Calls to Gothenburg in 2022 were the highest in its history

Wednesday, January 18, 2023 - 11:06 by ce-press

In 2022 the Port of Gothenburg accommodated 81 calls, seven higher than the previous record season in 2014.

“It is a big increase following the pandemic, even though it is other tragic circumstances that are behind the upturn to a large extent,” says Nicole Brattasen, cruise operations manager Gothenburg Port Authority. “As a result of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Russian ports were excluded, and the shipping companies had to find alternatives [to St Petersburg]. In Gothenburg, we already had a good booking situation for 2022, but the number rose in the spring with 30 bookings as a result of the geopolitical situation.”

The majority of cruise passengers to Gothenburg are Germans, followed by the British and then Americans. “We are selling Gothenburg as a bit of a break in the regular cruise range, depending on the target group. For big city cruisers for example, we are a slightly more relaxed city with a nice vibe. For expedition cruisers on the other hand, we are a fun detour from fishing communities and smaller villages where we can offer a little more pulse and a big city feel,” explains Brattasen.

The 2023 cruise season looks set to be another record year with 92 calls booked to date. But in the long term, Gothenburg wants to continue to strengthen its competitiveness as a destination in a global cruise industry that is facing several challenges.

Like other industries, the cruise industry is also facing sustainability challenges where, among other things, ships are connected to electricity at the quay to an increasing extent and are looking at alternative ship fuels such as biogas and methanol.

“The destinations also need to do their part, and Gothenburg is at the forefront. When it comes to alternative fuels for example, the Port of Gothenburg was the first in the world to introduce operating regulations for the bunkering of both methanol and biogas, and we are investing heavily in becoming a central bunkering hub for alternative fuels. It contributes to increasing the rate of conversion and at the same time makes us more attractive as a destination for shipping companies that invest in green conversion,” says Brattasen.

The cruise industry at large has also gone through a baptism of fire with the pandemic, with the recovery still ongoing. In total, Gothenburg had around 80,000 cruise visitors in 2022, and many operators clearly notice an upturn of sales when there are passengers visiting.

“The occupancy has been around 70% on the ships. There is a caution from both shipping companies and passengers where they do not want to take any risks. We are also seeing new patterns on land, for example the demand to book entire restaurants or concert halls where you stay within the cruise bubble has increased.”

“At the same time, there is also an opposite trend where you want to get closer to people, meet locals, visit farms, microbreweries and such. Cruise passengers are not a homogenous group but individuals who want to experience different things,” continues Brattasen.

This year 92 calls are scheduled including first timers Ocean Odyssey, The World and Clio (to the American Cruise Terminal) and Renaissance, Seven Seas Navigator, Princess Caribbean and Explora I to Arendal.
Calls to Gothenburg in 2022 were the highest in its history
Fred Olsen Cruise Lines' Balmoral in Gothenburg (c) Gothenburg Port Authority

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