Six Scandinavian ports join forces to offer itineraries based on Nordic cuisine
Project coordinator Marianne Pedersen, manager Cruise Sorlandet, commented: “It took us about a year to put together a culinary itinerary. Every destination now has tours prepared. We have explained the cruise concept to all the places involved, for example ‘Under’ [a restaurant 5.5m below the water) which takes up to 40 people.” Possible scenarios include a chef joining the ship prior to a call to provide information to passengers along the way.
“We are trying to show that this region is a nice one, not only as a stop on the way to and from the Baltic,” added Pedersen. The smaller, more luxury ships are being targeted first.
Kristiansand is the homeport choice due to its nearby airport. Cruise companies can charter flights in and out with TUI Cruises doing a partial turnaround of 200 passengers last year. It is expecting more than 70 calls next year and 54 this.
In addition to the above initiative, Cruise Sorlandet which is a network encompassing both Kristiansand and Arendal, has published a new brochure. Included are 38 tour possibilities including six new ones, for example the Raet National Park on horseback and good old days with waffles at the Kristiansand museum.
Most ships arrive at 0800 and leave at 1600 which gives plenty of time to get a taste of the region. The network, which has been operating since 2012, has been instrumental in bringing calls to the region through its marketing efforts. Prior to its existence there were only five to six calls annually. Pedersen commented: “The network has shown results. The ports cannot do it alone, they need the tours.”
The network is also aware of the need to cater to independents. In this respect a free organ concert is given in the cathedral on cruiseship days.
Its newest initiative is in providing guides for all the ships calling in cooperation with the incoming agents. “We work with the local guide organisation and recruit independently. They are all freelance. We keep to a standard set by the Norwegian guiding association and there is authorisation with regular training ongoing throughout the year.”