Port Kiel (Kieler Hafen) is located in northern Germany, on the Baltic Sea’s inlet and at the eastern end of Kiel Canal. This port city is also Schleswig-Holstein state's capital (population around 235,000) located approx 90 km (56 ml) north of Hamburg (Germany's largest cargo port). Due to its geographic location, Kieler Hafen is currently one of the major passenger (cruise-ferry) and cargo ports in Germany. It is also known for the annually held Kiel Week ("Kieler Woche") - world's biggest sailing regatta.
Port Kiel is also a German Navy base (since 1838) and has a shipyard for submarines. Port's cruise schedule has listed mainly homeported vessels of the German brands AIDA,TUI, Fred Olsen. Among the largest cruise companies operating through the seaport are Holland America, MSC, Costa, P&O UK, Pullmantur, Ponant, Viking Ocean, Saga. Traditionally, ships visiting Port Kiel for the first time (making "maiden port call") are met and accompanied by a tugboat (performing a water fountain display) and a commemorative plaque is given to the Captain.
Port's ever first cruise ship was Frederico C (1958-built for Costa Cruises, sunk in 2000 as "SeaBreeze" / owned by Premier Cruises). The liner (with 1724 passengers) docked at Bollhornkai Terminal in 1976. Kieler Hafen's cruising business with MSC started in 2005 with the visit of the 1997-built MSC Rhapsody (now Golden Iris). Turnaround/homeporting MSC cruise operations started in 2006. In 2019, here was homeported one of world's largest liners - Meraviglia - for a total of 22 roundtrips. MSC liners dock at Ostuferhafen Terminal's Berth 1.
Port's cruising season runs from early-April through late-October. For FY2017 (fiscal year), the seaport reported a record-year with handled over 7,4 million tons of cargoes and 2,1 million passengers (ferry and cruise). Kiel’s main passenger shipping business are the regularly scheduled ferries to Sweden, Norway and Russia, while summer is the "cruising season".
In 2013, the cruise port handled 128 ship calls (by 22 different cruise lines) and over 363,000 passengers. In 2014 were handled 127 ship calls (by 25 different lines).
On June 4, 2014, at OSTSEEKAI berthed the TUI ship Mein Schiff 3 visiting Kiel as port of call on its maiden voyage. On June 5, 2015, at Berth 1 (Ostuferhafen Terminal) was held the christening ceremony of the TUI ship Mein Schiff 4. On July 10, 2015, at OSTSEEKAI (Berth 1) docked the Kiel's largest cruise liner ever visiting the port - Regal Princess. During season 2015, the port handled a total of 133 cruise ship calls.
On July 15, 2016, the newest TUI ship Mein Schiff 5 sailed on a Cruise to Nowhere from Kiel. The 1-night itinerary had no other ports of call. The ship left at 3 pm (July 15) and returned back to port at 7 am (on July 16). In 2016, the port handled a total of 485,200 cruise passengers (5,8% increase over 2015) with a total of 147 ship calls by 26 different vessels (10,5% increase over 2015). AIDA, TUI, MSC, HAL and Costa accounted for over 100 visits.
In 2017 (April 9 through October 21), the port handled a total of 143 cruise ship calls by 29 different vessels (2,7 % decrease over 2016) and over 0,5 million passengers (513,500, or 5,8% increase). The record-breaking year was marked by the two largest German cruise companies - AIDA and TUI - both homeporting in Kiel, respectively, 4 and 3 vessels. Among the other major companies visiting the port were MSC, Costa and Holland America (combined over 100 ship calls). There were 11 days when here berthed 3-4 liners at a time. Season's highlight was Kieler Woche (sailing regatta) opening on June 18. During the event, here berthed 5 ocean ships and 2 riverboats, in addition to the regularly scheduled Ro-Ro ferries.
Season 2017's largest cruise liner was MSC Fantasia (2008-launched, 138,000 GT tons, max capacity 3930 passengers plus 1370 crew). This ship alone was homeported for a total of 21 Baltic Sea roundtrips from here. Nearly 2/3 of all homeported ships were operated by AIDA, TUI, Costa and MSC.
Season 2018 started on April 6 with Boudicca (Fred Olsen) and ended on October 28 with AIDAbella. This was port's longest cruise shipping season, with total 169 calls (by 34 different cruise ships, combined GT tonnage over 11,5 million tons / 15,3% increase over 2017) and nearly 600,000 passengers (16,5% increase). Most homeports (turnarounds/roundtrips) in 2018 were booked by AIDA (63 calls with 5 liners), Costa, MSC and TUI. Season's largest vessel was MSC Preziosa (GT 139,000 tons, maiden call on April 28 at OSTSEEKAI). Highlights in port's 2018 schedule were TUI's newest ship Mein Schiff 1 (April 27) and the maiden calls of 7 liners, including Cunard Line’s Queen Victoria (July 17). Among port's new customers were Viking Ocean and Pullmantur.
On April 26, 2018, officials from Schleswig-Holstein, Kiel's Mayor, Seehafen Kiel, Costa Group and Carnival Asia (subsidiaries of Carnival Corporation) met onboard AIDAluna. During the meeting was signed an agreement for joint promotion of sustainable eco-friendly cruise shipping in Port Kiel. By this agreement, SEEHAFEN KIEL started (on Oct 26) to build shoreside powerplant (at Norwegenkai Terminal), while AIDA ships use LNG fuel (when berthed) and got upgraded with EGCSA (scrubbers). By the agreement, AIDA upgraded AIDAbella and AIDAluna with shoreside power capabilities. Port's total investment in this project was EUR 1,3 million (including EUR 400,000 Schleswig-Holstein state-funded), with contractor Siemens AG. Norwegenkai's shorepower plant has max output 4,5 MW (frequency 50 Hz). The facility was officially inaugurated on May 9, 2019.
The first ships served at Norwegenkai were COLOR LINE's cruiseferries Color Fantasy and Color Magic. Both ferries (sisterships) are deployed the Oslo-Kiel route with daily crossings - arriving at 10 am and departing at 2 pm. Both vessels' annual power requirement while in port is ~4 million kW hours.
In 2018, 14 ship calls were during Kieler Woche (June 16-24), including 2 by riverboats. There were also 12 days with 3+ ocean-going vessels docked. On August 11, 5 liners were berthed at the same time. On May 4, 2018, Pullmantur Cruises made company's maiden port call with Zenith (berthed at OSTSEEKAI Terminal). The ship was on 8-day repositioning cruise (April 27 - May 5) from Lisbon to Warnemunde.
In late-summer 2018 started construction works on a second (new, EUR 30 million) OSTSEEKAI Terminal (read more in port's "Terminal" section). The building (Ostseekai 28) was inaugurated on August 3, 2020.
For 2019, the port had booked 179 cruise ship calls by 33 different vessels, with expected ~620,000 cruise passengers plus ~1,6 million ferry passengers. AIDA and TUI homeport here 4 ships each. 2019's largest liner is MSC Meraviglia (2017-built, 171,600 tons, 5700 passengers). Port's cruising season started on January 1 (Crystal Ravel riverboat) and March 31 (Viking Sky ocean liner) and ended on October 12 (AIDAprima liner) and December 30 (Crystal Debussy riverboat). For maiden visits were booked MS Nieuw Statendam (2018-built, Holland America) and AIDAprima (2016-built). Season 2019 ended with 174 ship calls (32 vessels) and ~800,000 cruise tourists handled. The visiting tourists (crew, cruisers, ferry passengers) generated EUR 75+ million in ashore spending.
In FY2018 (fiscal year), Port Kiel cruise and ferry passengers (and crews) generated turnover around EUR 68 million, with passenger spending over EUR 53 million (ferry) and over EUR 15 million (cruise). Of those, EUR 10 million were spent on hotels in Schleswig-Holstein (pre- or post-cruise). In 2018, the cruise port handled 169 ship calls (compared to 143 in 2017) by 34 different vessels with total GT over 11,5 million tons (15,3% increase over 2017). The number of handled cruise passengers was nearly 598,000 (16,5% increase).
In February 2020, Port Kiel commissioned Siemens AG to build (currently) Germany’s largest shorepower-generating system (output 16 MVA / megavolt amperes). The Siemens system (scheduled completion within season 2020) consists of a substation (with 4x Geafol transformers), 4x Nxair switch-gears and 1x frequency converter (Siplink) with software-controlled, two-berth supply. Siplink synchronizes both networks (city grid's 50 Hz with the vessel’s 60 Hz network) and also coordinates both ships to be supplied with electricity simultaneously.
Port statistics 2018
In 2018, Port Kiel handled over 2,2 million passengers (4,2% increase over 2017) and over 7 million tons of cargo (3,5% decrease / 7,15 million tons in 2017). Ferries account for ~80% of port's overall transhipment. The traffic to Norway increased 2,3%). Bulk cargo dropped 2%. Since its inauguration (2016-2018) at SCA Terminal (operated by Svenska Cellulosa AB / Swedish timber-pulp-paper manufacturer) were handled over 1,5 million tons of products. Nearly 29,000 trailers and TEUs (containers) were loaded onto trains in the seaport.
Port's total passenger traffic in 2018 (2,2 million) included over 1,5 million ferry passengers, who generated a turnover EUR 50+ million. For the first time, port's total cruiseship tonnage passed 11 million GT. International cruise tourists arriving in Kiel often pre-book daily excursions throughout Schleswig-Holstein, also to Lubeck and Hamburg. In 2018, the cruise port handled 169 ship calls by 34 different vessels (total GT over 11,5 million / 15,3% increase over 2017). Nearly 600,000 cruisers embarked or debarked here (16.5% increase).
Since January 2019, Norwegenkai Terminal is integrated into port's Hamburg-Billwerder daily train shuttle service operated year-round (Mondays through Fridays). Arriving rail freight units are transhipped to Norway on the same day via Color Carrier (COLOR LINE-owned, ice-classed freight ferry with capacity 1775 lanemeters). Two of Norwegenkai's berths have hydraulic Ro-Ro ramps.
For 2019 were planned an upgrade of the shunting station and building a 3rd rail track at Schwedenkai. Port's current projects (budgeted EUR 30 million) are for facility expansions and environmental protection. Ostuferhafen's apron was redesigned to optimize logistics and its parking space (for wheeled cargo and cars) was expanded. Construction of the first shorepower plant (serving COLOR LINE ships) was completed. Shoreside power plants were installed at the terminals Ostseekai (EUR 13 million) and Schwedenkai (EUR 9 million).
BLUE PORT KIEL
"BLUE PORT KIEL" is an ongoing development project that outlines in-port strategies and initiatives to make the used energy resources more efficient, to reduce emissions and replace the hinterland transport with railways.
Since 2010 only vessels using low-sulphur fuel and vessels with installed scrubbers are allowed to dock. For many years, Kiel's seaport uses electricity from sustainable/regenerative sources. All terminal facilities are energy efficient and with LED lighting. At Ostuferhafen, solar panels were mounted on warehouses' roofs and on passenger terminals. Of all the port's vehicle fleet, 15% are fully-electric.
In 2017, at OSTSEEKAI was inaugurated Europe’s most advanced wastewater processing plant. LNG bunkering operations are planned to start in spring 2019, when the LNG-powered AIDAprima was homeported here.
To increase railways’ traffic share in the rail-ship intermodal split, the seaport planned significant investments in infrastructures. Both railyards at Kiel-Meimersdorf were upgraded (2018-2019) to handle cargoes from trains with max length 750 m (previously 550 m). An additional 3rd track was laid along Railway Quay to increase Schwedenkai Terminal's capacity.
Cruise itineraries to and from Kiel Germany
Follows a list of destinations visited by cruise ships leaving out of Kiel:
- Roundtrip Baltic cruise itineraries leaving from Kiel visit Norway (7-night Norwegian Fjords) or Scandinavia and Russia (with overnight stays in St Petersburg). Most round-trips are to Norway (7-days in length) operated during summer.
- Longer westbound roundtrip itineraries visit Norway combined with UK-Scotland and Iceland.
- Longer Norway Fjords itineraries visit Spitsbergen Island (with up to 2 overnights in Longyearbyen), also Honningsvag and Tromso.
- Scandinavia and Russia ("Baltic Capitals") itineraries visit Sweden (Stockholm), Finland (Helsinki, Estonia (Tallinn), Latvia (Riga), Lithuania (Klaipeda), Poland (Gdynia), Russia (St Petersburg /overnight stay).
- "British Isles" itineraries (around Britain) visit both island destinations and UK mainland ports in Scotland, Ireland, Wales and England.
- Short-break (mini cruises) leaving round-trip from Kiel are offered mainly by AIDA (4-nights) and visit Norway (Oslo or Goteborg / with overnight stays) and Denmark (Copenhagen). There are also 2-night / 3-day long round-trips to Copenhagen alone.
- Transatlantic crossings on repositioning cruises from Kiel to USA and Canada-New England are one-way itineraries offered at the end of the season (late August - early September). Westbound ship relocation routes often include stops in Iceland, Greenland and UK ports, and usually end in NYC New York.
- Relocation cruises to the Mediterranean leaving from Kiel are offered mostly by Costa and MSC ships repositioning to their home-ports in Italy (Savona, Genoa, Civitavecchia-Rome, Venice).
Kiel cruise terminal
Kiel is a homeport/turnaround cruise port in Northern Europe and among the most visited ports of call along itineraries to Norway Fjords, Scandinavia and Russia (Baltic Sea). Kiel port has 4 cruise ship terminals named OSTSEEKAI, Ostuferhafen (Berth 1), Norwegenkai and Schwedenkai. The main one (accommodating the largest liners) is OSTSEEKAI.
Kiel-Ostseekai cruise terminal
- location (GPS coordinates) - latitude=54.325058, longitude 10.1456526
Port's main cruise ship terminal Osteekai (Eastern Quay, fka Oslo-Kai) handles over 200,000 passengers per year. The terminal has 2 piers (max capacity 3000 passengers each / 6000 pax combined). The berths are 360 m (1180 ft) and 285 m (935 ft) in length, and with draft / water depth 10 m (33 ft). Since 2019, Ostseekai Terminal has 2 buildings (1 per berth). Each building is on 2 levels and fitted with movable gangways (passenger bridges) connecting it directly to the vessel.
At OSTSEEKAI regularly dock large-sized liners from the fleets of AIDA, Costa, MSC, TUI. An advantage is terminal's convenient location in Kiel Fjord, which offers direct access to Kiel Canal and Baltic Sea. On weekends, the buildings are also used as special event venues.
A train station is located at ~5 min walking distance from the terminal. Nearby car parks are named Ostseekai-North, Parkhaus Altstadt (10-min walk), Fordeparkhaus (12-min walk) and at Kiel Airport (bus shuttle, 15-min drive time).
In 2018 started construction works on the second terminal building (Ostseekai 28, project cost EUR 9 million). The new 2-storey building is sized 3700 m2 (39800 ft2), designed by Eins zu Eins Architekten AG (Hamburg) and completed in 2019-Q1. The new terminal was integrated with the existing building via connections on both levels. New building's frontage picks up on existing surroundings, featuring huge glass surfaces, combined (for both terminals) V-shaped reception area, large outdoor terrace (accessed via outside staircase).
Kiel-Ostuferhafen cruise terminal
Ostuferhafen is mainly a cargo port. A new cruise terminal facility ("Berth 1") was opened on June 2, 2014, and Costa Pacifica was the first ship to dock there. At Berth 1 can dock world's largest passenger liners LOA length up to 400 m / 1300 ft). Terminal's water depth is 11,5 m (38 ft). The building has length 110 m (360 ft). The reconstruction project (Berth 1 is a converted warehouse) cost around EUR 4,5 million. In 2015, Berth 1 received 18 ship calls.
- location (GPS coordinates) - latitude=54.3338777, longitude 10.1749116
Ostuferhafen has 11 berths, Ro-Ro equipment, a crane (lifting capacity 45 tons), storage areas, warehouses, silos, service buildings, waste management facilities. The ferry traffic is mainly to Russia and Scandinavian countries. The car parking space is at 2-min walking distance from the terminal and there is bus shuttle available.
Next YouTube video shows KIEL FERRY TERMINAL (OSTUFERHAFEN).
Kiel-Norwegenkai ferry and cruise ship terminal
- location (GPS coordinates) - latitude=54.31631, longitude 10.13923
- (statistics) In 2011, Norwegenkai handled over 1,1 million passengers and 800000 tons of rolling cargo (trucks, cars, trailers, etc).
Norwegenkai terminal (Norwegian Quay) is the port's second cruise ship terminal. At Norwegenkai dock mainly local ferries, most of which serve the route Kiel-Oslo (Norway).
Terminal's construction was part of the Kai-City Kiel project (completed 1997). A pedestrian bridge connects the terminal to the city's west bank. Norwegenkai has a passenger and ferry (Ro-Ro) terminals. Norwegenkai serves the shipping trade routes with Scandinavian countries . The Color Line's ships Color Magic and Color Fantasy operate regularly the itinerary route between Kiel and Oslo transporting both passengers and rolling cargo. Between 2008-2012, Norwegenkai's area was expanded northeast and now has additional storage and building space.
During summer months, Norwegenkai is additionally used for docking of cruise vessels. There is a dedicated paved parking space (fenced) located 150 m / 500 ft (some 5 min walking distance) from the terminal. Norwegenkai terminal is visible clearly from the train station. The terminal building is impressive, made of concrete, glass and steel.
Kiel-Schwedenkai ferry and cruise ship terminal
- location (GPS coordinates) - latitude=54.319413, longitude 10.1380999
Schwedenkai terminal (Swedish Quay) was inaugurated in 1967 and serves mainly STENA LINE (passenger and Ro-Ro ferries). A passenger gangway connects the terminal building directly to the ships. Stena Line serves the route between Kiel and Goteborg (Sweden) and operates some of the world's largest ferry ships. Terminal's reconstruction project cost around EUR 30 million, of which over EUR 20 million were invested in the building and EUR 12 million in logistics and infrastructure upgrades.
The Kile port area is among the city's most intersting tourist attractions. It comprises the Kiel Yacht Club, the German Navy port and Laboe (historic place). Laboe used to be a Slavic farming and fishing village. Currently it is a popular resort.
- port address - "Seehafen Kiel GmbH, Kommanditgesellschaft, Bollhornkai 1, Kiel 24103, Germany"
- UN-LOCODE (United Nations location code) - DEKEL.
- supported by excellent road, rail and air infrastructure
- sheltered harbor, large turning/swinging basins, deep water berths
- can accommodate up to 4 cruise ships at a time
- The port's cruising season runs from late April through early October.
- Cruise ships usually arrive in Kiel in early morning (7, 8 am) and depart from Kiel in late afternoon (6, 6:30, 7 pm).
Kiel tours, shore excursions, hotels
City Tours and Shore Excursions
- St Nicholas Church: it is located in the old town. The Nikolaikirche (St Nicholas Church) is on the Alter Markt
- Kleiner Kiel: located on the west side of Markt. It used to be firth’s arm that surrounded the old Kiel.
- Sophienhof: this is the cultural quarter that dates from 1888. the building has two stories and it is home of the Stadtbildnerei and the Stadtgalerie .
- Shipping Museum: located on the east side of Markt. It is housed in the old Fischhalle. Discover amazing displays of historic vessels.
- Art Gallery: located at Düsternbrooker Weg 1. The Kunsthalle displays paintings of German artists from the period between 17th and 20th century.
- Museum of Ethnography: located on Hegewischstraße 3. There you can see artifacts from Oceania, Africa and Asia.
- Zoological Museum: discover the interesting collections of North Sea fauna, Ice Age animals’ specimens and whales’ skeletons.
- Institute of Marine Biology: located at Düsternbrooker Weg 20. The institute houses sea and fresh water aquariums and a pool for seals.
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