The Port of Kiel, located on Germany’s Baltic coast just inland from the entrance to the Nord-Ostsee Kanal, celebrated its 2,500th cruise call on 13 August, when Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth arrived. It was a busy day for the port’s cruise berths, with MSC Musica, Aidaluna and Aidavita preceding her into the harbour.
According to the port’s records, the first cruise ship visit was that by Hapag-Lloyd’s Europa on 23 June 1974. She made a second call later that year, and Norwegian America Line’s Vistafjord also made two calls in 1974. Calls built up gradually, with most of them in the early years made by ships operating for German companies.
In the late 1980s Festival Cruises based a ship in Kiel, as did Costa from 2002. By 2007 port calls had grown to 100 in that year alone, with MSC and Aida ships regular visitors.
Today, Kiel is an important port for both Aida and TUI Cruises, each of which has named ships in the harbour, but at present MSC holds the record for the largest number of calls, with 327. In 2015 the port’s four cruise berths handled 133 cruise calls by 25 different ships.