In early June the Spanish cruise line Pullmantur started a series of cruises that involve turnaround operations in Northern Norway. This is a ground-breaking way of implementing cruise itineraries and one which Cruise Northern Norway & Svalbard (CNNS) believes will become a new trend in the northernmost part of Europe.
“It went very well and I’m extremely happy with the entire operation and the efforts of everyone involved,” says Andreas Storl, CEO of European Cruise Service AS. The cruise agent has been responsible for the operation Pullmantur performed in Porsanger (Lakselv Airport Banak) and at Evenes Airport near Narvik.
“Pullmantur is also satisfied. Naturally it didn’t go 100% smoothly and we had a couple of challenges, but that’s quite normal with a tender operation. We now need to evaluate and make some adjustments for next time,” says Storl, adding that he is looking forward to the next operation that will take place on 20 June.
European Cruise Service handled more than 70 bus tours, six aircraft, a luggage boat with nearly 4000 items, tendering of more than 3000 passengers, shuttle buses to Lakselv, excursions to Karasjok and check-in. “What could be described as an almost impossible task turned out to be a huge success,” says a satisfied CEO after 12 hectic hours.
Hans Paul Hansen at Scandic Nordkapp and the North Cape Hall was also impressed by the operation that was carried out in Porsanger on Saturday.
“On Magerøya, we have nearly 100 years’ experience with cruise traffic, but nonetheless I’m impressed so far. Not least with what has been achieved here in Porsanger – in the town centre, at the airport and out here at Hamnbukt. It looks very good and it seems to be going without a hitch,” says Hansen, who also has high hopes for the future when it comes to turnaround operations.
In Narvik, it was Cruise Manager Grethe Parker who was responsible for much of the activity, in close collaboration with European Cruise Service. “Generally speaking, everything went very well,” she says, adding that obviously when you perform such a large operation for the first time some small adjustments need to be made. “We are adjusting a few details for the next calls and then we will be where we should be,” says Parker, who will have an unusually hectic summer of cruise activity in Narvik.
The Managing Director of CNNS, Erik Joachimsen, hopes and believes that what Northern Norway has proven this summer will convince more cruise lines to plan such itineraries in the north in the future. “We have an incredible amount to offer. Flying the passengers in one direction compensates for the disadvantage of long sailing distances. You can also add North-western Russia as an exotic element in the itinerary,” he concludes.
Turnaround operations, June 6, 2015, in Lakselv (Northcape Turnaroundport) in 14 minutes (movie by iFinnmark, norwegian speech): WATCH THE MOVIE HERE.
All photos: Visit Narvik and Northcape Turnaround Port