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Denmark's Fåborg puts out the welcome mat for small ships

PHOTO: Fåborg Havn/Visit Fåborg
Deutschland docked at Fåborg on July 5
The Port of Fåborg on Fyn Island in southern Denmark is launching a cruise marketing campaign to attract small expedition and luxury ships. Phoenix Reisen's Deutschland called Thursday, and will return July 17, and next year on Aug. 3, while visits from other vessels are also scheduled.

Cannoneers, castle visit

Deutschland called during a 'Baltic Inspirations' itinerary that ended in Bremerhaven. Hundreds of well-wishers turned up to greet the ship as it docked in the centre of town at Østkajen. Fåborg Port and Visit Fåborg planned a special welcome. Danish cannoneers fired gun salutes, and Visit Fåborg representatives were on hand to welcome the passengers with information and tips about what to do. A guided tour visited Egeskov Castle, Europe's best-preserved Renaissance water castle, 20 kilometres away.

Fåborg Port and Visit Fåborg hope Deutschland's call marks the start of a thriving cruise business for the port located in one of the most picturesque parts of Denmark. Fåborg received sporadic cruise calls in the past, including Deutschland in 2012. Then visits dried up, but that is changing. Besides Deutschland, other scheduled ships include Plantours' Hamburg on May 12, 2019. Mads Rye Sletbjerg, Fåborg's tourist manager, hopes this will inspire other operators to add the town to their Baltic itineraries.

Proximity to German hub ports and Kiel Canal

Fåborg Port and Visit Fåborg have started cruise industry marketing. Due to the short distance to Germany's cruise hubs and the Kiel Canal, Fåborg can easily be scheduled on the day before or after a turnaround in Germany. For ships turning around in the UK, Fåborg suits as the first port after one day at sea.

Fåborg aims to attract premium and luxuy ships, and offers special welcomes. For both Deutschland calls this year, attractions include an arts and crafts fair in the pedestrian area, special offers in local shops, complimentary guided tours of the town and a jazz concert. To attract local people and encourage mingling with cruise passengers, complimentary breakfast is served on Fåborg's main market square. Three banks are sponsoring parts of this welcome programme.

Fåborg's new cruise trade approach resembles Wismar, Germany's latest cruise destination, which has grown from sporadic ship visits in 2013/14 up to 14 calls with some 8,000 passengers this year. Like Fåborg, Wismar offers operators of smaller, upmarket vessels an individualised welcome. Next year, Wismar will handle its first turnaround call—something that Fåborg could eventually achieve, but only for smaller ships.

Nearby: Hans Christian Andersen's birthplace

Attractions in Fåborg and Southern Fyn include the picturesque town centre itself with numerous historic buildings, a highly varied cultural life, museums and nearby Egeskov Castle. This castle is surrounded by a park with spectacular gardens and exhibits about vintage automobile, vintage motorcycles, the history of agriculture, aircraft and emergency vehicles. Numerous events take place at Egeskov during the summer, including a day dedicated to emergency vehicles every August, featuring demonstrations by fire and rescue units. Another attraction is Odense, the hometown of fairytale writer Hans Christian Andersen, only an hour away.

Fåborg has an ISPS-secured quay able to receive cruise ships up to 180 metres. The maximum water depth is seven metres. Other ships can anchor a short distance from the port. Although this could accommodate larger vessels, the destination and its tourism infrastructure are best suited to ships up to around 500 passengers.