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Kiel closes record season with an extra, unexpected call

PHOTO: Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines
Braemar, seen here during an earlier call at St John's, made an unscheduled stop in Kiel on Tuesday
Two days after the official close of its 2018 cruise season, Germany's Port of Kiel received an unexpected extra call as Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines' Braemar docked at the Ostseekai terminal early Tuesday.

The ship, sailing on a nine-night cruise to various German destinations, was rerouted to Kiel at short notice following the cancellation of a planned overnight stop at Bremen due to gale force wind warnings. Braemar, which arrived en route from Travemünde, is expected to remain berthed at Kiel until Thursday morning. After that, the ship will proceed through the Kiel Canal, bound for Southampton where turnaround is to take place.

16.4% more passengers

Braemer's call adds to a record-breaking season at Kiel. The official season ended Sunday with 166 calls of 33 ships carrying close to 600,000 passengers, a 16.4% increase in passenger count.

In 2019, Kiel expects a further increase and continued growth in ship sizes, with the arrival of 171,600gt MSC Meraviglia, among others. Also, AIDAprima is due to be supplied with LNG, to power hotel needs, during her time at berth. This will be the first time a passenger ship uses LNG at Kiel.

The port is currently upgrading its facilities at Ostseekai with a second terminal building, a €9m investment. Once this facility becomes operational next year, the construction of a cold ironing installation will follow.

Continued growth is projected

Commenting on these investments, port MD Dirk Claus forecast Kiel will remain on a growth track with regard to cruise tourism. 'Cruises in Northern Europe are in much demand and attract top passenger numbers,' he said.

The 2019 cruise season is scheduled to start with a call by Viking Sky on March 31. The port plans to post a full season roster by the end of 2018.