The first luxury passenger ship this year will dock on Thursday, 20 April at the Westerplatte Defenders Quay. It will be the Hamburg, a Bahamian-flagged vessel that has visited Gdańsk many times. This year we will welcome her twice, also on 20 May. The cruise ship is 145 m long, 21.5 m wide, 5.5 m draft and has 15 067 GT. The vessel can take up to 420 passengers on board. The ship is scheduled to arrive at 11am.
Last year’s season for visits by foreign guests circumnavigating Europe and the world on luxury ships was very successful. From May to September, cruise ships called at the Port of Gdansk a total of 79 times. On their decks 29.5 thousand passengers travelled. The largest ship was the 239-metre-long cruise ship Marina. The record year so far in terms of calls was 2018. At that time, 67 vessels with just over 30 thousand passengers entered the Port of Gdansk.
The increased number of cruise ship calls last year was due to ships bypassing the Port of St Petersburg due to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.
– The vessels that entered St Petersburg every year were distributed to other Baltic ports. And there were specific volumes – around 350 calls. This benefited primarily medium-sized ports – which include Gdansk – but also, for example, the port of Rønne on Bornholm, Klaipeda in Lithuania, Riga in Latvia, or the port of Visby on Sweden’s Gotland,” explains Michał Stupak, client manager at the Port of Gdansk.
This year, cruise ships will berth around 50 times at the Port of Gdansk. The longest vessel to arrive will be the Bolette, flying the Bahamian flag and measuring 238 metres. Her arrival is scheduled for 10 May. This year, the season will end in an unusual way, just before Christmas, on 17 December, when the Maltese Hanseatic Nature, measuring 139 metres, will arrive in Gdansk.
But the capabilities of the Port of Gdansk are much greater. Theoretically, it can accommodate up to 120 cruise ships a year. All operations take place at the transhipment quays: Obrońców Westerplatte Quay, Oliwa Quay and WOC II Quay. For this reason, for the duration of a passenger vessel’s stay in the Port of Gdansk, it is necessary to separate a so-called safety zone for those who handle the vessel directly.
The development of cruise shipping is influenced both by the geopolitical situation in the region and the involvement of local authorities and tourist organisations.
– We need to convince cruise ship operators that the Baltic Sea basin is a peaceful and safe region. We need to be active in organisations such as Cruise Baltic, or Cruise Europe, and present our commercial offer at trade fairs in Europe or the United States. Looking from the perspective of the last fair in Miami, in which we participated, it is clear that what attracts cruise lines is the tourist offer of the port city. We want to showcase the potential of Gdansk and the whole of Pomerania. We have a great chance of taking over the tourists who have been sailing to the port of St Petersburg so far,’ adds Michał Stupak.
Gdansk, and the whole Pomerania, is an ideal destination for tourists not only from Europe, but from all over the world. According to data from the Gdańsk Tourism Organisation and the Pomeranian Institute of Science, in 2022. Gdansk was visited by 2,088,444 tourists, including 557,818 foreign tourists. Most came from Germany, Scandinavian countries and the UK. Among the places they were most keen to visit was Westerplatte.