The Kieler Woche sailing regatta – the biggest maritime folk festival and sail sport event in northern Europe – is a big draw for cruise ships as well as many other vessels. Between June 17-25 Kiel expects visits by a total of 15 different luxury liners.
Dr Dirk Claus, Managing Director of the PORT OF KIEL (SEEHAFEN KIEL GmbH & Co. KG) said, “The Kieler Woche – with its sailing competitions and cultural program and even as a marine meeting opportunity – has always been an international event. The cruise ships fit into this context very well and also provide their guests with a unique visitor experience”
On Wednesday, June 21, Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth and P&O’s Arcadia berthed side by side at the Ostseekai Cruise Terminal. The Queen Elizabeth arrived in the Kiel Fiord in the morning from St Petersburg, Russia, while the Arcadia arrived at the same time from Skagen in Denmark. Well over 3,000 English-speaking passengers used the occasion to see Kiel from its most beautiful side. Arcadia left for the Swedish capital Stockholm in the evening while the Queen Elizabeth also cast off in the evening for Southampton.
The port’s berths were well occupied as early as the first Saturday of the Kieler Woche when two ocean-going cruise ships and three river cruise ships arrived – along with the big ferry ships of the Color Line, DFDS and the Stena Line.
“The Kieler Woche is one of the biggest highlights of the cruise shipping season”, said Claus, “both as far as the number of ships and the passenger totals are concerned. During peak periods more than 15,000 travellers embark or disembark from ships at the port’s different terminal facilities.”
To date during this year’s Kieler Woche, visitors to the Kiel Fiord have included TUI Cruises’ latest addition Mein Schiff 6, as well as three ships from AIDA Cruises – the AIDAvita, the AIDAcara and the AIDAbella. On Friday, June 23, there will be an encounter in Kiel between two sister ships. Phoenix Seereisen’s Albatros and Fred. Olsen’s Cruise Line’s Black Watch will meet at the Ostseekai Terminal. On Saturday the port is expecting the MSC Fantasia and on Sunday, the closing day of the Kieler Woche, the fourth AIDA ship of the season – the AIDAluna – will arrive. As well as the big oceangoing cruise liners, four river cruise ships were visiting Kiel this year and all of them were spending several days in the port.
Overall 28 different cruise ships are this year scheduled to visit the port a total of 142 times. In close proximity to the City centre Kiel has three modern and high-capacity terminal facilities available for ferry and cruise ships. In addition cruise ships can exchange passengers at Berth 1 in the Ostuferhafen. This year, more than two million passengers are again expected to board or leave a ferry or cruise ship and about half a million of them will be cruise ship passengers. The total tonnage of cruise ships calling at Kiel will rise by a good 7 percent to more than 10 million GT for the first time. The shipping company with the most visits to Kiel this year is AIDA Cruises which is offering 50 trips from the port. It is followed by TUI Cruises with 26 calls by Mein Schiff 3 and Mein Schiff 6 and MSC with 21 visits by the MSC Fantasia. On no fewer than seven days during the season, three or sometimes even four cruise ships will berth in addition to the Baltic ferries and dominate the port scene.