Viking Passengers Rate Kirkwall Top Destination in Northern Europe

Viking Star in Orkney

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.

Port of Kiel chalks up 350th call by an MSC cruise ship

Port of Kiel chalks up 350th call by an MSC cruise ship

The port’s cruise shipping director Nicole Claus welcomed the ship’s captain Guiseppe Galano

MSC Fantasia arrived at the Port of Kiel’s Ostseekai berth from St Petersburg in Russia on 2 September, marking MSC Cruises’ 350th visit to the German port.

To mark the anniversary, the port’s cruise shipping director Nicole Claus welcomed the ship’s captain Guiseppe Galano. Together, Galano and Claus unveiled a bronze plaque on Kiel’s Cruise Ship Walk of Fame, which honours shipping companies and events that are of special significance for Kiel as a cruise shipping location.

MSC’s cruise ships have been regularly calling at the port of Kiel for twelve years, after the first vessel visited on 4 September 2005. The company began using Kiel as a base port in 2006 and since then, the city has been a constituent part of the company’s northern Europe route planning. To date, nine different MSC cruise ships have visited Kiel, while 1.3 million passengers have embarked or disembarked from an MSC cruise ship in the city.

“With 350 visits to the port under its belt, MSC is the cruise shipping company which has been our most frequent caller to date,” said Claus.

MSC Fantasia has already undertaken 18 cruises from Kiel this season. Three more are to follow up to the season finale on 16 September, when the ship heads for the Mediterranean. These northern Europe cruises take guests to Baltic destinations including Copenhagen, Denmark; Stockholm, Sweden; Tallinn, Estonia; Helsinki, Finland; St Petersburg. The ship also sails from Kiel to Copenhagen and the Norwegian fjords in Geiranger, Flåm and Stavanger.

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MSC and Mein Schiff in the Port of Kiel.

International cruise ship passengers who board in Copenhagen can enjoy day excursions ashore from the port of Kiel into the surrounding region and to the Hanse city of Lübeck and the north German metropolis of Hamburg.

“Because of its geographical location, Kiel is particularly attractive as the starting point for so-called butterfly cruises,” said Claus. “The combination of Baltic and Norwegian routes is a very interesting option.”

This year, Kiel will host 142 calls from 28 different ships, which will bring around half a million cruise ship passengers to the port. In addition, about 1.6 million ferry passengers will pass through the port.

New Princess ship to debut in Europe before China deployment

Majestic Princess.

Princess Cruises’ new ship Majestic Princess is to make its debut in Europe before being deployed to its year-round base in China.

The 3,560-passenger vessel enters service in April 2017 with a short maiden season of five to 28-day Mediterranean cruises from Barcelona, Athens and Rome before moving to China in July.

Sister ships Royal Princess and Regal Princess will be among a further six ships to be based in Europe in 2017.

Royal Princess will run new 11-day Grand Mediterranean and 10-day Western Mediterranean itineraries which can be combined into a 21-day sailing. Seven, 14, 21 and 28-day sailings throughout the Mediterranean will also be available.

Regal Princess, launched last year, returns to northern Europe for cruises to Scandinavia and Russia including an overnight stay in St Petersburg.

The 3,080-passenger Crown Princess will be based in Southampton from April to September to run seven and 14-night cruises to the Mediterranean and Scandinavia.

The 3,140-passenger Caribbean Princess will operate the line’s largest British Isles season with 12 departures from Southampton including  a new late evening stay in Belfast and overnights in Dublin on selected cruises.

Smaller Pacific Princess, carrying 680 passengers, will sail from Dover from June to September on northern Europe itineraries.

Both Crown Princess and Pacific Princess will offer North Cape voyages to the Arctic Circle during the peak midnight sun period around the summer solstice.

The 2017 sailings, covering 153 departures to 119 destinations across 27 countries, are open for booking on December 3 from 4pm.

Princess Cruises’ president, Jan Swartz, said: “Our 2017 Europe season is sure to inspire our guests with our newest and largest ships in the Mediterranean and northern Europe.

“We’re especially excited to debut Majestic Princess in the Mediterranean before she officially sails to Asia for her maiden China cruise season.”