KLAIPEDA – The cruise season in Klaipeda reached pre-pandemic levels this year, with the number of ship calls surpassing the five-year average, the port said on Thursday.
"We practically reached the 2019 level," Algis Latakas, the port's CEO, told a news conference. "It was a good year and a great season: 61 ships (visited Klaipeda), which is not a record number but above the five-year average of 55 ships."
The port welcomed 61 cruise ships and almost 47,000 passengers during the 2022 season, which opened on April 11 and closed on October 8. Compared to 2019, the number of ships increased by one-fifth, from 51, but the number of passengers, declined by 31 percent, from 68,500 passengers.
According to Latakas, twelve cruise ships arrived in Klaipeda for the first time this year, and 42 vessels were longer than 200 meters.
Around ten cruise ships were too large to visit Klaipeda, the CEO said, adding that the number of very large vessels is rising in the world and the port is preparing for this.
"Such ships need special infrastructure. Companies renewed their fleets during the pandemic, ordering about 30 new cruise ships," he said. "Yes, ships are increasing (in size), and the port is reacting to this."
Klaipeda expected 80 cruise ship calls during the 2022 season, but some visits were cancelled as some vessels changed their routes due to the war in Ukraine, bypassing the Baltic countries and heading to Scandinavia instead.