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Visit Oslo

Cruise visits to Oslo have halved. Why?

A former member of Oslo Cruise Network blames poor teamwork in Norway’s capital.

The number of cruise ships calling at Oslo has more than halved since 213 in 2011, to just 100 today. Yet the number of cruise passengers visiting Norway as a whole has grown sharply over the same period.

“The peak for cruises in Oslo was in 2011 when approximately 312,000 cruise passengers visited the capital. By 2016, this figure was down to around 170,000,” the port’s harbour manager, Ingvar Mathisen, confirmed to the shipping news site Skipsrevyen.

Oslo has rapidly lost market share in Norway itself. Since 2011, cruise passengers visiting Norway have grown to around one million.

“There is no doubt that Oslo has lost market share. We see that cruises have grown strongly in western Norway. Perhaps they have been better at marketing themselves as a cruise destination,” suggested Tor Johan Pedersen, head of cruise tourism at the state-owned promoter Innovation Norway.

But a former member of Oslo Cruise Network, Per Erik Winther, blames poor teamwork in Oslo.

“International cooperation with Oslo harbour and resistance from the former port manager are among the reasons,” he claims.

“Cooperation with Oslo port was lousy. The former harbour manager in Oslo was opposed to cruise development in Oslo. She pulled the port of Oslo out of cruise cooperation with the result that this cooperation was frozen three years ago.”

The former harbour manager he is referring to, Anne Sigrid Hamran, refused to comment on the matter.

Royal Caribbean International had been interested in making Oslo a base for turnarounds, Winther explains, which would have generated much higher revenues for the destination. But it dropped its plans when additional infrastructure was not built.

However, Mathisen says such a plan was never approved, although it was investigated as an alternative in the port’s current plans. But he confirms that a new cruise ship terminal is now being reviewed again in a new port plan.

He also says that several other measures are being discussed to improve the port of Oslo’s standing among cruise lines, adding that the ambition is to make it “the best cruise destination in Norway”.

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