• Articles
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    Skjolden gets new cruise line to visit

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  • Skjolden gets new cruise line to visit


  • Norway’s Skjolden bags new lines, a very big ship

    The 158,000gt Independence of the Seas will become the largest cruise ship to call at Norway’s emerging port of Skjolden. The vessel will visit in 2013.

    Skjolden, which inaugurated its cruise pier in May 2010 and will soon become the world’s first port to install a SeaWalk floating pier—enabling it to dock two ships simultaneously—is drawing new lines and ever bigger vessels.

    Celebrity Cruises will visit for the first time in 2012 with Celebrity Constellation on July 2. Royal Caribbean International will add the Sognefjord port in 2013, with two calls by Independence of the Seas and two by the Voyager-class Adventure of the Seas.

    ‘We are always looking for new destinations to include on our itineraries. In Western Norway, the ports are becoming very congested and Skjolden provides a nice alternative,’ said Marc Miller, manager, deployment strategy for Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

    Skjolden’s pier enables it to handle some of Royal Caribbean’s largest ships but beyond port infrastructure, Miller told Seatrade Insider the port offers attractions such as access to several national parks and the opportunity for passengers to see glaciers. Nearby is Umes Stave Church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

    ‘We are excited about the destination and are looking forward to our call later this year,’ Miller said.

    Skjolden handled 11 cruise ship visits in 2011 and has 22 booked this year, with some additional calls potentially to come, according to Mike McFadden, president of Florida-based MAC Maritime, director of marketing/interim harbor manager for the Skjolden facility. Queen Elizabeth, Ventura and Rotterdam are among the scheduled vessels. In 2013, 28 calls are confirmed, with an additional six pending.

    McFadden cited Skjolden’s ‘excellent port design and timing’ as key factors—the facility came on line just as Norway posted a big upswing in cruise calls. And, like Miller, he credited the area’s touristic offerings.

    Though Skjolden has been described as an ‘overflow’ alternative for busy Flåm, which McFadden described as ‘well established and beautiful,’ he said the new port at the inland end of one of the world’s longest fjords has its own distinctive appeal.

    © Copyright 2012 Seatrade Communications Limited. Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Seatrade Communications Limited.

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