Viking Ocean Cruises passengers have rated Kirkwall as their top Northern Europe and Scandinavian cruise destination.
The rating was based on guest feedback following analysis of 2018 itineraries, according to a statement the Orkney Islands Council.
Kirkwall has been rated top destination from a total portfolio of 46 Northern Europe and Scandinavian destinations from Viking.
“Viking Ocean Cruises are one of our most regular cruise lines calling into Kirkwall and their outstanding vessels are a corner stone of our local cruise industry,” said Michael Morrison, the Council’s Business Development Manager for Marine Services. “For their guests to rate us so highly is indeed an accolade that all of us who deliver the marine tourism product in Orkney can be truly proud of. To receive a higher level of customer satisfaction that destinations such as Copenhagen and St. Petersburg is indeed a tremendous achievement Kirkwall is the UK’s cruise destination capital and this endorsement from Viking Cruises will motivate Team Orkney to continue to deliver the high quality of destination experience that Orkney is so very good at.”
The 2019 Orkney season has 170 port calls planned compared to 140 booked for 2018. Bookings for 2020 are encouraging as well, with over 100 calls already scheduled.
This year will see growth in smaller vessels calling, with 71 calls scheduled from ships with under 500 guests.
Cruise ship calls continue to increase on an annual basis in Copenhagen as the Danish city has gone from 325 calls in 2017 to 346 in 2018, and expects 355 calls and 900,000 guests next year, according to Arnt Moller Pedersen, COO cruise and ferries.
The 2018 season kicked off in late March with the Astoria and will go to the end of October when the AIDAmar calls on Halloween. That is a full month longer than the 2017 season, with 2018 featuring nine new ships.
There are also nine off-season Christmas and New Years call, an all-time high.
Among the highlights, the biggest ship to call was the Norwegian Breakaway, while May 20 saw the port handle six ships, 24,000 cruise passengers and 8,000 crew in a single day, said Pedersen.
“We are building a new cruise terminal in Copenhagen with capacity for 5,000 guests and with a quay length of 370 meters and a water depth of 12 meters,” he said, noting it will be ready by April 2020. “The terminal building will have two floors, totalling 10,000 square meters and two gangway bridges.”
Overall more than 1.1 million cruise passengers are expected to visit Danish ports this year, with an economic impact of 200 million euro, according to a statement.
In addition to Copenhagen’s strong numbers, Aarhus will welcome 100,000 passengers for the first time; and business is also expected to double for the port of Skagen.
And in Visby, a new cruise quay opened earlier this year and was inaugurated by a call from the AIDAdiva in April.