In 2009 Kristiansand received 15 calls which has risen to 53 this year and 74 next. This year Royal Caribbean International’s Brilliance of the Seas will call for the first time and next year the company will bring three different vessels to the Norwegian port.
Iberocruceros is also calling for the first time in 2012 with regular calls on a Friday throughout the season. “We are working on adapting to the Spanish cruise guest by translating information into Spanish, educating more guides in the language etc,” explains Belinda Thorkildsen Sousa, managing director of Cruise Sorlandet, the regional cruise network for southern Norway.
Since last year the network has been actively marketing Kristiansand, succeeding in confirming the first winter cruise with Saga Shipping this year and another Spanish cruise brand to call in 2013.
Thomas Granfeldt, general manager Port of Kristiansand, believes that the increase is also due to competitive pricing and its location close to Europe.
The port can handle two large ships at a time comfortably but next year is catering to three on one day. The several piers can cater to all cruise call needs from bunker supply to rest rooms but there is no terminal building. Granfeldt says tents can be erected if necessary.
While up until now all the vessels have come alongside, there is anchorage and tendering available should it be required. Cruiselines are free to use their own tenders.
Granfeldt says: “We will definitely be building more space and new facilities in the future. We believe there will be 100 calls in the not too distant future.” He adds: “I really, really think that a company like AIDA could work a port like Kristiansand into their itineraries as, in my opinion, it suits AIDA perfectly.”