Good opportunities for local port cities are up for grabs as a cruise shipping boom sweeps the Baltic. Both Rostock and Kiel are already profiting from it. Between them they are expecting 1.3 million cruise ship visitors during this year’s season – an increase of 12.5% over last year.

The managing directors of Germany’s two leading Baltic passenger ports, Rostock and Kiel, addressed the issue during a news conference at the ITB, the world’s leading travel trade fair in Berlin. The Managing director of the Port of Rostock (Rostock Port GmbH) Jens A. Scharner and Dr Dirk Claus, Managing Director of the PORT OF KIEL (SEEHAFEN KIEL GmbH & Co. KG) spoke about the trend to sea travel in northern Europe and about new developments in the two Baltic ports.

Baltic cruise boom boosts chances for port cities; Rostock and Kiel expect 1.3 million cruise passengers
Caption: Cruise ship at the Ostseekai Kiel terminal - Image courtesy of Tom Koerber

Dirk Claus said: “Interest in Baltic cruises continues to rise on both the international and national markets. There are now well over two million German cruise shipping passengers and almost one in four of them books a northern Europe trip.” This is reflected in the number of cruise ship visits to Rostock and Kiel which has risen again this year and now stands at a total of 371. Jens A. Scharner said: “The Baltic region has many attractive tourist destinations to offer, and they are all right on the doorstep for a growing German source market. Kiel and Rostock are also ideally located as cruise starting ports and are, at the same time, attractive places from which international passengers can go on land excursions during running cruises.”

Baltic ports are investing in the development of their terminal facilities and can offer both passengers and shipping companies first-class infrastructures and the best possible service. In Rostock work will start in October on construction of a new handling building at Berth P8. It is planned to complete that facility in April 2020. At the same time the railway station in Warnemünde is being rebuilt and made barrier-free for travellers. In Kiel a second passenger handling terminal is being built at the Ostseekai on a site of 3,700 m2 between August this year and the start of the 2019 cruise shipping season.

Dirk Claus said: “We are taking into account the trend towards bigger ships carrying ever more passengers”. In the course of this development, the economic significance of sea tourism in the port cities is also continuing to rise. Jens A. Scharner said: “Cruise ship guests bring international flair to our cities and contribute, along with the shipping companies concerned, to an average added value of € 330,000 per visit.” In addition sea tourism secures jobs – in ports and in the retail trade and hotel sectors as well as at ship supply companies. Another increasingly important aspect of sea tourism is the environment. “The Baltic has the highest environmental standards of any of the world’s ship operating regions”, commented Dirk Claus. “Improved fuels or waste emission control systems are obligatory here. In 2019 we will welcome the first cruise ship to operate on LNG during the time it is in port. In addition, Rostock and Kiel are playing a leading role in the shore-based treatment of waste water from ships.”

Caption: Port of Kiel - Image courtesy of Tom Koerber

2018 Cruise Shipping Season in Rostock-Warnemünde (see also CruiseMapper)

The 2018 cruise shipping season on the Warnow River begins on April 8th with the arrival of Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ “Boudicca”. This year a total 205 visits by 43 different cruise ships are expected. Some 700,000 cruise ship passengers – an increase of 9% over last year – will board or disembark, 300,000 of them transit passengers. On the 2018 timetable are 39 visits by very big passenger ships which are more than 300 m long. The biggest ship of the season will be the 145,655 GT “Norwegian Breakaway” belonging to the American shipping company NCL. The most frequent visitors will be the “AIDAdiva” and the “AIDAmar” owned by the Rostock shipping company AIDA Cruises which plans 43 trips starting in Rostock. Nine cruise ships will make their first visits to the Warnow Estuary during 2018.

Along with 53 visits to exchange passengers, Rostock will also register 57 partial turnabouts and 95 visits which are part of running cruises. The cruise shipping highlight of the year 2018 will be the Rostock Cruise Festival from September 14th -16th, which six cruise ships will take part in. The season ends shortly before Christmas with three calls by Phoenix Seereisen’s “Albatros”.

2018 Cruise Shipping Season in Kiel (see also CruiseMapper)

About 600,000 cruise ship passengers – 17% more than last year – are expected in the port of Kiel in 2018. The season starts on April 6th and lasts until the end of October.  A total of 166 calls by 32 different cruise ships have been registered. The total tonnage of all the ships involved will pass the11 million GT mark for the first time. The most frequent visitors will be the ships of the AIDA/Costa, TUI Cruises and MSC shipping companies, which will together account for two-thirds of all the ship visits. The biggest ship of the season will be the “MSC Preziosa” of 139,000 GT, which will make its maiden visit to the Ostseekai Cruise Terminal on April 28th. The highlights of the season are the presentation of TUI Cruises’ latest newbuilding - the new “Mein Schiff 1” - as well as seven further maiden visits by ships including Cunard’s “Queen Victoria”. The numerical highlight of the year will come on August 11th when five cruise ships will be in the port at the same time.

Although Kiel is predominantly a start and end port for cruises, it also expects 23 visits this year by ships on running cruises, whose international passengers will visit Kiel and the surrounding region as well Hamburg and Lübeck. One particular draw is the Kieler Woche sailing regatta, which will take place June 16th-24th. Twelve ocean-going and three inland river cruise ships will be in port to attend that event.

Source: Port of Kiel