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Kiel reflects on busy season

Kiel reflects on busy season
This year’s cruise season in Kiel closes on Saturday evening when AIDAcara sets sail for the Canary Islands.

Some passengers embarking or disembarking AIDAcara may encounter difficulty if  travelling by train as the German Train Drivers' Trade Union, GdL, has called for a nationwide rail strike this weekend which would see the majority of trains cancelled.

The walkout comes at a critical time, as fall break either starts or ends in many federal states this weekend. Traditionally, a significant share of German passengers travel to their turnaround port by train. In case of Kiel, the close proximity between rail station and cruise terminals is an important selling point.

Despite the possible disruption to the final call of this year, Dr Dirk Claus, managing director of the Port of Kiel said, ‘we can look back on a season full of highlights and one which has also been marked by the inauguration of our fifth cruise berth (Berth 1).’

25 ships called at Kiel a total of 127 times this year, compared to 128 calls in 2013.

Utilising the terminal facilities to embark or disembark were 354,000 cruise ship passengers.

The most frequent lines were AIDA, Costa, MSC and TUI Cruises, which called at Kiel 75 times.

Highlights included the introduction of TUI Cruises’ newbuilding Mein Schiff 3 and the first call by Hapag Lloyd Cruises’ Europa 2.  During the Kieler Woche sailing regatta the port welcomed 16 cruise ships.

In the coming year 17 calls are already planned for Berth 1 said Claus. Even if the overall number of calls in 2015 remains the same as this year, which appears likely, the average size of visiting ships is clearly rising, he remarked.

The total tonnage of cruise ships calling at Kiel in 2015 will increase to more than 8.1m gt. That’s a rise of 14%. For the first time Kiel will welcome two ships from AIDA Cruises - AIDAcara and AIDAluna - for regular passenger exchange.

Highlight of the coming season will be the naming of Mein Schiff 4 at the Ostseekai on June 5, 2015.  In addition, Cunard Line’s Queen Elizabeth will visit the Kiel Fiord for the first time - calling twice in the coming season.

From an operational point of view, there will be four days when four cruise ships will be berthed at Kiel terminals as well as regular ferries of Color Line, Stena Line and DFDS Seaways.

Next season opens on April 4 when AIDAcara arrives back in Kiel.