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Scandinavians in party mood at Seatrade Cruise Global

L-R: Lotta Andersson Stockholm Visitors Board, Claus Bodker Cruise Baltic and Sandra Diane Bratland Cruise Norway host a Scandinavian evening in Fort Lauderdale
Over 160 cruise ports and destinations from Scandinavia invited cruise lines and media to join their first joint reception hosted by Cruise Baltic, Cruise Norway and Stockholm Visitors Board held Sunday evening in Fort Lauderdale on the eve of Seatrade Cruise Global.

Ahead of the party, Cruise Baltic announced its figures for 2015 which saw 4,297,841 passengers visiting the Baltic Sea region, representing a 0.5% increase over 2014 culminating in an average annual rate of grwoth of 9.7% from 1.1m in 2000.

Of the most visited ports in 2015, Stockholm saw the highest growth rate of 12.8% with 530,229 passengers, and Tallinn with a 4.5% increase to record around half a million cruise visitors. Copenhagen, the top port for passengers saw an 8.4% decrease compared to 2014 whilst Rostock and St Petersburg also recorded declining numbers.

Looking ahead to this year, passengers are expected to rise by 2% with an increase of 84,297 compared to 2015 and the number of turnarounds is set to rise 11% from 407 in 20156 to an estimated 452 in 2016.

'I believe 2016 will prove to be a positive year for the Baltic Sea destinations  - Rostock is expecting its highest number ever of cruise guests (510,000) and Aarhus will jump from 29,000 passengers in 2015 to almost 80,000 in 2016,' said Claus Bodker, director Cruise Baltic.

Henrik Ahlqvist, manager cruise & ferry Ports of Stockholm revealed a large increase in calls, turnarounds and overnights in 2017. 257 calls, of which 237 in Stockholm and 20 in Nynasham, are scheduled in the Swedish capital next year as 655,000 passengers are set to visit. To meet rising demand for berths in Stockholm, a SeaWalk is being installed at Nynasham this year with Royal Princess' call on May 10 due to be the first ship to use the floating facility to disembark/embark passengers.

Hot off the press, Norwegian ports are expecting a 2.2% rise in calls this year with 1,777 ship visits due to bring 2.77m day visitors to the 40 ports along the Norwegian coast, informed Sandra Diana Bratland, md of Cruise Norway.