by Ulf Jahnke
Season’s biggest cruise ship berths at the Ostseekai
“MSC Fantasia” plans 21 north Europe cruises from Kiel
Kiel, April 29th, 2017: The biggest cruise ship to visit the Port of Kiel during this year’s summer season arrived on Saturday April 29th from Zeebrugge. The 138,000 GT “MSC Fantasia”, which is 333 m long, reached the Kiel Fiord in the early morning and was given a water fountain welcome and escorted to her berth at the Ostseekai Cruise Shipping Terminal by a tug belonging to the Kiel tug and ferry company SFK. At a reception later on board, port head Dr Dirk Claus welcomed the ship’s captain Stefano Aiello to the Schleswig-Holstein state capital and presented him with the port’s official maiden visit plaque. Dr Claus, who is the Managing Director of of the PORT OF KIEL (SEEHAFEN KIEL GmbH & Co. KG), said: “We are delighted to be able to welcome a big ship of the MSC Fantasia Class to Kiel for the very first time. The visit shows that ever bigger cruise ships are now being brought into service in the Baltic.” The facilities and logistics at the Ostseekai Terminal and in the Ostuferhafen are already well equipped to cope with ships of 4,000 passengers and more.
The “MSC Fantasia” will undertake 21 trips from Kiel this season. She will therefore share with “AIDAvita” the title of most frequent visitor to the Kiel Fiord. The northern Europe cruises take the “MSC Fantasia” not only to the major cities of the Baltic (on the route Kiel-Copenhagen-Stockholm-Tallinn-St Petersburg-Kiel) but also along the Norwegian fiords (on the route Kiel-Copenhagen- Geiranger- Flam- Stavanger-Kiel). “Because of its geographical location, Kiel is particularly attractive as the starting point for so-called butterfly cruises”, commented Dirk Claus. “The combination of Baltic and Norwegian routes is a very interesting option”, he added. Kiel is at one and the same time a cruise turnaround port and a tourist destination. International cruise ship passengers can board in Copenhagen and enjoy day excursions ashore from Kiel into the surrounding region and to the Hanse city of Lübeck and the north German metropolis of Hamburg.
MSC cruise ships have already been visiting Kiel on a regular basis for twelve years. It all began on September 4th 2005 with “Rhapsody”. In 2006 Kiel was elevated to the rank of company base-port. Since then it has been an integral part of MSC route planning for northern Europe and has up to now been visited 332 times by nine different company cruise ships. Dirk Claus said: “MSC is the company which has so far visited Kiel the most times. We are linked by a long-term partnership of trust”. To date some 1.2 million passengers have boarded or disembarked from an MSC ship in Kiel and this year well over 100,000 more guests of MSC are likely to be added to that once again . “MSC Fantasia” will visit the Kieler Woche sailing regatta twice this year and can be seen on both June17th and again on June 24th in the Kiel Fiord at northern Europe’s biggest maritime folk festival and sailing event. When “MSC Fantasia” calls on September 2nd this year it will mark the 350th visit by an MSC cruise ship to Kiel.
The SEEHAFEN KIEL GmbH & Co. KG operates Kiel’s commercial port on as a public service on behalf of the Schleswig-Holstein state capital of Kiel. Kiel has three terminals for ferries and cruise ships at the Ostseekai, Norwegenkai and Schwedenkai – all very close to the city centre. In addition especially large cruise ships can also use Berth 1 in the Ostuferhafen. With 142 visits by 28 different cruise ships this year, Kiel remains one of the most popular of German cruise shipping ports. Among its most regular customers, apart from MSC, are the shipping companies AIDA, Costa and TUI Cruises as well as other well-known German and international brands. By the end of this year’s season an estimated half a million cruise ship guests are expected to have visited Kiel, in addition to the port’s 1.6 million ferry ship passengers.
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