 142 m long and boasts 132 cabins for 264 passengers. She started her current cruise, called “From the North Sea to the Baltic” in Portsmouth on May 8th and arrived in Kiel via Ostende, Amsterdam, Harlingen and the Kiel Canal. During her stay in Kiel, passengers have the chance to join land excursions - including one to the Hanse city of Lübeck. “The port of Kiel is the gateway for excursions to the whole of north Germany”, said Dirk Claus. “And Schleswig-Holstein is also being increasingly recognised as a tourist destination by international shipping companies.” For example this year Kiel is a fixed component in route planning at P&O Cruises, Cunard Line, Holland-America Line, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines and MSC among others. “Le Soléal” was leaving Kiel in the evening at about 1900 for the Danish capital Copenhagen. The cruise was then taking the ship to Visby and Mariehamn before ending in Stockholm on May 16th.

The SEEHAFEN KIEL GmbH & Co. KG operates Kiel’s commercial port on behalf of the Schleswig-Holstein state capital of Kiel, of which it is a 100% subsidiary company. Kiel has a total of three modern passenger terminals at Ostseekai, Norwegenkai and Schwedenkai – all of them very close to the city centre. In addition especially large cruise ships can also use the new Berth no. 1 in the Ostuferhafen. This year the port of Kiel will be visited 142 times by 28 different cruise ships. By the end of the season some 500,000 passengers are expected to have embarked on or ended a cruise in the port.

Interview partners during on-board reception:
- Erwan Le Rouzie, Captain "Le Soléal"
- Robert Vollborn, Deputy President of the City of Kiel
- Dr Dirk Claus, MD PORT OF KIEL  
- Mirko Steiner, Agency Sartori & Berger
- Stefanie Vollmuth, Ponant

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