The Norwegian Coastal Administration (Kystverket) is forecasting a steady increase in cruise traffic to Norway for the coming years. For 2023, the passenger count is expected to reach nearly 5 million compared to 4.3 million in 2022 (each passenger is counted in each port) and 4.1 million for 2019, which was also a record year.
The forecast is in line with the growing cruise fleet, but pending national and international environmental regulations, according to Kystverket. Any deviation from the growth forecast would be temporary until new ships that meet stricter regulations enter service, the agency said in a prepared statement.
Kystverket said the 2022 increase was partially due to ships being rerouted as calls to Saint Petersburg and Arctic Russia were cancelled.
Bergen had the most calls in 2022 with 308 and 364,334 passengers, while Stavanger recorded the most passengers at 429,048 on 211 calls.
The most popular ports in terms of calls were Bergen, Ålesund, Tromsø, Stavanger, Longyearbyen, Oslo, Geiranger, Honningsvåg, Kristiansand and Flåm.
With stricter regulations in the world heritage fjords, Flåm, Hellesylt and Geiranger saw a reduction in calls from 2019. Other ports that have put limits on ship calls and passengers also saw a reduction, according to Kystverket, which said that the traffic then went to other ports.
Thirteen ships received discounts on port fees in 2022 for scoring high on the Environmental Ship Index.
With the increase in traffic, including more winter cruises, Kystverket said it is evaluating the rules and regulations that are in place and that the rescue and emergency services are also brought up to date.