Cruise Season 2023
(Kiel, 6th November 2023) With the call of the AIDAnova, the PORT OF KIEL ends this year's cruise season on Saturday. A total of 215 ship calls from 26 shipping companies have been counted in Kiel since April. With 1,174,000 cruise passengers for 2023, the seaport has recorded its busiest season ever. With five winter calls in December and four cruise ships expected at the beginning of 2024, the cruise business in Kiel is also becoming increasingly important in the winter months.
"We are closing the 2023 season with a good result. The development in the tourism industry shows a clear trend towards the cruise sector, which was also evident in Kiel this season," says Dirk Claus, Managing Director of SEEHAFEN KIEL GmbH & Co. KG. In addition to the number of calls, however, the port is primarily occupied with the issue of sustainability in the cruise business. "For us, the main issue is to make maritime tourism more environmentally friendly on the port side. Shore power was the dominant topic for us and will continue to be so in the coming season," Claus emphasises. The port of Kiel has a positive outlook for the 2024 season: A busy season at the same level as the 2019 cruise season is expected, with many well-known vessels but also some new shipping companies.
Rising shore power figures
PORT OF KIEL has been focusing strongly on supplying shore-side electricity to cruise ships for years. In addition to the daily supply of power to ferries bound for Norway and Sweden, the port began successively supplying shore power to cruise ships in 2021. This year, the Kiel shore power facilities were used by around 50 cruise calls for integration tests or for regular supply. The port is thus behind its own expectations for the season. Reasons for this include a failure due to a technical defect in the shore power truck and delays in the integration processes of individual ships. The port, which is considered a shore power pioneer in Europe, nevertheless draws a positive conclusion.
"We have learned a lot in the past months and have created a good starting position for the coming season. We expect to supply a total of 100 calls with shore power in the 2024 season. On the one hand, many of the ships that will call at Kiel are capable of using shore power and have completed all the necessary tests with us; on the other hand, we can now offer shore power at all cruise terminals," says Claus.
Only in September did the PORT OF KIEL open another shore power facility for cruise ships at the Ostuferhafen, which also connects the port of Kiel's longest cruise berth to the shore power infrastructure. Together with the supply capacity at the Ostseekai, the port can now provide two cruise ships with shore power in parallel. This season, the port operator was one of the first ports in Germany to allow cruise ships to be refuelled with alternative fuels. In May, for example, a cruise ship was supplied in Kiel with liquid natural gas for the first time in a German port. Since June, the two largest cruise ships, the AIDAnova and MSC Euribia, have regularly bunkered LNG in the port of Kiel. The PORT OF KIEL had already created the legal framework for this in 2022 in cooperation with Lloyd Register.
Kiel as cruise destination
Only last year Kiel recorded the season with the highest number of cruise calls in its history. PORT OF KIEL has been a popular turnaround port for passengers from German-speaking countries and Central Europe for many years. In addition to the major European cruise lines, the state capital is also popular as a transit destination for North American shipping companies.
This year, in addition to ships from long-standing international shipping company customers, the Disney Dream was the first vessel from Disney Cruise Line to be welcomed in Kiel. Kiel is also an attractive home port for new flagships of the cruise lines. For example, the MSC Euribia, which was only christened in May this year and is considered one of the most energy-efficient and environmentally friendly cruise ships in the industry, started its first season from Kiel and is also expected in the state capital in the 2024/2025 season. The central geographical location on the Baltic Sea, the attractive excursion destinations, the good accessibility of the city centre terminals and the modern infrastructure as well as the holistic environmental strategy of the port of Kiel have contributed to the good positioning of the cruise port. ###