The northern Norwegian city of Kirkenes has lost the expected cruise ship visits this summer because it is so close to the Russian border. However, the rest of the country is prepared for record-high cruise traffic, as cruises in the Baltic Sea and docking in St. Petersburg are not possible or impossible.

Such large cruise ships are already regularly detained in ports on the west coast of Alesund, but not in the northern Norwegian city of Kirkenes. It is believed to be “too close to Russia”.Photo: Alesund Harbor / Torgale Emblem

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by President Vladimir Putin not only deeply confused other neighbors of his country, but also made Russia a very unattractive tourist destination. Economic sanctions on Russia have also blocked visitors and trade.

“I was worried about the cruise market,” said Dag Norum. See Kirkenes Told the newspaper Klassekampen.. The Norwegian-Russian border used to be a tourist attraction, but now it isn’t, Norm adds, “it’s seen as difficult to get this close to the Russian border.”

Some ships intended to cruise the northern Norwegian coast also planned to sail towards Murmansk, but it had to be cancelled. “It was especially the American tour operators who told us that fear of Russia prompted them to cancel or choose another destination,” says industry group Henriette Bismo Eilertsen. Cruisenettverk Nord-Norge Said Klassekampen.. “They think Finnmark, the scenic Arctic Circle where Kirkenes is located, is too close to Russia.”

The northern Norwegian Arctic city of Kirkenes is trying to boost its cruise business, but Russia’s invasion of Ukraine ruined it this summer. The location of Kirkenes near the Russian border is no longer a tourist attraction. Photo: NewsinEnglish.no/Nina Berglund

Another disappointment for local businesses that were ready to offer cruise tourists a variety of onshore activities, Kirkenes port officials miss the docking fees that ships have to pay. Norwegian coastal shipping companies still call Kirkenes on a regular basis, but Putin’s war has chilled the outlook for cruises, as they wanted a revival of tourism after the Corona crisis.

Meanwhile, other popular Norwegian cruise ports are: For better or for worse, it could set a new cruise record this summer. Cruise tourism is very controversial in Norway, as thousands of tourists get off the boat and gather in relatively small towns and cities at once. Yet another new study shows that cruise tourists spend the least of all Norwegian tourists.

“I’ve never seen a cruiser come to the door,” Marius Runde Petersen, who runs a restaurant in Alesund, told the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) this week. Several large cruise ships were detained in his west coast city last week, but passengers appear to have confirmed the findings of Professor Svein Larsen of the University of Bergen. If there is an admission fee to the museum, they will not. They do not go to cafes, bars, concerts or restaurants. Of course, I wouldn’t stay at a hotel except when getting on and off in Norway. It’s rare because most of the big cruise ships arrive and depart in British and other European ports.

Many will arrive this summer, Diverted from the Baltic Sea, especially Russian ports. Cruising in the Black Sea is also not possible, so cruise lines are looking to Scandinavia and other “safer” regions of Europe. When it set a cruise record in Norway in 2019, 3.7 million cruise passengers docked during 2,881 port calls. State officials report an estimated 4 million passengers this year, spanning 3,422 cruise dockings.

Tourist bosses tend to insist that they welcome all visitors because they don’t want to offend the cruise line. Nevertheless, some areas are beginning to limit cruise ship docking in order to reduce both congestion and carbon emissions. But after two years of corona regulation, even Oslo (politicians were most important to the cruise trade) welcomed 40 more cruise dockings than the city had in the record year of 2019. It is set.

There are more than 500 cruise calls nationwide, compared to last year before Corona canceled almost everything.Bergen, Alesund and Stavanger will get the most, including the huge Royal Caribbean ship National anthem of the sea, I set sail for the first time in Bergen last week. It is about 350 meters long and has over 2,000 cabins, similar to some mid-rise hotels located on the hull.

“We are used to getting a big vessel here in Bergen, but this is the biggest we have,” a Bergen port official told the NRK.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund

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