In 2022 Port Karlskrona (Sweden) welcomed 37 cruise ship calls - an increase of 400+ percent on its previous 5 to 10 calls annually - and is on track for 25 in 2023 with repeat bookings coming in for 2024 & 2025.
Malin Hagberg-Andersson, guide & cruise coordinator Cruise Destination Karlskrona, said that in the early part of the year, they had ~40 requests. A lot of the calls were from companies like AIDA, Silversea, Hebridean, and Viking.
“The cruise lines were forced to change routes [because of the terrible Russian invasion of Ukraine and hence St Petersburg being taken off itineraries]. For us it has been an opportunity to show that we are worth not just one visit every 10 years but every year.”
Karlskrona benefited from Sweden being one of the countries that remained open for cruise vacations during the pandemic. This also had the benefit of preparing the port for the increase in call/passenger numbers.
Karlskrona is built of 33 islands with the central one being just 1 km across hence it is only a 5 to 10 minutes walk to any one of the 30 attractions, such as the Naval Museum (a sister to Stockholm's Vasa Museum).
The region is also popular as the Garden of Sweden which means a variety of shore excursions spanning the historical/cultural to the natural.
Image: Port of Karlskrona (Sweden)
Prior to the COVID crisis, ~50% of the cruisers were American, 40% British, 10% German but now the split is 25%, 25%, 50%, respectively.
The largest ship to call in 2022 was MSC Poesia.