The port has been steadily growing its cruise business since starting promoting the region to the market in 2008. This year, 22 ships are calling bringing 13,445 passengers and 23 ships are expected in 2015.
Fred Olsen’s Boudicca was the first visitor of this season in March and will be the last caller on November 21. The port is currently attracting smaller to mid-size ships at the main 379mtr long berth and can take cruise ships at a second 205mtr long berth normally used for Hurtigruten visits.
Largest vessel to call to date is 294mtr long Norwegian Jade.
Being Norway’s mid-centre point for the offshore oil and gas industries the natural harbour has plentiful services to offer visiting ships, including food provisions, bunkers, fresh water and garbage handling facilities.
Later this week Saga Sapphire is calling on Friday on a themed Opera cruise with special performances being held in the city’s Opera House, rebuilt in 1942 on the site of the original building dating back to 1914.
Top attraction for passengers calling Kristiansund is the Atlantic Road, a unique stretch of road connecting several small isolated islands and running 8.2km, packed with spectacular coastal scenery, culture and history. A new coastal pathway built alongside part of the road enables visitors to walk close to the ocean’s edge on a flat, wheelchair-friendly base. This tour is often offered in conjunction with Haholmen island or Kvernes Stave Church or Bergatt marble caves.
The cruise line group stayed in Haholmen island overnight (arriving on a replica Viking ship) in a small rustic hotel and enjoyed local cuisine of whale meat and klipfish, before spending the day visiting the town’s Klipfish Museum, housed in the original 18th century factory showing the development of the industry up to the post World War 2 period.
A new shorex offering is a visit to Kvalvik sheep farm, with chance to see how the owners manage daily life on the farm and visit to the craft and coffee shop. It is possible to combine this with a visit to the nearby Kvalvik Fortress, one of the best preserved forts in Norway, built by the Germans in WW2 and housing artillery and vehicles from the era.
‘We have nature all around Kristiansund and plenty of water-related activities but these two new tours, plus themed cruises centred around the town’s annual Opera Festival in February and International Photography Festival in May, are unique attractions to the city which we hope will attract more cruise ships,’ says Synnove Henden, project manager cruise marketing for Kristiansund & Nordmore region.