Ever since Saga Ruby made her first winter call in Northern Norway in 2009, winter cruise has shown an upward trend. In 2013 the British cruise lines Saga Cruises, Fred Olsen and Cruise & Maritime had a total of nine winter cruises calling at Vesterålen, Narvik, Tromsø and Alta. In all, more than 7000 passengers were on these ships.
For 2014 a total of 16 calls to Alta and Tromsø have been registered outside the summer season, an increase of 60 percent from the previous year. For the first time, one of the large cruise
lines will be sailing northwards in the winter when P&O’s Oriana arrives with up to 2000 passengers in March 2014. Cruise traffic will soon be year-round tourism in Tromsø, with January and April the only months without cruise calls.
“Winter cruise provides good profitability for both the cruise lines and land-based tourism because the ships are docked for longer and the shorex sales are high. These are affluent clients who have exotic experiences and the cruise lines cannot offer destinations other than Northern Norway. The Northern Lights are probably the highlight for many,” says the Marketing Manager of the Port of Tromsø and Chair of the Board of CNNS, Harriet Willassen.