It is estimated that some 120,000 visitors to Iceland will arrive by cruise ship to the northern part of the country this year.
RÚV reports that 101 cruise ships will visit Akureyri and Grímsey, both in the north of Iceland, this summer. The first ship, Magellan, arrived in Akureyri yesterday morning, bringing with it some 900 tourists representing 13 nationalities, most of them British.
Cruise ships hold a tremendous amount of people, as these 101 cruise ships slated to visit just these two places this summer will unload some 120,000 people in all.
While not the most common way to arrive in Iceland (most visitors arrive via Keflavík International Airport), the presence of cruise ships around Iceland has been on the rise, and the reactions have been mixed.
Last November, for example, it was reported that some cruise ships were disembarking people at the legally protected Hornstrandir peninsula. The environmental impact of these guests has reached the halls of parliament, with calls from the locals asking the government to put a stop to the practice.
The environmental impact of cruise ships do not end there, either. As reported, when a cruise ship docks in harbour, it leaves its generators running continuously. In a single 24-hour period, one cruise ship burns enough oil to equal the pollution from 10,000 cars. There is a common solution at hand – but Icelandic harbour officials do not have it.
Many major harbours around the world have taken up connecting large power cables to the ships, so that they may be provided with electricity without having to burn oil and pollute the harbour area. Reykjavík has no such power apparatus, it is reported, due to its expense.
“We have similar equipment for trawlers and boats at the old harbour,” Port Director Gísli Gíslason told reporters. “The project of connecting these societies [to electricity], which these cruise ships are, is tremendously expensive.”